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Contents

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10 Letter from the President 12 Polo Schedule 14 Accommodations Guide 17 Polo: An Introduction 22 2019 Tournaments 37 Spectator Style 45 Gear of the Game 50 Painting Polo Is Her Passion 58 Aiken Polo Club Timeline 68 National Youth Tournament 82 Remembering Marjorie LeBoutillier 90 Polo Glossary 92 Index of Advertisers 94 Gargantilla: A Horse to Remember Aiken Polo Club 2020

Aiken Polo Club 2020 P.O. Box 3021 Aiken, SC 29802 Volume 16. Published annually Editor & Publisher: Pam Gleason Layout & Design: Innovative Solutions Photography by Pam Gleason Unless otherwise noted Special thanks to the Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Editorial Inquiries: Aiken Polo Magazine P.O. Box 332 Montmorenci, SC 29839 aikenpolo.org aikenpolomagazine@gmail.com Advertising Inquiries: Susie Kneece SKneece@bellsouth.net 803-646-3302 On The Cover: Our Cover shows Pete Bostwick, circa 1935. Pete Bostwick was an 8-goal polo player, as well as a champion flat and steeplechase jockey and trainer. Pete played polo in Aiken from childhood on and was one of the players who ensured that the club survived into the modern era. Photo by Freudy and courtesy of the Bostwick family.

www.visitaikensc.com


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Letter from the President Dear Friends of Aiken Polo

I am writing this letter as we are waiting to start our spring polo season, which has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our players and horses are ready to go, the weather could not be better and our fields are in the best shape ever. We hope that our players will be able to enjoy them this spring, and that we will be back to holding our well-attended Sunday matches some time in the near future. It might be difficult to find a silver lining in the coronavirus cloud, but if there is one, maybe it is that the unexpected spring hiatus has given our fields a break in the beginning of the growing season to continue to benefit from all the work we have put into them over the winter. Also, being forced to step back from our usual polo activities reminds us of how much they mean to us as players, spectators and fans. Polo is an important part of life here in Aiken, for the professionals who make their living in the sport, for the amateurs whose polo is a thrilling pastime, and for our community of fans, who come out to join us every Sunday on historic Whitney Field. We hope that polo fans and players alike will enjoy this magazine, to remind them of the good times we have had in the past, and to keep them excited about the future. Aiken Polo Club held its first official match in 1882, and joined the USPA in 1899. The club has survived two World Wars and the influenza epidemic of 1918. It will get through this as well, with the support of the Aiken and the polo communities, as well as the cooperation of the City of Aiken, which has been a great supporter of our sport and of our club. We hope to see you on the field soon! Sincerely

Charles S. Bostwick, President Aiken Polo Club has been playing on Whitney Field since 1882. Need more information? Visit our website www.aikenpolo.org. For daily updates call the hotline: 803-643-3611. Find us in Facebook and follow us on Twitter, too.

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Spring Schedule May 15 - 24

USPA Player's Cup 4 Goal

May 22 - June 7

USPA Constitution Cup 6 Goal

May 29 - June 1

National Youth Tournament

June 2 - 14

Aiken Polo Pro Am

Fall Schedule September 16 - 27

Alan Corey 4 Goal

September 29 - Oct 11 USPA Governor’s Cup 6 Goal October 5 - 11

Aiken Women’s Challenge A Flight: 8-12 Goals B Flight: 4-8 Goals

October 13 - 15

USPA Officer’s Cup 6 Goal

October 27 - Nov 7

Jake Kneece Memorial 4 Goal

Information Line: 803-643-3611 Manager, Tiger Kneece: 803-646-3301 12

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Justin Pimsner


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Accommodations

Aiken

Guide

Aiken is a wonderful place to play. Where to stay? Plan your visit here.

HOTELS DOWNTOWN The Carriage House Inn 139 Laurens St. NW 803-644-5888 Hotel Aiken 235 Richland Ave. West 803-648-4265/ Toll Free: 877-817-6690 Rose Hill Estate 221 Greenville St. NW 803-648-1181 The Willcox 100 Colleton Ave. SW 803-648-1898/ Toll Free: 877-648-2200

HOTELS AROUND TOWN America’s Best Value Inn 2577 Whiskey Rd. 803-641-8800 Clarion Hotel 155 Colonial Parkway 803-648-0999 Country Inn & Suites 3270 Whiskey Rd. 803-649-4024 Econo Lodge 3560 Richland Ave. 803-649-3968 Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott 185 Colony Parkway 803-648-7808 Hampton Inn 100 Tamil Drive Whiskey Rd. South 803-648-2525 Hilton Garden Inn 350 East Gate Drive 803-641-4220

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Holiday Inn Express & Suites 2897 Whiskey Road 803-508-7700


Howard Johnson’s 1936 Whiskey Rd. South 803-649-5000

BED & BREAKFAST

Inn at Houndslake 897 Houndslake Dr. (803) 648-9535

208 Abbeville Bed and Breakfast 208 Abbeville Ave. NW (803) 649-3109

Knights Inn 1850 Richland Avenue West 803-648-6821 Quality Inn 3608 Richland Avenue West 803-641-1100 Sleep Inn 1002 Monterey Drive 803-644-9900 TownePlace Suites 1008 Monterey Drive (803) 641-7373

Annie’s Inn Bed & Breakfast 3083 Charleston Hwy. Montmorenci, SC 803-649-6836

RENTALS Aiken Luxury Rentals 215 Grace Ave SE 803-648-2804 Arbor House Rental 203B Arbor Terrace 803-292-6968 Stable View 117 Stable Drive Aiken SC, 29801 (484) 356-3173

Banks Hall 1323 Banks Mill Road Aiken, SC 29803 410-924-1790 Cottage Rose Guest House 324A Park Ave SE Aiken SC, 29801 803-645-0324

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Polo: In Introduction By Pam Gleason

Louis Stoddard, a 10-goal player and the chairman of the United States Polo Association from 1922 to 1936, was once asked what he thought was the first thing to go in an aging polo player. Was it his eyes, as in baseball, or his legs, as in boxing? Stoddard didn’t miss a beat. “His money,” he said.

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t’s true: polo is an expensive sport. It’s also an addictive and thrilling one. Although historically it has been the favorite pastime of princes and millionaires, it is also accessible to people without hereditary titles or Swiss bank accounts. Polo players come in all ages, shapes and sizes, as well as from many different walks of life. Yes, Prince William of England and his brother Harry play. But so might your local real estate agent or fence builder. There are tournaments for youth players, from middle school on up, as well as high goal matches dominated by professional players who travel the world with their strings of ponies. Men and women both play. There are some special women’s tournaments,

but the more usual situation is that men and women play together, competing on an equal basis. Does it help if you have unlimited funds? Assuredly. But once you are on the field, polo can be surprisingly egalitarian. When you are out there on a horse, mallet in hand, what matters most is how you play the game.

How to Play

At its base, polo is a simple sport. Its aim is to score goals. Two teams meet on a vast green field with a pair of upright goals on each end. Each team has four mounted players equipped with polo mallets. In addition Aiken Polo Club 2020

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to the two teams, there are also two mounted umpires, distinguishable by their striped jerseys. Play begins when the teams line up at center field. One of the mounted umpires bowls the ball between them, and each player fights for possession. Then, the primary object of the game is to hit the ball through the opposing team’s goal posts to score a goal. The secondary object is to prevent members on the other team from scoring through your own goal. At the end of the match, the team with the most goals wins. Polo games are divided into timed periods called chukkers, each of which is seven and half minutes long. Matches normally have four or six chukkers. At the end of regulation play, if the score is tied, the game goes to a sudden death overtime period. This period is timed like a regular chukker, but ends if either team scores. It is possible to have double, or even triple overtime. However, if the teams agree, the outcome of a tied match may be decided by a shootout, in which members of each team take a turn executing a penalty shot. The team that scores the most goals wins.

