The sport of polo is something of an institution on the island being brought by the British Cavalry to Barbados in the late 1800s. Although the Barbados Polo Club dates back to 1884, it folded in 1929 during the Depression and was not resurrected until 1939. Henry Arthur Deane and Lyle Jones spearheaded the new club which eventually moved from the Garrison Savannah to Holders Hill in 1965.
That move owed much to the generosity and benevolence of Janet Kidd, whose son Johnny and grandson Jack later became excellent players and whose supermodel grand-daughter Jodie, has also now followed in her father's and brother's footsteps, as an accomplished player. Family traditions are rich in Barbados and the many photographs in the Holders club house are a testament to this providing a colorful picture of a vibrant club rich in history, folklore and character. The last few years though have seen something of a revolution in the sport in the way that the game is played and run on the Island.
The Introduction of the 14 goal Barbados Open in 2003 was the catalyst for this change, as well the facilities on the island which rapidly increased in this time with the addition of three new world class facilities; one at Clifton in St. Thomas, developed by insurance tycoon and one- goaler Bruce Bayley, and the winner of the last 2 consecutive Barbados Open titles, with his co-patron Philip Tempro. Waterhall developed by construction magnate Sir Charles Williams, the owner of the new Apes Hill Golf & polo club and the patron of the high goal Apes Hill Barbados team, that has played for the last 2 summers during the English High goal season, and Lion Castle, an urbane development with commanding views of the South Coast, developed by Kent Cole, the title holder of the 2004 Barbados Open.
The development of these fields has not only relieved some of the pressure on the ground at Holders which has been used to its fullest capacity over the last 40 years, but also provides outstanding facilities for visiting players from the professional to the novice to rent horses, take lessons, stick and ball, play chukkers and participate in tournaments. In recent years many foreign patrons and players have made the pilgrimage to Barbados during the winter months, and with a range of 12 - 16 goal tournaments on offer during the season which runs from December to May, the Island is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative winter polo destination. And even if you are not a polo aficionado, there is something here for you, whatever your pleasure or your passion you are sure to find it in Barbados. This is a place where memories are made in paradise.
We hope to see you on our shores some time soon.. making a few memories of your own. The polo season in Barbados runs from January until May, during which a number of visiting teams make the pilgrimage to the island - some, like Cheshire and the Villages, have been coming for over 20 years, and have formed strong bonds of friendship over the years. Polo is played up to the 14 goal level, with the high points of the season being the Breitling Cheshire tour in February and the Colombian Emeralds Barbados Open in April. Article & Information provided by Karen Kranenburg of Polo & More magazine.
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