Contributed by Grand Millennium Dubai and Grand Millennium Business Bay, Cluster Marketing & Communications Manager Mr Feras Al Sadek.
I first started horseback riding and playing polo when I was about 14 years old, but not exactly by my choice. My family has a farm in Sharjah and owned a few polo ponies. They were not getting much use, so my family made me start learning horseback riding and polo. I was also inspired by my good friends who started horseback riding long before me and made it seem so fun.
Though I was very scared at the beginning, I’m very thankful they made me pick up the sport. Not only did it help me overcome my fear of animals, but it is also a very thrilling and fun experience. Horses have a great sense of feeling, and if you are agitated or afraid, your horse can sense it too, and it’s important to try and create a bond with it.
Polo is played seasonally in Dubai (around six months each year due to the weather) and I am currently training to enter a pro league by the end of this month. Though I started about 15 years ago, I had to stop for the past five or six years due to an unrelated knee injury and have only started playing again recently.
I train about once to thrice a week along with playing friendly matches and hope I am able to uplift my skills enough to go pro soon. Polo is also a great way to increase one’s social networking and meet many key people across many different industries. At the same time, it’s an excellent stress reliever, and helps me keep my mind at ease after work. If I am angry or bothered from an incident at work, I like to imagine the ball as the issue, and try to hit it away (towards the goal, of course!), and in a way it helps me focus on what is next.