The Popularity of Polo

The Popularity of Polo

Aiken, South Carolina, continues to be a sought-after spot for polo

Words by Sarah Deloach

When people think of the sport of Polo, the first thing that comes to mind is not often playing in America, let alone South Carolina. Little do they know there is actually a polo metropolis in a small southern town hidden in the depths of South Carolina.

Aiken, South Carolina was built on equestrian traditions and outdoor pursuits. The sport of Polo came to Aiken in 1882, only six years after the game was introduced to this side of the pond. Over the next couple of years, Polo became a crucial part of the Winter Colony Society (a local name for Aiken), which attracted some of the best players in the country and the world. By the start of World War II, Aiken was seen as the center of America’s sport of polo. During its 134-year history, Aiken has earned an international reputation as a place to play, along with a place to train and breed polo ponies, including seven of the 21 American born players who have achieved a 10-goal rating.

Today, players come to Aiken for the spring season on their way up North from Florida, or for the fall season on their way South. As time goes on, more players are beginning to stay and play year round. With several beautiful arenas that can hold matches, why wouldn’t they?

The Polo community in Aiken is continuing to grow and every year, more and more Polo players buy property in the area. Polo matches are as common as a Saturday football game– and equestrian buffs alike are flocking to the area to enjoy the graceful and historical sport.

Even though it is still a ways away, it is never too early to start planning a visit to Aiken in the Spring to enjoy the warm weather and new season of Polo. The season can fill up quickly due to popularity so don’t be one of the ones that has to wait until the next season. Be sure to keep up to date on the spring 2022 season and schedule.

With its distinguished history and its current and rising popularity, Aiken Polo’s future is shining bright, and Whitney Field, the oldest polo field in continuous use in the United States, has held its place as the focal point of Aiken’s Sunday afternoons for hundreds of years and will continue to do so for many years to come.