Aiken Polo Magazine 2013

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Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Table of Contents President’s Letter


Aiken Polo Club Schedule


Introduction to Polo


Aiken Polo Club 2013 P.O. Box 3021 Aiken, SC 29802 Volume 9, Number 1. Published annually Publisher: Alan Corey, III

How to Watch Polo


Restaurants & Hotels


Gear of the Game


USPA Copper Cup


Photography by Gary Knoll (GK) Pam Gleason (PG) George Buggs (GB)

Aiken Polo History


To purchase images from this magazine, visit

2012 Season Recap


All images property of WarhorsePhotography © 2013

Marcos Onetto


Polo Glossary


Index of Advertisers


Pete Bostwick


Editor: Pam Gleason Layout & Design: Gary Knoll, Aiken Horse Productions

Editorial Inquiries: Aiken Polo Magazine P.O. Box 332 Montmorenci, SC 29839 803.643.9960 Advertising Inquiries: Pam Gleason Cover: Gary Knoll


Aiken Polo Club 2013



H E A LT H C A R E .

You’ll find compassionate care at our hospitals, and in the field. At Aiken Regional, our dedication to keeping our residents healthy extends far beyond our hospitals’ walls. While we provide advanced medical care in cardiovascular, oncology, orthopedic, radiology and women’s health, we’re also teaching new parents how to care for their newborns. We’re creating Workplace Wellness programs to help employees stay healthier on the job at Business & Industry Health. And we’re helping women achieve balance in their too-busy lives through our Women Enlightened for Better Health initiative. The way we see it, care that encompasses caring is good medicine for everyone.

Get a free brochure of our complete list of services, specialties and wellness programs. Call 803-641-5926 or visit

302 University Parkway, Aiken, SC 29801 803-641-5000

Physicians are on the medical staff of Aiken Regional Medical Centers, but, with limited exceptions, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Aiken Regional Medical Centers. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.

Aiken Polo Club 2013


From the president, Charles S. Bostwick

Dear Friends of Polo Welcome to the 131st year of polo in Aiken. Aiken Polo Club’s spring season is under way with multiple tournament games being played at a number of fields throughout Aiken. We are fortunate that we have so many wonderful places to play polo in our historic and charming Southern city. Our club has always been about friends and family and we are lucky that the tradition lives on, as so many of our weekday games are contested on private fields belonging to our members. The atmosphere that prevails everywhere is Southern hospitality and family-friendly competition. Whitney Field, right in the heart of Aiken’s historic district, is Aiken’s premier destination for Sunday polo and tailgate picnics. The public is always encouraged to attend all of our matches. On behalf of my fellow board members, I would like to thank all of you (players, fans, sponsors and advertisers) for your continued support and interest. I hope you will come see for yourself why we all love Aiken, its weather, and the equestrian culture that is synonymous with our town. See you on the field.


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

Aiken Polo Club 2013


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 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 12

Aiken Polo Club 2013

— 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 — but 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, or if the other umpire was not in the right position to see the foul, the team that was fouled is awarded a penalty shot. If the other umpire saw the play, but 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. When the ball goes out, the umpire has both teams line up at the point where the ball exited the field. He then bowls the ball between the teams, just as he does after a goal. A polo match is divided into four or six periods called “chukkers.” Each chukker consists of seven and a half minutes of playing time. The timekeeper stops

Will Tankard reaches for the ball after getting by Pelon Escapite (GK)

the clock when a player commits a foul, or when someone hits the ball over the endline, but not when a player knocks the ball over the sideboards or scores a goal. At seven minutes, the timekeeper sounds a warning bell. Play continues until a goal is scored, the ball goes out of bounds or 30 seconds have passed. When time is up, 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 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 often don’t.

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 Aiken Polo Club 2013


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 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.

Ladies’ Invitational, held in Aiken each fall. More usually, women play in tournaments with and against men. Polo is the only contact sport in which men and women regularly play together on an equal basis. Some polo players are professionals, who make their living playing polo, teaching, or training and selling horses. Other players are dedicated amateurs, who spend much of their spare time riding and playing. Still other players are more casual, playing on weekends or occasional weekdays after work. Playing polo at any level provides an entrée into a different world. Winston Churchill is said to have remarked that a polo handicap is the best passport, and many of today’s players use their “polo passports” to travel to various exotic locations, where they can practice their sport, and they are bound to feel at home with other people who share their passion. For instance, there are polo resorts in the Dominican Republic, Thailand and Mexico. Argentina is the Mecca for polo enthusiasts, and there are many

