History of horse polo in Bohemia
Horse polo in Bohemia has a very long history, which, unfortunately, is not very well mapped. For various reasons, it was not further developed after the war, so modern history only began in 2008. Read some interesting facts about this royal sport.
Man is a ball thrown into the field of existence, driven back and forth by the Chaugan stick of destiny, controlled by the hand of providence.“ Unknown Persian author
Chaugan is a game known from the Middle East similar to golf and polo - including ball, horse and sticks (gili). The word "chaugan" means "four corners" and probably refers to the playing field.
Before written history began, polo already existed in a wide area from Constantinople to Baghdad, from Persia across China to Japan. The territory was so extensive that historians are unable to determine where exactly polo originated. First written records are more than 2,000 years old written in Persian, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. There is no mention of polo in the early Greek and Roman documents, so it is possible that the game was known only in Asia.
Historians have the hypothesis that the sport has its origins in either Persia or the Iranian indigenous tribes of Central Asia. For them, however, it was not a game, but a way to toughen up young leaders and prepare them for the harsh war. In Persia, polo prospered during the 16th and 17th century. The first written records of polo come from China. The Chinese were probably the next to play polo followed by the Japanese, where the first polo tournament was held in 727 A.D.
Persians were arguably the ones that introduced polo to Indians in the 13th century. Records of polo in India are rare during 16th and 17th century. However, in the 19th century polo became very popular and was played across the whole country. In the mid 1900s, the British saw polo game for the first time, with Bengal Army Lt. Joseph Sherer being the first British to play the game in 1859.
According to J.N.P. Watson, the author of a great book on the history of polo "The World of Polo", Lt. Sherer was considered as the Father of Western Polo.
HISTORY OF HORSE POLO IN BOHEMIA
Horse polo in Bohemia has a very long history, which, unfortunately, is not very well mapped. For various reasons, it was not further developed after the war, so modern history only began in 2008.
To find out about the history of polo in Bohemia, we must visit the Hippology museum in Chateau Slatiňany and the National Stud at Kladruby nad Labem in Heřmanův Městec.
In the past, polo was the priviledge of kings and nobility and this might be the reason why this tradition was slowly forgotten.
Chateau Slatiňany, in its museum, has extensive collections of polo trophies from tournaments were held mainly in Germany, Hungary, but also in Russia.
MODERN HISTORY OF POLO IN BOHEMIA FROM 1993
Polo stopped being played before World War II, and was organized again at the Strahov Stadium in 1993.
It wasn't played since then and the turning point came in 2007, when Sal. Oppenheim bank organized the first tournament.
In 2008, Naveed Gill founded the first Czech polo club „Prague Polo Club“ The GILL POLO CLUB.
Currently, The Czech Polo Association is the regulatory body which supervises all players, clubs and tournaments held in the Czech Republic.