Reaching for the ball by Melanie Wright


Living in the Cotswolds, i am surrounded by an inspiring variety of equestrian sports and events throughout the year, and this drawing is one of a series of charcoal drawings inspired by many days of sketching at Cirencester Park Polo Club. My grandfather bred polo ponies and was a keen polo player himself, whilst serving in the army out in India and Burma. I loved, as a child, to hear him talk of those years, and now, many years later, enjoy studying this highly dynamic and dramatic sport through my artwork. It is the theatre of the polo field that fascinates me. Whole afternoons of watching play, as if on a stage set, with the horses and riders covering wide swathes of turf as they charge, shadow and display across the field, constantly back and forth at high velocity, providing interesting and often complex compositions. In this charcoal drawing, i have isolated two of the players, one shadowing the other, the main rider is reaching for the ball . The riders athleticism and skill as they negotiate the speed of charge, tightness of turns and extreme accuracy of stick/ball control is highly impressive. The relationship of horse and rider is interesting too, with the ‘ponies’ being relatively small, possessing a deftness of hoof, and a compact conformation, ridden by larger men and women, with regular changes of pony throughout a match. One of the many attractions of this sport for me is the high key and highly audible atmosphere, the thunder of charging hooves on hard ground, and the shouts of the players. Charcoal is perfect for working with a moving subject, it keeps the lines loose and the composition ‘moving’ and is able to create the high to low key tones of strong light and shadow on the subject, creating drama, without the distraction of colour.

Additional information

Additional information


Original art




Charcoal on paper


40cm x 52cm

Ready to hang




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