The Life

Polo was once the sport of kings, played only by the wealthy leisure classes. Today, although playing polo certainly requires a significant investment of time and money, the people who play have different backgrounds and occupations. People of all ages and abilities can play, and the sport does not really require vast sums of money, although money certainly helps. The range goes all the way from England’s Prince Harry to the local veterinarian, real estate agent, blacksmith or carpenter. Polo players are not all men, either. Women make up the fastest growing segment of the polo playing population. Sometimes women play in special women’s tournaments, such as the Campbell Cup 14

Aiken Polo Club 2013

estancias that cater to traveling players, especially during the high goal polo season in October and November. True polo aficionados might even be tempted to buy property in Argentina, where there are ranches for sale, and opportunities to own at places like the newly founded Residence Clubs of Argentina. Wherever they play and 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 game on earth.

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Aiken Polo Club 2013


Geoff Ellis avoids the hook going to goal. (GK)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Charlie Hutchinson puts the stop on Jay Fetner. (GB)

Meaghan Scanlon ready to hook Karen Reese. (GK)

Lito Salatino going for the backshot while Joaquin Tadeo rides him off. (GB)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Marvin Slosman ready to back it to Marcos Onetto. (PG)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Above: Mit Carothers trying to get past Marcos Onetto. (GB) Right: Nick Snow and Matthew Fonseca battle it out in the rain. (GK)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


The rain can’t stop Charlie Hutchinson in the 12-goal. (GK)


Jay Fetner goes for the ball with Ulysses Escapite on his right hip. Gonzalo Fucci watches. (GB) Aiken Polo Club 2013

Cesar Jimenez on the ball with Tiger Kneece in pursuit. (GK)

Will Tankard on the ball. (GK)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


How to Watch Polo

Eight players on the move: Will Tankard, Charlie Hutchinson, Marty Cregg,


f you have never been to a match before, polo might surprise you. In the first place, it is nothing at all like croquet on horseback. Nor is it a genteel sport practiced by people who don’t want to get their white pants dirty. Polo is fast, furious, full contact and full throttle. If you don’t know what’s going on, it can be confusing. It can also be dangerous, not just for the players but for the spectators as well. Here is a quick guide to getting the most out of your first polo game.

Rule 1: Where to park

You will most likely park your car on the side of the field. Don’t park too close. You will probably see a set of low boards in front of you. These boards mark the edge of the playing zone. Several yards outside the boards, you will see a white line. This is the safety zone. Although play stops if the ball crosses over the boards, the horses often go over the boards and keep running in the safety zone. Be sure that your car and your lawn chairs are outside of this zone. Never attempt to park at the end of the field. Players and horses often run off the end of the field at high speeds, frequently paying far more attention to the ball, the goal and each other than to who or what might be wandering in front of them.


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Rule 2: Keep your eye on the ball

Polo is a beautiful sport, and it can be tranquil to relax in the sun on the side of the field, enjoying your tailgate party and the company of fellow polo aficionados. But always keep an eye on the game. Balls can and do fly off the field, and it is possible to get hit if you are not paying attention. If the ball is coming towards you, do not try to catch it. If it lands in front of your picnic, do not throw it back on the field. Keep your dogs on a leash, and keep your children under control (and vice versa.) Be especially careful when the action comes towards you.

Rule 3: Who’s who, what’s what.

A polo team has four players to a side. The teams wear different colored jerseys. There are also two mounted umpires dressed in black and white stripes. Play begins at the center of the field. The teams line up opposite one another and then one of the umpires bowls the ball between them. The point of the game is to score goals by hitting the ball between the goal posts at either end of the field. After a goal is scored the players line up at the center of the field and the umpire bowls the ball in again. Here’s the confusing part: the teams change directions after each goal is scored. Let’s say the blue team is going toward the

Pelon Escapite, Tiger Kneece hitting, Ulysses Escapite, Nick Snow, Cesar Jimenez. (PG) scoreboard on the first play, while the red team is going toward the barns. If either team scores, when the players line up for the next bowl-in, the red team will be going toward the scoreboard and the blue team will be going toward the barns.

Rule 4: You have a part in the game

Polo has many traditions. One of the most revered is divot stomping. At half-time and after the last chukker, the spectators are invited out onto the field to replace divots torn up by galloping hooves. Try to put the clods of turf back into holes right-side-up. Then step them in firmly. Don’t stomp on anything that . . . um . . . isn’t a divot. Pay particular attention to the area around the goals. These places often get very torn up, and if you make them smooth at halftime, it can make it easier for shots on goal to roll straight and true. Divot stomping is sociable, fun, and it gives you a chance to exercise your dogs or children at halftime. Everyone does divots, even the queen of England.

