Ladies Army Polo Team in Argentina 26 January 2009
The Ladies Army Polo Team has returned home from a successful trip to Argentina where they got to play in the polo capital of the world and pit themselves against some fierce competitors.
During the visit, the team, headed up by their captain, Major Gillian Shaw, immersed themselves in training on a renowned polo farm and got to grips with playing against the locals who proved to be a force to be reckoned with.
The week-long polo programme saw the team spending their mornings at the Don Augusto Polo Farm, 'stick and balling' two horses each under the watchful gaze of local coaches, as well as receiving valuable one-on-one tuition. The team saw the standard of their hitting and riding at the end of the week significantly improved from when they arrived.
Afternoons were spent playing 'chukkas' among and against the local club members who, as Maj Shaw explained, were a little different to what they were used to:
"The local players were mostly much better players than we are used to playing," she said.
"This was excellent for us and raised our game greatly. We were lucky to receive so much attention and help from the local players and we took advantage every day of our opportunities."
Barbara Zingg, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) Polo Club Manager, and Caroline Anier, the French International player, were also staying at the farm and were able to divulge many of their winning secrets and pass on much appreciated words of polo wisdom to the Army team.
The Don Augusto Polo Farm is run by Gonzalo Hardy and Paul Polo and is situated in Pilar, north of Buenos Aires. It spans 27-hectares and houses more than 100 horses. There is a practice field for stick and ball as well as two official playing fields.
Team captain Major Gillian Shaw
During their last day on the farm, the team took part in a novel competition.
Maj Shaw added: "Our final day saw a round robin tournament organised for us against other local teams. It gave us the opportunity to play at a level we wouldn't have thought possible at the beginning of the week. This was a great way to end a wonderful week and I don't think any of us wanted it to end."
The Ladies Army Polo Team was formed in the summer of 2008 and is currently preparing for the 2009 season. Team members are Maj Gillian Shaw, Maj Rachael De Renzy Channer, Captain Aishling Lyford, Capt Lucy Anderson (Royal Logistic Corps), Lieutenant Cornel Oosthuizen and Private Emma Steed.