Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Polo: Picnic with the Ponies


 I am the first to admit, I have little interest whatsoever in watching professional sports. In vain, I've tried to comprehend friends' passions for the fierce and frenzied competition of football or the complex intricacies of baseball statistics. Bundling up in an icy stadium or braving crowds of avid fans holds little appeal.
The one exception to this rule being the sport of Polo. Contrary to stereotypes, one does not have to be to the manor born or a seasoned equestrian to enjoy this sport of Kings.
In fact, there is a park in my area which features weekly Polo matches and tailgating events from late Spring through early Fall. For the very economical price of $10.00 a carload you can pack up a picnic and camera and enjoy the excitement and grace of this centuries old sport. Not well versed in polo? The entertaining announcers explain the game and its history as the match unfolds and charming players welcome visits with their horses during breaks.

I took these photos at Tinicum Polo Park in Bucks County, Pa. You can get more information at tinicumpolo.org or for matches in other parts of the U.S you can visit http://uspolo.org
This fine horse takes a time out to meet his fans
before the action begins
heading off for a break

Polo Picnic Fare

Of course picnicking is one of the high points of attending polo matches and some spectators really go all out. But no need to grab the fine champagne and Limoges china. By adding some easy touches to classic picnic fare you can put together an elegant but budget friendly al fresco spread perfect for dining with the horsey set.
 keep snacks simple and elegant with easy to eat favorite cheeses and fruit
If weather or circumstance prevents a trip to the polo fields, croquet captures the spirit of the game as a fun alternative (Warning: it can get competitive) or simply use mallets as decor. The ribbon was from one of my husbands golf outings but after champagne no one would know.
Timeworn serving pieces in silver plate are non breakable and a nice departure from paper and plastic. My "set" combines well-used free hand me downs and flea market odds and ends. A blanket hides a less than lovely cooler.
The monogram blanket is fleece ($2.88 at Walmart) with an initial and quick crown painted in white acrylic. Of course as it was drying, our furry friend decided it was for her.

On the Menu

Horse Shoe Twists and Bread Ponies

so easy!
Make a fun twist on a snack basic by simply curving refrigerated crescent dough into horse shoe shapes, adding"nail" holes with a skewer and baking according to package instructions.
Using horse cookie cutters and bread dough you can also make a batch of savory bread ponies. If desired sprinkle with cheese, some sea salt or herbs to flavor before baking. Serve with cheese, dip or fruit.


Personalized Polo Bubbly

No Dom in the drink allowance? Vintage inspired labels from a homemade printable and packing tape spruce up individual budget bubblies. 

Serve with dainty white straws. Make sure to include non-alcoholic drinks like mineral water or lemonade as well.

check for more on our Printables page


There are many online resources for custom labels but this is an easy DIY version you can make for pennies.
 Remove any moisture from outside the bottle with a paper towel.
Print label so it will cover existing label and measure same width as packing tape if possible.
Carefully lay packing tape over label, making sure it is completely covered and smooth and wrap around bottle to adhere. Tape not only adds a bit of shine but will help repel some of the moisture when the champagne is chilled.


Pony Coconut Cake

Yes it's pepperidge Farm 
My original intention was to decorate a cake with sugar cookie ponies. Alas as cute as the cookie cutter was, and despite the fact that it worked fine with the bread dough, when the cookie dough was baked it morphed into a form less equine and more bloated hippopotami.
In a culinary panic, I grabbed an extra plastic pony, brushed him with honey and sprinkled him with white sugar to lend a confectionery air. (He'll get a bath later) Some mint leaves and a quick border of pale green colored icing add a little panache. For portability pack cake and pony separately and assemble after arrival.

DIY Polo Decor
Even a tailgate can get spruced up with a few horsey touches. If you can't find vintage trophies at a yard sale you can whip up a few easy DIY versions. Plus, as outdoor dining can get breezy and sometimes upset a well set tablecloth, pony decor can double as napkin or blanket weights and make fun favors.

Plastic pony ($1 each)
"silver" tray ($1 each)
pony printable
party favor mini trophies
Spray paint
Wood mini plaques craft store (79 cents)
straws

Pony Trophies


I attached ponies and plastic trophies to mini wooden plaques and fashioned two quick polo mallets from cut drinking straws

I spray painted them using silver, gold and copper colors letting them run together for an aged metallic look. Accent with a name plaque or date using paper scraps or scrapbook embellishments.

These make fun favors: you can give away cheeky awards, say for Best Hat or Best Divot Stomper!

Polo Plate


Add a little provenance to your decor with a DIY faux antique plate celebrating your event. You can adapt this printable or create your own personalized image.

Image in sepia created using images from the graphicsfairy.com and Dubai Polo Club logo
For a black and white version without the Pennywise name visit our printables page

I first copied the printable onto a silver finish paper. Because of the texture (I couldn't find smooth silver paper for some odd reason) some detail was lost in the image, but as I was going for an antique look anyway, I made do. I then decoupaged the image onto the plate using Modge Podge. Once dry, I added more thinned silver, black and copper acrylic paint to camouflage the decoupaged edges and give it a tarnished aged finish. 


PennyWise Polo Tips

In polo, the well being of the horses is priority one. Matches are often cancelled or rescheduled in cases of bad weather, excessive heat or chance of rain. Having a plan B for your picnic is always a good idea.

Some of these ideas can be reworked perfectly for a variety of horse themed events: Think Kentucky Derby fete or even kid's cowboy party. 


Polo usually runs from Spring through Fall, so you might want to prepare for spending time outdoors with hats, paper fans and cool drinks in Summer or extra blankets and a thermos of hot beverages in the Fall.

