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Adirondack Polo Club offers unique sporting opportunity

KEENE A club promoting one of the oldest sports calls Keene home.

A recently constructed club house at the Bark Eater fields is one sign of the growing popularity of polo in the Adirondacks. The 2,500-year-old game of polo is one of the fastest, roughest and most dangerous sports played today. It is gaining increasing popularity as a premier spectator sport and can be an easy game for a first-timer to enjoy.

"One of our goals is to promote the sport more in the area and bring in new players," said Lonnie Cross of Peru, a member of the club. A sponsorship program for businesses has also been created.

Joe Pete Wilson, owner of the Bark Eater Stables, explained that the Adirondack Polo Club evolved out of the Bark Eater team, which has been playing for more than 20 years. He said that many horse lovers take to the sport, finding the challenge of riding mixed with team competition irresistible.

Sue Doyle travels from Saratoga to participate in the team. "It's the most exciting sport that I've played in my lifeand I've play a lot," said Doyle. "I watched polo for 15 years and though it was the most fantastic sport. Three years ago I decided to take lessons."

Cross said there was a misconception about the sport's requirements for financial investment. The most important thing, Cross said, was time. He compared the cost of joining a polo club to that of belonging to a golf club.

Katie Wilson explained that the club provided horses and equipment for people interested in trying the sport. A beginner polo session was offered this summer, and plans are in the works to offer a similar program next year.

Joe Pete Wilson said the polo club held practices, scrimmages, and games from May through September. The group meets several times a week, discussing games rules, practicing riding and hitting the ball, and playing games.

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