7 Conditioning Exercises for Polo

A tongue-in-cheek list.

Polo butts drive me nuts. Photo courtesy of Candace Wade.

Insanity does not run in my family. Emotional instability; occasional loose grip on reality; over extended belief in our abilities; yes, but then this is no more abnormal than the average U.S. President. So, why at 63 am I willingly taking polo lessons? I am having an absolute, yeehawing, blast, that’s why.

I have a limited equestrian background, two hip replacements and yes, Virginia, I just turned 63 (not quite old enough for the Medicare safety net.) The introductory lesson I took last year was research for a magazine story. Honest journalism compelled me to take the 75-minute “Introduction to Polo” lesson. A panic attack gripped me in the parking lot. I was so freaked, my husband almost had to give me a foot-shove out of the car.

Once in the arena, the lesson was a gas. A hatchling of my competitive nature raised its head. I was more focused on hitting that “dern” ball than falling off. The season ended and that was that… I thought.

The author, going for the ball. Photo courtesy of Candace Wade.

Flash forward: So here I am summer 2017 with my seventh lesson under my helmet! I stink, but I love it. The near misses, “oh, s***” recoveries, the “awake the gorgon” aching muscles have alerted me that I must get serious about some precautionary exercise/activities if I plan to keep this up. They are shared below:

  • Run around holding a 6.9 ounce block on a long bamboo pole over your head — for an hour – only in your right hand.
  • Stand on the balls of your feet, leaning forward, left hand stretched forward, right hand swinging that stick and block — while on roller skates – speeding downhill.
  • Straddle the back of the sofa.  Dig your left knee into the sofa while you reach to a 90-degree angle off the side to pat your beagle as she walks by — while your spouse bounces the sofa. Repeat on other side of the sofa, but still using your right hand. Tip: Try peanut butter on your fingers to keep the dog from laughing and walking away.
  • Kneel on a XL size Physio Ball. (Note: this is an actual exercise.)
  • Stand on a yoga balance ball while reaching and swinging at an invisible ball on the ground. Practice flat side down, then ball side down.  (Note: also an actual exercise.)
  • Wide stance, knees soft, twist your torso 90 degrees from the hips and reach – way over — to snatch your cocktail off the table.
  • Strengthen core with 10 plank-style tongue push-ups – holding for a count of 20 on the up.

Practice these exercises for an hour, three times a week, then practice them on the back of a horse who is just as driven to “get that ball” as you will become. Yeehaw! Go riding.

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