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Aiken Polo Club 2018

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Aiken Polo Club 2018


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12.47 acres of equestrian bliss. 5 BR 3.5 BA home & 5 stall barn are located close to Aiken, Hitchcock Woods, & polo fields. Spacious rooms filled w/natural light. Eat-in kitchen w/granite counter tops. Big 1st-Flr Master Suite is elegant. 5 stall barn: tack room, garage, storage, & a beautiful barn apartment. 3 paddocks & training ring. $925,000

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Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Table of Contents Aiken Polo Club 2018 P.O. Box 3021 Aiken, SC 29802 Volume 14. Published annually

10 12 14 16 21 38 42 46 74 86 88 90

Letter from the President Polo Schedule Accommodations Guide Introduction to Polo 2017 Tournaments Why Polo? By Adam Snow Gear of the Game Historic Players Polo at USC Aiken Polo Glossary Index of Advertisers Tobiana: Tribute to a Horse

Editor & Publisher: Pam Gleason Layout & Design: Gary Knoll, Aiken Horse Productions Photography by WarhorsePhotography.com Gary Knoll Pam Gleason Unless otherwise noted, All images property of WarhorsePhotography © 2018 www.WarHorsePhotography.com WarhorsePhotography@gmail.com Special thanks to the Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame for images for “Historic Aiken” Editorial Inquiries: Aiken Polo Magazine P.O. Box 332 Montmorenci, SC 29839 803.643.9960 www.aikenpolo.org aikenpolomagazine@gmail.com Advertising Inquiries: Susie Kneece SKneece@bellsouth.net 803-646-3302 On The Cover: Geoff Cameron and Alex Lopez Photography by Gary Knoll



Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Letter from the President


elcome to the 136th consecutive year of polo on Aiken’s Whitney Field. As the oldest continuously played upon polo field in the country, Whitney Field holds a special place in America’s polo history. We are proud of that history and of the many world class players who have graced our club over the years. We welcome all players, spectators and friends of polo to help us perpetuate the Sunday polo tradition here in Aiken, the equestrian capital of South Carolina. There are many exciting things happening in the club this spring. One of the most promising developments is the success of our junior polo program, which operates under the leadership of our board member, Tiger Kneece, a former professional player. Our junior players have learned a great deal in a very short time. In just two years, our young players have gone from the beginner stage to being skilled and knowledgeable players. Over the winter, Tiger was able to field three separate interscholastic polo teams to compete on the USPA circuit: one of them even played in the Southeast regional finals. On the collegiate level, we are pleased to see that the University of South Carolina Aiken will once again have a polo team, and it looks like it will be a competitive one. This year, expect to see our junior players competing in their own games, but also filling out the rosters of our regular tournaments. Young players are always fun to watch. They often exhibit flashes of brilliance that give a hint of their potential, and also make them highly appreciated teammates. Who knows: one of them might be America’s next 10-goal player. We are happy to continue to offer refreshments under the Alan Lyle Corey III pavilion, where we hope you will make yourself at home. Polo is a social sport, and we hope that our pavilion amenities and the activities we have planned will enhance your polo experience. Whether you join us there, or prefer to have your own party on the sidelines, we hope to see you every Sunday at polo. You are an important part of our great polo tradition! 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.


Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Spring Schedule March 31

Pacers and Polo

April 13 – 22

Dogwood Cup 2 Goal

April 18 – 29

Jake Kneece Memorial 4 Goal

April 27 – May 13

USPA Sportsmanship 6 Goal

April 28-29

National Youth Tournament

May 17 – June

USPA Congressional Cup 4 Goal

May 30 – June 10

Polo Museum Cup 2 Goal

Aiken Fall Schedule


Sept 19- 30

Alan Corey Cup 4 Goal

Sept 28- Oct 14

USPA Governor’s Cup 6 Goal

Oct. 5 – 21

USPA Officer’s Cup 6 Goal

Oct 7-13

Aiken Women’s Challenge A & B Flights

Oct 17-28

USPA Player’s Cup 4 Goal

Oct 24- Nov 4

Aiken Fall Cup 2 Goal

Nov 7 -11

Family Tournament

Aiken Polo Club 2018

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Pam Gleason

Aiken Accommodations 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

Knights Inn 1850 Richland Avenue West 803-648-6821

Clarion Hotel 155 Colonial Parkway 803-648-0999

Quality Inn 3608 Richland Avenue West 803-641-1100

Country Inn & Suites 3270 Whiskey Rd. 803-649-4024

Sleep Inn 1002 Monterey Drive 803-644-9900

Econo Lodge 3560 Richland Ave. 803-649-3968

TownePlace Suites 1008 Monterey Drive (803) 641-7373

Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott 185 Colony Parkway 803-648-7808


Hampton Inn 100 Tamil Drive at Whiskey Rd. South 803-648-2525

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

Hilton Garden Inn 350 East Gate Drive 803-641-4220

Annie’s Inn Bed & Breakfast 3083 Charleston Hwy. (in Montmorenci) 803-649-6836

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


Howard Johnson’s 1936 Whiskey Rd. South 803-649-5000 Inn at Houndslake 897 Houndslake Dr. (803) 648-9535

Aiken Luxury Rentals 215 Grace Ave SE 803-648-2804 Arbor House Rental 203B Arbor Terrace 803-292-6968

Background photo: Pool, interior and front porch of The Willcox, one of Aiken’s most iconic hotels

An Introduction to Polo By Pam Gleason


eople who have never been to a polo match sometimes imagine that the game is like croquet on horseback. This would be true, if croquet were a fast-moving, physical, exciting game in which the players often found themselves hurtling along at speeds in excess of 30 miles an hour. In truth, polo is nothing like croquet. The players ride galloping horses (many of them former racehorses), and they often must lean off their mounts at top speed in death-defying attempts to strike the ball. The horses run, and the ball flies. The best players can hit it like a major league baseball player hammering a home run. The field, when it is empty, looks immense because it is. At 300 yards long and 160 yards wide, it covers the area of nine football fields. When the players are on it, however, it’s obvious why there is so much playing space- the game occupies every square yard, and the horses and the ball often come off the field, making it seem too small to contain the action.

