Every Saturday night in July and August, Morven Park in Leesburg, VA sponsors Polo in the Park. Experience the thrill of this legendary game within the graceful confines of this 1,000 acre historic estate and equestrian center. Bring your food, beverages, chairs and blankets and enjoy a picnic under the stars with your friends and family.
History of Polo
Polo was devised by the mounted nomadic people of Central Asia as part sport and part training. The game made it to Persia sometime between 600 BC and 100 AD. In Persia it became the formalized national sport, played mostly by the military and nobility. It soon spread, and by the Middle Ages, the game was used to train cavalry from Constantinople to Japan.
The game changed and was completely formalized as modern polo when it crossed paths with the British. Although the game was described in Sir Athony Shetley’s 1613 book Travels to Persia, the first polo club was not established until 1859. It was that year that Lieutenant Joe Sherer, along with some other military officers and some tea planters, established the Silchar Polo Club in Manipur, India.
In 1869 the first polo game was played on Hounslow Heath in London by British officers who had read about the game in a magazine. It was about this time that Captain John Watson of the 13th Hussars created the first set of rules for the game. American publisher James Gordon Bennett saw his first game on a road trip to England. In early 1876 he returned to New York with mallets, balls, and a copy of the Hurlingham rules (a 1874 version of Watson’s rule book)
Over the next 50 years, polo gained popularity, reaching a Golden Age of Polo in the 1930s with crowds exceeding 30,000 for international polo matches at Meadow Brook Polo Club on Long Island. Polo briefly bacame an Olympic sport between 1900 and 1936.