Teams and Players

Polo players, whatever their age, size or gender, all must carry their mallets in their right hands, whether or not they are right-handed. The United States Polo Association Rule Book – the “Blue Book” – used to make an exception for players registered as left-handers with the USPA before January 1, 1974. But there are none of these players left! The most famous left-handed player from back in the day when playing left handed was allowed was J. Watson Webb. He was known as a very

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difficult player to defend against. Each player on a team wears a jersey numbered from 1 to 4. The number refers to the player’s position on the field. The Number 1 is primarily an offensive player, whose job is to run to goal, hoping for a pass from his teammates so that he can score. The Number 2 is also an offensive player, but he must be more aggressive, breaking up the offensive plays of the other team, and continually forcing the attack. The Number 3 is usually the strongest player on the team. His job is to hit long balls, set up his teammates, plan the plays and make them happen. He also must play against the opposing 2. The Number 4, or Back, is primarily defensive. He covers the opposing Number 1 and generally “shuts the back door” preventing the other team from scoring. He also must get the ball to his teammates, often by hitting long back shots. Like golfers, polo players carry handicaps. The handicap is expressed as a number of goals. This number reflects the player’s overall ability on the field, taking into account hitting ability, game sense, team play, horsemanship, sportsmanship and quality of horses. Handicaps run from -2 (beginner) up to 10 (the best in the world.) A “goal” is how many goals a player is theoretically worth to his or her team, but has nothing to do with how many he or she might actually score in a game. Players are assessed and assigned handicaps in the spring and the fall. To arrive at a team handicap, one adds up the individual handicaps of the four players on the team. Three ones and a four, for instance, would make a seven-goal team. This team could play in an 8-goal tournament. If they were playing against an eight-goal team, they would start the

The hook: Lucas Arellano hooks Jacob Brown


game with one goal on the scoreboard. Tournaments are classified by the maximum number of goals each team is permitted. At Aiken Polo, for instance, you might see a 6-goal tournament; no team may be rated more than 6 goals. The handicapping system keeps teams that play against each other relatively even and allows players of different abilities to compete on the same field. Handicapping gives rise to the unique “pro-am” aspect of American polo, teams that include both professional and amateur players. There is very little purely professional polo in this country. The most usual situation is to have amateurs hire higher rated professionals to play with them in tournaments, thus raising the level of the match.

Chilo Cordova hooks Jesus Ontiveros

Looking at the handicap scale you might think that an average polo player might carry a handicap of about 5. You would be wrong. Polo is a very difficult sport and handicaps are not graded on a curve. The vast majority of players are rated 1 goal or below. Most of these player are amateurs, but 2-goalers are often professionals, and 3 and 4 goalers are not just professionals, they are also very good. Ten goalers are legendary players, and there are never more than a dozen or so 10-goalers at any given time – in 2020, there are nine registered with the United States Polo Association, and eight of them are South American nationals.

Tactics

Most of the rules in polo are based on the concept of the “lineof-the-ball.” The line of the ball is an imaginary line that the ball creates when it is hit. Generally speaking, players must not cross this line if there are players behind them who are “on the line” and therefore have the “right of way.” This sometimes means that a player must take the ball on the left side (near side) of his horse, and sometimes means he is not allowed to hit it at all.

Top: Throw-in. Bottom: Jenna Davis rides off Kylie Sheehan

A goal is scored when the ball passes between the goal posts at any height. When this happens, the players return to the center of the field for another line-up and bowl-in. After every goal, the teams switch directions. This equalizes field conditions, but can be a bit confusing to novice spectators, who may not understand why the team they were cheering for suddenly seems to be going the wrong way and shooting at the wrong goal. If the ball does not pass through the goal posts but merely goes over the end line, the defending team gets a free hit, or “knock-in” from the point where the ball went out. If a player hits the ball out of bounds over the sidelines, then the opposing team gets a free hit at the ball from the point where it went out. Defensive play in polo consists mostly of “hooking” and of “riding off.” A player may use his mallet to hook or strike an opponent’s mallet while the opponent is in the act of hitting the ball. A player may reach across his own horse, but he may not extend his mallet in front of, over, under, or behind his opponent’s mount. He also Aiken Polo Club 2020

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may not hook his opponent’s mallet when it is above the level of the shoulder, nor may he strike it with undue force. A player may use his horse to “ride off ” his opponent so as to push the opponent away from the ball or otherwise spoil his shot. Polo is a contact sport, and horses and players often bump each other quite hard in the heat of the action. However, it is a foul to bump with undue force, or to do anything that endangers the other player or his mount.

What’s That Sound?

When the very first polo game was put on in England back in 1869, a newspaper account afterwards remarked that the game was “more remarkable for the strength of the language used by the players than anything else.” Polo has evolved quite a bit since then (strong language is frowned upon) but there are some distinctive sounds to listen for. The first, and most important is the whistle. The umpires blow a whistle whenever they see an infraction of the rules. Then the opposing team is awarded a penalty. Penalties come in many different varieties, depending on the seriousness of the foul. The mildest penalty, a Penalty 6, is a hit from the spot where the infraction occurred. If the foul is more serious, the ball might be advanced further toward the fouling team’s goal. For a Penalty 4,

Cecelia Cochran backs the ball ahead of Hope Arellano

for example, the ball is placed on the 60-yard line, and the team fouled gets a free hit, while the fouling team is allowed to defend the goal. For more serious fouls, the ball might be moved closer to the goal, and the fouling team is not permitted on the field. The most severe penalty is a Penalty 1, which gives the team fouled an automatic goal, as well as a throw-in at the 20 yard line, affording them a good chance at scoring again. The two mounted umpires stay on opposite sides of the play, and they follow it up and down the field, giving them the best chance of seeing what is going on. It often happens that one umpire sees a foul, while the other was not in the right position to see it. Sometimes both umpires see a play, but disagree about whether or not it was a foul. When this happens, they consult the third man, a referee who sits on the sidelines. The third man’s job is to decide whether or not a foul occurred. The next most important sounds you will hear are the bell and the horn. According to the rulebook, a “horn shall be sounded two minutes before each period as a warning of commencement, and two horns shall be sounded at the time each period is to commence.” When each period reaches the seven minute mark, a bell is sounded to let players know that the chukker is almost over. At seven and a half minutes, the horn is sounded twice to show that time is up. Sometimes, there is no bell, in which case the timekeeper blows the horn once as a 30-second

Denys Santana rides off Eden Ormerod


warning. Then, when the horn sounds twice at the end of the period, the umpires blow their whistles to end the play. Players are generally counseled to keep playing until they hear the whistle, because sometimes in the heat of the match it is difficult to distinguish the sound of the horn, or a player might be confused and think that the first horn is really the second one and give up a play too early. It is surprising how much can happen in 30 seconds.

Polo Ponies

The animals used in polo are called ponies, but they are generally not really ponies at all. In the United States, most are Thoroughbreds, and many began their careers as race horses. Others were bred specifically for polo, and still others were imported from Argentina, where polo-pony breeding and training is a big industry. Aiken has a growing reputation as a top place to breed, train and bring along young horses. Polo ponies generally stand between 15 and 16 hands at the withers (a hand is four inches.) They are trained to stop and turn quickly, to boldly face oncoming horses, to tolerate flying mallets and balls, to ride-off, bump, and run like the wind when asked. Players say the horse makes up 60, 70 or even 80 percent of a player’s worth. An exceptional string of horses can make the difference between a good and a great player. Conversely, a player mounted on a slow, sluggish, unwilling or unmanageable horse can be quite useless to his or her team. After all, you can’t hit the ball if you can’t get to it. The best polo ponies love the game and are just as competitive as their human players. Since each game is four to six chukkers long and a horse may play in one or possibly two chukkers, every player normally comes to the field with a string of three to six horses, and some players even come with a spare or two. Not surprisingly, building, conditioning and maintaining a good string is one of the primary preoccupations of players at every level. Everyone wants faster, handier, quicker ponies. Top horses are hard to come by, and it is rare for a player to have an entire string of great mounts all at the same time.

Summer Kneece rides off Ian Schnoebelen

Living the Polo Life

Polo was once the sport of kings, played only by the wealthy leisure classes. Today, polo is played all across America and in countries from Argentina to New Zealand, England, India, Kenya and beyond. Polo professionals and serious amateurs may play polo full time and year-round. More casual players might play on the weekends, or on occasional evenings after work. Whatever their level of commitment, all polo players share in the special world of polo; a world with its own language, its own worries and its own set of celebrities. They are united by a shared passion for horses, a shared commitment to the sport, and a shared connection to the traditions of the past. Do you want to learn to play polo, or get back into the game? Call the Aiken Polo manager Tiger Kneece: 803-646-3301. Aiken Polo Club 2020

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Tournaments 2019 Spring

Del Walton shoots; Chilo Cordova ready to defend


Dogwood Cup: April 21

Winners MidState Roofing: Robyn and Reagan Leitner, Hope and Lucas Arellano

Jake Kneece Memorial (April 24 – 28)

Winners Livin the Vision: Scott Brown, Reagan Leitner, Robyn Leitner, Jake Brown, Jesus Ontiveros Most Valuable Player: Alan Hale Best Playing Pony: Lady owned by Jesus Ontiveros

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National Youth Tournament (NYTS) Aiken Qualifier (April 27 - 28)

Winners Crescent Farm: Virginia Gwinn, Lexi Wright, Winston Painter, Ian Schnoebelen

Southeastern Circuit Sportsmanship Cup (May 1 - 12)

Winners Accountable to You /Luxe Polo: Del Walton, Jesus Ontiveros, Meghan Okerlund, Charles Todd Jr Most Valuable Player: Del Walton

Photo by Larry Johnson

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Southeastern Circuit Congressional Cup (May 15 - 26)

Winners Mid America /Luxe Polo: Charles Todd, Del Walton, Justin Baisch, Chase Butler, Jack Whitman Most Valuable Player: Chase Butler Best Playing Pony: Cotton Candy owned by Hope Arellano

Southeastern Circuit Museum of Polo Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (May 30 - June 9) Winners MidState Roofing: Robyn and Reagan Leitner, Hope and Lucas Arellano

Photo by Pam Gleason

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Tournaments 2019 Fall

Malia Bryan on the ball: Hope Arellano defends 26 Aiken Polo Club 2020


Alan Corey Memorial Cup (September 29)

Winners Laubaru: Pedro Lara, Chilo Cordova, Hope Arellano and Eduardo Perez, trophies presented by Grace Ellis, Alan Corey’s grandaughter

Southeastern Circuit Governor's Cup (October 2 - 13)

Winners Hyde Park: Lucas Arellano, Jason Wates, Hope Arellano, Amy Cortazar,

Photo by Pam Gleason

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Southeastern Circuit Women's Challenge 0-8 Goal (October 8 - 13) Winners El Cedro Azul: Kylie Sheehan, Virginia Gwinn, Alea Crespo, Jenna Davis

Southeastern Circuit Women's Challenge 8-14 Goal (October 8 - 13)

Winners Midstate Roofing: Kylie Sheehan, Hope Arellano, Robyn Leitner, Reagan Leitner Most Valuable Player: Malia Bryan Best Playing Pony: Miley owned by Robyn Leitner

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Southeastern Circuit Players Cup (October 24 - November 3)

Winners Core Realty: Agustin Arellano, Andrew Baldwin, Connor Deal, Kylie Sheehan Most Valuable Player: Connor Deal Best Playing Pony: Canella owned by Jesus Ontiveros

Southeastern Circuit Masters Cup (October 15 - 20)

Winners Brookland Plantation: Luis Galvan, Charlie Hutchinson IV, Thomas Ravenel, Dennys Santana Most Valuable Player: Luis Galvan

Anna Hale shoots on goal.

Photo by Pam Gleason

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Reagan Leitner, Robyn Leitner, Kylie Sheehan, Hope Arellano.

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Left; Cecelia Cochran. Above: Meghan Okerlund Below Left: Jack Whitman on the ball; Below Right: Louis Berizzi

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Above: Reagan Leitner; Alan Hale Below: Chilo Cordova; Jewel Gregoncza

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Above: Nate Berube Below: Scott Brown

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Spectator Style

Gearing Up For The Sidelines By Outside Rein

In the 1990 film Pretty Woman, the actress Julia Roberts’ character turned heads during a polo outing wearing a brown and white polka dot dress. Thirty years later, her iconic outfit continues to inspire countless reproductions. Roberts herself even revived a version of the ensemble last fall, attending the West Coast Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in an identically patterned jumpsuit. That Roberts chose a more relaxed version in real life is evidence that polo today has moved toward a more easygoing vibe. Until a century ago, social norms required one to dress formally for public appearances. However, Hollywood stars and intrepid adventurers began to glamorize sportswear in the 1920s, and golf, tennis, and equestrian sports were especially influential. Many elements of traditional riding gear—such as stock ties and saddlebags—have endured over the decades, inspiring designers to emulate the “equestrian look,” and supplying non-riders with a coveted trend. Even Western wear has become a symbol of widespread American culture, and one no longer needs to possess livestock to don a ten-gallon hat. In Aiken, a historic horse town that touts a comeas-you-are casualness, the classic riding outfit meets the dress code for nearly any occasion. Many horse enthusiasts agree—an appealing aspect of the 37

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equestrian lifestyle is attire that is as practical as it is attractive. These sensibilities have informed the way that Aikenites turn out for social events. For proof, simply drop into the lobby of Aiken’s favorite inn, The Willcox, at day’s end. There you will find an assembly of riders comfortably at ease in well-worn breeches or jeans and cowboy boots. Of course, Aiken is also well known for polo, which draws a crowd not only for its dramatic display of adrenaline, but also for its broad range of spectator style. Polo blends a relaxed mix of tastes and traditions, and on Aiken’s celebrated Whitney Field, onlookers tailgate in sport coats or sundresses, joined by fans in ball caps and boots. In an atmosphere where anything goes—shorts suits, anyone?—polo enthusiasts don’t have to choose between fashion and fun! With that in mind, here are some ideas for chukker-worthy outfits, whether one is competing for the Best Dressed Award or planning to hit the trails post-match. Most of these essentials have stood the test of time, and are intentionally fuss-free for those who prefer to dress up by dressing down.

An “updated” polo shirt The all-purpose polo shirt is as common on the racquet court as it is the morning commute. In recent years, apparel manufacturers have honed in on the polo, modifying it for greater comfort and a more flattering fit. By combining the softness of a tee with a tailored collar and incorporating chambray detailing, vintage placards, and garment dyes, this go-to becomes a bit less humdrum. (For more about the polo shirt, including a brief history, refer to page 40.)

Tack-inspired accessories Boots, shoes, and sandals with an equestrian flair are an easy way to add a fashionable spring to one’s step. Look for styles adorned with subtle nods to the craftsmanship of riding gear, such as ornamental leather stitching, horsehair, and the metalwork of spurs, bits, and stirrups. Belts also add a colorful and creative touch, with surcingles, breastplates, and repurposed reins serving as a literal reinterpretation of everyday tack. Elastic surcingle belts are versatile enough to cinch the waist of a dress, or rest on the hips, and are available in bright colors and prints. Braided leather belts resemble reins and can be found in almost any tack shop.

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Sundresses and shirts with equestrian prints

Many contemporary lifestyle brands borrow from the whimsical repeat pattern that is common with equestrian scarves such as the iconic bridle leather and horse bit motif. In a more playful display of equestrian spirit, it is not hard to find horses prancing across shift dresses and cap sleeve tees.

Show-shirt blouses Equestrian show shirts often feature elegant details such as fabric buttons, gathered necklines and cuffs, and even a tad of bling. These blouses look sharp with jeans and a jacket or a simple skirt, with the added bonus of breathable, stretch material, and are often spotted far from the competitive riding arena.

Flattering Breeches A pair of vintage English jodhpurs are always in style. One can procure an original design on eBay or Etsy, or opt for trousers that adopt the silhouette of modern day riding breeches—a fitted contour with textured or leather knee patches and a narrow ankle. This popular style continues to be revived by fast-fashion and high-end brands alike.