The Basics

At its heart, polo is a simple game. Four mounted players make up a team. These players meet on a manicured grass field, each armed with a woodenheaded mallet that is generally between 51 and 53 inches long. All players are required to hold the mallet in their right hands, even if they are lefthanded. They hold the reins and control the horse with their left hands. The first objective of the game is to hit the ball (made of hard plastic and about 3½ inches in diameter) through a set of posts marking a goal 8 yards wide. The ball can go through the posts at any height. Polo is a game where geometry counts, and the parallel lines formed by the goal posts are considered to extend infinitely into space. A goal judge (flagger) on each endline is charged with determining whether a goal has been scored or not. If the ball passes between the posts, he waves his flag over his head for “yes.” If the ball goes outside the posts, or passes over the top of them, he waves his flag by his feet for “no.” The second objective of the game is to prevent


Aiken Polo Club 2018

members of the opposing team from hitting the ball and scoring. Defensive plays include “hooking” an opponent’s mallet as he or she tries to strike the ball - you can only do this if you are on the same side of your opponent’s horse as the ball, since it would be dangerous (and a foul) to reach, over, under or in front of another rider’s horse. You may also “ride off ”, which you accomplish by placing your horse next to your opponent’s and encouraging your horse to push his off course. Finally, you may “bump”, which is riding off with a bang-it is illegal to bump or ride off at an angle greater than 45 degrees, or to do anything that makes either your horse or your opponent’s horse lose balance, stumble or fall. In addition to eight players, each game also includes two mounted umpires in striped shirts who ride along with the players to ensure that everyone is adhering to the rules. Any time one of

the umpires sees something that looks like a foul, he blows his whistle, which stops the play. If the other umpire saw the same thing and agrees with him, the team that was fouled is awarded a penalty shot. If the other umpire does not think there was a foul, the two umpires ride over to the referee, who sits on the sidelines. The referee (otherwise known as the third man) decides whether a foul was committed or not.

The Play

The play begins with a line-up at the center of the field. Members of each team line up opposite members of the other team. Then one of the umpires bowls the ball between the two teams. Each team fights to gain possession and drive the ball down to the opposite goal. After each goal, the teams switch directions. If the red team scores on the east end of the field, then in the next play, red

will be trying to score on the west end of the field. Switching directions after each goal equalizes field conditions. However, it can be confusing to players and spectators alike! It often happens that a team attempting to score a goal will hit the ball over the endline instead. When this happens, there is a knock-in: the defending team is given possession of the ball on the endline and has a free hit at it. On the other hand, sometimes the team that is defending the goal accidentally hits the ball over the endline while trying to get it out of danger. When this happens, the opposing team is given a “safety” which is a free shot on goal from 60 yards out. The ball also sometimes goes over the sideboards. When this happens, spectators must resist the urge to toss it back onto the field. It used to be that when the ball went over the boards, the umpire would line both teams up for another throw in. As of January 2018, however, hitting the ball out of bounds is treated like a from the spot foul. Now, the team that hit the ball out gives the other team possession and a free hit. A polo match is divided into four or six periods called “chukkers” or “chukkas.” Each chukker consists of seven and a half minutes of playing time. The timekeeper stops the clock when a player commits a foul, or when someone hits the ball over the endline, but not when a player scores a goal. At seven minutes, the timekeeper sounds a warning bell. Play continues until a goal is scored, or 30 seconds have passed. The final chukker ends at the seven-minute mark unless the score is tied. When time is up for each chukker, the timekeeper sounds the horn. Then the players have four minutes to leave the field, change horses and come back for the next chukker. Play is continuous in polo, which means that the action starts in the second chukker at the place where it ended in the first. After the third chukker in a six-chukker match, or the second chukker in a four-chukker match, there is a longer half-time break, during which spectators are encouraged to walk out on the field to stomp the divots. Most players prefer to have a fresh horse for each chukker. As a rule, a horse can play one or two chukkers per game. This means that a player must

Aiken Polo Club 2018


have a minimum of three horses to compete in a six chukker match. At higher levels, some players use eight or ten horses in a game, jumping off one and onto another mid-chukker. Although they may decide to change horses when the clock is stopped, the umpires do not stop the clock just because one of the players is changing mounts. They also never stop the clock just because a player has dropped or broken his mallet. They may not even stop the clock if a player falls off. As long as that player is not hurt and isn’t in imminent danger of getting run over, the umpires are not required to blow their whistles, and usually don’t.

Marcos Onetto on the ball

Fair and Foul

Most of the rules in polo come from the concept of the line-of-the-ball. The line of the ball is an imaginary line that the ball creates when a player hits it. A simplified explanation of the rules is that a player must not cross this line if there is another player behind him who is “on the line” and therefore has 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 must not try to hit it at all. If a player does cross the line or commits another foul such as “high hooking” (hooking another player’s mallet when it is above the level of his shoulder), the fouled team gets to take a penalty shot. The more serious the foul, the closer this shot will be to the fouling player’s goal. Fouls that occur closer to the goal are more serious than fouls that occur further away from the goal. A minor foul might merit a hit “from the spot.” If the foul is more serious, or is repeated or deemed to be intentional 18

Aiken Polo Club 2018

or dangerous, the umpire might move the ball up to mid-field, to the 60-yard, the 40-yard or the 30-yard line. The umpire might also move the ball up if a player on the fouling team complains about the call.

The Makings of a Team

The four players on each team wear jerseys bearing a number 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 (or her) 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 cover the opposing Number 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.

