“In hockey, baseball and football, you make certain moves and have control over your actions,” he continues. “In polo, you have to work in tandem with another living creature. You and the horse have to be in perfect sync. It is a sport like no other. Beginner polo players, even those who have played sports all their lives, are astounded by the required degree of coordination and flexibility. You need impeccable timing to ride a horse at great speed – go left, go right, turn on a dime and then lean down to hit the ball.” It also requires considerable patience. Pennycook says that it takes years in the saddle to become a decent player.
“Not all horses are made for polo. There is a lot of contact, and the physical aspect of the play intimidates many animals. We are now breeding horses for polo, crossing Argentine mares with a North American thoroughbred stallion.”
In all, 73 of Pennycook’s 105 horses are trained as polo ponies. Games are played Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday on three pitches. Pennycook also organizes an annual charity tournament to benefit the Montreal Heart Institute and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, which raises about $100,000. His passion thus gives him the perfect opportunity to contribute tohis community, while showcasing the relatively unknown sport he loves. “All that, and my wife Carol loves polo, too. How lucky can you get?”
photos: redbox media