Horseback riding vacation in Argentina at the trot
I’ve always been curious about the sport of polo. Yet I confess that I am intimidated by the idea of swinging a mallet from the back of a polo pony while galloping full speed across and open field. However, the lure of an Argentine polo experience continues to draw me into the fold. I long to visit the big city of Buenos Aires and eat steaks at an Argentinian asado with the locals. Do you think there is a polo club in existence that offers the game played at a slow trot?
Capilla Polo Club horseback riding vacation for beginners
“We are catering to those who are looking to learn polo but have little previous experience, or even complete beginners who do not know how to ride a horse,” says Director and resident polo professional Fabio Lavinia. “Unlike other polo clubs in Argentina, clients are assured of English speaking instruction on quieter, safer horses on championship-level polo grounds, twice a day, seven days a week.”
The Capilla Polo Club features four laser-levelled grounds laid out in 2008. “We used the same company which levelled and maintain the ground at the famous Palermo polo grounds,” says Fabio. “The grounds are all irrigated and boarded, and each has a slightly different level of rain runoff so that we can play quickly after rain. We also have a stick-and-ball ground designed with a 0.7% incline so that we can play even after a downpour.”
The club has 35 local players, and each year welcomes 10-20 guests of differing levels of ability during the Argentinian summer polo season (October – March). “We play polo all year round, but the high season for us is November and December, when many guests decide to come to play and also to watch high goal games of the Argentinian Triple Crown. ‘High goal’ in Argentina means teams of 35-40 goals, whereas ‘high goal’ in the UK means 22-24 goal,” he says. Team handicaps are calculated by adding together the individual handicaps of each of the four players. “It is a chance for guests to watch polo in its purest expression, with the finest horses in the world,” he continues.
Stay and play in Argentina
Guests are accommodated in a traditional Argentinian estancia-style house with a swimming pool and air conditioning, complete with housekeeper and cook. After a day of riding practice and polo, guests can unwind to a traditional Argentinian “asado” (barbecue), or make a trip to the bright lights and bars of Buenos Aires, an hour away. Many other activities, such as golf, tennis, and fishing are close by and can be arranged upon request.
“Many polo clubs cater primarily to experienced polo players who can get onto almost any horse and play,” Fabio continues. “Consequently they do not have more placid horses suitable for absolute beginners, as we do. We have set out to attract adventure holidaymakers, so we are competing more with ‘experience’ holiday destinations. Let me tell you: there is no adrenalin rush like galloping up to a ball, swinging your stick, and hitting it 80 yards into a goal. Especially when an opposing player is digging his elbows into your side trying to stop you,” he says with a grin.
Cost of this Argentina horseback riding vacation
High season costs USD $2,100., GBP 1342, Euro 1450 per week polo tuition.
USD $3,150., GBP 2012, Euro 2325 including full board, which included polo tuition and lodging accommodation. Low season costs (February-March) are less expensive. Shorter periods are possible, depending on player availability and timing (low season/high season.)
What to pack on this horseback riding vacation
Guests do not need special equipment for this horseback riding vacation. However, if you own riding boots and a riding helmet, bring them with you.
If You Go:
Capilla Polo Club 44 20 7096 7678
Ruta 39 Km 7
Capilla del Senor
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Photos courtesy of Richard Powell.