Polocrosse with Lace N Ribbons By Trina Clouser

Jamie Schenk and Lace N Ribbons at the KYHP.   Photo by Kathryn Herriott Photography
Jamie Schenk and Lace N Ribbons at the KYHP.
Photo by Kathryn Herriott Photography

A fun and fast paced sport, polocrosse is truly a sport for all ages and all breeds of horses. Created in 1938, polocrosse was originally used to improve young rider’s coordination while training at Britain’s National School of Equitation. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hirst, who were visiting the school at the time, took an interest in the exercise and decided to bring it back to Australia. And thus the sport of Polocrosse was born.

An outdoor sport where both men and women play equally, the game consists of 6 players. Using a cane-like stick with a lacrosse style netting and a soft sponge rubber ball, 3 players from each team compete on the field for a chukka; a 6-8 minute game period. After the first chukka is over, the next set of 3 players rotate into play. This goes on for 4 total chukkas, at which time the match is called and a winner is announced.

Unlike Polo, Polocrosse does not require multiple horses in order to compete. This is a one rider, one horse game from which it earned the name “King of the One Horse Sports”. Entire families play together and divisions are separated by experience. Divisions are divided A-E, A being the highest level and E being young and inexperienced riders. Tournaments are held in several countries, and here in the United States all over the nation.

An interested rider can go on the American Polocrosse Association website to find a team in their area. To get started you need a helmet, a racquet, a ball, and leg protection (usually wraps) for the horse. As for the type of horse used, there are no rules. You will see many Thoroughbreds off the track, as well as Quarter Horses, Arabs, and some gaited breeds. Any horse that excels in agility, endurance, and stamina will make a great mount.

In 2007, Jamie Schenk was searching for a new sport to try with her Standardbred mare, Lace N Rbbons. Jamie and Lacy had previously showed in multiple events in Ohio, but after making a move to Huntsville, Alabama the pair needed to find a new past time. After making some new equine connections, Jamie was invited to come try polocrosse with the local Tennessee Valley Polocrosse club. Jamie, along with another new barn friend went to a practice and found that Lacy was a natural at the sport! The Standie seemed to enjoy the competition and didn’t mind the swinging racket or flying ball. It wasn’t long before the pair was ready for their first tournament in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Jamie and Lacy played C and D level throughout their stay in Alabama and continue to play in Ohio. Many times, Jamie was asked what breed Lacy was as she was often confused for other types of horses. It seemed that the Standardbred was not often used for polocrosse and so the breed’s many attributes had never been seen. Lacy used her amazing stamina and competitive nature to excel at the sport, opening the eyes of many of the longtime riders.