The Life

Polo was once the sport of kings, played only by the wealthy. Today, the people who play have different backgrounds. People of all ages and abilities can play, and the sport does not really require vast sums of money, although money certainly helps. Polo players are not all men, either. Women are the fastest growing segment of the polo population. Sometimes women play in their own tournaments. More usually, they play with and against men. Polo is the only contact sport in which men and women regularly play together on an equal basis. Some are professionals, who make their living playing polo, teaching, or training and selling horses. Others are dedicated amateurs, who spend much of their spare time riding and playing. Whatever their level of commitment, all polo players share the special world of polo; a world with its own language, its own worries and preoccupations and its own set of celebrities. They are united by a shared passion for horses, a shared commitment to the sport, and a love for the game, which is like no other on earth.




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Aiken Polo Club 2018

Tournament Winners, Spring 2017 Jake Kneece Memorial 4 Goal

Winners: Livin the Vision: Manuel Ontiveros Lara, Matthew Fonseca. Scott Brown and Jesus Ontiveros. Barb Uskup and Pace Kneece presenting. With Barbara and Lindsay Kneece.

Left: Kylie Sheehan tries to stop a goal from Matthew Fonseca. Jake Kneece Memorial Final Aiken Polo Club 2018


Dogwood Cup 2 Goal

Runners up: Trapeze: Luis Carrion, Chilo Cordova, Richard Burkez, Dennis Freeland. Winners: Livin the Vision: Dan McCarthy, Jesus Ontiveros, Will Donahey, Scott Brown.

USPA Congressional Cup 4 Goal

Winners: Taylor BMW: Antonio Galvan, Liv Stringer, Nick Galvan, Nate Berube. Photo by George Buggs. 22

Aiken Polo Club 2018

USPA Sportsmanship Cup 6 Goal

Winners: Blackberg Ranch: Mason Sease, Chilo Cordova, Horacio Onetto, Derek Berg. With the Mellow Mushroom owners and mascot.

USPA Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame 2-Goal Winners: El Cedro Azul. Kathy Iverson, Kylie Sheehan, Gabriel Crespo, Rick Hartnett. With George and Brenda duPont from the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame. Photo by George Buggs.

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Left: Marcos Onetto & Chilo Cordova vie for the ball. Above: Cecelia Cochran ahead of Del Walton defending. Below: Amy Fraser.

Tournament Winners, Fall 2017

Alan Corey Cup: Cooper Home & Stable: JD Cooper, Lucas Arellano, Brad Limehouse, Brien Limehouse. MVP Brad Limehouse, BPP Anna ridden by Geoff Cameron owned by Tim Zekany

USPA Governor’s Cup: Hutchinson Farm: Charlie Hutchinson, Marcos Onetto, Martin Eddy, Cecelia

Cochran. MVP Marcos Onetto.


Aiken Polo Club 2018

USPA Copper Cup (Played on

New Bridge Fields): Skaneateles: Marty Cregg, Costi Caset, Mariano Obregon, Cesar Jimenez. MVP Costi Caset, BPP Torcasa played by Peco Polledo

USPA Officer’s Cup: Aiken Saddlery/Cooper H&S. JD Cooper, Johnny Alvarez, Justin Pimsner, Eddy Martinez. MVP Johnny Alvarez, BPP Dot Com played by Justin Pimsner

USPA Player’s Cup: Z Polo. Matthew Fonseca, Jesus Ontiveros, Chris Zhang, Alan Hale. MVP Dennys Santana. BPP Pamela played by Jesus Ontiveros

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Aiken Women’s Challenge A: Banks Mill. Hope Arellano, Ana Coscia, Kylie Sheehan, Malia Bryan. MVP: Hope Arellano

Aiken Women’s Challenge B: La Mariposa

USA: Jolie Liston, Lila Bennett, Kelsey Kunce, Anja Jacobs . Aiken Fall Cup: Farmer Road/Derry Heir. Geoff Cameron, Will Donahey, Dan McCarthy, Edouard Des Francs. MVP Geoff Cameron, BPP Sunshine played by Dan McCarthy

Aiken Family Cup Upper: Crestview. Aiden Meeker, Alan Meeker, Pedro Manion, Chris Smith 28

Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Fall Family Cup Lower: El Cedro Azul: Gabriel Crespo, Kylie Sheehan, Virginia Gwinn, Josh Escapite, Alea Crespo

Top Left: Kathy Iverson on the ball. Top Right: Whitney Vogt goes for the hook. Bottom:Tiger Kneece on the nearside while Jake Brown defends.

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Top: Brien Limehouse goes for goal, Barry Limehouse follows up. Bottom: Randy Rizor


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Polo Club 2018


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Aiken Polo Club 2018

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Aiken Polo Club 2018


Above: Pam Gleason with Nat Berube going for the hook. Below: Derrick Berg. Right: Jesus Ontiveros & Omar Cepeda

Why Polo? By Adam Snow


t often feels like an obsession, this sport. At the end of a season, I put away my sticks and boots and turn out my horses – watching them cavort in the newly found freedom of their pasture could be one of life’s greatest pleasures. For a few days, I am happy, content to leave the game behind, but invariably I will begin daydreaming (or staying up at night) considering the prospects for a coming season, or getting excited about imminent green horse chukkas. You would think it would get old after 30 years. Riding over 1,000 different animals, playing on hundreds of teams, my fair share of wrecks … and still I keep coming back for more. So what is it about the sport? Looking back, I realize that my motivations for playing have changed over the years. Initially it was because of a healthy dose of family pressure: I was born into a polo family. “Let’s go for a trail ride,” my dad used to say. “When are you going to get out there and join us?” Uncle Donald would ask (I can hear myself uttering similar things to my own kids these days, but somehow I haven’t been as convincing.) I was reluctant, scared...those horses were big. It was often freezing on early morning rides. One time a sapling got caught under my horse’s back legs, released like a bow snapping free, and I got launched onto the cold, hard ground. But I particularly hated being left alone with horses tied in the barn for fear that they would go crazy and start pulling back. Today I am grateful for dad’s persistence, and that I eventually chose to take advantage of the opportunity to start playing polo at a young age. When the push eventually became a pull, and I couldn’t find enough horses to ride and stick-andball, this change was due to playing with my peers. By the time I reached middle school, there were roughly 12 of us, between the ages of 11-16, who played youth polo together at Myopia Polo Club outside of Boston where I grew up. I relished the comradery and competitiveness when I was playing with and against my friends and brothers. I have vivid recollections of our first travel event up to New York to compete against “young Saratoga.” Our team strategized for hours and created our first


