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Worthy Goal

Windsor unveils a festive program on its famed polo fields to benefit Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s causes

World-famous Argentine player and Ralph Lauren model Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras will play in the Windsor Charity Polo Cup.

World-famous Argentine player and Ralph Lauren model Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras will play in the Windsor Charity Polo Cup.

Polo, an ancient and revered equestrian team sport, continues to reach new heights in Vero Beach. On Feb. 17, international players and locals will gather to see and hear exquisite polo horses and their riders thunder up and down the polo field at Windsor’s fourth biennial Charity Polo Cup.  

Though arguably the oldest recorded team sport in history, scholars differ on the date of the game. While some place it as far back as the Achaemenid Empire of Persia in the sixth century B.C., others trace it to the first century A.D.   

Many historians believe the first known public match was held in 600 B.C., when the Turkomans defeated the Persians. The ancient polo players practiced war maneuvers on horseback; teams of dozens of men competed in violent bloody battles. For thousands of years polo thrived in the Middle East and Asia, played by Sultans, Kings, Emperors, Caliphs and Khans who ruled over Chinese, Persians, Monguls and Mughals. Thus polo earned its designation as the “game of kings.” Noted as a dangerous game, many royal players, such as Byzantine Emperor Alexander III, John I of Trebizond and Sultan Albak of Delhi were fatally wounded during play.  

From Persia, polo spread to Asia and the subcontinent of India via the Mongols. After the Mughal Sultan Babur conquered India in the 16th century A.D., he refined his play of polo and patronized the sport.