Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Polo's Origins

"'Don't give your son money,' Winston Churchill once advised parents. 'As far as you can afford it, give him horses. No one ever came to grief -- except honourable grief -- through riding horses. No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle. Young men have often been ruined through owning horses, or through backing horses, but never through riding them; unless of course they break their necks, which, taken at a gallop, is a very good death to die.'"

Churchill, learned the game in 1895 when he was a young cavalry officer. However, polo did not originate with the British, as is often thought. Four thousand years ago the tribes of central Asia domesticated wild horses, migrated to Persia and mastered the art of warfare on horseback. To practise their manoeuvres, they began playing polo. The first references to the game in Persian literature date to 600 BC.