In April, 12 lucky members of OUPC travelled to Ibiza for a week of polo training at the Ibiza Polo Club with Gabriel Iglesias. The trip was made possible by the generosity of Hilali Noordeen, and we are all so grateful for the opportunity to develop our polo and to stay in such a beautiful villa.
The trip included a range of playing abilities, from members who had never played on grass before to players such as our very own incredible OUPC Captain Tamara Gibbons (Gabriel put her through her paces with a series of progressively younger and spicier horses). The opportunity for beginners to play with more seasoned members was indispensable, and we’re hoping that newfound confidence and skill will be reflected in some super SUPA results!
Gabriel was a wonderful coach, never holding back an opinion (“if I had a euro for every goal you missed, I would be a millionaire” GI 2019), constantly pushing us to improve on our own abilities, and happy to share a cold beer at the end of the day. It is credit to his patience and coaching that every player ended the week feeling as if they had achieved personal goals. We can’t wait to share another cerveza with him and show further improvements next year.
The final day of polo was the Saturday, in which we played a series of chukkas with 3 Oxford teams and one team made up of players from Ibiza Polo Club. Every Oxford team showed noticeable improvements, with all the beginners feeling more comfortable with tactics, and the captains of each team using the skills of each player to the advantage of the team. Sadly, the Oxford White Team (led by wonder-captain Tamara), lost to the Ibiza Polo Club in a tight final. There were mutters however that this might have been the best result for everyone, as all captains had to therefore complete their forfeits. The details of which will undoubtedly be discussed at the next social event.
Of course a polo training trip in Ibiza wouldn’t be complete without some time on the beaches, soaking up the sunshine, and maybe a little bit of sangria drinking. Some of the players took a free morning to go mountain trekking on ponies in Ibiza Horse Valley - an experience that included bareback riding and resulted in some sore muscles and complaints at the end of the day. Luckily for some of us, we got a post-polo physio stretch from Nico.
We all took the time to get some much needed sunshine before returning to the UK, and everyone was rather subdued when we realised that the weather hadn’t followed us from Ibiza.
We are all now excited start the grass season here in Oxford, with an exciting term of polo taking shape for Trinity. Hopefully the skills and confidence gained in Ibiza will carry through to the fixtures planned. Undoubtedly, we will all start the grass season yelling “QUE PASAAAAA”!!!