Polo took off in Thailand in the late 1990s, when polo enthusiasts led by Harald Link, President of the Thailand Equestrian Federation (TEF), set about revitalizing the game by creating a world-class polo club in the beach resort of Pattaya, just less than 150 km from Bangkok. Thai Polo & Equestrian Club opened in 2003, an outstanding facility that has made Thailand an international centre for polo and Equestrian in East Asia. The Thai Polo & Equestrian Club has fun activities for the whole family yet is serious enough to be internationally recognized and registered with the The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). As a President of the Thailand Equestrian Federation, a supporter of the Thai National Team for Dressage, Jumping, Eventing, Endurance and other non-Olympic disciplines, Harald Link dedicated to make Thailand’s equestrian arena – Thai Polo & equestrian club, for a usage of both national and international competition acknowledged by Federation Equestrian International (FEI) which will host the first FEI Asian Championships Pattaya 2019 in December 2019.
With wooded hills as a backdrop, the club’s beautifully landscaped setting covering 800 acres the club evolved to include a full range of world-class equestrian sporting facilities which has been selected to utilize and host for 2007 SEA Games and 2013 & 2017 FEI Asia Eventing Championships, includes Three (3) full-sized polo fields, Two(2) practice field, an Eventing cross-country course, 80 km endurance course, Indoor & Outdoor dressage and show jumping stabling for 250 ponies, 250 paddocks, Horse Hospital and the renowned Rege Ludwig International Polo School. Visitors can relax in the picturesque clubhouse, cricket field, salt-water swimming pool and the Chukka Bar, a re-creation of the famous polo bar at the Langham Hotel in London, complete with original polo photographs, trophies and sporting memorabilia. Players from all over the world regularly visit the Club to play in its prestigious tournaments, such as the Princess’s Cup Thai Polo Open every January and Queen’s Cup Pink Polo for ladies in Febuary. In addition to its monthly tournaments, the Club is part of a unique polo league of Thai, Malaysian and Singaporean clubs, with each club taking turns to host a round-robin.
Thailand’s polo season runs from November to April.
THANKS to patrons Harald Link, CEO of B. Grimm Group, and Mrs. Nunthinee Tanner, co-owners of Thai Polo & Equestrian Club, who designed all infrastructure, remarkable clubhouses, polo facilities and all layout. Polo in Thailand has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in recent years through excellent training facilities and outstanding tournaments at the Club. However, these annual tournaments are not solely for the entertainment of the many international players who participate, they are also used to raise funds for deserving Thai charities.
The club’s annual Thai Polo Open, Queen’s Cup Pink Polo and Princess Pa’s Cup Beach Polo tournaments have become important events not only for the sports of polo but also for charity and Thai society as they help to raise funds for foundations such as the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Chitrlada Vocational School project, The Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer, and Nabha Foundation under HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha.
You can stay at the club in wonderful Thai-style houses, surrounded by paddocks and horses. One is an authentic antique Thai house, which belonged to a member of the Thai royal family and was relocated. It over looks the Stick and Ball field, a lake and rolling farmland in the distance with mountain and sea breezes. Additional Thai houses are available. One has views over the hills and a spectacular sunrise; the other has vistas of the pineapple fields and ocean sunsets.
The Thai Polo and Equestrian Club is the only place in Thailand that holds derby show jumping competitions. The jumps can be as high as 140 meters with a steep incline entering the jump and a steep decline exiting the jump. It is not easy to achieve and maintain FEI recognition.
Eventing originated with the military, which created competition in which officers and horses could be trained to face any challenge. Competitors must have experience and a precise knowledge of the horse’s ability. Eventing is the most complete combined-competition discipline recognised by the FEI, and encompasses three tests: dressage, cross-country and jumping. The Club’s 4.5 km Eventing course was designed by Wayne Copping for the South East Asian Games 2007 in Thailand.
This is the fastest-growing equestrian discipline. It is a horse marathon and the horses and the riders have to be very ft. There are 40 km, 80 km, 120 km and 160 km races. In Thailand, there is up to an 80km race. Anyone who can ride can join an endurance race because you can walk, trot or canter and follow the signs to the end. It is a competition against the clock but the trick is that you must have a rest before the finishing line. The emphasis is on finishing in good condition and not only in coming first, so it is a delicate balance. Excessive fatigue, signs of lameness and other indications of problems are grounds for elimination by the event veterinarians.