I was at the Pahang Royal Polo Club Saturday 2 August 2008. For about five hours I was glued to my chair on the first floor of the Polo house, trying to comprehend Polo.
Well, it was not my first experience with Polo. I have been there a couple of times since my tour of duty in Pahang.
Polo has a long history in Pahang. I have read somewhere that Polo began in Pahang when Allahyarham DYMM Sultan Pahang (Ayahanda DYMM Sultan Pahang sekarang and he was the Regent then) asked for the hands of the daughter of Allaryarham Sultan Perak in marriage. If I was not mistaken she was the sister of the present Sultan of Perak.
To make the story more interesting, the then Sultan of Perak gave one condition for the marriage - he should learn to play Polo. And so began Polo in the royalty of Pahang.
Coming back to Royal Pahang Polo Classic 2008, I was mesmeriszed at how well human and ponies working together trying their best to score goals or to defend their goals.
Polo ponies are totally different from race horses. They were more 'house-broken' - not easily riled or scared as their cousins are. Imagine all the sticks and hard polo balls hitting their legs, bodies, bottoms and heads...also how they canter and then immediately galloped hard to reach the goal.
Basically Polo is played by 4 players in a game consisting of 5-6 chukars. Each chukar (playing period) is made up of 7.5 minutes. The field is 300 yards long and 200 yards wide. Once a goal is scored, the team position immediately changes...unlike Football or rugby where team position remains till the second half.
Finally, like the previous years, Royak Pahang emerged the champions beating Ranhill team.