Gilgit-Baltistan’s FREESTYLE POLO
Freestyle polo has no rules. The rules are: There are no rules!.” Free-styled polo is undoubtedly polo, which is in its purest form. Freestyle polo is only played in Gilgit Baltistan.
The pioneer of the game is anonymous, it most likely began as a simple game played by Iranian equestrian nomads in Central Asia, with the current form originating in Iran (Persia) and spreading east and west. Polo became a Persian national sport played considerably by the nobility. It was part of royal education for the Sasanian ruling class. Emperor Shapur II learnt to play polo when he was seven years old in 316 AD. The very same culture passed through into Baltistan. Ali Sher Khan introduced polo first time GB.
PIONEER OF FREESTYLE POLO IN GILGIT BALTISTAN
Ali Sher Khan Anchan had pioneered free style polo in Gilgit Baltistan region. He played the first game of polo in Shandur when he conquered Chitral. Anchan built Shandur polo ground which was his first gaming point of polo (Balti king 1490 to 1525). This game is playing in the region with the same admiration without any change. There is no change this royal game from its origin colours. Gilgit Baltistan is known to be the home of freestyle polo and the only region having this royal game.
In summer at least 3-4 polo tournaments usually plays Baltistan. Events used to happen on different venues and different occasions; Skardu Shahi Polo Ground, Yabgo Polo Ground Khaplu, and Shigar Polo Ground.
There are region-wise polo teams in Baltistan. Skardu polo team, Rondu polo team, Kharmang Polo team, Shigar polo team, Daghoni polo team, Khaplu polo team, Chorbat Polo team, and Mashabrum polo team. Among these teams of Shigar and Skardu is the master of this game. No other team is even closer to these two in any public event. Every team consists of 6 players.
Shandur polo tournament is the biggest ever freestyle polo in the region. One team from every district participates in this mega event. Polo without classical music is like a body without a soul. The horses are well train to dance over the music. After every match, the winning team celebrates the victory, which is part of the game ethics.
ATTRIBUTES OF THE POLO HORSE
The choice of polo horses are made carefully for quick speed revamped up, stamina, agility, and maneuverability. Temper is critical; the horse must remain responsive under pressure and not become excited or difficult to control. It requires reconnaissance to know what is going around in the field, follow the game, and have an idea of the other players, the other horses, and the switch or changes that may occur. The horses are passing through special schooling to achieve excellencies which starts from her birth.