As a summer full of polo comes to an end, many polo players will be looking forward to taking a well earned break, as will the ponies. A polo season can be a tiring time for not only the ponies but for the players too. The winter break can be just as beneficial for the players as it is for the horses. But it’s not all about kicking the feet up and enjoying the sweet and savoury delights of Christmas appetisers, it’s important to focus on allowing your body to recover to it’s optimum levels, making the return to polo much easier come the end of spring.
I’m sure many of you have been left kicking yourself come April when you have to dust off the cobwebs and attempt to squeeze back into those polo whites. So my biggest advice to you would be to try and keep yourself ticking over throughout the winter months, in order to prevent the hard work of getting back to fitness in the spring. Here are a few tips to make the most of your time off whilst still keeping the engine ticking over:
A valid rest period is essential. Your body and your ponies have been placed under a large amount of stress throughout the season, so now it’s time to thank them. You can even introduce recovery techniques such as yoga, massage and foam rolling.
As you’d get the farrier out to look after your ponies, use this down time to look after yourself. Visit a physiotherapist, masseur or other health professional to get all of these aches and pains looked at allowing you to return the following season feeling 100 percent.
It’s important to keep the mind and body ticking over, so why not try some light activities to prevent you from getting bored and the body seizing up? Riding can be an excellent way of maintaining muscles throughout the winter, whether this is light hacking or schooling younger ponies. Hunting is also an excellent way to keep you riding throughout the winter months.
If you don’t fancy braving the elements over the winter, why not focus on your core and flexibility? Yoga and pilates are an excellent way to build core strength and maintain muscle mobility, something that is vital to polo players. Best of all they can be done indoors. Look for a local class or even follow online YouTube tutorials such as the whole body yoga by ‘Mind Body Bowl’.
Keeping your hand-eye co-ordination up to scratch is important too, there’s nothing worse than getting to the first chukkas of the season and struggling to hit a single ball. Taking up a sport over the winter can be excellent way to maintain fitness and co-ordination. Most sports are great, but racket sports like tennis, squash and badminton add that extra element of hand-eye co-ordination. If you’re really missing polo, bike polo is another great way to get the polo buzz without tiring any ponies.
Overall, it’s important to enjoy your time off, rest, recover and come back even stronger and healthier next season. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more helpful tips throughout the winter.