Lydia Linna: The Roudé Leiw Polo Club was founded in 2017. Can you tell us a bit about the club’s history? How and why was it founded? How many members does the club have, and what are some of its main activities or events?
The Roude Léiw Polo Club has 16 polo playing members. With that amount of players, we are the largest polo club between Paris and Düsseldorf. In addition, we have nearly 10 beginners that train regularly with us and should become players, at the latest, in the 2024 season.
Our highlights are three tournaments that we organise every season. One of them is taking place this weekend, 1-2 July. We are playing with six international teams, including 24 players from Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and, of course, Luxembourg. There will be more than 60 polo horses present at our club this weekend.
Besides those tournaments, every Saturday afternoon and Sunday lunchtime we play polo matches for fun and train together with our club members. Our sport is in nature, around animals. And we maintain an intensive social life with frequent barbecues and parties.
The polo sport was introduced to Luxembourg in 2004, with the foundation of the Polo Club Luxembourg by André Mailliet and his friends. Many of our members learned to play and love polo in this club. In 2017, the Roude Léiw Polo Club was founded as kind of a spin-off. Today, the second club differentiates itself with its active club life, with many trainings and matches during the week, as well as its social activities.
When one thinks of Luxembourg, polo isn’t the first thing that usually comes to mind. Do you find that the sport has picked up in Luxembourg in the last couple of years? What makes it an attractive activity?
Polo is a very niche sport. With nearly 20 years of history in Luxembourg, by now, quite some people know about the fact that polo also exists here in Luxembourg. 2023 is a very successful year for us, with nearly 50% growth in memberships. Considering that only 300 polo players are registered in all of Germany, while France has approximately 700 polo players, Luxembourg is relatively strong with its 16 players!
A polo team consists of four players. Teams can be mixed with men and women, young and old, beginners and professionals. I play with my wife, my son and my daughter in one team--that makes it attractive for a family. A team sport that combines horseback riding and exercising is exciting. But the lifestyle around polo, being outside in nature, together with horses and good friends also contribute to our addiction to the sport.
Polo is a sport that requires, of course, horses. How are these horses selected and trained? What happens during the wintertime, when the weather is much colder?
The world’s leading polo nation, Argentina, created a new breed, a crossover between the Criollo horses and hot-blooded horses, to become the polo horse. The polo horse gets a special training from the age of two to get used to the mallet and ball, and at the age of three, they get ridden. Depending on the horse, they will then play at four or five years of age. Those horses are dedicated to the sport of polo.
In wintertime, some owners put their horses on a complete five-month rest; others will continue to play in an indoor arena or on a sand field to keep horses and players in shape. Our club plays polo all year round: during summer on the grass field and during winter in an arena.
The club is organising a polo tournament--complete with a dinner party and music--this weekend. How do matches usually work? What should someone who has never attended a polo match expect to see?
This weekend we have six teams playing our tournament over two days. Matches on Saturday are between 2pm and 6pm and on Sunday between 11am and 3pm. Everybody is invited to watch; entrance to the polo field is free. We have a professional polo commentator who explains the rules, team players and all about polo to entertain spectators and help them learn about this sport.
On Saturday evening we have a dinner party with all players, club members and guests on the field, and on Sunday we’ll close the tournament with a prize-giving ceremony and a fun champagne shower. It’s definitely worth a visit!
Find the tournament programme and more information about the club here.