Polo Traditions

Stomp the Divots
Half-time, all are welcome on the field for the traditional “divot stomping.” During polo play, small patches of grass and dirt are torn up by the polo ponies’ quick starts, stops and turns, creating divots that can be dangerous for the horses. Fans make an experience out of “stomping” the divots back in place, while helping to keep our ponies and players safe.

Sabre a Champagne
After the match, join in the celebration of the trophy presentation, as spectators, players, sponsors and friends come together on the field to congratulate the winners and enjoy the ceremonial sabrage or “Sabre a Champagne.”

Sabrage is the art of opening a bottle of Champagne by using a small traditional sword called a “sabre.” The Art of Sabrage originated in France during the Napoleonic wars.

The story says that after her husband’s death, the legendary Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, known today as Veuve Clicquot (veuve in French is widow), took over his company and became one of the largest exporters of Champagne for the royal courts in the Russian Empire and France. She began to organize parties for officers and high society. After the party, she gave a bottle of Champagne to the officers to enjoy before battle. As the soldiers were riding on horseback, it was difficult to open the foil and cage and take the cork out. So one day, a young officer took out his sword and beheaded the bottle with a stroke of his blade.

Today the Sabrage is an anticipated element of the polo trophy ceremony at the close of Saratoga Polo tournaments, in honor of tradition and major sponsor Veuve Clicquot – the official Champagne of Saratoga Polo. Players and spectators come together for the ceremony, to share in the delight of the winners and the glory of the age-old sport.

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