By Mark McConville
STRIKING pictures have revealed the time polo players in the Wild West ditched their horses for cars in a bid to liven up the sport.
The incredible images, as revealed by the website Retronaut, show teams of two in their automobiles with one driver and one polo player hanging off the side of the vehicle.
Huge clouds of dust are thrown into the air as the teams compete against each and skid round the pitch.
Other stunning shots, dating from the 1910s, show the cowboys playing a more traditional game of polo on horseback although it looks no less competitive.
Although not often mentioned, sports were as much a part of frontier life as the cowboy riding the fence line.
Polo is a game played on horseback between two teams of four players each who use mallets with long, flexible handles to drive a wooden ball down a grass field and between two goal posts. It is the oldest of equestrian sports.
A game of Central Asian origin, polo was first played in Persia (Iran) at dates given from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD. Polo was at first a training game for cavalry units, usually the king’s guard or other elite troops. To the warlike tribesmen, who played it with as many as 100 to a side, it was a miniature battle.
In 1876, the sportsman and newspaper publisher James Gordon Bennett saw his first polo game and introduced it in the United States.