WESTPORT - The dreams of four equestrian enthusiasts has brought yet another summer attraction to the North Country.
The Adirondack Polo Club's second summer season is well underway at their grounds in Westport, which were established just last year by professional horse trainer Lonnie Cross.
"I've been playing for about seven or eight years, and always wanted to build my very own field," said Cross. "It's just a dream come true."
Cross spearheaded the club's acquisition of property on Stevenson road, adjacent to the Westport Country Club, and together with friends Justin Kenney of Middlebury, Vt. and Gordon Costin and Christopher Lukin of Westport, transformed the fallow pasture into an arena for one of the world's oldest sports.
"We came up in the winter on golf carts with six inches of snow and took a look at it," recalled Costin. "We said, 'It's do-able.'"
"We really didn't know what we had," he added, noting how the gentle slope of the land provides good drainage.
The group chose Westport partly for its nearby attractions and amenities, but also because of its location between neighboring polo clubs in Middlebury and Saratoga.
Drawing competition from these and other clubs in the Northeast, the Adirondack Polo Club hosts weekend matches throughout the summer months, and encourages others to learn the game they have come to love.
"In the long run, my goal is to keep the sport alive in a small town like Westport," said Cross, noting how the matches add to other activities and attractions in town, such as the marina and country club.
Polo, a game that has been traced back nearly 2,500 years in history, is sometimes described as "hockey on horseback," where eight riders on two opposing teams bump and jostle with each other as they race at top speeds and strike a small white ball, attempting to score on the other team's goal.