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Adam Snow meets Julio Arellano

horse lists. When I was playing with similarly aged kids, I quickly forgot about my fear of the horses and plunged into the pursuit of that little white nugget. This was fun! After college, I played polo to travel. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I used my polo handicap like a passport to the world, enabling me to experience countries that I otherwise would never have visited: Brunei, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Ecuador. And, at least in the case of my first trip there, going to Argentina was as much about learning Spanish and experiencing a new culture, as it was about improving my polo. But it was still the sport that got me there. At one stage, I may have played for the money. By my second or third season as a professional, I

had a five-figure annual salary, some benefits, and I didn’t own a horse. My wife Shelley’s joke – a little too true to be funny – is that this was as much as I ever made, including the years when I was 10-goals. For a very brief period there, I was doing all right in comparison to my college friends who were working in New York, and my “work” involved riding horses in the sunshine, ample travel opportunities, and getting to play a sport that I loved. One fall, Shelley and I rode two 3 year-olds out of a friend’s barn in south Florida. Kansas and Darwin were ex-racehorses that we had purchased from Mimi Tate in Sheridan, Wyoming, and they were the first horses either of us had ever owned. Incrementally, season by season, I kept buying horses until eventually the ponies

themselves became the priority. Finding, training, maintaining the best ponies I could afford became my passion. There was an introduction to natural horsemanship at a friend’s farm in Memphis, Tennessee. Shelley became a veterinarian. When one of our horses, Muffin, won Best Playing Pony of the East Coast Open, it seemed like things were coming together. I realized that the very animal I was scared of as a child could be my biggest asset on the polo field. So in a way, the horses themselves (my consistent “teammates”) became the reason I played polo. Let’s be clear, going to the barn and riding horses is a joy. (“Honey, I’m off to work,” never invoked much sympathy in our house. Nor should it.) But improving them, particularly the young ones, is a constant challenge. They are good teachers, horses; and humility is one of their lessons. Just when we let ourselves think, “I really know my stuff,” there’s a hiccup – usually a crash or a bad chukka – and it’s back to learning and thinking about things in a different way. It’s one small challenge after another, but with a big reward hanging out there – when that horse improves, and facilitates your making your plays, it all seems worthwhile. The element of fear has to be named among the reasons I play polo. It help keeps me awake. The intense focus that comes with competing in a dangerous team sport can be addictive. The author Annie Proulx describes this sensation well in her story of an itinerant bull rider – “that blazing feeling of real existence.” Writing this I realize that, even as they have evolved, there are so many reasons I play this game. And one more reason: the mental challenges of finding ways to play my best at my age, 54, are as compelling today as they were a decade ago. A few years ago, I embarked on a carefully considered plan for backing-off the amount of tournament polo I played. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. To borrow Shelley’s words, “in this sport, the prospects for retirement aren’t good.” She would know. Adam Snow is professional polo player who attained and held a 10-goal rating while playing in the top polo contests in the world. A member of the United States Polo Association Hall of Fame, he lives in Aiken with his wife Shelley Onderdonk and their family. He and Shelley are authors of the book Polo Life; Horses, Sport 10 and Zen. www.PoloLife.co Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Gear of the Game The Helmet is required equipment. The most common helmets are made of reinforced, padded plastic with a cloth or leather covering. They are modeled after the pith helmets that the British wore in 19th century India. Modern helmets are designed to fend off flying balls and mallets and to protect the head if the player should fall.

The Team Jersey

sports the color of the player’s team and the number of the position that he plays. (From 1 to 4)

The Bit controls the

horse. Polo players use many different kinds of bit. This one is called a gag and is the most common bit in polo.

The Martingale

is a leather strap that runs from the noseband to the girth. It keeps the horse from raising his head too high. Horacio Onetto

The Mallet is made of malacca cane. It usually has a fair amount of “whip� and can bend quite a bit during a hard swing. The head is made of tipa, a South American wood. Both sides of the head are used to strike the ball. 42

Leg Wraps & Boots provide support to tendons and ligaments as well as protection from balls and mallets.

Polo plates are special, lightweight horse shoes. Made of iron, they

have an inner rim and an outer rim. The inner rim is slightly higher than the outer one, making it easier for the hoof to pivot in all directions.

Aiken Polo Club 2018

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Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Polo Club 2018









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Historic Players From Aiken’s Past

