Arena polo arrives in Kaufman

Played in a smaller arena, arena polo is a faster-moving version of the European sport.

Kaufman played host to the Texas Arena League Polo this past weekend on Feb. 7-9 at Legends Horse Ranch. Saturday and Sunday were filled with competitive matches between amateur, college, and professional polo teams. If you’ve never experienced polo in person, it’s quite the sight to behold. When asking those knowledgeable about the sport to explain it, you regularly hear the phrase “Hockey on Horseback,” and after seeing it live in person I don’t think there could be a better description.

The excitement of watching this sport is palpable. Riders lean off the side of their horse at a good clip, with strong horses bumping and pushing off each other, teammates yelling orders across the dirt, all to hit a small ball into the goal that seems impossible to reach. A normal outdoor polo field is 300 yards long by 160 yards across, so that version of the games plays much slower and more methodical. The arena league condenses that playing field to around 100x50, or smaller in some cases, which makes the action much quicker and easier to digest. There is constant movement and communication between players.

Polo is traditionally looked upon as somewhat of an elitist sport with European sensibilities, but Texas Arena League wants people to know that they don’t stay true to that stigma. In a press release sent to the Kaufman Herald last week, the TAL included a quote from professional polo umpire Robin Sanchez.

“Arena polo is a truly American sport. We took a game that was thousands of years old and put it indoors adding play off and along the wall...This isn’t a snob sport; this is dirt and sweat and contact.”

And that’s exactly what Arena League Polo is, it’s Hockey on Horseback for sure

Kaufman is lucky to have a facility that could house such an event and if you get a chance to see the Texas Arena League in person, take it. Tickets are around $10 and the sport could definitely use some more attention. The next event is in Midland on March 13-15 at the Midland Polo Club.

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