Baldwin (WQOW) -- Polo is the world's oldest team sport, but it is finding new growth in an area town.
Ignacio Pizarro has played professionally around the world. Ten years ago, he started the Ameritina Polo Farm with his wife Laura, as a way to introduce the sport to the area.
"The favorite part of polo to me is friends, the good times playing polo together, having fun and sometimes of course winning," says Pizarro.
In the last decade, polo's popularity has grown in the United State, especially in the Midwest.
We have quite a few polo clubs and we are all very close," adds Pizarro. "We work together to promote the sport as much as we can." .
Polo has four to six chuckers, or periods, each lasting seven minutes. There are no set plays, meaning action can look chaotic at times. But players says it's an organized chaos.
"A lot of people see everyone running around but there is so much more to the game than just hitting the ball and riding the horses. It's more strategic than a lot of people give it credit for. Maybe it's like golf in a earthquake," says Marty Miller, who has began playing the sport a year ago.
In competitive games, the action can be physical – and that includes the four-legged players.
"If you played this game on four four wheelers, it'd take all the allure of the game out. Because when I want to turn right or left, that would happen immediately," adds Miller. "With the horse, it might be an extra second or two, they might jump, they might not like the horse next to them. So that's what makes it so unique. You really have to work the rider and the horse with your teammates to make the game work well."
And of course, skill and coordination never hurt either.
"It's harder to hit that little white ball when the horses are running than you might think. When you're riding the horse, it just doesn't seem as easy. It's pretty humbling," says Miller.
Pizarro says some might be intimidated to start the sport, but it can be adapted for any age or skill set.
"My son is five and he does play, starting the game. I see people in the 80s riding horses and playing polo. It's one of the things that we can enjoy. I enjoy playing with my wife and pretty soon it will be my kids," adds Pizarro.
This Sunday, the Ameritina Polo Farm will host a special charity match to benefit the family of Gonzalo Bunge. Bunge was left paralyzed after suffering a fall while umpiring a match in 2012. He passed away in May. Gates open at 11:00 a.m. with the match beginning at 1:30 p.m. For more information, click on the link under "More Information".
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