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Chris Ashton: The pinnacle of my all too brief Polo career


Screen_Shot_2014-03-21_at_12.12.58_PM.pngI was in my late teens when I set my heart on rounding out my education at Oxford University before, as I then imagined, I returned to the family sheep farm. Why would a teenage Australian farm boy want to go to Oxford? Let us just say that, compliments of my schooling and university I was in thrall to one of Europe’s ancient seats of learning, the mother university of the English-speaking world; to its promise of chiming church bells, cloistered quadrangles, Gothic spires and cobblestone streets, of punting on the Cherwell and feisty dons.

Tang Dynasty Polo

Screen_Shot_2014-01-27_at_11.49.50_AM.png   TANG DYNASTY POLO

Medieval art from the golden age of Imperial China

Be it poetry, artworks or surviving polo grounds, everything points to imperial Persia, circa 500 B.C., as the genesis of polo, a court pleasure of the nobility and, as with other Asian empires in ancient times, crucial to honing the horsemanship of cavalry for mounted warfare. But who could tell you that under the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), a thousand years later, China became the world’s leading polo nation?

Argentine Polo: the Irish contribution

Question: what is the best way to promote your country to the world? The answer, surely, is to show other countries an activity, whether music, theatre, sport or whatever, in which your own country excels.

Manipur, Cradle of the Modern Game, by Chris Ashton

Picture 5
At the first glance, the notion of Manipur hosting an international low-goal polo tournament with teams mounted on diminutive Manipuri ponies is implausible. Manipur ? For centuries a sovereign kingdown, Manipur, in the northeastern corner of India, is one of the sub-continent’s smallest states, today with 2.3 million people.