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British Polo Day launches in Indonesia with the inaugural Sumba Island ‘Global Gathering’

This November British Polo Day unveils its inaugural Indonesian event and very first ‘Global Gathering’ – British Polo Day Sumba Island. Presented by Land Rover, and hosted by billionaire American entrepreneur and Nihiwatu owner Chris Burch and his partner, global hotelier James McBride, this unprecedented event will take place from 3rd to 10th November 2015 at Nihiwatu, Sumba Island, Indonesia.

Over the course of seven days, some of the world’s most influential figures in business, the arts, fashion and polo will come together for a celebration of tradition, craft and heritage on an island whose ancient tribal culture is so deeply rooted in ‘the horse’ . Sumba is one of Indonesia’s leading horse breeding islands: introduced in the 8th century, Sumba’s hardy ‘Sandalwood Ponies’ are a symbol of wealth and status and form a core part of island life. Polo aficionado James McBride will share Sumba’s fascinating megalithic culture and exquisite expanse of unspoilt natural beauty with an intimate group of hand-picked guests on this Indonesian island retreat.

British Polo Day’s host-led itinerary will include unparalleled experiences for the true adventurer – surfing one of the world’s best left-hand breaks, stand-up paddle boarding down the Wanukaka River, boat trips to remote shores, spear fishing, scuba-diving, sunset trail rides through traditional villages, hikes to The Blue Waterfall and the unique Nihioka Spa Safari.

By dawn, guests will enjoy sunrise yoga and meditation by the talented American yoga guru Dulce Ruby and by starlight; the opening ‘White Party’ (featuring a superb fashion show and special Royal Salute Quaich Experience), movie nights and the eagerly-anticipated Jungle Party.

One of the highlights of the itinerary will no doubt be the ‘Pasola’ on 5th November. This ancient Sumban ritual – a pre-harvest fertility ritual in which members of opposing clans attempt to dismount one another using spears – still forms an important aspect of Sumbanese daily life and is a wonderful display of culture and horsemanship. Taking place on Nihiwatu’s 2.5km private beach, celebrations will include spear-throwing, horse-racing, traditional buffalo washing, music and dance. With 5th November marking Guy Fawkes Night, a rather special evening of fireworks and festivities will no doubt continue into the early hours at the Pasola Party.

British Polo Day Sumba Island will take place on Saturday 7th November, with some good-spirited frontier polo on Sumba’s historic pasola field. This – British Polo Day’s very first ‘Global Gathering’ – will see the Hackett British Exiles take on home team, Nihiwatu I and the Royal Salute’s Rest of World team challenge RJI Capital’s Nihiwatu II for British Silverware’s bespoke-commissioned Pasola Plate. As always, players will be vying for Holland & Holland’s ‘Shot of the Day’ and Royal Salute’s ‘Most Valuable Player’.

Commenting on this landmark inaugural event Nihiwatu’s James McBride says: “Two years ago when I told Ed Olver, an old friend, we would hold British Polo Day on Sumba, he thought I’d gone nuts…Sumba Coconuts! After I played in the spectacular British Polo Day Australia 2014, Ed and the team returned to Nihiwatu with me. He was mesmerised by the evolution of the stables and property and British Polo Day Sumba Island became a reality. We are delighted and looking forward to show time in November!”

British Polo Day CEO and Co-Founder Ed Olver adds: “I have heard Nihiwatu described as The Mustique of Asia and I am so delighted to have the privilege of sharing this incredible, spell-binding place with our Worldwide Community. This Global Gathering is for like-minded individuals to come together and celebrate the natural world and share insight on humanity in an environment of unbelievable beauty. We are eternally grateful to Chris Burch and James McBride for believing in our vision and making this extraordinary undertaking possible.”

British Polo Day Sumba Island
© Sam Churchill
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