Polo In The Park



‘Image Of The Week #15’

This week’s fave frame is from Polo In The Park.

This was my second time shooting this event, although last year, the weather wasn’t half as bloody miserable. It was so rough, that I actually phoned into my picture desk to doubly confirm the shoot was to go ahead.

With the job confirmed I headed across town to historic Hurlingham Park, the birthplace of the modern game for our session. Ours was the last slot of a busy shift for the team. I remember when I originally booked the job thinking to myself what an advantage this would be working with the late-afternoon dusk light. As I drive through London from East-to-West, the rain looked like it was in for the night & I wasn’t convinced, even after my phone call that the job would actually happen.

I meet my journalist & longtime collaborator Jo at the welcome tent where the session begins with a civillised cup of rosie. Our host for the day, former professional player Eddie assures us that every session so far has managed a break in the weather getting participants out onto the field of play. As I stick my head out from under the canopy, i’m not so sure!

The team get kitted out & finish their refreshments, then right on cue, the rain stops & Mr. Sunshine pops out to say hello.

After a quick session on the deck, the team are introduced to their equine partners & we get under way.

The team are taught how to ride properly & more importantly how to hold the club (stick?) & strike the ball (ball!) before getting a game started.

We manage just under a half-hour of play before the inevitable black clouds circle. Everyone is ushered to the sidelines where they all quickly decamp & run for shelter. Just in time, too as the sky lights up with thunder & lightning. It’s a real shame as my girl Jo is just coming into her own looking like she’d been riding for years.

If I thought the earlier weather was bad, this was considerably worse & most definitely here to stay, so that was it! All she wrote. Jo & I begin to pack up a little disappointed. As we watch the animals being lead back to their boxes, though, we’re both just a little bit relieved. With the rain still falling & thunder still cracking, they struggle & squeal. On top of that, our man Eddie also informs us that the animals absolutely hate umbrellas..

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