By Pam Gleason iken holds an important place in American polo history. The sport arrived in American in 1876 when James Gordon Bennett, an eccentric newspaper publisher, brought a load of mallets and balls home from England and invited his friends to play in New York. Members of the leisure class took to the game immediately, and polo clubs sprouted like mushrooms across the country. Captain Clarence Southerland Wallace, a New Yorker and


mayor as well as numerous winter residents. Local historians generally credit the development of polo in the city to the Hitchcock family, who summered on Long Island and wintered in Aiken. Thomas Hitchcock was one of the first 10-goalers in America and was on America’s original international polo squad in 1886. His wife, Louise “Lulie” Hitchcock, considered the mother of American polo, played polo herself, encouraged others to take up the sport and organized and coached fast and furious junior games of both horse and bicycle polo. The Hitchcocks’ son, Tommy Hitchcock, a 10-goal international superstar, was the most famous player in America before World War II. Today, his name is synonymous with polo greatness. During the first three decades of the twentieth century, Aiken was the acknowledged polo center of the South. Many high-ranked players, including members of the American international teams, came to spend the winter, competing daily on the 16 fields the city offered. Polo was not just for these high goalers. There were games for children, both boys and girls. Aiken’s greatest player: Tommy Hitchcock, the legendary 10-goaler There was a women’s league with at least a dozen active and enthusiastic players. Polo enthusiasts had the an executive in the Havemeyer Sugar Company, chance to watch the high goalers practice, and to organized Aiken’s first game in 1882: it was a learn from them in formal and informal lessons. gala affair, reportedly attended by about 10,000 What follows is a brief introduction to some of spectators. the historic players and personalities that shaped Not much is known about the very earliest Aiken’s polo history during the Golden Age of the years of polo in the city, but by the 1890s, it was a 1920s and 1930s. well-established and popular pastime. Prominent Aikenites who took up the sport included Aiken’s 46

Aiken Polo Club 2018

Devereux Milburn: 1881-1942

Devereux Milburn is best known as one of the American “Big Four,” an international polo team that won the Westchester Cup against England six times between 1909 and 1927. A 10-goal player, Milburn played at Back and revolutionized his position, making the 4 as much an attacker as a defender. He was so skilled, when Tommy Hitchcock was asked to name his ideal all star

World War I, he served in France, and then returned to Westbury, New York, where he lived most of the year. His winter home (“Milburn House”) was on Magnolia Street in Aiken, not quite a block from Whitney Field. After he retired from international play in 1928, he continued to play in Aiken, where he also coached young players. In 1932, when Aiken held a gala celebration of the 50th anniversary of

polo team, he had high praise for a number of top players, but thought that Milburn was far the best. “Unfortunately for the game of polo,” he wrote, “There is only one Devereux Milburn. He is in a class by himself. If there were four Milburns, my choice for an all-time polo team would be Milburn, Milburn, Milburn and Milburn.” Milburn was educated at Oxford in England, where he played on the varsity polo team. During

polo in the city, Milburn, dressed as a gentleman from 1882, complete with swallowtail coat and false beard, was the grand marshal of the parade that wound through the city. He also played in one of the exhibition games on Whitney Field that day. In fact, Devereux Milburn seems to have been quite devoted to polo in Aiken, where he continued to play until at least 1940, just two years before he died of a heart attack while playing golf on Long Island. Aiken Polo Club 2018


Louise Hitchcock and Polo for Women

Louise Hitchcock, often credited as the founder of the Aiken Winter Colony, believed that polo was good for everyone: men, women and children. She established the sport at Aiken Prep School (for boys) and at the Fermata School (for girls.) She also encouraged the wives and daughters of Aiken’s polo players to take to the field, and quite a lot of them did. By the early 1930s, Aiken was a veritable hotbed of women’s polo. According to a contemporary article in the Aiken Standard,

married to the polo player Seymour Knox and was a talented sportswoman in many different areas. Aiken’s women players were looked on with amazement and some amusement by the world outside. Various articles in the society pages of the newspapers and in lifestyle magazines included photos of Aiken’s female players, often emphasizing that they were attractive women as well as serious players. “Occasionally, in rambling about Aiken, you will meet a young and pretty girl – obviously of the

A women’s team in 1930: Frances Post, Helen Knox, Bobby McKinney, Molly Crawford

the women’s club was called the Meadowlark Association, and games were held every Tuesday and Thursday. In 1930, Mrs. Hitchcock was in her 60s, but she was still playing and coaching. Most of the rest of Aiken’s female players were from the younger generation, and most of them were single – one notable exception was Helen Knox, who was


Aiken Polo Club 2018

horsy crowd – with the disfigurement of the optic organ known in less exalted circles as a ‘shiner,” wrote Grace Robinson in an article for Liberty magazine in 1929. “Instantly you conjecture hotly on what manner of male brute would hit such a lovely and defenseless creature. On occasions of this kind, it is well to forget your first impulse. Don’t call a policeman. For twenty to one the pretty girl has merely been playing polo and was hit by a ball.”

Louise Hitchcock was the president of the Meadowlarks, while Molly Crawford was the manager and her younger sister Evna was the treasurer. The Crawford girls were the daughters of Everett Crawford, a polo player and sportsman from New York who had a Winter Colony cottage called “Live Oak” on Easy Street near the Hitchcock Woods. An enthusiastic horseman, Mr. Crawford made sure his three daughters grew up riding, even Frances who had contracted polio as a child and had troubles with her legs. Molly and Evna played polo from the time they were quite young, both in Aiken during the winters and in

Frances Post, whose father Fred Post had a polo pony training operation in Aiken and on Long Island and whose brother William, 8 goals, was the model for Aiken Polo Club’s logo, originally a drawing by the famous polo artist Paul Brown. In 1932, Frances (17 at the time) accompanied her brother to Argentina where he played in the Cup of the Americas. There, she met the Argentine player and polo pony breeder Dicky Santamarina (20), the son of the former vice president of Argentina. After a long distance romance that brought Dicky to Aiken on several occasions, the two were married here in 1939. The couple returned to Argentina

Mrs. Louise Hitchcock and Molly Crawford

upstate New York during the summers. Their father traveled quite a bit, and even took the family out to California where the girls played with a group of women who would form the United States Women’s Polo Association in the 1930s. Another important female player of this era was

where they bred polo ponies on their estancia, La Fortuna, until the late 1990s. Several stallions from La Fortuna eventually ended up back in Aiken where they formed the basis for Owen and Georgie Rinehart’s polo breeding program. Owen is a former 10-goal player known for superb horses.

Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Polo Club 2018

Captain William H. Gaylard (1888-1956)

From the 1920s until the 1950s, Captain William Henry Gaylard was a prominent and immediately recognizable figure in Aiken. Small of stature, immaculately dressed and with a ruddy face and his trademark small mustache, Gaylard was the referee at almost every Aiken Polo Club match during the winter season. In the summers, he officiated at many of the most important national and international matches in New York. When he was not at the polo field, he was probably giving lessons. Known for his strict discipline and his intimate understanding of horses, Gaylard was the riding coach for most of America’s best players during polo’s Golden Age and he left an indelible mark on the sport. Captain Gaylard was born in Somerset, England in 1888, the son of a professional horseman. When he came of age and tried to join the cavalry, at first he was turned away and told to become an infantryman because he was deemed too small. But his heart was set on the cavalry and at age 19 he became a member of the 17th Dragoon Guards. He fought in World War I and had tours of service in India, China, Egypt and South Africa, playing polo and training cavalry horses between engagements. After the war, he was sent back to England where he was assigned to procure and train ponies for the 1921 British International polo squad, which played against the United States for the Westchester Cup that year. America took home the cup, but Louis Stoddard, one of the American team’s 10 goal players, was so impressed with Sergeant Gaylard that he hired him to come back to the United States to oversee the Stoddard polo operation. Louis Stoddard had homes in Westbury, Long Island and in Aiken. By 1923, Bill Gaylard was headquartered in Long Island during the warmer seasons and making an annual winter pilgrimage South. In addition to taking charge of the Stoddard stable, Gaylard also started teaching riding lessons, both to children and to adults. Bill Smith, whose son Lewis was an international polo player, suggested that Gaylard would not attract many clients if he went by his actual rank of Sergeant. So he and Louis Stoddard gave the Sergeant an unofficial promotion, and he was known as Captain Gaylard forever after. Captain Gaylard was in immediate demand and

had an instant following. In Aiken he opened a riding stable in the historic district, not far from Whitney Field. He also became the riding master at Aiken Prep School and later at the Fermata School. He was always in demand as a private coach for riders of all ages and abilities, from young beginners up to 10 goal polo players. He earned universal respect for his ability as a horseman, and many of the best polo players relied on his judgment when purchasing their mounts. “Once a Gaylard student always a Gaylard student,” wrote George E. Coleman in an article for the Brooklyn Eagle in 1941. “Just before the U.S. tilt on the international field a week ago, one of the players, who was slipping fast, suddenly found his former teacher Gaylard in front of him, handing out a good old fashioned tongue lashing. The rider took every bit of it, said ‘thanks Bill’ then went out and played the game of his career.” “Gaylard was involved with everything to do with horses in Aiken,” says Nanny Ward, who rode with him when she was a child. “He was at the racetrack and at polo and at the Aiken Horse Show in the Woods. He was just a wonderful man and everyone loved him.” A quick glance through old newspapers and books about historic Aiken prove that this is the case. Although Captain Gaylard was seldom the subject of a story, his presence was often noted, whether as an instructor at Aiken Prep, the ring master at the Aiken Horse Show or one of the marshals of the Aiken’s Golden Anniversary Polo Parade in 1932. He had a quiet way about him that commanded respect, whether from horses, his students, or polo players. His natural authority was often required at Whitney Field, especially when he acted as a referee between some of Aiken’s polo families who had intense rivalries on the polo pitch. Captain Gaylard sold his riding school in 1954 and retired in Aiken with his wife Mabel. He died in 1956 at the age of 68, leaving behind a farreaching legacy in the polo and equestrian world, one that reverberates today through the children and grandchildren of his pupils, who still follow his equestrian philosophy, even if they may have never heard his name.

Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Polo Club 2018


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Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Polo Club 2018

Left: Del Walton tries to avoid the hook from Martin Eddy. Above: Maria Cepeda. Below: Malia Bryan

Above: Johnny Alvarez on the nearside. Below: Kegan Walsh ahead of his teammate Del Walton


Aiken Polo Club 2018

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Aiken Polo Club 2018


Top Left: Alan Hale, Top Right: Connor Deal and Justin Pimsner. Below: Sayyu Dantata, Copper Cup finals


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Above: Gary Knoll & Alan Hale. Below Left: Randy Rizor and Connor Deal. Below Right: Glenn Miller

Aiken Polo Club 2018


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Aiken Polo Club 2018



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Aiken Polo Club 2018


Above: Matt Sekera. Below: Luis Galvan and Derrick Berg


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Above: Dennis Freeland goes for goal, Edouard Des Francs defending. Below: Liv Berube

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Above: Tessa Walton necks it to goal. Below Left: Tito Gorosito; Below Right: Richard Terbrusch


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Above Left: Anna Hale shot on goal. Above Right: Hope Arellano. Below: JD Cooper

Aiken Polo Club 2018



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Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Above Left: Mason Sease rides off Alison Patricelli. Above Right: Aiden Meeker on the nearside with Summer Kneece defending. Below: Summer Kneece followed by Anna Hale


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Above: Grace Ellis and Jacob Wallace fight for the line. Below: NYTS Tournament, younger division

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Polo Returns to USCA New Team, New Players By Pam Gleason


eginning this fall, University of South Carolina Aiken will once again have an intercollegiate polo program. Intercollegiate polo teams have been started at the university twice before over the past decade, but it has been difficult to keep them going. Lacking a dedicated facility and with no horses of their own, the students had to work hard just to get on a horse. Then, as a student run organization, the college program suffered every time a dedicated member graduated and there was no one to take his or her place. This time, however, things promise to be different. One big change is that the program will be able to follow a successful model that has already been set up by Tiger Kneece, who will be the coach. Tiger, a former professional player who lives in Aiken, is on the board of directors of the Aiken Polo Club and he runs a polo school called Polo Adventures. He and his wife, Susie, have created an immensely successful youth polo program that practices on Winthrop Field downtown. Tiger’s students have competed successfully in the USPA’s National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) for several years as well as in the USPA’s Middle School Tournament. A few of them have also graduated to playing in regular tournament polo with and against adults. Over the past school year, Tiger’s kids formed three complete interscholastic polo teams that practiced at the Fire Star polo arena in Wagener. In February, all three teams traveled to Alabama to play in a tournament at the Blue Water Creek Polo Club. They then played in Atlanta, where Aiken White (Mason Sease, Anna Hale, Summer Kneece) won their game and went on to the Southeast Open Regionals. There they lost to Maryland, the eventual winner of the National Finals. Not bad for their first year of competition. Intercollegiate polo is Tiger’s next project. Things will be a little easier to get running this year because the new team, which has already been registered with the USPA, will be headlined by


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Harry and Charlie Caldwell, a pair of polo playing identical twins from Tennessee. Both young men have been to Aiken to participate in National Youth Tournament games; both have enrolled at USC Aiken for the fall, and they will be bringing their horses to school with them. Jim Deal, whose brother Connor is a well-known Aiken player, will also be coming to USC, and there is a rumor that a fourth well established Aiken-based player will join them, too. Intercollegiate and Interscholastic (I/I) polo takes place in an arena. The normal format for the games is to play four chukkers using a “split string” format. The host club provides all the horses, each of which plays two chukkers: one for the home team and one for the visiting team. This practice makes it easier for teams to travel to compete since they don’t have to worry about transporting horses, and it also helps keep the teams on an equal footing. Intercollegiate and interscholastic polo is always played on the flat: many players don’t have USPA handicaps, and if they did, they would be ignored for the purposes of the game. The country is divided into four regions (Northeast, Southeast, Central and Western.) The season starts on September 1. In order to qualify for the regionals in March, each team must play against two teams in their region. Winners of the regionals have a chance to go on to the national finals held in April. The USPA has a total of 40 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada that participate in the program. The new USC team has been recognized by the university, but it is a club sport and the university has no current plans to provide horses or facilities for the players. Susie Kneece says that she and Tiger are finalizing a deal to have a polo arena constructed in a convenient location in Aiken so that the new I/I program will have its own home base. The members of the new USC Aiken team will practice on their own horses and will likely travel to play against other teams in the Southeast region which have larger programs and enough horses to provide them for the visiting players. Intercollegiate polo is highly competitive and attracts many skilled players, so the new USC Aiken team will not necessarily be dominant, but it will certainly be a contender. Both Caldwell twins are

Seeing double: Charlie and Harry Caldwell will play for USC Aiken in the fall

forces to be reckoned with on the field, and Charlie Caldwell has an added distinction as a horse trainer. Last year he entered and won the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover Challenge with a 3-year old mare named Old Tavern, beating about 300 professional and amateur trainers in almost a dozen different disciplines. “We’re all really excited about the program at USC,” says Susie Kneece, noting that it just makes sense for Aiken to have a strong intercollegiate polo team. “We hope that having a good team here will encourage other polo kids to consider USC Aiken when they are making their college plans.” According to Amy Fraser, an Aiken resident who is the program director for the USPA’s I/I program, intercollegiate and interscholastic polo is one of the best ways to recruit new players to the sport. Amy, who got her start in polo when she played on the University of Connecticut women’s team (and won the championship in 2005 and 2006) says that about 80 percent of I/I participants are first generation players. These days, many of these first generation college players picked up mallets for the first time through the interscholastic program,

with the result that intercollegiate polo has seen a noticeable rise in its level of play. “I don’t think that the top teams are really any better than they were in the past, but we have seen a lot more really good teams,” she says. “The great thing about the I/I program is that it give students who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity a chance to play polo. I also love that the USPA is able to help young players. One thing that many people don’t realize is that we offer six $4,000 polo scholarships every year, and that money goes directly to student tuition. The scholarship is renewable, as long as the student stays in school and keeps playing polo.” Looking forward to the fall, Amy says that she, like Susie, is excited about the new team and the new program. “I hope the USC team takes off,” she says. “I think it will. I love that Tiger had three high school teams this year. With the structure he already has and his organization, I think it will be phenomenal. To see youth polo developing in Aiken is awesome. It is good for the sport and it is so good for Aiken.”

Aiken Polo Club 2018






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Aiken Polo Club 2018

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Above: Dan McCarthy ahead of Alex Lopez. Below: Nate Berube on the ball


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Above Left: Will Donahey. Above Right: Scott Brown ridden off by Malia Bryan. Below Left: Theresa King. Below Right: Martha Brown, Kathy Iverson, Jake Brown, Gary Knoll

Aiken Polo Club 2018


Above Left: Charlie Hutchinson. Above Right: Chilo Cordova tries to get past Alison Patricelli. Below: Justin Pimsner hooks Connor Deal


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Polo Club 2018



Aiken Polo Club 2018

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Aiken Polo Club 2018


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.

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.


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.

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.

Knock-in: When the ball goes over the endline but not

Line of the Ball: The imaginary line that the ball creates

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.


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Alan Hale hooks Luis Carrion 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, 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.


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.

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.

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

Pony Goal: a goal that is scored by a pony kicking it in.


Pony goals count just the same as goals scored by players.


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

Technical: A penalty exacted against displays of poor 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 40yard 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. Gabriel Crespo on a run.

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.

USPA:. The United States Polo Association is the governing body of equestrian sport. Established in 1890, the USPA is the second oldest sports governing body in the U.S. (The United States Tennis Association, founded in 1881, is the oldest.) The USPA formulates and updates the rules, establishes the handicaps and works to promote and improve the sport. It is possible to join the association as a full member, a junior member or a student member. If you are a polo fan, you can even join as an associate member. (www.uspolo.org) Aiken Polo Club 2018


Index of Advertisers 210 York Salon


Harrison K-9 Security


Aiken County Farm Supply




Aiken Discount Tire


Hutson Etherredge


Aiken Pest Control


Innovative Solutions


Aiken Saddlery, Inc.


