At the beginning of my polo journey, I had a clear plan as to where I was going to go, what I wanted to do and how I was going to achieve it. Suffice to say, the best laid plans never come to fruition. For a long time, I have craved total immersion. Coming into polo as a late starter, relatively speaking, and an ambitious one at that, the desire to completely surround myself by all things polo has only grown stronger as I have returned to fitness.
It has been less than 12 weeks since I saddled up for chukkas at Carlton House Polo Club for the first time and over that period I have developed from a rather nervous, weekly player, to getting rather aggressive in the ride offs and stick and balling, alongside chukkas, at least twice a week. My love for the game has well and truly returned, and I am finally ready to return to my original goal. What I want isn’t to be a glamorous party girl, hanging on the arm of a rich man.. I turn up at the yard totally devoid of makeup and have only just invested in my first pair of whites, and the only men I am currently interested in hanging on to are the gelding variety.
As a model, sometimes I feel that I am judged before I even set foot into a polo yard. What a refreshing contrast that those at the yard I am currently based with didn’t discover my modelling credentials until I had turned up for weeks on end, looking like I had been through a hedge backwards and getting stuck in.
It is sometimes tempting to revert to the glamorous stereotype though as it is quite demoralising sometimes, the glossy models on the sidelines, effortlessly glamorous and seemingly perfect, when you’re at rock bottom, bruised and battered. Looking down at yourself and wondering what the fuck you are doing. Whether you have made the right decision in making all those sacrifices, choosing a freelance career over job security in order to get those hours in the saddle, choosing not to return to University even though your family has prided themselves on academia, due to your burgeoning career, in modelling and in writing, and in wanting time to focus oneself.
I am finally about to embark on my dream of total immersion, officially joining the polo club, playing club chukkas and spending as much time in the saddle as physically possible in a mix of lessons, chukkas and stick and ball sessions, and hopefully the matches and tournaments will turn up in due course, and not forgetting….pony shopping!
Last summer I remember looking down at myself as a friend described a mutual acquaintance as ‘very glamorous’. Sporting a bruised face and not feeling particularly happy as it was, I felt so hopeless and I think I may have cried. For so many years my career was based on my appearance, I had finally found something that spoke to me almost as modelling did, yet I felt not good enough, again.
But, I came to a realisation, as I converted the penalty of my season so far during chukkas last Tuesday.
Fuck being ‘glamorous.’
I want to be a bloody good polo player.
Bring it on.