A jumper coat with pizzazz If one were to splurge on a single item for routine spectating, a structured show coat is a wise investment. Like show shirts, coats are made to be durable and lightweight. They allow for freedom of movement, and lend just the right amount of polish, even when finishing off worn jeans and a favorite t-shirt. Sporty show coats in unconventional hues with contrasting accents, hidden zippers, and signature stitching are apt to invite conversation and approval from riders! Aiken Polo Club 2020

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Polo Shirt

History

If ever there was an item of clothing so ubiquitous that it transcends cultures, occupations, and athletic pursuits, it is the polo shirt. While its history is rooted in equestrian polo, the shirt itself has come to define a conventionally preppy way of dressing. It is equally at home in the office as on the sports field.

It’s a fair assumption that every American owns some version of a polo, since it satisfies a broad range of everyday dress code requirements. The neat, collared silhouette is a familiar uniform for many workplace environments. It is mandatory in several organized sports, and is often an acceptable option when social settings call for a bit of sprucing up. No matter the circumstances, the polo’s practical design delivers a unique level of comfort; many technical fabrics are breathable yet durable, while an upturned collar protects the neck from the sun. Today, they are as common among spectators on the sidelines as they are on players on the field. A brief timeline of the polo shirt from utilitarian appeal to an iconic American look: 1800s: In the early 19th century, British soldiers in Manipur, India, adopted the native sport of polo, and brought the activity back to England where it was quickly embraced by the royals and elites. The sport continued to spread globally, and by 1890 the polo was firmly planted in North America. At this time, players wore heavy cotton shirts with wide collars, which they often pinned down to keep them from flapping. Brooks Brothers soon developed “The Original Button-Down Polo Shirt,” an article very similar to the modern dress shirt. 1920s: After seeing a friend play tennis in a buttondown polo shirt, the French tennis star Jean René Lacoste commissioned a tailor to make a similar

item for himself. He won the 1926 U.S. National Championships wearing one of these shirts, and it was a hit. Lacoste’s shirt was a short-sleeved pullover complete with a flexible collar and constructed of breathable, durable pique cotton. The polo community adopted the updated style, and were the first to pop their collars to protect their necks from the sun. 1930s: The Lacoste brand was born, offering the tennis shirt to the masses. However, the design was so popular in the polo community that by the 1940s the term “polo shirt” was the preferred moniker. 1950s: Lacoste began to manufacture polo shirts in a variety of colors. As the company expanded its base into high-end department stores in the United States, the shirt became “the status symbol of the competent sportsman,” a position that was solidified when President Dwight Eisenhower donned one for a game of golf. 1970s: Ralph Lauren, a young designer, named his casual-wear brand “Polo,” alluding to the lifestyle embodied by the sport of kings. He included a version of the polo shirt in his line, officially labeling it as such. The shirt and brand quickly became synonymous with the prestige of the polo lifestyle. 1980-90s: The United States Polo Association launched a licensing program to manage its trademarks, branding polo shirts and apparel that fused the polo lifestyle with the actual sport. At the same time, the shirt was adopted by industry as an informal business uniform, often including a brand’s name and logo for marketing purposes. With this final brick laid, the polo shirt was solidified as a versatile and universal staple for anyone’s wardrobe.

Outside Rein is a service with a unique point of view, delivering a variety of equine related topics to your inbox every Friday: from bespoke gifts and barn hacks to pro tips and post-chore cocktails, because riding is fifty percent glamour and fifty percent grit! Sign up at www.outsiderein.com. 40

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Pictured above: Agustin Arellano Aiken Polo Club 2020

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Gary Knoll Photography Pam Gleason

Above: Jake Brown; Liv Berube ahead of Omar Cepeda Below: Lucas Arellano goes for the hook on Michael Bradford.

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Above: Charlie Hutchinson ahead of Agustin Arellano Below:Virginia Gwinn tries to hook Jewel Gregoncza

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Painting Polo is her

Passion

By Nancy Johnson Images courtesy of the artist

Melinda Brewer’s Art

“I’m not a polo player – not at all!” says Melinda Brewer. “I think I’ve sat in a polo saddle and lifted a mallet maybe twice in my life and that’s about it. But I think the horses that do it are just so unique. My horse wouldn’t do it and neither would any of my friends’ horses,” she adds with a laugh. Despite her self-proclaimed spectator status, Melinda is clearly one of the country’s most talented and respected painters of polo ponies. She recalls, “I first became fascinated with polo about 20 years ago. First, it was the horses themselves that intrigued me and it became my project and just kind of took over. I just wanted to document all the great horses that do this sport.” Melinda grew up as a typical “barn rat” riding ponies. Although she never was much on showing, she enjoyed bringing along young hunter/jumpers for many years; currently she trail rides on her draft

I just wanted to document all the great horses that do this sport. cross that reminds her of “a giant pony” near her home in Quebec. Over the years, people have repeatedly asked Melinda why she paints a little niche market of polo horses when there are so many other disciplines. “It’s really a tiny world in comparison to other disciplines like hunter/jumpers, dressage or Quarter horses,” she confirms, “but polo ponies are really pretty special athletes. It takes a certain kind of horse to do that job at the upper levels. They are as special as racehorses; they have that kind of competitiveness and dignity.”

Melinda first saw polo played at the Montreal Polo Club. She started out painting the sport: players and ponies. She soon ventured to tournaments in Florida during the winters “Because that’s where everyone told me the ‘real’ polo was played.” She has returned every year since 1994. Now, she typically goes to Florida for three weeklong trips, in February, March, and April for tournaments during high goal season. After she began attending matches in Florida, Melinda changed the focus of her paintings, shifting away from documenting the action in the game. “I quickly found that there are a lot of really great photographers that can do that job way better than I could do,” she says. In addition, she found it difficult to determine what the pros would consider a good action scene. “It’s a very technical sport in some ways and the way they see themselves

One of Melinda’s few classic polo paintings with a rider, The Hook.

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and interpret what is a good shot versus not a good shot, is really personal,” she explains. “I quickly found myself at the trailers and observing the horses at the sidelines, watching the grooms and getting a sense of who these horses were that played this sport. I really got away from putting men on horses and painted just the horses,” Melinda says. Each horse is an individual to her. “They all are different, they all have their own personality and I try to capture that in every painting.” “Sometimes I don’t even know the score of the game because I get so caught up in seeing who is riding what horse, or watching what the grooms are doing,” Melinda says. “It’s just fascinating and so different than any other discipline. I think part of that is because you can be so close to it. That makes it a very welcoming sport. You get the whole vibration of the sport.” Commissions comprise much of Melinda’s current work. She has completed over 200 in the past two decades. “I go to see the horse if I can. And when I do so, they give me an idea of who they are in just minutes. Most times, horses have a distinct look; sort of how they perceive their world. I try to capture that look. I really like classic portraitures so I try to see their most natural expression and pose. It happens pretty quickly, when you take them outside to take pictures they normally will be who they are,” she says. When she creates portraits, sometimes Melinda paints the horse with nothing on, sometimes with a halter, and sometimes with tack. “I kind of like tack on a horse. The tack sometimes describes who they are.” Melinda admits that one of the things that most intrigues her about polo is the tack. “The tack is fascinating. There is lots and lots of tack! And I learned early on to ask the question about why a noseband is a certain way or what a particular piece is on one horse and not another.” After years of painting some of the most famous polo ponies, Melinda decided to celebrate, with portraits, the best playing ponies – those that win awards. “I wanted to document these ponies because there was no record of them. All the famous racehorses are recorded, but no one knows who all these phenomenal polo ponies are. So I took it on as a project, which then led to me making an annual book of the portraits with a little written detail about the horses,” she says. The book, Polostars, is now in its 14th year. In publishing the book, Melinda has developed a strong Top: Shine is a painting of a very well-bred famous polo pony, Los Machitos Jazzita. Middle: This painting of Macarena, a multiple award winner in 2018, was featured as the cover of one of Melinda’s polo books. Botton: Melinda’s entry in the current exhibition at the American Academy of Equine Arts, Green Grass.