Ironfeather Creative


Aiken Veterinary Clinics, P.A.


Jacobsen Mower




Kevin Warner


All Star Tents


Lazy R Farm LLC


APC Thank you


Lionel Smith Ltd.


Auto Tech


Marketplace Paints


Banks Mill Feeds


Marshall Sterling Insurance


Be Fly Free


Mellow Mushroom


Bee Healthy


Meybohm RE: Stinson


Breeze Hill


MidState Roofing


Carolina Eastern


Monetta Farrier Supply


Charles Fliflet


Mr. Central




Museum of Polo




Polo Adventures


Polo Life


Ronnie’s Hitch


Shelley Onderdonk, DVM


Consolidating Planning, Inc.



Cooper Home and Stable


Cooper Motors


Creative Financial Stratagies


Crescent Motors


Shoemaker Irrigation


Crestview Genetics


Shoemaker Irrigation


Designer Builders


Stable View Farm, LLC


Dr. Michael Brown


Sullivan & Turner


Dumpster Depot


Taylor BMW Audi


Edward Jones (Alicia Kough)




Equine Divine


Equine Rescue of Aiken First Citizens Bank

The Cato Corporation


The Saddle Doctor


The Tackeria


The Willcox



USC Aiken



Walker & Company


Floyd & Green


Warhorse Photography


Fox & Hound Reality


Warneke Cleaners


Whiskey Alley


Wm. Ray Massey


Gravatt Camp & Conference


Gypsy Belt


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Aiken Polo Club 2018



Tribute to a Horse By Pam Gleason


he pony, according to polo lore, accounts for anything from 70 to 90 percent of a player’s value to his or her team. Despite this fact, polo ponies themselves rarely have the kind of name recognition that is accorded to their players. There are exceptions, of course, and Tobiana, owned and played by the 10-goaler Tommy Hitchcock in the 1920s and 1930s, is one of the best examples. Tobiana was a flashy black and white piebald gelding. Born in Argentina, he was probably a mix of a Thoroughbred and a native Criollo horse. He started his life on the racetrack, travelling about the country and winning so much that he was reportedly the sole support of his owner. Then, Lewis Lacey, a famous Argentine 10-goaler, spotted him. Recognizing the horse’s strength, courage and extreme speed, Lacey purchased him, trained him, sold him to Hitchcock and sent him to North America in 1926. It was a match made in heaven. Tommy Hitchcock, certainly the most famous, and probably the best player of America’s Golden Age, was a big, strong player, and he needed a horse that was his equal. He started playing Tobiana in the international matches in 1927, where the pair were an instant sensation. “The picturesque Tobiana, who looked as if he had been painted by an enthusiastic artist armed with a broad brush, enchanted the onlookers by his appearance and he electrified them with his performance,” read a report of the 1927 Westchester Cup in Polo magazine. “And it is altogether fitting that the most sensational-looking animal on the grounds should have been ridden by the most sensational player. Where the Argentine piebald fled, the eyes of the multitude followed, and that was not surprising because Mr. Hitchcock’s position at 2 and his type of play, forever keep him in the attack and in the first game at any rate, America was always attacking. Tobiana played two chukkers in the first match and two in the second, and when he left the field, his brows figuratively wreathed with


Aiken Polo Club 2018

Tobiana painting by Melinda Brewer. Courtesy of the Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame.

laurel, every child sighed, and we all were children.” Tobiana was frequently cited as Hitchcock’s favorite pony, and he was a crowd favorite too. His talent was outstanding, but of course his unusual coloring was the key to his popularity. He was always easy to spot and to recognize, even by people who were not polo fanatics or equestrian experts – an equally talented dark bay mare would never be so distinguishable from the sidelines. It is one of the axioms of polo that a horse of an unusual color will always get noticed. If the horse plays well, he might become famous, but if he has any faults, they will always be magnified too. Tobiana was one of the first four polo ponies to be inducted into the Museum of Polo Hall of Fame in 2000. He has recently been immortalized in another way here in Aiken at a new “Historic Horses” museum in the stables at Rye Patch, a Winter Colony mansion that is owned by the city. The 14-stall stable was recently restored. Four stalls were reserved for the future use of police horses. The remaining 10 stalls were dedicated to individual horses of historic importance to Aiken. Tobiana, who spent time in Aiken with his master, was chosen to represent polo ponies. The organizers of the project purchased life-sized fiberglass horses and then recruited artists to paint them to represent each equine athlete. The realistically painted horses now live in the stalls, where they can be visited in a self-guided tour. Tobiana, in the third stall, is adjacent to Cavalier, a hunt horse owned by Tommy’s mother Louise, that might have been his stablemate in real life. In any case, Tobiana’s likeness looks at home here in Aiken, where his fame seems sure to live on for many years to come.









Aiken Polo Club 2018


“A Gather ing Pl ace” Aiken, South Carolina



Over $75,000 in Prize Money Beginner Novice - Advanced; CIC */**/*** Free Land Rover/Jaguar Car Leases to FEI Winners A�wood Compe�tor’s Party featuring Clayton Frederick’s Karaoke Band

Cross-Country Course Walk with Olympian Boyd Mar�n to benefit Brooke USA Free Admission to Spectators Aiken Horse Power Car Show Alcohol Tas�ngs Concessions VIP Tent Vendors

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 117 Stable Drive, Aiken SC 29801 484-356-3173 info@stableviewfarm.com www.StableViewFarm.com

Profile for Aiken Horse Productions

Aiken Polo Club 2018  

Aiken Polo Club annual magazine. Tournament results from the past season, articles, historical pieces and many pictures.

Aiken Polo Club 2018  

Aiken Polo Club annual magazine. Tournament results from the past season, articles, historical pieces and many pictures.

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