Sierra Stillwater



Sierra Stillwater is a writer and reporter for InQuire

One of the main attractions at the University of Kent is the vast number of sports teams that students can join. We take pride in all of our teams here on campus, and it is fun to be able to enjoy all kinds of activities, ranging from fencing and karate to volleyball and rugby. I had the opportunity to speak with Kiia Huttunen, a member of the Kent Polo team here at UKC.

When asked what encouraged her to start playing polo, Kiia mentioned that she had been horseback riding since the age of 5, and she wanted to continue pursuing a sport with horses when attending university. At her previous uni, polo was the only option available, and she decided to give it a try. Kiia loves the sport because it is often referred to as the “sport of kings,” combining the aggression of rugby, the skill of hockey, the speed of racing, and the adrenaline of skydiving. She loves every aspect about it, and being around such amazing animals is an added bonus.



Regarding their training regime, the players are able to sign up for training three times a week, but because they train in Harlow Essex at the MHF Polo Club, it is difficult to make each session. A typical day of training lasts about an hour; the first half is spent on practicing skills, and at the end of the lesson, they have practice matches, which are called chukkas. These give the players a chance to use their skills in actual gameplay, which is essential when preparing for matches.

A match for one team consists of four chukkas, each lasting 7 minutes. Often tournaments can last for a few days. The aim is to make goals, and the team who makes the most goals wins. One of the main rules of polo is that you cannot ride directly in front of someone who has the ball, as it isn’t safe. All of the rules associated with this sport are to ensure the safety of the horses and players.



The polo team has had a good season thus far, and despite not having trained together as a team, they were able to compete at the winter nationals for the second time. The progress the team has made from day one has been amazing, and she is excited for what is in store as the season progresses. Their next match is an Easter tournament sponsored by the FIXR on the 31st of March, and these girls are training intensely to prepare for this event!