Team training is an intense regime requiring both mental and physical effort. It is safe to assume that most team members
knew nothing about Elephant Polo before embarking on the adventure. In the interests of safety, training is being conducted to cater for the
'lowest common denominator' (Rick) and stresses the fundamentals at every level
Identification - Nothing is taken for granted by the well-organised team. Classes are instructed on the differences between the gentle, but
potentially dangerous Asian Elephant and a similar-sized animal, not particularly suited to Elephant Polo - the common Rhinoceros.
Rhino - top, Elephant - bottom
It is crucial for team members to be able to distinguish between the different parts of an elephant.
Elephant - Rear Aspect
Counting - There are four members of the team on the field at any one time (each on an individual elephant). As such, it
is important for trainees to be able to count to four.
Combination Exercises - Trainees are often asked to multi-task. The adjacent photo was of a recent, combined counting and anatomical exercise.
Entire Team - Rear
No detail is too small for the well-prepared team. The team members are taught how to perform elephant pedicures which includes painting
elephants in the team's colours.
Classroom training can only take the trainees so far. At some point real training is required.
The team has recently purchased an Elephant Simulator, to be used as the intermediary step before the final, live phase of training commences.
Never an area to be underestimated where pachyderms are concerned, trainees are taught many of techniques associated with transporting elephants
The three basic methods used to move the team's elephants are by ship (left),
Here a number of elephants are seen waiting to board the team bus.
Team members are taught the subtle art of designing uniforms, both for themselves and their mounts.
Here we can see Jennifer's first attempt at designing
the team's gear. Unfortunately "A Passage to India"
has had a greater impact on her formative years
than the team had anticipated.
The penultimate but most important module of the training deals with the human-elephant interface. The humans are taught that the elephants are
extremely sensitive creatures and should be respected. The reverse is unfortunately not true.
Here a trainee wipes a tear from the face of an elephant after leveling an accidental insult during a
particularly fierce training encounter.
The final 'exam' consists of a field test, where trainees are asked to demonstrate their bonds with their mounts by
putting their heads under the front right foot of an elderly team elephant.
Here a chick demonstrates the field exam
Even on graduation day, the committed team member will put down his or her
diploma and attend to vital tasks around Elephant Polo University campus.