A Historic Moment for Polocrosse at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
October 3-6, 2010 marked a historical moment for Polocrosse. Fourteen Polocrosse players (the youngest being 9 years old) and their horses from across the U.S. and 17 other Polocrosse ambassadors successfully showcased the sport of Polocrosse at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY.
It all started at 7am on Sunday morning, October 3rd, when the Polocrosse horses, riders and volunteers entered the Kentucky Horse Park and passed through multiple checkpoints, including a homeland security checkpoint with bomb-sniffing dogs and a veterinary inspection, before getting moved into the barn, which was shared with other Equine Village participants. Then it was a mad dash to get everyone ready for the Polocrosse debut at the Games at 10am.
Paul Johnson emceed the exhibition, which lasted just over an hour. It was a cold and rainy day (in the 40-50 F range), but many spectators braved the weather and came over to watch Polocrosse. Two American Polocrosse Association (APA) rulebooks were sold that day and a lot of information about how to get started in the sport was distributed. Even the horseball players from Canada, who demonstrated their sport after Polocrosse, were as interested in trying our sport as some of our players were interested in trying theirs.
Throughout the week, the Polocrosse riders and volunteers walked around the World Equestrian Games in their brightly colored Polocrosse shirts carrying racquets and balls and information about Polocrosse. They met many people along the way who were very curious about the sport and even those who played the sport before, such as a couple of South African vaulters who were competing at the Games and some Australians who were competing in the U.S. Mounted Games competition in the Equine Village.
The crowd grew larger throughout the week as the weather improved and the buzz word "Polocrosse" started circulating around the Kentucky Horse Park. The hour long demonstrations occurred at different times each day from Sunday through Wednesday. The most exciting day was Tuesday, when Clinton Anderson (to learn more about Clinton Anderson, visit www.alltechfeigames.com/news/detail.aspx?id=4010, a celebrity horse trainer who played Polocrosse as a child, played in our chukka demonstrations. The bleachers were packed and the crowd cheered for their favorite team!
On October 5th, an article in the Lexington Herald listed Polocrosse in the top two events to watch for among the 32 demonstrations and exhibitions that occurred daily in the Equine Village. See this article at www.kentucky.com/2010/10/05/1464582/weg-best-bets-oct-5.html.
Polocrosse at the World Equestrian Games was a great success and everyone involved had the experience of a lifetime! A huge thank you goes out to the World Equestrian Games for allowing Polocrosse to be a part of history and hosting all fourteen Polocrosse horses during the week. Also thank you to the American Polocrosse Association and the United States Pony Club for their support, the many riders, horses and volunteers who were great ambassadors of the sport, and specifically Bernie Uechtritz and Erin Smoyer for their hard work in making it all possible.
A commemorative coffee table book about the World Equestrian Games will include Polocrosse and is available for purchase from www.wegkentuckybook.com. Also, numerous photographs from the Polocrosse demonstrations at the Games can be found at the following three Websites: