Barbados Horseback Riding, Horse Racing & Polo Article
Sports Tourism article – Barbados horseback riding, horse racing and polo
Barbados horseback riding, racing & polo article written by Travel Writer Peter Jolly
Barbados horseback riding – horse racing
Horses have long been a vital part of everyday life in Barbados and today they play an important role in sport tourism which is becoming a major industry on the Caribbean island. Both horse racing and polo can trace their beginning back to 1845 and 1884 respectively when visiting British cavalry officers introduced the locals to the two sports.
Such is the attraction of horse racing in Barbados today, for example, that more holidaymakers are taking time out to go to the races and plan their holidays around the major meetings. There are three seasons of horse racing in Barbados – January to April, May to October, and November to December.
Sandy Lane Gold Cup at the famous Garrison Savannah race track, Barbados
Top event in the calendar is the Sandy Lane Gold Cup, a festive event for the whole family, run at the famous Garrison Savannah track which is one of the oldest in the Americas. Total prize money is in excess of $200,000.
This fixture is run annually in March and attracts not only locals but a large international following, many drawn by the carnival atmosphere created not only by the racing but also by the parades, Bajan street food and the picnics.
Barbados horseback riding on beaches and in the Caribbean Sea
An aside to the actual horse racing and Barbados horseback riding is the spectacle of the grooms swimming with their horses in the sea. It is part-exercise and part-therapy and yet another example of the heritage of Barbados.
Polo matches in Barbados
As with horse racing, polo has been part of the heritage of Barbados and today the polo fields provide an active international schedule that attracts the world’s top players and owners – both Prince Charles and Prince Harry have played polo on the island.
There are four world class polo venues – the main one being the Holder’s Polo Field, located at Holders Hill, where the magnificent 17th century Holders House is home to the acclaimed Holders Season, a world famous performing arts festival. The house is also the centre of polo activities during the season.
Matches have been played both home and away against such British teams as Cowdray Park, Cirencester, Cheshire and the Guards Polo Club. Women are not precluded for there is an international ladies tournament held each year.
Barbados polo season
The polo season in Barbados usually runs from December to April and the matches attract big crowds including many holidaymakers and families.
Images on this Barbados Horseback Riding, Racing & Polo page are copyright of Barbados Tourism Authority