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relationship with the Museum of Polo and has donated a number of portraits to their Polo Hall of Fame. In the annual book she includes information about the individual horses, such as breeding, who rode them and what team they played on, to create a historical record. “I work hand in hand with the museum,” Melinda says. From the relationship the with museum creating Polostars, Melinda began publishing another annual book four years ago, Polo Art. Describing it she says, “It features the ponies, but also polo art. The publication is available at various shows; they really are more art pieces than books.” Painting for the books and commissions is all encompassing for Melinda. “I paint pretty much six days a week, except when I am traveling,” she says. “But I still write and sketch when I travel.” She paints predominantly in watercolor. “I can paint in oil, but I don’t do it often and I’ve kind of gotten away from it because I can do watercolor in my quiet little studio on a table; whereas oils require more lighting and space. It really comes down to time.” Recently Melinda’s painting, Green Grass, was displayed at the prestigious 2020 American Academy of Equine Arts’ Juried Exhibition which took place at the Aiken Center for the Arts on Laurens Street. She recalls her inspiration for this painting, “It was just a lovely quiet moment where two ponies, which had just played, were being cooled off with a bath. The groom had both ponies in hand, and just left them to graze while the water ran over them.” Melinda has visited Aiken many times, usually en route to or from Florida. “Aiken is one of my favorite horse towns, especially because my other weakness besides polo ponies is hounds and I love painting the Whiskey Road Foxhounds. It’s their faces, their markings; I love everything about them!” Equine Divine (also on Laurens Street) regularly has some select originals and prints of Melinda Brewer’s work available for sale.

Top: String of Greys was a commission that Melinda executed, having never met the horses, and working only from photos. Middle: Neck and Neck depicts the true heart and spirit of competitive polo ponies. Melinda Brewer and her beloved Labradors.

To learn more about Melinda and her work see mbrewerfineart.com.

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Above: Gary Knoll; Jim Deal and Anna Hale; Below: Father daughter ride off: Alan and Anna Hale

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A Polo Timeline By Pam Gleason

The sport of polo is at least 2600 years old. We’ve been playing in Aiken since 1882. How does Aiken fit into polo history? The following timeline provides a guide. The Birth of Polo, circa 600 BCE Exactly when was the first game of polo? No one knows for sure. Most historians agree that the game was popular in Central Asia by the sixth century BCE. Over the next two thousand years, it spread to China, Japan and India, and polo players, equipment and games are featured in the art of those countries. Polo occasionally crops up in traditional history, too. For instance, Alexander the Great of Macedonia (356-323 BCE) was said to be an enthusiastic player. The medieval Turkish Emperor, Sultan Qutb al-Din Aibak was killed in 1210 when he fell from his horse during a game, and became impaled on the pommel of his saddle. There may have been many different forms of ancient polo. Some forms were fast and aggressive contact sports that prepared men for battle. Others were more about skillfully hitting the ball. Art and legends from the early period into the Middle Ages make it clear that polo was enjoyed by women as well as men. One Persian legend from the middle ages tells the love story of King Khusrau and his wife Queen Shirin, who lived in the seventh century. According to the poet Nizami, before they 58

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were married, Shirin attracted the king’s attention by organizing a polo game in front of his palace with 100 of her handmaidens. It worked: The king and his courtiers were intrigued and came down to join them, and the rest is history.

The Birth of the Modern Era 1850-1876 By the 19th century, polo was firmly established in India, especially in Manipur, a state in the northeast. There, British tea planters encountered the game during the 1850s, and soon took it up themselves. In 1859, they formed the Silchar Polo Club, which was the first organized polo club in the world. Ten years later, England’s first public game between the 10th Hussars and the 9th Lancers took place on Hounslow Heath in London. The teams had eight to a side, and the players, full grown men, were mounted on 12.2 hand ponies imported from Ireland. Within a few years, polo was a popular sport in England and Ireland. In 1873, the


Hurlingham Club, an exclusive sports and social club in London, published the first official rules of the game, and other clubs soon adopted these rules as their own. From England, polo spread throughout the lands of the British Empire. In the spring of 1876, it came to the United States in the luggage of James Gordon Bennett, an eccentric millionaire newspaper publisher. At least, he brought the balls and the mallets in his luggage. The horses came to New York City from Texas. The new American players were Bennett’s friends, who bought the horses from him at 20 dollars apiece. They began to play regularly at Dickel’s Riding Academy, an indoor riding hall on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. That summer, the game moved to the infield of Jerome Park Racetrack in Westchester County, and America’s first club, the Westchester Club, was born. Polo action continued on the field at Jerome Park, as well as on fields in Newport, Rhode Island.

1882 Polo Comes to Aiken In the spring of 1882, Captain Clarence Southerland Wallace, a New Yorker and an executive in the Havemeyer Sugar Company (now Domino sugar) organized Aiken’s first game. According to the March 27, 1882 edition of the Charleston News and Courier, the game was a gala affair attended by about 10,000 spectators. “Gay parties of ladies and gentlemen mounted on prancing steeds dashed over the countryside enjoying the delightful surroundings . . . . Sumptuous luncheons were served. . .The crack military company the Aiken Palmetto Rifles, entertained with dress parades, but all this paled in significance before the brilliant and successful introduction of James Gordon Bennett’s popular national game, polo. It has caused a great sensation and revolutionized the city as far as amusements are concerned.” That first game was played on Whitney Field, the same field that we play on today. This makes Whitney Field the oldest continuously played-upon polo field in North America. Although games would eventually be standardized to have four players to a side, polo games in the early days in Aiken were often played three, or even two to a side. After its first gala game, Aiken’s early polo matches often earned brief mentions in the local paper: Aiken Reds defeat Aiken Blues, for instance

1890 Polo Association Formed In 1890, the Polo Association, later to become the United States Polo Association, was formed in New York. The first chairman, H.L. Herbert, came up with the idea of assigning handicaps to keep teams even and provide for better sport. Founding members included Thomas Hitchcock Sr., who had learned to play while a student at Oxford, and was one of America’s first 10-goal players. Hitchcock represented the United States in its first international polo match, the Westchester Cup against England in 1886.

1891 Louise Eustis marries Thomas Hitchcock Louise Eustis, born in 1867, and orphaned in 1872, grew up spending her winters in Aiken with her aunt and guardian Celestine Eustis. In 1891, she married Thomas Hitchcock, who was a friend of her older brothers’ on Long Island, where they spent the summer months. “Loulie” loved Aiken, and persuaded her new husband to winter there with her. Not wanting to leave behind the sporting society he had helped build Aiken Polo Club 2020

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on Long Island, Hitchcock brought it with him. The Hitchcocks convinced many of their friends to come to Aiken from December through March. Aiken was already a fashionable winter resort town, but under the influence of the Hitchcocks it became a golfing Mecca (Thomas was a founder of the Palmetto Golf Club in 1892) and a foxhunting and polo town. One of Thomas Hitchcock’s best friends was the sportsman W.C. Whitney. Together, Whitney and Hitchcock bought up thousands of acres. This included the site of today’s Hitchcock Woods and Whitney Polo Field. In 1901, they established the Whitney Trust, “for the promotion of all kinds of sports and pastimes in the city.” Whitney Field was put into this trust; so was the Palmetto Golf Course and the Court Tennis building downtown.

1916: Winter Colony Flourishes In 1916, The Aiken Winter Colony had its “best year yet” according to the Aiken Standard and Review. World War I was brewing overseas, and New York sportsmen who might have traveled to England to go foxhunting for the winter season wanted to stay stateside instead. Aiken was the perfect destination, and the Winter Colony was “practically crowded.” In this year, the Hitchcocks founded the Aiken Hounds, and the Aiken Horse Show made its first appearance. Louise Hitchcock also started Aiken Prep School, which would become an important training ground for America’s young players. Aiken Prep had a polo program overseen by the indomitable Captain William Gaylard. Loulie Hitchcock had her own junior polo programs too, for girls as well as for boys.

1920s -1930s Golden Age of American Polo By the early 1920s, many of the young players who had first picked up mallets as children in Aiken’s junior polo programs were growing up, ushering in the “Golden Age” of American polo. Graduates of Aiken’s junior programs included top names in the sport, such as Thomas and Loulie’s son Tommy Hitchcock, who won both the Junior and the Senior Championship at the age of 16 and went on to become the most famous 10-goal polo player of his (and perhaps of any) time.