Rule 5: Learn the Game

Polo is an exciting sport, and it can be addictive. To learn more

about the rules (Why was that a foul? What’s that player doing?) take a look at the other articles in this magazine. Or ask someone you meet at the field to explain things to you. After the game, you can also talk to the players and ask them questions. Most of them are friendly, and almost any player is eager to discuss polo and horses. Sometimes you will even hear them rehashing all the interesting plays in a game they have just completed. Their memories for these things can be amazing.

Rule 6: Share the passion

Polo is a huge sport in Aiken. If you enjoy the game bring your friends next week. During the seasons (Spring: April-June; Fall: September-November) there are polo games and practices at all levels on almost any day of the week. Most games are open to spectators. Check the Aiken Polo Club website (www. or call the hotline (803.643.3611) to find a game or for more information. If you haven’t done so already, become a Social Member at Aiken Polo and get your own parking space in the sidelines – information about this is on the website. Polo isn’t just a game, it’s a lifestyle. Join the fun.

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Rick Salter of Firehouse Subs (PG)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Bob Stanton versus Andrew Seibert. (PG)

Tito Gorosito (GK)

Youth vs. experience: Jeff Shuler trying to slip by Phil Staples.(GB)

Bart Fry avoids the hook. (GB)

Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

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Aiken Polo Club 2013


Aiken’s Hotels and Restaurants

Great places to eat, stay and play

DINNER DOWNTOWN Aiken Brewing Company 140 Laurens St. SW 803-502-0707

The Swamp Fox 233 Chesterfield St. SW 803-642-5111

Firehouse Subs 3555 Richland Ave. West 803-643-9677

Casa Bella 120 Chesterfield St. SW 803-641-3107

Takosushi 210 The Alley 803-642-8899

Five Guys Burgers and Fries 1909 Whiskey Rd. 803-649-9949

Davor’s Café 227 The Alley 803-641-1909

The West Side Bowery 151 Bee Lane (In The Alley) 803-648-2900

Honey Baked Ham Co. & Café 1701 Whiskey Rd. 803-649-6038

Linda’s Bistro 135 York St. SE 803-648-4853


J.C. Fresh Seafood 3189 Whiskey Rd. 803-648-6303

Malia’s Restaurant (dinner: Thursday – Saturday only) 120 Laurens St. SW 803-643-3086 Magnolia Natural Market & Café (dinner: Thursday – Saturday) 210 York St. SE 803-649-3339 The Pizza Joint 125 Richland Ave. West 803-648-1028 Prime Steakhouse 316 Richland Ave. West 803-642-4488 The Restaurant at The Willcox 100 Colleton Ave. SE 803-648-1898/ Toll Free: 877648-2200 The Stables at Rose Hill Estate (dinner: Thursday – Saturday only) 221 Greenville St. NW 803-648-1181


Aiken Polo Club 2013

The Acropolis 1647 Richland Ave. West 803-649-7601 Aiken Brewing Company 140 Laurens St. SW 803-502-0707 Auten’s Family Restaurant 969 Pine Log Road 803-502-1307 Atlanta Bread Company 1944 Whiskey Rd. 803-643-8100 Betsy’s On the Corner 159 Laurens St NW 803-226-0078 City Billiards 208 Richland Ave. West 803-649-7362 Duke’s Bar-B-Q (lunch: Thursday, Friday, Saturday only) 4248 Whiskey Rd. 803-649-7675 Firehouse Subs 100 South Aiken Lane 803-649-517

Magnolia Natural Market & Café 210 York St. SE 803-649-3339 Malia’s Restaurant (Tues – Fri) 120 Laurens St. SW 803-643-3086 Moe’s Southwestern Grill 1500 Whiskey Rd. 803-642-0409 New Moon Café 116 Laurens St. NW 803-643-7088 Noble Breads & Grocer 1625 Richland Ave. East 803-642-8898 Pat’s Sub Shop 1747 Whiskey Rd. 803-649-1523 The Pizza Joint 125 Richland Ave. West 803-648-9074

