A Horseperson’s Guide to Watching Polo: What to wear, bring & do

Checking out some polo? Blogger Carrot Top shares some tips for getting the most out of your day.

From Carrot Top:

Recently some friends and I had a great day at a polo tournament. It was my first time watching the “sport of kings” so I did some research on what to expect. I found lots of polo history, rules of the game, and (sometimes hilariously snarky) “what to wear” articles. I feel there is a lack, however, of guides for the “horsey person spectator” niche. So, with my vast experience of a single tournament, I have written one.


Being a polo spectator requires a much higher cleanliness and appearance factor than what we are used to at a horse show.

It’s an opportunity to dress up, relax and enjoy the finer things in life. So no dirty jeans, stained shirts, gumboots, or riding attire of any kind. You’re not here to groom, haul water buckets or be slobbered on.

Dress codes range from smart casual for relaxed country games to evening business for high stake tournaments. Check with the club before you plan your outfit. Think crisp white jeans, cute sundresses, blazers. If you would wear it the races or a night clubbing, it’s not appropriate for the polo–the former is too formal (pun not intended), the latter inappropriate for a family day.


You don’t want to scare the horses.

Big hats and sunglasses are a must, as are flat shoes for treading in the divots at half time. Other accessories include well groomed pedigreed dogs, expensive handbags and handsome Argentineans.

TOP TIP: Whatever you do, don’t forget your sunblock.


An inexpensive way to get in is with drive-in picnic tickets, BYO food. You get to lay your picnic rug on a nice patch of lawn and watch the action from the sidelines. This is great for big groups as you can spread out a bit. There can also be marquee options of various degrees of luxury–from seating under umbrellas to all-you-can-eat-open-bar-rub-shoulders-with-celebrities VIP areas.


TOP TIP: If you arrive early and the ticket checker is distracted you might sneak into accidentally end up in the VIP section. (Ask me how I know!)

I highly recommend you bring wet wipes. My friend and I spent an hour wandering around the fields and pony lines, chatting to grooms and meeting ponies. When we came back she had brown marks on her white dress from dong the unconscious “pat’n’wipe,” while I had dirt all over my face from kissing horses on the muzzle. Cue a quick tidy up in the port-a-loos!

Other than nourishment and wet wipes however there is not much you will need apart from good friends and a whole day to enjoy yourself.


Read your program if you have one, as there should be a rundown of the rules of the game. This grants you the authority to throw around the word ‘chukka’.

Wander around any trade stalls, vintage car displays etc.

Definitely go check out the pony lines!

Enter all the raffles to win expensive holidays, rides on sports cars and jewels.

Find other horse people in the crowd. They can be identified by the fact that they’re craning their heads to see the game over the top of the fashions on the field parade.

Take bets on which person standing too close to the field is going to be run over by a horse coming over the boards.


This guy is begging to be run over. You need to stay back from the boards, the horses often come over them at high speed!

Make a pact with your friend that you’re going to sign up for polo lessons.

Sit back, chill, watch some fantastic sport!

Go Polo, and Go Riding.


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