A sunny Sunday afternoon in a picturesque, but very dry corner of the New South Wales Hunter Valley: The familiar ‘thwack’ of stick on ball echoes across the paddock polo field on the outskirts of Dungog and peels of female laughter ring out across the dusty flat ground.
It’s polo day at Wirragulla, and there are plenty of ladies here, but there is not a sundress, straw hat or strappy sandal in sight. Today all the women are in the saddle and they are certainly not here to spectate. The fast-paced and often highly physical game of polo has long been viewed a bloke’s sport. Akin to rugby on horseback, it was considered a lady’s place to stomp divots at half time, chatter over champagne and chicken sandwiches or for the most part help groom the men’s string of ponies. But that is changing. There is growing demand for Australia to build its own women’s league or, at the very least, to see more women playing in open competition.
Read more about the Women in Polo event at Wirragulla Polo Club in Edition 92, Summer 2018/2019 of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine.
Story and photography by Penny Evans