One of the highlights of summer in Newport, RI is the international polo series running from June through September. The Newport Polo team invites teams from the United States and all over the world to compete. Countries such as Peru, France, Italy, England, and Jamaica are represented. It is a great way to share cultures and meet people from around the world who have a passion for horses and polo.
Polo, kind of like hockey on horseback, consists of four to eight chukkas (or periods) which last seven minutes each. The goal is to hit the ball into the opponent’s end of the field while following the “line of the ball.” It is a fast moving and exciting sport, with polo ponies galloping back and forth and turning on a dime. If you’re interested in lessons, Newport Polo, and many other leagues, training sessions where you can learn about the rules of the sport and how to play.
Matches are held Saturday evenings at 4PM and are a complete to do. Families and spectators arrive hours beforehand to set up chairs, tents, grills, and extensive picnics. If you forget to bring your own wine, just stop over at the Twisted Pony for a full bar selection. Many come dressed in their best Newport attire including bright colored dresses, large hats, and slacks and button downs for men. There is a large pavilion set up for VIP guests seeking a private table, Hors d’oeuvres and bar access. You can also purchase a tailgating spot.
If you plan to attend an event, I recommend the following:
- Purchase a ticket in advance
- Dress well, but be comfortable and bring a hat and sunscreen. If you’re set on wearing heels, make sure they’re a wedge or chunky enough to easily walk through grass. Also, bring layers! The games start with the sun up, but towards the end the sun will begin to set and it may get cooler.
- Arrive early. I recommend about 1.5 hours ahead or earlier if you’d like a good spot at the front
- Bring your own chairs or picnic blanket. I prefer chairs versus a blanket, as most people have chairs or tables set up and may end up blocking your view. The area is a gentle sloping grass lawn. Your view can easily be obscured if you’re sitting on the ground.
- Bring your own food and beverages – While you can pop into the Twisted Pony for a cocktail, food trucks are not guaranteed. I typically like to bring a bottle or two of wine, cheese, crackers, and fruit.