Welcome to the Flying H Polo Club
The present club ground was an alfalfa field under a pivot in the summer of 2004 and by the summer of 2005 there stood three tournament polo fields, two 32 stall barns, a shop and numerous paddocks. Two of the fields were leveled and had sprinklers installed and were seeded just in time for the grass to take root and make it through the winter. The third field was leveled and had most of the sprinklers in the ground before snow stopped progress until spring. A practice field and two more barns were added later. More paddocks and larger turnouts were added to accommodate all the horses. The Flying H Polo Club now houses 6, 32 stall barns, 3 tournament fields, 2 practice fields, 1 stick-and-ball field and 2 exercise tracks.
The type of grass that was used when planting the polo fields was primarily Tall Fescue and a small amount of Kentucky Bluegrass . The tall fescue is a wide bladed grass that is cut at a height of three quarters of an inch. This combination of grasses seems to work well in that it is able to hold a polo ball up off the ground. The fields are mowed with reel mowers that make a cleaner cut on the blades of grass than a conventional blade mower, which is more apt to tear the grass with its spinning blade. The grass is normally cut 3 times a week. The grass is cut so often to keep the plants healthy by not cutting off too much of the plant at one time and to keep the clippings from building up.
The roots of the Tall Fescue can go down to a foot below the surface. This helps with maintenance by being able to use less water than a grass with a shallower root system. We are able to give it a deep soak less often than other turf grasses. We normally put one and a half to two inches of water on a field in the heat of the summer. There are approximately 435 sprinkler heads on the 3 tournament fields and they shoot a distance of about 75 feet. The irrigation system is all gravity flow and it can build up over 120 psi. The water comes from an irrigation ditch and is piped down a hill and through a media filter that removes anything that might plug up a sprinkler head.
The fields are fertilized once a month during our 4-month growing season. This keeps the grass growing fast and can help with the stress on the plants that the polo games cause.
Sand helps with the footing on the fields. There is roughly a three inch base of sand that has been put on over the lifetime of the fields. The ranch purchased its own screening and wash plant and was able to produce washed sand that was suitable for the polo fields. Now that we have an established base, we are able to put on a quarter inch of sand a year on the 5 fields. If you’re wondering how much sand it takes to layer a quarter of an inch on a field, it is roughly 400 yards. Sand spreaders are used to spread the sand on evenly and the sprinkler heads are on swing arm joints so they can be raised every two to three years to compensate for the change in ground height.
Like Stomping Divots!
Polo is always a great excuse to pack a charcuterie tray or just your picnic lunch and see all of your friends. We encourage you to back up your vehicle and have a great time watching from your tailgate or hatchback.
We have all seen Pretty Woman, right? Then you probably know about the age old tradition of the divot stomp. When the game breaks at halftime, spectators are invited onto the field to socialize and replace the mounds of earth (divots) that are torn up by the horses’ hooves during the game. Bobbi will probably be out there to hand out complimentary champagne on Saturdays! So get out there, meet new people, move around after the first half and help keep the field safe and beautiful.
Wyoming polo dress is casual and laid back. You are encouraged to dress up if you would like or come in your jeans and cowboy boots. Each year at the Goose Creek Cup it is tradition to wear your Kentucky Derby best, but casual is also very acceptable then as well.
As in any sport there are factors you have to be mindful of as a spectator. In baseball, foul balls may fly into the stands; in golf, a player may hit the ball off the course; and in basketball, a player may fall into the seats. In polo it’s the same. A player may get a bad hit on the ball and it’ll go flying into the crowd, or if spectators aren’t paying attention a horse may come a little too close to them. It’s up to the spectators and the players to keep the game safe and enjoyable, so watch the game and keep an eye on what’s happening around you. Please return all polo balls hit out of bounds to the umpires, goal judges or other club officials.
ACROSS THE FENCE
THE BIG HORN POLO CLUB
Most people don’t realize the distinction between the Big Horn Equestrian Center, the Big Horn Polo Club and the Flying H Polo Club.
The Big Horn Equestrian Center (BHEC) provides a Venue: a clubhouse and roughly 80 acres of manicured polo fields that are host to many events vital to the nature of this community. The BHEC is a non-profit corporation, governed by a volunteer board of directors, which relies on patronage for a percentage of income. The annual Patrons drive invites friends of the BHEC to assist through contributions to help provide operating capital. The BHEC leases the facility to its customers.
The BHEC is responsible for maintaining the beautiful fields and unique club house, which provide an amazing setting for the Snickers Soccer Cup, polo, the Fourth of July Celebration, Don King Days, weddings, reunions, corporate retreats and more.
Each summer, the Big Horn Polo Club (BHPC) leases the fields from the BHEC. The BHPC is comprised of local participants and players from all over who come to Sheridan to play for the summer season. A “Goal” is akin to a handicap. The higher a player’s goal rating, the better the player. This is a rare treat where you can come to watch local players scrimmage next to professional players. In addition to the summer matches, the BHPC sponsors a polo school to encourage folks of all ages to learn to play and ultimately become members.
The Flying H is a private Polo Club, that attracts many of the top polo players in the world to come to Sheridan and compete. Top-flight players who spend summers at the Flying H often join the Big Horn Polo Club and play their “green” or novice horses in the less stressful setting on the Big Horn Polo Club fields. They can be a member of the Flying H Polo Club and a member of the Big Horn Polo Club participating at both locations in different levels of polo.
This unique arrangement between the Big Horn Equestrian Center, the Big Horn Polo Club and the Flying H has resulted in the fields at the Equestrian Center being named the “Green Horse Capital” of the United States. This remarkable relationship between these three has resulted in a value-added equine agricultural model that generates significant revenue for the area. Equally important, it sustains a unique cultural heritage that’s been over 120 years in the making.
Considered one of the tourism treasurers of Wyoming, guests are welcomed to come and join us to watch this dynamic and exciting sport at no charge. Please look for our summer calendar insert or go to our website at www.thebhec.org for times and dates.