The Shandur Polo Festival is all set to kick off on July 8 in Chitral and will last for two days. The prestigious festival is played on one of the highest polo grounds in the world at 3700 metres near the Shandur Pass.
Although the festival lasts for two days, the preparations for it can sometimes take years. Horses are undoubtedly the most integral part of polo and people can spend years tending to the perfect horse for the festival.
A good horse can cost anywhere from Rs1 lac to Rs 15 lacs, depending on the breed and pedigree of the animal. The monthly upkeep of the animal can set you back at least Rs40,000, said jockey Ziaul Haq, whose family has been keeping horses for the last 30 years.
“You have to readjust the amount of feed you give to the horse when you bring them up for polo. If you feed your horse the same amount of food it gets at home, it may cost you in the ground, as the horse is more difficult to control.”
“We literally take care of our horses all year around just for these two days,” Haq said.