India May Be Losing Polo, Manipuri Ponies

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Manipur, India is where modern polo was born. It lays claim to Mapal Kangjeibung, the oldest polo ground that is still active. In 2014, the state celebrated the 150th anniversary of modern polo. Though still played, the sport has been declining. The reason for this, The New York Times reports, is due to the reduction of the Manipuri pony.

The pony, which was once prominent in India, has dropped in number so greatly that reports claim there are only 500 left. Some believe that the reason for this is that the Manipuri pony are no longer seen as useful today, given that polo was their primary function and the sport does not make enough money to be viable. Even though they are endangered, the New York Times reports that “there is no official government policy regarding the preservation of the Manipuri pony or sagol kangjei [original term for polo].” Neither the horses nor the sport can survive without government support.

It would be a shame if they don’t find a way to survive. Just by watching the video above of a 2014 match at Mapal Kangjeibung is enough to show there are still advocates for both polo and the ponies.

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