Polo loco: A fun Friday alternative

Shhhh... there's an alternative to Friday's After 5! Instead of big crowds and big noise, it involves big sticks, big animals, and big fun. It's a small gathering flying just under the radar down Old Lynchburg Road. With open skies and a gorgeous setting, the Charlottesville Polo Club is one of the nicest local places to spend a summer evening.

On Friday nights, big matches happen between the UVA team and other local teams. Like a miniature Foxfield, fans bring picnics and beverages to help them enjoy the fresh air and the excitement. But it's not snobby or debauched. Families and retirees are plentiful. Nevertheless, it's fun for all ages and a great way to relax.

Arena polo is like a hockey match on horseback. Two teams of three riders battle it out over four chuckers (periods). Points are scored when a rider smacks the ball into colored sections on opposite ends of the arena wall. With no goalies, teammates maneuver to block the ball. It takes a lot of strategy and teamwork. The action gets intense during breakaways as riders blast down the field at full speed, slowing down just in time to avoid the barrier.

Before the season ends on Labor Day, head down Old Lynchburg Road– no problem parking, no need for those pesky armbands, and it's only $4 to get in.

South River's Robert Lynkeechow and UVA's Lou Lopez gallop up the field.

The action is intense during the pile-ups.

If you make it out, don't forget to bring the couch.

Polo matches use two teams of three riders.

Lou Lopez is the man.