STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Taped ankles and braided tails.
On a windy afternoon miles away from the Oklahoma State University main campus, another group of Cowboys prepares for a sporting event that actually does involve horses.
Sydney Burke is a senior Animal Sciences major but she is also a college athlete, on the varsity Cowgirl polo team.
“How many teams are out there?” we ask.
“I know of at least 42 programs from across the U.S.,” Burke replies.
On a patch of donated land a long trail ride from scheduled classes, it’s match time.
The University of North Texas has come to play a few ‘chukkas’ (or quarters) in a cross border battle.
Burke explains, “They are a newly formed JV team. UNT has a really good men’s team.”
Burke says the college polo teams in the Big-12 draw athletes from rodeo and sport jumping.
She continues, “We have dressage riders here, jumpers, and barrel racers.”
The ‘ponies’ have to be calm under fire.
Riders have to be able to swing a polo mallet from odd angles.
“It’s not easy for someone to hang off the side of a horse while hitting a ball, and moving at up to 20 miles per hour,” cautions Sydney.
Three teams meet on the arena polo grounds in Stillwater, 2 women JV squads and the Oklahoma elements.
The ball, which is a little bigger than a softball and smaller than a soccer ball, gets kicked at smashed up and down the dirt pitch.
A goal occurs when the ball hits a dark colored board positioned at either end.
“Polo horses are pretty bomb-proof, strong, fast,” Burke cautions. “The biggest thing is to NOT get caught under your horse.”
The home squad carries both matches on this blustery day.
Playing polo has been described as something like playing golf in an earthquake.
Around here, on certain spring days, you can add in hurricane to that mix.
The OSU Varsity women went to California in April, 2023 to compete in a national tournament.
To learn more about OSU Polo go to their Facebook page here.
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