Polo dates back to the 6th Century BCE and its story is a fascinating one. Born from the Association who wrote the rules of the game in 1875, our connection to the sport means its heritage inspires the very design and development of our clothing. Its roots are grounded in our DNA and we’d love to share its story with you.
6th Century BCE
It is difficult to pinpoint who invented the game which was first played over 2,500 years ago. The game, which has been likened to ‘hockey on horseback’, is believed to have arisen among the nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia, who honed their horsemanship and fighting skills by playing a game very much like the one we know today.
Polo has a variety of noble heritage. It’s known that Prince Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the 15th and last shõgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, loved the sport.
(‘Polo’ is an Anglicisation of the Tibetan Balti word for ball)
What is known, is that Polo was played in King Darius I’s Persian Empire by large teams of horsemen with few to no formal rules. From Persia, the sport migrated to Arabia and Tibet, and then to India, China and Japan.
Polo first became Britain’s cup of tea in the 1850s, when a group of tea planters discovered it in Manipur, an Indian princely state on the Burmese border, and founded the world’s first Polo club in Silchar, in nearby Assam. Polo also captured the interest of key British figures such as Winston Churchill, Prince Harry, and H.R.H The Prince of Wales who have enjoyed the sport over the years, and some of whom, are still playing today.
The world’s oldest active club, the Calcutta Polo Club, was founded in 1863.
Malta Polo Club was created in 1868, by British officers stopping off on their way home from India
In 1869, Captain Edward ‘Chicken’ Hartopp of the British cavalry regiment, the 10th Hussars, read about the game in The Field magazine and, with his brother officers, organised the first-ever match in England, against a team from the 9th Lancers. From this, the Royal Horse Guards were quick to take up this new sport of ‘hockey on horseback’ and the rest is history.
The first game was played on the grounds in 1874, however, it wasn’t until 1875, when in Hurlingham, London the Hurlingham Polo Committee drew up the first formal set of rules of the game, to protect the interests of the sport, the players and the horses. In 1925 the Committee was redesignated as the Hurlingham Polo Association.
This groundbreaking game was organised in the UK, and took place on Hounslow Heath, June 1st 1870. The teams were 10th Hussars (blue and yellow jerseys) vs 9th Lancers – (blue and red jerseys) and there were 8 recorded played on each team.
It was in that same year that British settlers organised the first match in Argentina. Then in 1876, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas St. Quintin took the game to Australia, and James Gordon Bennett Jr., a publisher and known eccentric, who’d first seen a match at Hurlingham, introduced the sport to the USA.
The Brand is born
Hurlingham Polo was born as a luxury lifestyle and clothing brand from the Hurlingham Polo Association, the sport’s oldest and most internationally significant governing body, recognised and respected around the world.
The Hurlingham Polo Association was founded. (HPA) is the governing body for polo in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and many other countries. This happened as the Hurlingham Polo Committee was re-titled as the Hurlingham Club Polo Committee. Later, in 1925, the Hurlingham Club Polo Committee was re-designated as the Hurlingham Polo Association