In response to the call of one of our members for more stimulating discussion, perhaps we can start a dialog about the evolution of the polo horse--- past, present, and future.
If polo began in ancient Persia, what do we know about the horses of ancient Persia and how they evolved. Who first brought horses to Persia? Where did they come from? What were they like? Were they big or small, fast or slow, agile or clumsy? What color were they? Did they have multiple gaits? Etc. Much later, we know that Alexander and the Greeks brought horses with them from Macedonia. What sort of horses were they? Were the Persians impressed with them? Were they big or small, fast or slow, agile or clumsy? Were they good for polo, or not? Did they become part of the ancient Persian polo breed? And what about, Bucephalus, the horse of Alexander himself? We know he was a great war horse. Did he play polo? Did he breed with the Persian polo horses? Have the genes of Bucephalus been passed down to the modern polo horse of today?
And what about the highly evolved polo horses we are seeing today? How are they different from the polo horses of, say, ten years ago-- twenty years ago-- forty years ago-- sixty years ago? I have read that players at Palermo now change horses two or three times a chukker! They don't need a horse that can play for six minutes. They need a horse that can play very, very fast for two minutes. How is this affecting the polo breed? Are we moving to an era where the best polo horses lose speed after two minutes?
Who are the best breeders of today? What do they think? We know the Heguy family is legendary. Who else is really, really good? I have heard that Bautista Heguy will not sell his mares because he never wants to face one on the polo field. Does anyone else feel this way?
It is probably true that I always have many more questions than answers, so naturally I look forward to the responses of the many knowledgeable and thoughtful posters we have here. But I will say this, I think the evolved polo horse of today is the most exciting animal on the planet. For sheer speed, agility, intelligence, and beauty, nothing surpasses the polo horse.
So, may we always honor the work of the great players and breeders--- past, present, and future--- who bring us these fascinating creatures!
All the best,