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and culminated in two polo matches on Whitney Field. The first of these matches was a recreation of the first game at Aiken. Players and spectators dressed up in 1880s costumes, complete with long sideburns and top hats for the men and bustles and corsets for the women. It was, according to the Aiken Standard, “Such a day and such an occasion as Aiken has never seen before and may never see again.”

1940s -1970s War and Beyond

Aiken junior polo graduates who would make a name for themselves in the sport included Polo Hall of Fame members Elbridge Gerry and Alan Corey Jr. (both 9-goals), 8-goalers Pete Bostwick, Norty Knox and Philip and Stewart Iglehart. In the late 1920s, Aiken’s young players formed the “Old Aiken” team (Elbridge Gerry, Jimmy Mills, Stewart Iglehart and John Rathbone) a squad of under-20-year olds that won a string of national tournaments. By the 1930s, polo on Aiken’s fields had reached the highest levels. Regular players included such international 10-goalers as Devereux Milburn, Harry Payne Whitney, Cecil Smith, Louis Stoddard, Stewart Iglehart, Michael Phipps and Malcolm Stevenson. Polo fields proliferated:

by the middle of the 30s, there were 14 fields within city limits. There were games every day, and sometimes twice a day. Aiken was often the place where selectors would hold tryouts for international teams. The most talked-about polo event of the 1930s was Aiken Polo’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1932. The Golden Anniversary started with a huge parade through town 61

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Recognized polo events were canceled during World War II, but Aiken still had some youth games and women’s games to raise money for war bonds. When combat ended, polo returned to Aiken’s fields, but without the fervor of the old days. Aiken lost several players in the war, most notably the 8-goaler Charles von Stade, who was killed in action in Germany in 1945 and 10-goal legend Tommy Hitchcock, who was killed in a plane crash while serving with the United States Army Air Forces in England in 1944. Post-war polo in Aiken relied on a smaller group of dedicated players. These included members of the Knox family, who, along with Lewis Smith, Pete Bostwick and Alan Corey Jr. made up the core of the players. Captain Gaylard, still the riding master at Aiken Prep, could be counted on to umpire Sunday games. Polo was still played at a high level: Whitney Field Sunday games were generally at the 20 goal level, and competition was fierce.


1980s Polo Revival By the dawn of the 1980s the club needed new blood. The core Knox-Corey-Bostwick group was aging and there were not enough members of the next generation playing in Aiken to carry the torch forward. Pete Bostwick a former 8-goaler, now in his 70s, was the mainstay of the club, often accompanied by his talented sons Charlie and Ricky. Pete Bostwick was legendary as a polo player, as well as a flat and steeplechase jockey and trainer. He died of a coronary on a Florida polo field in early 1982, just short of Aiken Polo’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Aiken’s Centennial in 1982 was a gala, weeklong affair, complete with parades, house tours, polo exhibits, fashion shows and fireworks. There were two main polo events during this week. The first was the 16-goal America’s Cup Polo Tournament and the second was the Centennial game, another recreation of Aiken’s first game, played as it was in 1932, in old-fashioned costumes and with antiquated rules. Following the Polo Centennial, the Aiken Polo Club was reorganized with the help of a grant from the Polo Centennial Committee. The club actively recruited new players from Aiken’s equestrian community and started a junior league to bring up young players in the sport. With new bylaws and a new crop of players, the club re-established a firm base for the future. It also became a 501c3 charitable organization whose mission is to promote and preserve the playing of polo on Aiken’s historic fields.

1990s-2000s Growth of the Sport In the 1990s, polo was on the upswing in Aiken and both the quantity and the quality of polo in the city improved. Homegrown young players matured into serious competitors and Aiken began to host an increasing number of tournaments, bringing more players to Aiken, which became established as a spring and fall polo destination. Many of these players, attracted by the historic fields and the quiet atmosphere of the city, bought their own homes and farms in the area. Located halfway between Florida and the northern clubs, Aiken was a convenient stopping point and an excellent place for professionals to make the transition from their winter to their summer strings. In addition to offering polo at all levels, Aiken had numerous turn-out facilities where horses could spend some down time before going off to play their next season. By the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, at least 60 professional players had established permanent Aiken bases. Many more amateur players joined them. Aiken was, once again, the place to be. 62

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Aiken Polo Pavilion, 2014 Sunday matches at Aiken Polo Club have always attracted a large crowd. Traditionally, spectators tailgated at their cars on the sidelines. When there was an important match, the club would erect a tent on the side of the field near the announcer’s stand for catered parties. In the first decade of the 20th century, Aiken Polo Club began offering social memberships and these tent parties became a weekly affair. By 2010, the Sunday tent was such a beloved institution that Aiken Polo Club decided to construct a fieldside viewing pavilion. At the time, there were just two permanent structures on the field: the scoreboard and the announcer’s tower, which was old and in need of updating and repair. Alan Corey, III, a longtime player at Aiken Polo Club and a member of its board of directors, led the campaign to build a pavilion that would incorporate a new announcer’s stand as well as a shaded area from which to enjoy the game. Working with the Whitney Trust, which owns the field, as well as with the City of Aiken, Alan secured the funding and shepherded the project through all the planning and approval stages. There was a groundbreaking ceremony on June 8, 2014 and construction started immediately and went on through the summer. The pavilion was ready to be used in the fall of 2014. The next part of the project was to raise money for the club through the sale of memorial bricks that line the pavilion’s floor. Tragically, Alan was unable to see through this final part of the project: he died as the result of a heart attack during the first practice of the spring season in 2015. After this, the pavilion, now the Alan Lyle Corey III Pavilion, was dedicated in his honor. The memorial brick campaign is ongoing. With a new viewing pavilion, Aiken Polo Club was ready to face the future. One way the club started looking ahead was to revive instructional and youth polo. Today, young players who started as small children four or five years ago, are an active and important part of the club, ensuring that Whitney Field will continue to thrive for many years to come. For more information on the brick campaign or to make a tax deductible contribution to the club, please visit our website: aikenpolo.org. Aiken Polo Club 2020

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Nat i o na l Yo u t h To u r n a m e n t Players came from up and down the East Coast for the National Youth Tournament Aiken Qualifier. Below: All Stars from the Aiken Qualifier: Sophie Grant, Summer Kneece, Aiden Meeker, Harry Caldwell, Hope Arellano, Charlie Caldwell, Malia Bryan, Winston Painter, Ian Schnoebelen.

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Three sets of twins: Sophie and Maddie Grant, Charlie and Harry Caldwell, Robyn and Reagan Leitner.

Above: Winston Painter ahead of Summer Kneece Below: Charlie Caldwell backs the ball: Lexi Wright goes for the hook

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Above: Ian Schnoebelen on the ball; Virginia Gwinn follows him up. Below: Summer Kneece with her Best Playing Pony Aplicada

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Above: Aiken Meeker; Below: Harry Caldwell

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Above: Del Walton shoots on goal; Kylie Sheehan makes the shot Below: Thomas Ravenel tries to ride off Jack Whitman

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Above: Mandeep Singh ; Josh Escapite Below: Luis Galvan

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Gary Knoll Photography

Above: Pam Gleason Below: Allison Patricelli

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Above: Amy Fraser; Katy Escapite Below: Lucas Arellano

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Above: Robyn Leitner goes to goal from midfield; Justin Baisch scores Below: Omar Cepeda; Alea Crespo

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Remembering Aiken Players: Marjorie LeBoutillier By Pam Gleason

I

f players and spectators at Aiken polo matches have learned anything in recent years, it is not to discount young female players. The rise in youth polo, especially at Aiken Polo Club, has meant that many more young women are getting into the game. Despite their generally smaller size, many of these players have proven themselves on the field, besting teams of older, larger and stronger riders. At first glance this seems

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like it must be a new phenomenon in the city, where just a few decades ago there were few women players. But if you go back and read the newspapers from the 1920s and 1930s, you will discover that it is not. In fact, Aiken Polo Club has a long history as a hotbed of women players. Most Aiken equestrians know of Louise (Lulie) Hitchcock, one of the founders of the