30 comments:

  1. You have made an outstanding presentation here! Just lovely and also resourceful! So glad you shared at Tea In The Garden!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank You Bernideen!
      It was such fun to put together. I just love visiting your delightful Tea Parties! Although this wasn't a tea party, per se, I thought I'd share it!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  2. Wow! You went all out for this picnic event!! I would have definitely enjoyed being there! I've never been to a polo match, but if nothing else, I would have loved being a part of the picnic. Looks like you put a lot of time and effort into making it just right!! Thanks for sharing!
    Ann @ Cairn Cottage (http://cairncottage.blogspot.com/)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Ann!
      You're welcome to picnic with us anytime! LOl
      it was really pretty simple and fun to put together- so glad you stopped by
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  3. I've not been to a polo match, but I think I would enjoy watching this sport. Your picnic details are each one perfect for enjoying the event. Thanks for sharing your clever ideas. Really like the horse shoe bread. I'd like to pin a photo of that idea with your permission. Thanks, Sarah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Sarah!
      So glad you enjoyed the post-I've only been to a couple polo matches but they are such fun and I love checking out all the great picnic spreads- glad you liked the horse shoe bread and please feel free to pin away!
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  4. Your post is awesome! I love this sport, but I've never been to one in real life. The picnic is lovely and the horse shoe bread is adorable, just perfect! There's something so English or something about Polo and a picnic basket as great as this. Thank you for your kind visit. Enjoy your weekend.
    FABBY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment Fabby!
      This was lots of fun and easy to put together. If there's polo in your area it's really entertaining to check out- it does always conjure up the English countryside to me too-even from the Pennsylvania suburbs :)
      Cheers!
      Christina

      Delete
  5. For a moment I thought you were in England and expected to see the princes on the horses backs! You have captured a quintessential English picnic to a tea and I love all the personal touches. One that I am going to aspire to for our next picnic. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Chel,
      So glad you enjoyed the post! It was really fun and easy to create - Unfortunately William and Harry were unable to attend - lol
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  6. I love the polo ponies trophies and beautiful images. I've been to the polo fields in Plano TX several times and it's a treat to see the beauty surrounding this events. Love your post...and your blog! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment!
      So glad you enjoyed the post. Texas - lucky you that is some beautiful horse country!
      Thanks again for visiting!
      Cheers!
      Christina

      Delete
  7. BRAVO!
    FANTASTIC!
    You are so creative!

    I have been swamped with work and have not had one minute to get to these posts until today and OMG! You just knocked my socks off!
    I am so SO glad you came by and linked this up. Every little detail is simply perfection. From the horse and horse show breads to the trophies with bases that you made.... just genius.

    THANKS so much for sharing!
    Loving all of it!

    xoxox
    Alison

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Alison!
      You are too nice! This was a lot of fun to put together!
      It's funny- I realized your linky party had a garden theme and almost didn't post this but figured considering the subject you would get a kick out of it! I just love your site and your delightful parties! Thanks again for your kind words!
      Cheers!
      Christina

      Delete
  8. Cool! I've never seen one of these matches in person - I think I'd LOVE it!!!

    I want a piece of that cake too...

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anne!
      the matches are tons of fun! (disclaimer -cake is Pepperidge farm) LOL
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  9. FIRST, let me just say.... what an AWESOME picnic and display you created! AND SECOND...I want to go to one of these events...I'm pretty close in Lancaster County.

    FUN!

    Thanks so much for stopping by,
    Jillian
    BellaRosaAntiques.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Jillian!
      Lancaster is such a beautiful area- my sister went to college out there :)
      You can check if there's a local polo club near you - or pop out here- (you can visit New Hope too- a great town with shops and galleries on the river) Thanks for stopping by!
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  10. I have never seen a game of polo, but it sounds so fun! And of course, the picnic sounds delightful! Love your spread and the horseshoe twists and décor are fabulous! Love your creative mind. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Jann!
      Polo is lots of fun but of course I'll find any excuse for a picnic
      Thanks for being such a gracious hostess with your fun linky parities!
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  11. Oh how fun! Such fabulous ideas for the picnic, and the picnic setting (baskets, blankets, etc.) looks so pretty. All of your clever projects (including the plastic horse on the P.F. cake) add so much to the picnic. I want to go picnicking with you! laurie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laurie!
      You're welcome anytime :)
      The horse on the cake was a last ditch dessert save lol
      So glad you stopped by and many thanks for the kind words!
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  12. This is creative, beautiful, and SO interesting. Absolutely elegant and fabulous post, ideas, and looks like you spent a mint! WOW! I will be featuring this on Inspired Sunday at www.sundayview.blogspot.com! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura-
      I'm thrilled to be featured on Sunday View! and thanks for your kind words- no I didn't spend a mint- just some old picnic baskets and paint and a trip to the dollar store -lol
      Cheers!
      Christina

      Delete
  13. Thanks for the share! How did you enjoy the match? I went to my first one last weekend and had an absolute blast! Just getting dressed up in my la martina polo outfit was fun enough :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Joan!
      I really enjoyed it - I've only been to a few matches but your you're right - dressing up and the picnics and fanfare are half the fun! Sounds like you have the real polo gear!
      So glad you stopped by Pennywise
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  14. Penny!!! What an absolutely beautiful picnic ~ pinning. hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mary Beth-
      This was really a lot of fun! We hope to do it next summer
      Cheers!

      Delete
  15. Those are some good items. Perfect for travel. There's really only one fast rule for picnics and gatherings, and that is to ensure that the stuff you put in your basket is well-accounted for. Whether it's drinks and food, or any other matter, they are all important. Thanks for sharing that!

    Paul Franken @ American Pure Spring Water

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi…
    I like this post very much…
    If you know about us polo association to click here .

    ReplyDelete

Love to hear your comments and suggestions!