Having eaten and drunk my way around the city for my first month here in Buenos Aires, last week I decided to extend my comfort zone a little further and head out of my city surroundings, for an Argentine polo day! Ok, so I haven’t sat on a horse since I was 5 and escorted around the local farm on a small pony, but I was assured that this Polo Day was for total beginners (to both riding and polo). I was also encouraged by the fact that the all day experience would be in the beautiful surroundings of the Argentine countryside (and there was an infinity swimming pool and delicious lunch as part of the deal if the riding got too much!)
Heading less than an hour out of the city shouldn’t seem that daunting to someone who has flown half way across the world by herself, but the thought of leaving my Subte card behind to venture into the wilds of the pampas had me break out in a mild sweat (or was that just the insane humidity levels in the city?!). So I was thrilled to hear my polo day at the estancia included private transport there and back! On Tuesday morning, I met Gaston, my polo instructor for the day, and a few other countryside candidates close to the Obelisk to begin the transformation from city chica to polo professional.
We headed off in the direction of Canuelas, less than an hour from Capital Federal. With folkloric music in the background and a polo player at my side, my Argentine countryside experience began before I even got out of the car! On arrival to the estancia, I was stunned by the beauty of the place. The flat land and silence was such a contrast to my Palermo apartment. Gaston introduced us to the customs of mate drinking (that strange tasting drink I have not quite become accustomed to) and alfajores (the dulce de leche laced snack, that I absolutely love!). Having been kitted up properly (my Primark leggings were apparently not quite up to scratch!) with some bandage style shin protectors, it was time to mount the horse.
The team of stable boys did very well stifling their giggles as I bounced up and down in an attempt to get on board Lulu. My new friends had obviously been a little kind to me on the car journey up when they said they hadn’t ridden in years, as they seemed to take to the saddle with far more ease. Gaston gave us (me!) a few riding tips (his comment about thinking of the reigns like a “joystick” at least stopped me treating them like a steering wheel) and then we were off!
The morning lesson was spent “stick and balling” which to an amateur is Polo Day Trip, and with enough polo speak to get chatting to any players hanging out in the city! What more could a city girl ask for?!