Here at WLC we like to experience as many of our advertisers products and services as possible, we want to know as much as we can about what we are promoting, so, when I organized a polo lesson with James Fielding at J F Polo Academy last week, I didn’t give much thought to the fact that a) I have never ridden a horse before and b) I have always been quite scared of horses.
As my lesson approached on Tuesday afternoon, I remembered both these things and felt a little nervous to say the least! However, I had made a commitment and was also curious to find out how I’d get on, and of course the world of polo does seem rather sexy and glamorous – right?
James Fielding qualified as a polo player when he was just 17 so has now been riding professionally for over 10 years. He set up JF Polo Academy in 2006 with the aim to ‘provide a quality service to individuals looking to learning polo at an affordable price’.
I arrived at the immaculate stables in Great Barrow (only 6 miles outside of Chester city centre) and James set about getting our 2 ponies ready – Izzy (also very pretty!) and Garantia – both of them incredibly well behaved and very gorgeous. Hats on and it was time to go, and after a not-so-elegant mount, I was in the saddle and feeling remarkably relaxed.
We rode into the field whilst I listened intently to James’ directions for a good half an hour; I felt happy and confident, James is patient and extremely clear – and rather importantly doesn’t make you feel like a complete idiot! It was also a beautiful crisp, sunny afternoon so my experience was already turning out to be so much better than I had nervously anticipated, I was rather enjoying myself!
We rode our ponies back into the stables for 10 minutes or so when it was time to get onto Woody (the wooden horse) for swinging practice. After a less elegant mount than before, I finally got up and James gave me some pointers. Yes, of course I missed a few times (more than a few), but I understood what I needed to do when back on the real thing, so we went and fetched our ponies and it was back in the field, this time with stick and ball.
The next 40 minutes was FABULOUS! Despite my complete novice status I had the best time ever, and with some degree of confidence I happily trotted round the field on Garantia (I think she liked me!), trying to hit the balls (which was a bit ‘hit & miss’ to be fair), thoroughly enjoying myself.
James will instruct anyone, adults, teens and children. He clearly loves what he does and enjoys sharing this amazing sport with as many people as possible. One to one adult lessons are just £100 (Student / child £45) with everything provided, and for the experience I had, this is incredible value for money! There really is no snobbery here…
You don’t need to join an exclusive club or shell out for loads of expensive gear, this is pay-as-you-go polo for EVERYONE.
I’m booked in again next week and think this may well become my new hobby (obsession!). I’ll keep you informed of my progress…
JF Polo Academy offer gift vouchers which, I believe, must be the very best Christmas present EVER!