My brother and I needed a break from Lagos so we spent a couple of days basking in the sanity of Ibadan, Oyo State. One of those evenings was spent at the Ibadan Polo Club where we caught up with some old friends who were members, for an insight into the club and a cheeky pint.
We sat in the outdoors lounge area and enjoyed a view of the polo field and enjoyed the cool late afternoon breeze laced with the smell of cut grass. The walls were lined with trophies and pictures of different generations of polo teams. It almost felt like each stone tile had some wisdom to share and story to tell.
We were starving and before we explored the club, we settled down for a bottle of Heineken ₦300($0.79) and a portion of Peppered Chicken and Fries ₦1,200($3.16).
I love Ibadan, everything is cheaper!
While we ate, we learnt quite a bit about the game and the more I listened, the more astonished I was. You kind of get stuck in the bubble of the sport you play and others rarely even cross your mind. There I was thinking that horses simply move people around but I learnt that they actively compete with each other and players do better with more intelligent horses.
Controlling a muscle bound, speed machine that weighs thousands of pounds and has to be smart is above my threshold for a sport lol. Add the sticks, a ball the size of your fist and multiply by 8 - you can see the level of skill and fitness involved.
We were running out of sunlight and we hadn't been to the stables yet, so we had to move on. Couldn't miss out on some amazing sunset photos however...
The stables, not far from the club presented a fun area that I don't expect many people get to see. Splendidly groomed horses of all colours galloped around their paddocks, and the sound of children playing football in the background was a cheerful welcome.
The grooms have built a welcoming community in which they raise their children and care for their animals. Horses are associated with royalty and traditional festivals in northern Nigeria and it would be quite interesting to learn more about that.Check out this video of a street race in Kano!
Animals should always be given adequate care, especially the ones that kings ride and I quite enjoyed it here. The Ibadan polo club has a TGIF event on the last Friday of the month as part of an initiative to spread the love of the game and an appreciation for horses. It promises a night of music, laughs and great company.
For more information on the club or how to be a member, visit their website here.
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