“One of my first memories was watching my father play in Hong Kong. I would run onto the ground at the end of his matches to ride his pony. I was addicted to Polo from the age of 3”
Text Therese Alhaug. Photo Lena Saugen
International Polo player Jamie Le Hardy has played in over 30 countries, had the honour of Captaining England on multiple occasions, and has been winning international tournaments, including the British Open, Australian Open, and Melbourne Cup, among others. Born in Dorset, England, into an Army family whose parents travelled extensively throughout Jamie’s early years, his first recollection of Polo was watching his father play in Hong Kong. At the age of 19, he turned professional.
“I have a privileged lifestyle, doing what I love, working with horses and travelling the world. Polo is like a big family. You always know someone where ever you go.”
Having played for more than 30 years, what is the highlight of your career?
“Winning the Gold Cup in England. I scored the winning goal and played one of my best matches with great teammates. It was one of my dreams when I was young.”
Jamie is currently based at Santa Maria Polo Club in Sotogrande, Spain, which offers world-class facilities in Polo, Beaches, Tennis, Sailing, Golf & Wellness in a climate and environment which is truly unmatched.
This family-friendly elite international community boasts over 300 days of sunshine and a unique ambience which is both connected and authentic.
“The mornings are so beautiful in the countries I play in; as it’s normally summer. I enjoy the early starts as I then have time in the middle of the day for my family when the horses are resting. When it gets cooler, it’s back to the horses late afternoon for coaching, practices or matches. I have a privileged lifestyle, doing what I love, working with horses and travelling the world. Polo is like a big family. You always know someone where ever you go.”
How much travelling is required?
“A lot, which I love. I normally spend half the year travelling and half the year at home.”
When asked what he likes the most about Polo, he says “speed”. Still, training a polo horse takes a lot of time and patience, he explains.
Do you believe the horses understand the game?
“The horses that play, I believe love the game. Their movement on the ground is similar to how they would gallop around a paddock without a rider on their back.”
What does it take to be a skilled polo player (rider)?
“A lot of dedication. I used to ride between 10 and 20 horses a day. “
Polo is known as a rich man’s sport. True or false?
“True, but it’s not as expensive as some other equestrian disciplines.”
If you didn’t play Polo, which equestrian discipline would you choose and why?
“Polo is the only one for me.”
When do you plan to retire?
“I plan to be involved in Polo for a while yet. My sons are young, so I would like to teach them to be good players also. It’s one of the advantages of being a horseman. You can keep riding into old age.”
To take part in the Le Hardy Polo Experience in Sotogrande, Spain, visit Le Hardy Polo