Polocrosse is a true Australian sport, but having originated in the UK in 1938 as a riding exercise for young novice riders to improve their riding by taking better control of their horses and to improve their balance on horseback. This exercise was created by two riding instructor’s at the National School of Equitation in the United Kingdom. Its potential to as a sport was not seen until Mr and Mrs Edward Hirst, horse breeders from Sydney, read an article in an english horse magazine, then decided on a visit to the UK to observe the exercise and saw the potential.
Upon their return to Australia, the Hirsts employed the help of Alf Pitty, an experienced horseman and polo player, and the game of polocrosse was truly created. Initially polocrosse was confined to Australia, but over the next 60 years it grew and expanded into many other countries worldwide.
In the mid 1970’s the credibility of polocrosse increased when Max Walters established the International Polocrosse Council. From this point the sport has grown exponentially. At present there are over 16 countries worldwide with established polocrosse clubs.
A significant step in the growth of polocrosse was the Polocrosse World Cup, first staged in 2003, again in 2007 and now a confirmed event every 4 years. Currently there are 8 countries that take part in this event, these countries being Australia, Zambia, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Zimbabwe.
While Australia had the winning team for both the first and second world cups, which is not surprising considering the length of time the sport has been in the country. In 2011 South Africa took the title in Rugby in the United Kingdom and retained it once again in Durban, South Africa in 2015! The next World Cup is set to be hosted by Warwick Polocrosse Club in Australia in 2019.
From a simple riding exercise in a pre World War 2 1938, the sport has grown significantly, and is now fondly known as “The King of One Horse Sports”.