Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stanford Alumni Polo Match and Other Shenanigans

(A pack of polo ponies pounds perilously across a perfect pitch... teehee, alliteration win!)

The fundraising season is officially over - YAY! Just one week after the madness that was Red Barn Festival, I had turn right around for the Stanford Alumni polo match, which, like RBF, is the biggest single annual fundraiser for the polo team.

(Russell, our captain this year, on Margi (or Moo, depending on who you're talking to))

(Good pairing off!)

Thankfully for me, the jobs for the polo match were much less about moving tables or jumps and much more about tacking up ponies, getting their riders mounted, and then walking the ponies out at the end of the chukker. This meant that I didn't get to take nearly as many pictures as at Red Barn, but that I also got to spend a lot more time with the horses (which, of course, is always the best option =D). Though, I still did manage to get a few shots:

(Gamo, the White Whale)

(Gooo Elvis! Or, as I like to call her, "Thestral")

(Mo and Moo go on the offensive)

(Some happy players and ponies!)

Polo is very different to shoot than regular riding, because on one hand the timing of the horse's footfalls isn't as important as in dressage (though it's still nice to get the "all four off the floor" shot!), and there's no specific timing like in jumping. Yet, on the other hand, there's many more horses (and that pesky little white ball!) to keep track of, and the phase of the player's swing to take into account. I had a tough time getting sharp shots because of the low light conditions, but got a few very respectable pans.

(A nice near-side shot from Russell)

(Russell goes for the tail (reverse) shot, this time on Margi)

(Oh, Kamikaze...)

We did NOT get lucky with the weather, which decided to be chilly and rainy after weeks (wait, who are we kidding, this is California: MONTHS) of sunshine. Fortunately, everything held off enough that we were able to put on a full match, though there were a couple close moments when it looked like everything was going to have to be called (and the play had to be a little slower than normal to keep everything safe).

(Blech, rain...)

(Mo keeps warm in her super sexy 1990 Cow Palace Junior Champion cooler... badass)

I did take a brief break from what was otherwise an all-polo weekend (Soiree, our big fall formal party where we induct new members formally into the club, on Friday; practice on Saturday; and the match on Sunday) to head with my roommate from last year down Highway 1 towards Santa Cruz for the monthly barn dance at Pie Ranch. Words can't really describe accurately how much fun we had. The barn was jam-packed with people who were just as happy to be there as we were, and I met so many friendly and wonderful people it was hard to keep track. We danced the night away barefoot on the hay-covered boards, and then were so overwhelmed with excitement from the whole experience that we were basically incoherent for the entire hour-long car ride home. If you are EVER in the Santa Cruz area the third Saturday of the month, go to this dance. AMAZING.

(A pause in the dancing at Pie Ranch)

(Gettin a little rowdy during "Coyote")

This next week is a bit of a down one for me, which is good as I think I'm beginning to get sick and am hoping to stave it off before it gets too serious. The dressage team is getting ready for its first show of the year on Halloween, then the hunt seat team (which I'm not really on but will still help out with) has their first home show the weekend after that, and then it's the first polo match of the year the weekend after that, so it will be nice to at least have one weekend to breathe deeply!

(I just got my photographs from Kiki's first Training at Huntington back in August... hopefully we'll get to do this again someday!)

I've been watching Kiki like a hawk since our first walking experiment, and so far all seems well. She's eating her grain more eagerly which is a huge relief (she's a huge pig so I was really worried when she was getting listless with her eating) and hasn't shown any additional soreness/swelling/heat. I've taken her for one more walk, for which she was absolutely nuts but again felt very sound, so I'm tentatively hopeful that we'll be able to keep going with this program. I might investing in some ACE, though...

(Turns out piggies can fly!)

(Note: last two photographs used with permission)


Nicku said...

What is the age-range at Pie Ranch's Barn parties? Looks like so much fun! And yes...ACE is your friend when it comes to tack walking :)

Katherine Erickson said...

It literally ranges from 6 to 60 - there were little kids climbing on the hay bales and older community members chatting with the band. I would say, though, that the majority was in the college age range.

Rachel Kolb said...

Go polo! Even from those of us who can't play :) Awesome photos!

Hurricanes12 said...

oh polo is awesome, i really need to start playing polocrosse more i'm starting to miss it just looking at your photos! lucky you being there in all the action :)

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