Go to lunch: Stoplight Deli


here is an authentic red, yellow and green traffic light in the doorway of the Stoplight Deli on Laurens Street in downtown Aiken. If the light is green, the restaurant is open; if it is red, the restaurant is closed. Teddy Milner, who owns Stoplight, says she bought this traffic signal at an antiques market in Columbia when she started the restaurant. That was back in 1993. This year, Stoplight is celebrating 20 years of service to the Aiken community. The deli is popular with people who work downtown, as well as with polo people and Aiken’s equestrian community. Stoplight’s menu features sandwiches, salads and soups. Teddy says the most popular sandwiches are probably the Reuben and the Philly steak. The restaurant always serves a soup special, and the new soup lady, Becky Roberts, makes each pot fresh in the deli’s kitchen. Sandwiches come with a bag of chips and a drink – most people choose the fresh brewed Luzianne iced tea. “It’s very Southern,” says Teddy. The atmosphere at Stoplight is casual. You order at the cash register, take a number to your table, and wait to be served. The walls are decorated with unique paintings, photos and artifacts from Aiken’s social and equestrian life. Here you can find Sea Hero’s win picture from the 1993 Kentucky Derby (the horse was trained in Aiken), and Summer Squall’s Preakness Stakes win picture from 1990 (Summer Squall, owned by Dogwood Stables, was also a graduate of the Aiken Training Track.) There are old signs from the Hitchcock Woods, and photos of people riding and driving through town. There are also old polo pictures, including a trophy shot from a 1980s era Cup of Aiken finals on Whitney Field that includes a young-looking Memo Gracida. Stoplight is also known for its vast and varied collection of salt and pepper shakers. They come in all shapes, from mushrooms to teapots to black and white terriers. Teddy won’t say how many there are. “We’re going to have a contest where people guess how many we have later this year,” she says. If you want a hint, consider that Stoplight has been collecting them since they first opened their doors, March 10, 1993. Aiken Polo Club 2013


Riley’s Whitby Bull 801 East Pine Log Rd. 803-641-6227

Fatz Café 996 Pine Log Rd. 803-641-4261

Ni Hao Chinese Buffet 3553 Richland Ave. W. 803-648-5233

Ryan’s Downtown Market 106 Laurens ST SW (803) 226-0634

Ferrando’s Italian Pizzeria 103 South Aiken Lane (The Shoppes At Whiskey) 803-644-8881

O’Charley’s 168 South Aiken Lane (The Shoppes at Whiskey) 803-644-8874

General Elliott Inn (parties of 8 or more, Monday – Thursday; general reservations, Friday – Saturday) 939 New Bridge Rd. 803-642-8108

Outback Steak House 160 Aiken Mall Dr. 803-644-4031

Stoplight Deli 119 Laurens St. NW 803-642-3354 What’s Cookin’ Downtown 123-B Laurens St. NW 803-649-1068 WifeSaver of Aiken 651 Silver Bluff Rd. 803-642-0441

DINNER BEYOND DOWNTOWN Apizza di Napoli 740 Silver Bluff Rd. 803-226-0700 Applebee’s Bar & Grill 1360 Whiskey Rd. 803-642-8175 Chili’s Grill & Bar 2599 Whiskey Rd. 803-648-8148 Coach T’s Diner 1552 Whiskey Rd. 803-226-0106 Cracker Barrel 2364 Whiskey Rd. Aiken, SC 29803 (803) 648-0007 Eastern Buffet 190 Aiken Mall Drive SW 803-642-2788


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Golden Corral 2265 Whiskey Rd. 803-642-8030 Harry’s Local’s Neighborhood Oyster Bar 1208 Whiskey Rd. 803-649-0082 Jade of China 1014-C Pine Log Rd. 803-642-8509 Juniper 640 E. Main St. in Ridge Spring 803-685-7547 Kobe Japanese Steak House 1040 Pine Log Rd. 803-642-9080 Maria’s Mexican Restaurant 716 E. Pine Log Rd. 803-648-8840 Mi Rancho 3607 Richland Ave. West 803-644-1111 or 124 Dominion Dr. 803-641-6099 New China Restaurant 252 East Gate Drive 803-641-1229

Red Bowl 2645 Whiskey Rd. 803-226-9888 Red Lobster 950 Aiken Mall Dr. 803-648-4320 Red Pepper Café 752 Silver Bluff Road 803-649-9915 Roma’s Italian Restaurant 1368 Whiskey Rd. 803-643-7828 Ruby Tuesday (East Gate Shopping Center on Whiskey Rd.) 803-642-7266 Sakura Japanese Steak House 1913 Whiskey Rd. 803-648-3238 Salsa Tex-Mex Grill 109 Tamil Drive 803-643-2722 Tokyo Grill 3555 Richland Ave. W. 803-502-7868 Travinia 470 Fabian Drive (803) 642-9642

