For the 12th time the Australian International 3 Day Event, Australia’s premier equestrian competition, was held in mid November in the heart of Adelaide, which is located in South Australia. This year’s edition again included a polo exhibition match, called Polo in the Park. The match, always taking place at sunset, has been part of the Adelaide 3 Day Event for the past three years now, each year growing in popularity with increasing crowd numbers.
Set against the backdrop of the Adelaide Hills, two teams played a fast competitive game. Riding for Pryde’s Easifeed Team this year was Jock McKay (+4), Scott Tonkin (+2) and Nick Roberts (0). On the opposing Tomich Wines Team was Sam Gairdner (+5), Nick Simpson (+1), and the only female player Clemi (Clementine) Mann (0). At the end of the first chukka both teams drew 2-2 goals all. By half time Pryde’s Easifeed’s had the lead at 5-4. Tomich Wines made a come back in the third chukka at 7-6, but the Easifeed team finished the game two goals ahead at 9-7.
Known as the Sport of Kings, the traditionally male dominated game has seen more women riders take up Polo in Australia in the last five years, said Clemi Mann: “The number of women playing at the lower grades has increased a lot. There have been some good female players coming through over the years, but not so much as there are coming through now.” Mann comes from a long line of polo players; her father was a polo player and her grandfather on her mother’s side was a great supporter of the game in the 1960s. She said it’s unusual for her to be the only female player on the ground. “We don’t tend to get treated much differently, even in the faster games. The only difference is sometimes when I get bumped really hard, sometimes they say ‘sorry’ and I say, ‘if I was a boy would you say sorry for that?’”
For more information about the Australian International 3 Day Event please visit australian3de.com.au