On a site where polo was played over 100 years ago, more than 1000 people gathered on The Commons, in Niagara On The Lake on Sept 8, 2018 to watch a fundraising match between teams from Toronto Polo Club, representing Toronto and Niagara on the Lake.
The site, while a little smaller than a professional polo pitch, was a perfect location for the fundraising event that benefited the Niagara Historical Society and Museum.
Polo is played with two teams of three to four players. The game is broken down to four seven minute stop-time “chukkers.” After each chukker the player changes to a new horse for the next session. Through offensive and defensive plays each player using a mallet tries to advance the ball down the field and through a goal to score a point.
It was the second time that Amy Klassen and museum curator Sarah Kaufman organized and ran the event. The first event was held in 2016 and raised more than $20,000. Klassan and Kaufman doubled their fundraising goal for this years event hoping to raise $40,000 or more.
Spectators were treated to two full games with the traditional “stomping of the divots” between the two games along with complimentary sparkling wine on the pitch. They were also treated to music by the Niagara Police Pipe and Drum band, a parade of vintage British sports cars and the popular “best hat” contest.
Monies raised will go to help in maintaining the museums collection and supporting their programs. As well the museum is looking at a larger expansion project down the road and this event is a start to preparing for larger fundraising efforts in the future.
PUSLINCH TOWNSHIP — Over three days more than a hundred volunteers combed fields and forest searching for a missing horse named Noah.
But hope turned to heartbreak Tuesday afternoon when the horse’s body was spotted by a helicopter pilot in a swampy area in Puslinch. The 23-year-old dark bay thoroughbred is believed to have drowned, said his owner Linda Hale.
“I’m pretty heartbroken,” she said.
Hale, a seasoned rider who owns a teaching and boarding facility east of Guelph, had come out to Puslinch Sunday to participate in the Wellington-Waterloo Hunter Pace — a bi-annual event where participants head out on a set course and are timed.
“It was just a trail ride sort of thing,” said Hale, adding that Noah has participated in the event for six years.
But the enjoyable ride through the agricultural township took an unexpected turn at 11 a.m. Hale and Noah were travelling along a gravel path east of Puslinch Lake, near Sideroad 10 South and Concession 2, when a donkey nearby started braying.
Noah got spooked and jumped over a wire fence into a field and took off. Hale, who fell off during the leap, was left bruised but not seriously injured.
“It’s more my emotions that are wrecked than my body,” she said while the search was ongoing. “He’s not spooky and I’ve never come off him before.”
The exhaustive three-day search for the horse brought hundreds together. A Facebook group garnered more than 950 members by Tuesday as people searched by foot, on horseback, and using drones and tracking dogs.
Posters with Noah’s picture were handed out by volunteers, and a psychic, referred to as an animal communicator, was even consulted.
Two friends who have horses of their own, Ann Morgan and Teresa Finnerty from Hockley Valley, travelled to Puslinch to help out even though they didn’t know Hale.
“(I was) in my barn this morning, all I could think of was this poor woman who’s looking for her horse and what could we do,” said Morgan, early Tuesday. “The horse community, although we’re spread out, it’s a pretty small community.”
Kyle Ecclestone, who owns Ecclestone Horse Transport out of Newmarket, hired a helicopter company from Cambridge to aid in the search. It took off Tuesday around 3 p.m. but the horse was found dead shortly after.
Hale had purchased Noah ten years ago for her daughter, Tess Daunt. He had been bred to race but likely never did, Daunt said during the search.
“He competed in hunters and jumpers his whole life,” she added. He was described as a homebody who loved to be around familiar people and although he was getting older, he never looked or acted his age.
I love seeing posts like these of cute foals in the spring. Here is a sample curated from my awesome Facebook feed. Thanks everyone for sharing these precious moments on social media. Add your links or video in the comments.
Michaela Pisters is the owner and head trainer of Kilbyrne Farm. A predominately dressage facility but no limited to any particular sport. Michaela’s experience stretches from Jumpers to Eventers and even describes the details of her training philosophy as compared to the ‘Natural Horsemanship’ culture that has become popular in the last decade. Please have a listen to our conversation and please leave a comment.
I am proud to also share that the London Horse Sports podcast is now listed on Stitcher which is available for iPhone and Adroide devices. Please visit the link on stitcher too to leave a comment. The more feedback you leave the more I can offer you local content. 🙂