Aiken Winter Colony. She is best known as the longtime Master of the Aiken Hounds, but she was also a polo player, as well as the wife and mother of two 10-goal players (Thomas and Tommy Hitchcock.) Her biggest influence on the game was as a coach, teacher and organizer of polo for young people. There were youth teams that played at Aiken Prep School (for boys) and the Fermata School (for girls.) Players included the future stars of the Golden Age of American polo: 10-goalers Tommy Hitchcock and Stewart Iglehart among others. There was also an enthusiastic and dedicated contingent of young women who played. The standout among these was Marjorie LeBoutillier. Marjorie, born in 1916, was the younger daughter of Thomas LeBoutillier,Jr. and Florence Stevenson LeBoutillier. Like many members of the Aiken Winter Colony, the LeBoutilliers were New Yorkers with a home on Long Island. They spent their winters in Aiken, indulging in all sorts of outdoor activities. The LeBoutilliers were a gifted athletic family. Thomas LeBoutillier, a Yale graduate who competed as a sports shooter at the 1908 London Olympics, was an avid polo player. Florence LeBoutillier, whose father founded a brewery in New York and made a fortune, grew up around horses. Although she did not appear to play polo herself, both her brothers did – one of them was the 10-goaler Malcolm Stevenson, a member of the renowned “Big Four” polo team that dominated the international polo scene in the early part of the 20th century. Both LeBoutillier daughters,

Marjorie and her older sister Florence, attended the Fermata school in Aiken. Natural athletes like their parents, they were talented at racket sports such as tennis and squash, and these skills easily transferred to polo when they picked up the sport. In fact, Marjorie, who was playing polo before she hit her teen years, was a standout from the start. In 1928, a society writer named Grace Robinson wrote a story about the equestrian scene in Aiken for Liberty magazine. She was greatly impressed by all the horse activities, but most especially by the polo players. “Girls’ polo is one of the usual features of Aiken,” she wrote. “Marjorie LeBoutillier,

“Little Boot has made the grade. She’s now allowed – even invited – to play with men.” only eleven years old, is one of the fastest players.” Marjorie and other young women used to play two or three times a week in Aiken, sometimes in all female games, and sometimes on mixed teams. In addition to Mrs. Hitchcock, their coaches included the well-known umpire and instructor Captain Gaylard, as well as the brilliant international 10-goaler, Devereux Milburn. In the summers, they played at the Meadowbrook Club on Long Island and at the Point Judith Polo Club on Narragansett Pier in Rhode Island.

The majority of the young women who played in the late 1920s and early 1930s in Aiken eventually gave up the sport, many of them hanging up their mallets after getting married. But this was not the case with Marjorie LeBoutillier. Throughout her teen years and into her early 20s, her name appears with some regularity in the newspapers, which covered polo as a society sport. She played in all women’s games, and, when those were hard to come by, she joined the men in high goal practices. “Gals Too Soft to Go for Polo So “Little Boot” Plays it Solo,” declared a 1935 headline above an article about Marjorie’s polo exploits. “Little Boot has made the grade. She’s now allowed – even invited – to play with men,” started the article, which went on to describe her athletic prowess, and included a photo of her smiling as she enters a polo clubhouse, dressed in a long coat over boots and spurs. “Men only,” is painted clearly on the door. Marjorie played cut-in games with the ten-goalers – Cecil Smith, Louis Stoddard, Stewart Iglehart – and was known as the Tommy Hitchcock of women’s polo. She didn’t have her own horses, but used to borrow them from her uncle Malcolm Stevenson or from Stoddard and Iglehart. In the summer of 1935, she was a surprise participant in an otherwise all male polo match, playing with the Lawrence team at the Woodmere Club on Long Island: it had been rumored that the opposing team had been planning to recruit her, too, but Lawrence had beaten them to it. It would not be the last Aiken Polo Club 2020

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time that she was invited to play in otherwise all-male matches, at which she acquitted herself brilliantly, scoring goals and propelling her team to the trophy table. Contemporary newspaper articles about these matches often noted that she played and scored, but did not, for the most part, make any comment about a woman playing in a sport that was officially reserved for men. She seems to have been widely accepted. Meanwhile, organized women’s polo was growing rapidly, especially in California and Texas, where there were many women’s teams. In 1934, a group of clubs in California formed the Pacific Coast Women’s Polo Association, which later became the United States Women’s Polo Association. The California women did quite a lot of traveling, playing against women’s clubs in Texas, and eventually coming East to challenge the New York women. By the summer of 1937, there were enough women playing on Long Island to make up a good squad. Marjorie, who was rated 8 goals in the USWPA book, was the captain of the Long Island Freebooters, while Ann Jackson, who was the president of the USWPA, captained the California Ramblers. The teams met on the field at Bethpage State Park, where Marjorie’s team won three straight matches. The final game was a squeaker with the Freebooters tallying in overtime, 7-6. “A crowd of 6,000, the largest of the season for Bethpage State Park witnessed the game,” according to an article in the New York Times. ( July 12, 1937.) “Marjorie LeBoutillier was outstanding.” A small photograph of Miss LeBoutillier and Mrs. Jackson shaking hands before the match hit the wire services and appeared in daily newspapers around the country. In 1938, Marjorie married the 10-goaler Stewart 84

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Iglehart. Iglehart, who had played with and against her since childhood and often lent her horses, was very accustomed to women players. In fact, his mother, Aida E.M. Birrell Iglehart, who was born in Chile, was also a polo player. According to an announcement in the New York Times, the couple were married in Marjorie’s mother’s home on Long Island. (Her father had died of a cerebral hemorrhage while playing polo in 1929.) “Both are polo players” read the subhead to the announcement, going on to explain that after the ceremony the couple were on their way to California. Why? To play polo of course. Both of them. After her wedding, Marjorie continued to reign as the foremost woman player on the East Coast. Her marriage to Iglehart did not last, however. They had a son, Stewart Jr., and then were divorced in 1946. Two years later she married again, this time to Daniel McElroy, an assistant vice president of J.P. Morgan & Co. Daniel, like Marjorie, was a champion amateur squash player. They had a son, John. And what about polo? World War II disrupted the sport everywhere, and many of the old clubs were never revived. The ones that did come back after the war were generally quieter. Times changed. Within a short period, most people seemed to forget the long history of women polo players, and most clubs did not allow women to play. It wasn’t until 1973 that the United States Polo Association finally admitted women as members, and finally, in the late 1980s, most clubs in the country would let them play. Today, women are the fastest growing segment of the United States Polo Association, and here in Aiken, there is a new crop of accomplished young women on the field. Like Marjorie LeBoutillier, these women were practically born with a mallet in their hands and they have an inborn passion for the game. They seem destined to carry on her forgotten legacy.


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Polo Glossary

Bump: A player may ride his horse into his opponent’s in order to spoil his shot or remove him from the play. The angle of the bump must be no greater than 45 degrees. A bump is dangerous riding and a foul if either horse is significantly ahead of the other, going much faster than the other, or if the bump causes either mount to lose its balance. Chukker:

A period in polo is called a chukker, or sometimes a chukka. Each chukker lasts seven to seven and a half minutes and there are usually either four or six chukkers in each game. After each chukker, the players leave the field and then return with fresh horses for the next chukker. A horse may play one or at most two chukkers in a game.

Divot: A loose piece of turf created by galloping hooves, or by horses stopping and turning quickly. At halftime, spectators are invited on the field to replace the divots, otherwise known as stomping the divots. Flagger: An official who is stationed behind each goal to determine whether or not a goal has been scored. If yes, the flagger waves his flag over his head. If no, he waves it down by his feet. Goal:

The purpose of polo is to score goals by hitting the ball through the goal posts. After each goal is scored, the teams switch directions and return to the center of the field for a throw-in. “Goal” is also a term for a handicap, as in “How many goals are you?” (See “Handicap”.)

Groom: The person who cares for, tacks, untacks and washes the horses during the game. Many players have fulltime grooms whose jobs may also include caring for, training and exercising the player’s horses six or seven days a week, as well as driving the truck and trailer, cleaning the tack and even polishing the player’s boots and knee pads. Handicap: Every player is assigned a handicap from C

(-2) to 10 goals. This handicap reflects the player’s theoretical

worth to his team and has nothing whatever to do with how many goals he might score during a match. On each team, the four players’ handicaps are added together to arrive at a team handicap. Team handicaps are used to classify tournaments: in a 6-goal tournament, the teams have a maximum of six goals, for instance. If a 5-goal team plays against an 6-goal team, the 5-goal team will start the game with one goal, on handicap.

