Sunday, November 14, 2010

First Polo Match!!

(Stanford Women's Polo... I kind of wish I (3) didn't look like a house compared to Laura (2), who is legit a stick figure, but what are you going to do)

(Very red faced, but very in love with this sport!!)

(Ahh... the good life)
Bad news first: we lost.

All the good news next: THAT WAS SO FUN!!!! Like, seriously, it was like getting to ride 4 CCI cross country courses back to back in terms of adrenaline and excitement (and, more literally, in terms of time - four 7 1/2 minute segments of galloping and turning - I was wiped by the end!). I've got a ridiculously large amount of stuff to work on, but hot dang am I hooked.

(Good pairing off!)


My biggest issues were trying to figure out where to put myself to get into the play, and trying not foul too often. I got a lot better in both of these departments as the game went on, but still was pretty weak on both fronts. It took me until half time, for example, and the direct observation of our coach, Mike, for me to realize that my entire basic positioning strategy was wrong: I was coming up beside the play-- and so felt very very close to the action!-- instead of being in front of or behind it, which is the only way to actually be useful. With this in mind I was a lot more in it in the second half, but it was pretty late on by then to make a real charge against USC.

(I'm in the red helmet - see how I'm right next to my teammate? Yeah, that's not right.)

(Even between chukkers, I was a little bit "out of the play"!)

On the plus side, I rode better and better as the game progressed (also helpful that I got progressively easier horses!) and actually hit pretty well for my experience level whenever I actually was in the play. Those things are definitely progressing well; I just feel like such a space cadet sometimes!

(Juno was my first horse and definitely my toughest - I'm excited to practice more and get better at riding the stronger horses, but I definitely left a bit on the table on Saturday!)

(By the time I got to Grappa, I was doing a bit better)

Finding my way in the play is NOT something that comes naturally to me at ALL: it requires a quickness of visual pattern recognition and anticipation which I've never been able to transfer from my everyday life (where I'm actually quite good at those things) to horses... there's something about riding that has always fried my circuits a little bit in that department. Add in a polo mallet, a little bouncing ball, and five other galloping horses, and you can imagine how much more mind-bending it can be! I know this is going to be one of the things about polo that I'm probably going to struggle the most with, but I'm very excited to take on the challenge. If I can get my brain firing quick enough for polo, I can only imagine how my response-times in my other riding will improve as well =)

(The sort of clusterf**** situation that requires the mental sharpness that I currently lack!)

(Exciting moment - my stirrup leather slipped right off the saddle halfway through the last chukker! Fortunately I was able to keep the iron on my foot and get it reattached with no trouble. Whoops!)

Today we got to play some more chukkers, which was a great chance for me to try to turn right around and work on my weaknesses a day later instead of a week later (which is what normally is the case). And by the third chukker, I definitely felt like I was improving! Man, this sport is fun =) It's an exciting time right now because every time I play I feel like I've made concrete improvements from the time before. Let's keep it up!

(The women's team commiserating Saturday night; once again, I'm a little out of the play!!)

(Only downside of the weekend: Sake exacted some serious revenge on me today for using her mouth as a lifeline when I leaned too far out and almost fell off! Turns out that wooden walls are significantly more solid than my leg. Touché, Sakebomb; touché.)

1 comment:

Hurricanes12 said...

that looks so awesome! i can't wait to play polocrosse more this season, your photos are brilliant! hope there'll be more where they came from :)

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