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More than three decades ago, John and Chris Gandomcar built the 100-acre Cottonwood Riding Club in Littleton from the ground up. There, they helped to pioneer polo in Colorado. The Denver Polo Club they founded in 1986 has played host to visiting polo teams from around the world, including teams from India, the U.K., Pakistan, Australia, and other clubs from from across the U.S. Polo has been part of the Gandomcar family for years and the passion for it runs in their blood. Keeping the history and traditions of polo vibrant in the region, the Denver Polo Club is unique is its beautiful grounds, friendly atmosphere and cordial, wonderful members who help make this the best international club in the area. This gracious hospitality and warmth have created many traditions and fond memories through the years, for players and fans alike.

We invite you to become part of the Denver polo family, too.

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Origins of Polo

It is believed that polo is more than 2,000 years old. Although we don’t know exactly how the game began, it was originally used for training cavalry and was probably first played by nomadic warriors. Popular in antiquity from Constantinople to Persia, China and Japan, polo’s first recorded match was between the Turks and the Persions in 600 B.C. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century, however, that a British captain created the first written rules for the game. The oldest active club today, the Calcutta Polo Club, was founded in India in 1863. British military and explorers introduced the game to the West, and it became a staple. By the 1870s, the sport was well established in England and had found its way to the U.S. The United States Polo Association was founded in 1890 to coordinate games, standardize rules and establish handicaps. The 1930s were a golden age for polo, played by notable stars such as Walt Disney and Will Rogers. It was an Olympic sport in those days, and Disney made a Mickey Mouse cartoon about it. Sadly, WWII meant tightening belts and the sport fell by the wayside. By the 1960s, though, it was gaining back its feet and the following decade brought huge growth and change, as corporate sponsorships became more common. By the ‘80s, global professional players had replaced the talented amateurs from polo-playing families and stakes were high. Yet no longer was polo a pastime only for wealthy aristocrats and celebrities. Membership increased, as did the percentage of women playing.

Modern Polo

Today, more than 50 million people per year play polo in more than 60 countries. There are more than 250 active polo clubs in the United States Polo Association. The highest levels are played in Argentina, the U.K. and the U.S. Finding a quality pony is key to success in the sport. Just one in 10 horses is suitable and only one in 100 become a top pony. At the Denver Polo Club, we carefully choose and train our own talented ponies, and some of our members have purchased their own. As long as there are horses, there will be polo. Although the game has seen innovations, it has changed little in essentials. It remains a kingly sport—but is now one that anyone with guts can play. As the Museum of Polo puts it, The game has been and always will be played by men and women who possess a zest for adventure and challenge. More important, polo has been and always will be characterized by the athleticism and beauty of the horse.”