ORIGINS OF THE SPORT OF KINGS
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Polo first originated in Persia in 600 B.C. and is one of the oldest recorded team sports in history.
Polo is also one of the fastest ball sports in history. Outdoor grass polo features four riders per team each atop a highly trained polo pony galloping across fields measuring 300 yards long.
Originally used as a training exercise for cavalry troops, the strategic game resembles military tactics. While the sport has adapted throughout time, the core concepts remain the same.
Polo quickly spread throughout Persia, Arabia, China, and Japan. It arrived in India in the thirteenth century, and the subcontinent is home to one of the oldest polo clubs still in existence, the Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) Polo Club, established in 1862. As colonization touched different corners of the globe, nations around the world adopted the fast-paced sport. Today it is played in more than 100 countries. It is most popular in Argentina, England, and the United States, where more than half of the world’s polo players live.
In 1869, an English officer organized the first polo game in England. By the 1870s the first official rules of the game were formulated in India. The game then traveled from England to New York City in 1876, and the United States Polo Association (USPA) was founded in 1890. With the creation of the USPA, the rules in the United States were standardized, which allowed the sport to grow even more quickly.
Nicknamed the “Sport of Kings,” polo has been a fixture in Palm Beach County for the last several decades. The area gained its footing within the international polo scene with the opening of the Gulfstream Polo Club in 1923. Fast-forward nearly 100 years and Wellington is now a mecca for winter polo play and equestrian competitions.