Timeless Elegance at the Polo

With the Polo season upon us, we bring you everything you need to know about the BMW International Polo Series as well as a few tips of the trade you can master when watching the world-class sport, check it out…

It’s never a dull day come race day as it’s always full of excitement and the anticipation of the race. Here you can learn anything from how to successfully ride one-handed to how much is too much when it comes to tequila and your fair share in a few Fashion Do’s and Don’ts.

The BMW International Polo Series is all about style and sophistication. So for a socialite, the attraction of the race day is easy to understand from the dress code to the guest list to the elegance of the sport. But come race day, the Polo offers something for everyone whether you find yourself drawn to the speed and challenge of the game itself to mingling with guests to the fine food and wine on offer.

Argentina may have been polo’s spiritual home since British and Irish engineers introduced the sport back in the 19th century but this month sees South Africa host the BMW International Polo Series. Today the game is played in more than 80 countries and enjoyed by more than 50 million people each year.

The BMW International Polo Series consists of a two-match official Test Match series played by South Africa’s national polo team against a touring team from abroad. This year sees South Africa take on New Zealand. The tournament kicked off this weekend with the first test taking place in Durban at the Shongweni Club. The second test will be held at the spacious Waterfall Polo Estate, Johannesburg on 20 September 2015.

2015 marks the 26th year of partnership between BMW South Africa and the SA Polo Association and with a heritage as refined and distinctive as the BMW brand, the pairing is a perfect fit.

The Socialite’s Chia Kougianos offers her advice for surviving a day at the Polo and ensures it’s all to do with Chukkas.

“If you really want to look like you know what you’re talking about simply mention “Chukka”. Hopefully whoever you’re speaking to will think you’re really clever. Oh and whatever you hear, never ever refer to the chicane. Contrary to the united musings of Barry Tuck and Amith Gosai who subsequently teamed up with Dan Nicholl to teach me the delicate rules of the sport. They embarked their knowledge on everything from a chicane to gaining a half point and how to successfully ride a horse in the rain. Then again that’s a story for another day” she says.

Bryan Miller once said “The Polo Lounge is like a fine old mink coat: opulent, dignified and warm” which wasn’t exactly the case at the grounds of Shongweni this past weekend. Durban played host to an unusual winter chill and the heaven’s generously opened up with the hopes of warmer weather and good signal passing us by. Fortunately the company of great friends, fine dining and the adrenaline of the sport added with the familiar warmth of José Cuervo kept the temperatures up. At the end of the day we all walked away sharing one thing in common –  a solemn promise to return and do it all over again next year…

Cheat Sheet for Surviving the Polo:

  1. Chukka – Say this enough times and you will win everyone over. It just refers to the session of play and each is seven and a half minutes long
  2. Horses – one is just never enough – players must change their horse at the end of each chukka
  3. Goal – this is scored when the ball goes between the goal posts – yes it’s that simple
  4. Always use the Right Lingo – there is no such thing as a chicane
  5. The Sticks – they are in actual fact called ‘sticks’ but if you want to sound pro you could say ‘mallets’


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