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   Undertoad  Friday Dec 17 01:04 PM

12/17/2004: Elephant polo



Elephant polo! Are you kidding me?



No apparently you aren't. Apparently Scotland was this year's winner of the world championships of the sport.

I would like to see live video of this... the images, it seems, would not do it justice. Is there strategy involved? Does it move fast, or lumberingly slow? Is it dangerous? The official web site is terrible!





But it looks like they have a sense of humor about it.



Karenv  Friday Dec 17 01:26 PM

Scottland? How many elephants do they have there anyway?

I thought the Alps were too cold when Hannibal went through with elephants. Isn't Scottland similar, with the highlands and higher latitudes?



garnet  Friday Dec 17 03:00 PM

I bet the elephants hate every second of it...



Troubleshooter  Friday Dec 17 03:05 PM

Dammit, I was just about to ask where PETA had been hiding...



BrianR  Friday Dec 17 04:02 PM

How do we know that the elephants DON'T enjoy the game? After all, they are mammals and most mammals are known to enjoy a good game of whatever, so perhaps there are pachyderm polo fans?

It seems to me that if a multi-ton animal doesn't want to do somethig, it ain't gonna do it. And a 200 pound human would have to take extraordinary measures to force it. Especially when all the elephant would need to do is step on the offending human to eliminate the annoyance. And since I know that in standard polo, the horses have a "feel" for the game and after training can be seen anticipating their riders' commands and moving into position without rider input.

All in all, I think these elephants might be having some fun at the game too.

Brian



warch  Friday Dec 17 04:05 PM

It IS another Chivas life experience.



Elspode  Friday Dec 17 05:05 PM

I'm pretty disappointed. I was looking forward to seeing just how large a mallet you needed to whack an elephant across the scoring line...

I thought a Chivas Experience had something to do with waking up in the morning with vomit all over you, wearing someone else's underwear on your head, and not knowing why you are in jail. Or maybe that was just me.



warch  Friday Dec 17 05:15 PM

Somehow that little velvet drawstring bag always figured in....



garnet  Friday Dec 17 05:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianR
It seems to me that if a multi-ton animal doesn't want to do somethig, it ain't gonna do it. And a 200 pound human would have to take extraordinary measures to force it.
Have you ever heard of bullhooks and cattle prods? That what circuses and slaughterhouses use to get the critters to "move along" or put on a nice show. There's also something called negative reinforcement that "encourages" the animals to do as they're told.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianR
All in all, I think these elephants might be having some fun at the game too.
These are wild animals, not dogs playing frisbee. Elephants don't play polo for "fun" in nature.


glatt  Friday Dec 17 05:24 PM

And wolves play frisbee?



garnet  Friday Dec 17 05:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt
And wolves play frisbee?
Huh?

Domesticated dogs for the most part enjoy playing ball, frisbee, etc. Nobody said anything about wolves...


Cyber Wolf  Friday Dec 17 06:57 PM

Canines in general like to chase things that move, regardless of the object or its size. It what they do. I once knew a spritely little yorkie who would chase cars along with the big dogs and he'd always be the one still chasing after the other dogs gave up...

I wouldn't be too surprised if a curious enough wolf went after a frisbee if it soared past its field of vision. He wouldn't make flying leaps or do any aerial acrobatics to catch it in his mouth, but he would go investigate. I wonder if any wolf researchers who've gone out and spent time with the wolves ever tried that. The biggest reason why a wolf wouldn't go after it is if it's busy doing something else and they're more likely to be busy with important things like finding lunch, shelter or a mate than a pet dog would, since the pet is most likely well fed and never has to take time to worry about catching the next meal, finding a good place to bed down or (if it's fixed) find a suitable mate.



dar512  Friday Dec 17 08:46 PM

Must be hell on the greens.



Bullitt  Friday Dec 17 10:34 PM

Or in fact, we really don't know what in the hell these things think, but people are always gonna put a biased spin on it aren't they



Troubleshooter  Friday Dec 17 10:53 PM

We also have no idea what relationship the players have with their mounts. If it's anything like the logging elephants and their mahouts then it is entirely possible that they are both having the time of their lives.



404Error  Friday Dec 17 11:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troubleshooter
We also have no idea what relationship the players have with their mounts...
When I read this, why am I thinking...oh, nevermind.

