When playing polo, horses are going to be pushed to their absolute limits. It is a mentally and physically demanding sport. Due to the amount of pressure that these horses are often put under, many people wonder whether horses enjoy polo.
So, do horses enjoy polo? The answer is ‘probably.’ While we can never know exactly what the horse is thinking, most of them do seem to show an enthusiasm for the sport when they are out there on that field.
Throughout this page, we want to take a broader look at the answer to this question. Hopefully, this should give you an idea as to why horses actually do enjoy playing a game of polo.
Do Horses Enjoy Polo?
It isn’t easy to know whether horses enjoy polo because we can’t exactly ask them. However, we can observe their behavior, and when we do this, there is a strong indication that they enjoy taking part in a polo game.
What you have to remember is that no horse is going to be forced into playing a game of polo. If a horse is showing any sort of reluctance when heading out onto the field, then they will simply not be ridden out there. A player doesn’t really want to be riding a horse that is reluctant to play, as it would be an instant loss for them.
Obviously, this does not necessarily mean that the horse is actually enjoying the game. However, they are not exactly saying that they do not want to take part. A lot of this does come down to their training, but if a horse really really doesn’t want to play, then it won’t. You see, it happens all the time in both polo and horse racing.
When the horse is out there on the playing field, it does look like they are enjoying the sport. It is both physically and mentally stimulating for them. Horses do need this sort of exercise in order to thrive and, to them, polo is pretty much just like playing to them, albeit a highly trained form of playing.
Finally, you have to remember that while polo horses are going to be pushed to their absolute limits when they are playing the game, they are only going to be out there on the field for a few minutes. Horses in polo are switched out regularly, and thus they do not really get to the point where they get seriously tired out and develop a hatred of the exercise.
So, in summary; while we cannot tell whether a horse enjoys being involved in a polo game, there is every indication that they do. If they didn’t enjoy playing the game, then they wouldn’t be put on the field. It is as simple as that.
Are Horses Bred For Polo?
Yes, This is part of the reason why the horses probably do enjoy playing polo. Polo horses have been bred for nothing more than playing polo. They start being trained to play the sport from an exceedingly young age.
The only horses that are going to be heading out onto that field are the ones that demonstrated an enthusiasm for the sport from the start of their training.
How Well Are Polo Horses Treated?
Polo horses are very well-treated. We, honestly, cannot think of a horse-focused sport where the horses are better treated.
In horse racing, a professional jockey could pretty much hop onto any racehorse and race it. Obviously, it still takes skill to control that horse but, at the end of the day, the horse is still going to be running from the start line to the finish line. It doesn’t really take a special bond to encourage them to do that; after all, it is exactly what they have been trained for.
Polo is completely different from that. The riders need to build up a close bond with the horses that they are riding. If the rider and the horse are not on the same wavelength, then neither will perform well in the game. This means that a good proportion of the training a rider does will be building up the bond that they have with their horse. This ensures that the horse will be able to react to their every command at a moment’s notice.
Polo players are horse lovers. In fact, they probably got into this game because of how much they loved horses. Each horse that they ride will be a horse that they have carefully selected. Many polo players will have grown up with the horses that they are riding, or at least spent the majority of their time with the horse once the training has begun.
When a horse heads out there on the polo field, it will be doing it with a rider that it knows and trusts. This means that there must be some sort of enjoyment there, right?
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It is worth noting that almost all horses will eventually have a game of polo that they do not enjoy playing. You must remember that horses are prey animals. This means that they can get spooked pretty easily when they are out there on the field. If they get spooked, then it may appear as if they are not enjoying the game.
If a horse is not enjoying the game, then it may show a reluctance to react to any of the commands that the rider gives it. It may not necessarily perform to the standard that it normally performs at too e.g. the horse may run slower, or the reactions may not be quite as fast.
For the most part, a horse that has an ‘off day’ will be back on track by the next game. However, it seems to be a long term issue, then the rider will stop using that horse. After all, it means that the horse clearly no longer enjoys playing polo.
While we can never know what a horse is actually thinking, there is a good chance that they do enjoy playing polo. If they didn’t then polo players, who are well-known for their love of horses, would never bring that horse on the field again.