Hook: A player may hook or strike at his opponent’s mallet when the opponent is in the act of hitting at the ball. He may not reach over, under or across his opponent’s horse: this is a cross hook and a foul. A high hook (above the level of the player’s shoulder) is also a foul. Knock-in: When the ball goes over the endline but not through the goal posts, the team defending that goal gets a free hit or knock-in from the point where the ball went out. Attacking players must stay 30 yards away from the hitter until the ball is in play. Line of the Ball: The imaginary line that the ball creates from where a player hits it to where it is going. The line extends indefinitely across the field. Many of the right-of-way rules in polo are based on the concept of the line of the ball. Generally, one tries not to cross the line of the ball, especially in front of someone who is on the line. Mallet: The polo stick. Since polo is not croquet

(fortunately!) players do not have to hit the ball with the pointed end of the mallet. Instead, they hit it with the side of the head, at the juncture of the head and the cane.

Near Side: The left side of the horse. One normally handles the horse on his near side. A near side shot is one taken on the left side of the horse. All players carry their mallets in their right hands, 90

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team takes a foul shot 60 yards out, parallel to the point at which the ball went out of bounds.

Sideboards: Low boards that help keep the ball from going out of bounds. These boards help keep the ball on the field and in play. Horses may (and do) jump over the boards regularly without interrupting the play.

Sudden Death: If the score is tied at the end of regulation play, the game goes to sudden death overtime. The overtime chukker is timed just like a regular chukker, and ends either if a team scores, or at the seven-and-a-half minute mark. Tack-time: A time out that is called because one of the

players has a piece of broken equipment. Unless the player with the broken equipment is in imminent danger, tack-time is only called after the play has stopped for some other reason, such as a foul or a goal. The player is allowed to leave the field to repair or replace the broken item.

Tail shot: A back shot executed at an angle behind the horse. The opposite of a tail shot is a cut, or an open shot Technical: A penalty exacted against displays of poor so to execute a near side shot, they must lean across the horse.

Off Side: The right side of the horse. The most common shot in polo is an off side forehand, a forward shot. Penalty One: a dangerous foul that takes place near the

goal, created when a defending player attempts to stop an attacker from scoring. In a Penalty One, the team fouled gets an automatic goal. The teams do not change ends, and the ball is thrown in at the 10 yard line.

Pony:

Although they are full-sized, full-grown horses, polo mounts are called ponies. This term comes from the early modern history of polo when players really did ride ponies. Today, most are Thoroughbreds or Thoroughbred crosses.

Pony Goal: a goal that is scored by a pony kicking it in. Pony goals count just the same as goals scored by players.

Ride-off: In a ride-off, a player encourages his horse to lean into his opponent’s horse in order to keep his opponent from hitting the ball. The rider may also make contact with his opponent, but only with his shoulder. Elbowing is a foul. Safety: If a defending player hits the ball over his own endline, the umpires blow the whistle for a safety. The attacking

sportsmanship.

Third Man: The third man sits on the sidelines and watches the play carefully. It is his duty to settle disputes between umpires by giving his opinion as to whether or not a foul was committed.

Throw-In: The way a ball is put into play in a neutral

situation, such as at the beginning of the game and after a goal has been scored. The umpire lines the two teams up facing him, and then bowls the ball between them. Each team fights for possession.

Stick and Ball: practicing polo by cantering around,

hitting the ball.

Shoot-Out: If the game is tied at the end of the game and the players do not want to play a sudden death overtime chukker, or have already played one, the winner can be determined by a shoot-out. In this case, each player on each team takes a turn hitting a 40-yard foul shot. When all four players on each team have hit, the team that has scored the most goals is declared the winner by one goal. If the teams are tied, then the players hit again in turn until one team comes out ahead.

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Index of Advertisers Advanced Endodontics

13

Gypsy Belt

Aiken County Farm Supply

11

Harrison K-9

Aiken Discount Tire

87

Hutson Etherredge

46

Aiken Equine Rescue

54

Innovative Solutions

81

Aiken Pest Control

65

Ivy Cottage

66

KitFox Pediatric Dentistry

46

Aiken Saddlery

92

7

80 IFC

Aiken Training Track

30

Lazy R Farm

IBC

Aiken Vet Clinic

87

Lionel Smith

67

Aiken Youth Polo

71

MacQueen Equine Law

57

All Star Tents

16

Mellow Mushroom

65

APC Sponsors

93

Meybohm/ Sharer Dale

BC

Apollon Management

4

MidState Roofing

6

Augusta Polo Cup

9

Monetta Farrier

6

Auto Tech

88

Mr. Central

67

Banks Mill Feed

41

Museum of Polo

67

Be Fly Free

65

Outside Rein.com

71

Bee Healthy

81

Polo Adventures

81

Blanchard Equipment

36

Prime Steakhouse

45

Breeze Hill Plantation

87

Ray Massey

89

Carolina Eastern

89

Ronnie’s Hitches & Trailers

86

Cato

31

Shoemaker Irrigation

42

Charles Fliflet

89

Shoemaker Irrigation

80

Cooper Motors

55

Sullivan Turner RE

76

Creative Financial Strategies

66

210 York Salon

81

Designer Builders

43

Taylor BMW

Dumpster Depot

47

The Aiken Horse

89

Edward Jones/ Alicia Kough

44

The Alley Downtown Tap Room

47

Enviroscape

44

The Law Office of Paul V. Balducci

72

Equine Dentistry

65

The Tackeria

71

Equine Divine

41

The Willcox

56

Equine Sports Medicine

57

TownePlace Suites

76

419 Hayne

43

USC Aiken

81

Fairfield Inn

76

Walker & Co

88

Floyd & Green

13

Warner Grading

81

Frankly Vodka

5

Whiskey Alley

47

Gravatt

80

Greystone Inn

56

Aiken Polo Club 2020

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Gargantilla

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Polo Hall of Fame

A Horse to Remember By Pam Gleason

G

argantilla was born in Argentina in 1914. A striking paint with a bald face, high white socks and a white throat (gargantilla is the Spanish word for choker) she was a top pony in her native country. There, she excelled under her owner, the renowned international player Alfredo Pena Unzue. Gargantilla came to North America in the summer of 1922 with an Argentine national team. Before returning home, the Argentines sold their ponies at auction. There, the former 10-goaler and Aiken winter resident Harry Payne Whitney purchased her for $5,000, the equivalent of about $77,000 today. Whitney, then 50, was not playing much high goal polo anymore, so Gargantilla joined Devereux Milburn’s string. Milburn, also a 10-goaler, had played with Whitney for many years (they were part of the famous “Big Four” polo team) and the two were close friends. Although Gargantilla is always remembered as Milburn’s mount, it’s not clear if he ever officially owned her. Milburn played Gargantilla in important matches from 1923 through 1927. In 1923, she won the Prince 94

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Friarstown Cup, which was a trophy presented to the best playing pony in the U.S. Open. During those years, she wintered in Aiken where Milburn had a home on Magnolia Street near Whitney Field. Aside from her playing prowess, Gargantilla is best remembered for her striking looks, which definitely contributed to her reputation on the field. When a player has a horse of an unusual color, it often attracts attention. If the horse is unruly, everyone will notice. If she is brilliant, she shines even more brightly. Her beauty was immortalized in two well-known paintings, one by Franklin Voss and the other by Alfred Munnings. This February Gargantilla was inducted into the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in the “Horses to Remember” category. She joins several other horses with Aiken connections. such as Tobiana, Katrina and Ruffino, all played by the immortal Tommy Hitchcock. Other Aiken-based Hall of Fame ponies include Louis Stoddard’s Belle of All and Northrup Knox’s Ragamuffin and Rotallen.


Profile for Aiken Horse Productions

Aiken Polo Club 2020  

The Aiken Polo Club annual magazine and yearbook.

Aiken Polo Club 2020  

The Aiken Polo Club annual magazine and yearbook.

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