Thailand. The Four Season’s Elephant Camp in Northern Thailand offers polo lessons on elephants as an activity. We didn’t have time to try it (I was too busy riding my elephant, Bounma and taking pictures from my perch on her head of the elephants in front of me), but I was fascinated with the concept.
Turns out there is a World Elephant Polo Association. Last year 48 riders from over 15 countries participated in the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament. Not knowing anything about polo with horses, let alone elephants, I set out to learn the rules.
There are 4 elephants per side with 2 people riding each elephant and elephants are strictly forbidden from lying down in front of the goals posts to prevent a goal. My favorite rule is “elephants are to be given sugar cane or vitamin enriched rice balls at the end of each match and players get a cold beer, but not vice versa. That is the actual rule!
Money is raised thru the tournaments for the future care of elephants and their mahouts and conservation efforts. Of course not everyone is happy including the animal activist folks who contend polo is cruel to the animals. Seeing how well the elephants are cared for at The Four Seasons, I look forward to my first polo lesson.