An Evening of Elegant Grace in San Pancho
La Patrona Polo Club, in San Pancho, on the Riviera Nayarit simply cannot be missed – it defines a visit to this world class region of Mexico. A Saturday evening watching polo and dining in elegance is an excellent start – at La Patrona Polo Club it is only the beginning – but I’m getting ahead of the story. I attended the polo last Saturday, and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself immediately immersed in the sport.
Chris King does an outstanding job of “color commentary” – explaining the more arcane points of the game – invented
in Persia in the 5th Century, revived in Manipur, India where it was discovered by the British and eventually exported to the world.
Last Weekend of the Season
Saturday, May 1st will be the last polo match of the season. There will be an exhibition with Ceci Rules from Ceci Horseback Vaulting San Pancho, La Patrona Polo Club with her students showing their horse vaulting skills from taking lessons this year.
These horseback riding lessons are valuable as they help children and adults with their balance, coordination and motor skills. Its also a lot of fun!
There will be live music after the polo match with some great blues and jazz tunes by the band “Coco Ache”. Enjoy a delightful evening at the La Patrona Polo Club!
The “Game of Kings”
The “Game of Kings” as it is sometimes known, is well represented in San Pancho. At La Patrona Polo Club a guest is only feet from the pageantry of the game, the athletic riders, the snorting horses and all of the action. A periodic announcement reminds diners that when play moves to the near boundary it is well to pay attention as an errant ball could land in your soup! The evening I attended San Pancho (La Patrona) was hosting the Riviera Nayarit squad. The match was very entertaining: riders dash forward on their ponies, tirelessly working the ball toward the goal, while the other team, just as passionately defends it. As the struggle, once used to train cavalrymen. sweeps from one end of the arena to the other amidst amazing feats of horsemanship and agility, aficianados shout encouragement to their favorite riders, and the grace and beauty of the horses inspire, it is impossible not to be swept up in the game. On this evening, La Patrona lost a hotly contested match 9-5 to Riviera Nayarit.
As we sat in our chairs, watching each successive chukka, we were at the same time wining and dining in unrivaled elegance. Perhaps it is the soft evening light, or the romance of the game, but the ambiance at the San Pancho La Patrona Polo Club is a very special thing. One enters the club through a small but very well executed polo museum, chronicling the history and development of the game in Mexico. As you exit the museum, you descend a rather dramatic staircase and enter the al fresco dining area, dotted with umbrellas to soften the last of the days heat. As your host leads you to your table you realize that the playing field is quite literally only feet away and that you have entered a different world, right here in San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico.
Fabulous Dining Experience
As we perused our menus, Joel, our waiter, used his excellent English, to introduce himself and carefully answer our questions. As the game, and diner, progressed it became obvious that someone who knows their business is running the food and beverage side of San Pancho La Patrona Polo Club. After perusing the wine list and consulting with the lead bartender I ordered a fine Bordeaux that lovingly accompanied our mahi mahi with chile sauce and grilled halibut. For starters we enjoyed an excellent shrimp salad and a wonderful endive salad. At every turn, Joel was at the jump – but never hovering, but always handy – the obvious result of excellent training. We enjoyed our meal immensely!
As the sun slowly released its grip on the day, and the shadows lengthened, the last chukka drew to an end, as did our perfectly crafted raspberry filo pastry and ice cream dessert. But the evening was really just beginning. As the sun finished it’s descent we enjoyed watching the awards ceremony, honoring the winners – but more obviously, celebrating the great respect and friendship among these fine athletes.
As night deepened we were treated to a trio of Guadalajara style mariachis – and we thoroughly enjoyed their visit to our table. Then as the last plates quietly disappeared and brandy was served a large Cuban band began playing their distinctive music with it’s European, Carib-Indio, and African overtones. Then, quite unexpectedly, we were treated to a display of Mexican dressage. A spotlight followed rider and horse as they performed their intricate dance across the polo field, spinning, trotting, prancing, and side passing – each movement perfectly choreographed to the music!
The Cuban ensemble returned after the dressage, and the dancing began in earnest! Yes, you get all that and dancing too! An evening at the La Patrona Polo Club is a very special event indeed. Laced with history and pageantry, punctuated with shouts from the crowd as daring players score goals, a sense of excitement accompanies the good food and outstanding service. As evening falls, awards are given and the romance of the setting begins to grow: the gas lanterns are lit, your table takes on an intimate feeling of privacy, the shouts of the aficianados are replaced with the mummers of lovers, and the pace slows to the beat of hearts entwined.
Come to La Patrona Polo Club, and bring a date – you’ll be glad you did.