Carry on.


wolf  Saturday Dec 18 01:55 AM

I would like to, but I have to scrub out the inside of my brain first.



capnhowdy  Saturday Dec 18 10:19 AM

I don't know a lot about elephants, but i feel sure that if they didn't want to participate, believe me they wouldn't. I don't believe a human could "force" an animal of this size to do ANYTHING he didn't want to. I've seen mules one tenth this size (if not smaller) who refused to budge, and what could the handler do? Nary a jack shit. I saw my grandfather beat one until he was exhausted and the mule looked at him like a fly buzzing in his face. Most animals cooperate with our activities as a courtesy to us. "you feed me & I'll fetch your damn frisbee" thing. There's something we all need to remember: We need the animals. They don't need us. All species of animals did and can survive without our intervention. Could we survive without theirs? That would be tough, at least for yours truly.
They should try to train the eles to wield a mallet also. That would be a lot more dangerous, which in turn would increase the fun pressure.
Out of all animals, I still find the human to be the most difficult to understand......................



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Dec 18 05:58 PM

The players have no relationship as they are only passengers. The mahouts "driving" have worked with the elephant for many years so that the elephant responds to toe pressure behind the ear much as a cutting horse responds to the riders leaning. No bullhooks or cattle prods like circus trainers. The elephants and most of the mahouts respond only to Nepali so communication between the player and his mahout can get confusing.

Entering the link through the "flash" choice, the galleries have 246 pictures......with not one caption.

Looking at UT's first picture, I'd say nobody is going to give the officials any crap considering the size of the tusker they're riding.



Leah  Sunday Dec 19 04:35 PM

I Love it I Love it. I haven't actually seen this played but I've been in Chiang Mai just after a game. I'm sure the elephants like playing polo, the Mahouts make the game fun for them, an animal that big could really do what they pleased to a certain extent. I know that they love kicking huge balls around, I've seen them do it in Thailand, and they have so much fun.
P.S. Merry Christmas everyone.



Karenv  Sunday Dec 19 04:53 PM

I once read a book by an animal trainer who maintained that animals like the challenge of learning skills. Horses are proud to run and win races- in fact you couldn't drive them to the levels of exertion to win if they didn't. No reason elephants couldn't be happy to play or win at polo. It beats being Hannibal's cavalry or hauling logs. (Anyone see the end of Alexander?) And I don't see any cattle prods.

In the wild there may be plenty of survival challenges, but as we domesticate animals they can thrive under different challenges, like frisbee catching, performing well and winning races. Some domesticated animals couldn't survive without us, btw. They lost the skills and physical attributes necessary to survive in the wild.



xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Dec 19 05:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah
I Love it I Love it. I haven't actually seen this played but I've been in Chiang Mai just after a game. I'm sure the elephants like playing polo, the Mahouts make the game fun for them, an animal that big could really do what they pleased to a certain extent. I know that they love kicking huge balls around, I've seen them do it in Thailand, and they have so much fun.
P.S. Merry Christmas everyone.
It said in the link that in the beginning they used soccer balls but the elephants liked to play with them and stomp on them so they went to the polo balls.


garnet  Sunday Dec 19 06:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenv
INo reason elephants couldn't be happy to play or win at polo. .... And I don't see any cattle prods.
How do we know they're "enjoying" it? Can't we give them the benefit of the doubt and just leave them alone? I don't see why it's necessary to manipulate these noble animals to fulfill our every whim--don't we have enough other options to entertain ourselves? We know they're happy in the wild just being elephants--why can't we leave them there and quit forcing them to "perform" for us?

And you don't see cattle prods or bullhooks in these pictures because the people in charge know better than to use them in front of crowds. Negative reinforcement, including beatings and chaining, is done behind closed doors. It is common practice at circuses such as Ringling Brothers--there's hours of undercover video tape of Ringling "trainers" beating these animals with bullhooks. If circuses have to do it, why wouldn't these people?


footfootfoot  Sunday Dec 19 10:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elspode
I'm pretty disappointed. I was looking forward to seeing just how large a mallet you needed to whack an elephant across the scoring line...

I thought a Chivas Experience had something to do with waking up in the morning with vomit all over you, wearing someone else's underwear on your head, and not knowing why you are in jail. Or maybe that was just me.
LMAO, Els,


footfootfoot  Sunday Dec 19 10:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by capnhowdy
... I've seen mules one tenth this size (if not smaller) who refused to budge, ...
Hence the expression:
"As stubborn as a mule"


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