Ahead of the Land Rover NZ Polo Open, we spoke with the talented Kit Brooks about his love of horses, travelling the world and how to prepare for the Open when you’ve already won it three times…
Kit, how did you start playing Polo?
My family moved to Cambridge in 2000, and once there my dad convinced my brother and I to have a go. We started out playing Business House Polo at Mystery Creek Polo Club. It was very social, and great fun. I haven’t stopped since!
Did you grow up riding, or did you learn to ride while playing at Mystery Creek too?
No, for as long as I remember I’ve been riding horses. My family were heavily involved in show jumping and with race horses.
What do you most enjoy about the game?
There are so many good things about polo, but for me it’s the horses and the travel!
Amazing, where have you travelled?
I’ve been lucky enough to play polo in New Zealand, all over Australia, Malaysia, England, Mexico, Hawaii, Barbados and Singapore.
Wow, that’s a lot of travel! What’s it like playing polo abroad?
I love playing abroad, meeting new people and travelling around is fantastic. The experience of playing with new people and borrowed horses from around the world improves us all the time.
You’ve been playing for over 18 years, what would you say your career highlight has been?
Winning the Land Rover NZ Polo Open is as good as it gets! I’ve won it three times and hoping to make it a fourth this year.
How do you prepare for such an important tournament?
Our team [Tiger] play all the High Goal tournaments leading up to the open ensuring we as players, and our horses are all playing to the best of our abilities. The Open can be won and lost on horse power, so we also put a heap of time and effort into the horses, fitness, strength and schooling. Then practise, practise, practise.
For anyone that’s not familiar with polo, why should they attend the open?
The Land Rover Polo Open is the best Polo in Australasia, with the best players from New Zealand and around the world. All the top horses from all over NZ will be playing so the Polo is as good as it gets and it’s the best social event too. What more could you want!
What do you do when you’re not playing Polo?
After the New Zealand season finishes in March I normally play a bit in Australia in April, then a quick trip to Barbados in May, Hawaii in July and back to Australia September/October. Then back into it here in New Zealand when all the preparation starts for the Open. When I’m not playing polo I’m flat out breaking in racehorses and pre-training, so you can often find me at the races!
Land Rover NZ Polo Open
Saturday 23 February 2019
Auckland Polo Club, 102 Clevedon-Kawakawa Rd, Clevedon, Auckland 2585
Photography: Intopix Photography