Barbados holidays are always prefaced by lovely weather, stunning shores and breathtaking beaches. But its balmy breezes and immaculate sunshine also give way to an exciting centuries-old tradition that treats hundreds of locals and visitors yearly as they perch along its expansive green fields. Dotted across the island is the manifestation of an appreciation for everything equine – polo fields, a savannah, equestrian courses and even its coastal sands set a backdrop for this kind of recreation. And, if that is not enough to jolt the spontaneous humming of the William Tell Overture, on any given day, you may find a steed taking a dip with its trainer at one of the west-to-south coast beaches!
All these elements culminate to create a fraternity on the island that is passionate about everything equine. One of the fastest growing sports with respect to interest and participation is polo, which has several beautiful homes across the island – Apes Hill Club, Lion Castle, Clifton Hall and Holders Hill. With a seasonality of January through May, the polo calendar features several matches in the form of memorials, tours and even charity events. This March is especially exciting, with the Cheshire Tour at Holders and the International Ladies at Apes Hill Club – two very popular events with local and visiting followers of the sport! But, all the polo action isn’t necessarily left to the pros! Take a chance at mastering the basics with thorough polo lessons during your holiday. With these amazing fields as your training grounds and knowledgeable tutors at your side, you will be sure to grasp the basic techniques and lots of the polo lingo at a surprising pace!
For the Love of Horseracing
In addition to the islands’ growing polo prowess, there is also a niche for those lovers of horseracing. Each month in 2017 will feature full tickets of intense racing action. From January through December, the historic Garrison Savannah comes alive with cheers as each race day draws its loyals. This tradition of horseracing at the Garrison Savannah was born during the 18th century, as a result of soldiers stationed at the fort acting on their desire for recreation, which led to them pitting their horses against each other vying for a win. And, as simple as that, horse racing found its place and home on the island!
The Sandy Lane Gold Cup
But, it would be remiss to not acknowledge the true jewel in the island’s equine crown – the Sandy Lane Gold Cup, which has been hosted for over three decades at the island’s iconic six-furlong track. The highly-anticipated day will fall on March 4 this year, and scores of Barbadians and visitors alike will converge on the nostalgic venue to witness the usual thrilling competition between local and international horses piloted by their skillful jockeys and cheered on by their passionate fans.
Barbados by Horseback
Besides the thrill of the action, there is a chance to experience these beautifully handled creatures in a more leisurely way. Expect gentle country breezes filled with refreshing sea spray as you take a ride throughout the islands unbeaten tracks on horseback. Several stables are equipped to offer amazing horseback riding tours, which take you to some of the most stunning spots on the island in the most natural mode of transport you can find!
A Bit of Fun and Socializing
Finally, we’d like to wrap up by highlighting one of the hidden but possibly most endearing aspect of your equine holiday to Barbados – the socializing with members of the local and international fraternity! From the biggest names in polo and horseracing, to the vendors around the Savannah on race day, these very social events are the perfect chance to have the most authentic, colourful Barbados experience you could ever dream of!
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