The Variety Restaurant 921 York St. NE 803-648-6987 The Wing Place 732 E. Pine Log Rd. 803-644-7777 Zorbas 510 Silver Bluff Road (803) 643-8777


Aiken Brewing Company 140 Laurens St. SW 803-502-0707 City Billiards 208 Richland Ave. West 803-649-7362

or 2519 Whiskey Rd. 803-649-9990 or 462 East Pine Log Rd. 803-649-1838

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


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

The Carriage House Inn 139 Laurens St. NW 803-644-5888

Hotel Aiken 235 Richland Ave. West 803-648-4265/ Toll Free: 877817-6690 Rose Hill Estate 221 Greenville St. NW 803-648-1181

Hilton Garden Inn 350 East Gate Drive 803-641-4220 Houndslake Guest House 897 Houndslake Drive 803-648-9535/ Toll Free: 800735-4587 Howard Johnson’s 1936 Whiskey Rd. South 803-649-5000

The Cork and Bean at 100 Laurens 100 Laurens St. SW 803-648-4265

Knights Inn 1850 Richland Avenue W. 803-648-6821

Playoffs Sports Bar and Grill 205 Richland Ave. W. 803-648-1028

Quality Inn 3608 Richland Ave. W. 803-641-1100

The Polo Lounge at Hotel Aiken 235 Richland Ave. West 803-648-4265

Sleep Inn 1002 Monterey Drive 803-644-9900


IHOP 180 Aiken Mall Dr. SW 803-642-1901 Riley’s Whitby Bull 801 East Pine Log Rd. 803-641-6227 The Track Kitchen 420 Mead Ave. 803-641-9628 The Waffle House 1710 Richland Ave. West 803-644-4098

The Willcox 100 Colleton Ave. SW 803-648-1898/ Toll Free: 877648-2200

HOTELS AROUND TOWN America’s Best Value Inn 2577 Whiskey Rd. 803-641-8800 Clarion Hotel 155 Colonial Parkway 803-648-0999


Annie’s Inn Bed & Breakfast 3082 Charleston Hwy. 803-649-6836 Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast 544 Magnolia St. SE 803-649-2010 White House Inn Bed & Breakfast 240 Newberry St. SW 803-649-2935

Country Inn & Suites 3270 Whiskey Rd. 803-649-4024 Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

The Helmet is required equipment. The most common

helmets are made of reinforced, padded plastic with a cloth 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 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. It is the most common bit in polo

Draw Reins run from

the player’s hand, through the bit rings and then back to the saddle.

Knee Pads provide some

protection from flying balls and rough ride-offs.

The Martingale 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.

Nick Snow (photo by PG)

Leg Wraps provide

support to tendons and ligaments as well as protection from flying balls and stray mallets.

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

The Ball

is made of hard plastic that dents a bit each time it is hit.

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 2013

Hutchinson Wins the Cup USPA National Copper Cup by Pam Gleason


lthough Hutchinson Farm played only three games to get to the finals of the USPA National Copper Cup 12-Goal in the fall of 2012, the team was already a seasoned one. This is because three of the players (Charlie Hutchinson (0), Nick Snow (4) and Will Tankard (3)) made it to the finals of two 8-goal tournaments in the spring season. In their first 8-goal final, the Smoak Family Aiken Cup, they won 17-16 in overtime. In the second, the USPA Congressional Cup, they lost 13-12. Both times they faced the same team: Diavoli Rossi, which was powered by the aggressive play of the formidable 6-goaler, Tommy Biddle. To move up to the 12-goal level, Hutchinson added Tiger Kneece (5 goals) to their line-up, and the combination proved dynamic. Tiger, who had played all summer in Wyoming, is one of Aiken’s favorite sons, and a player who always seems to get the best out of his teammates. With four teams entered, the tournament format called for each of the teams to play each of the other three teams. The two teams with the best records would advance to the finals. This meant that finalists would be foursomes that had already met once before. In tournaments where the teams are equally matched, the difference between going to the finals and winning, and being shut out entirely, can come down to a lucky bounce of the ball. It can also be the result of superior strategy, or of a careful analysis of the playing styles of opposing teams. Even when two teams have already played one another before, the results of a rematch can be completely different. Although Hutchinson Farm was clearly a team to contend with, its road to the final field was not smooth. The team easily won its first game against Golden Zebra/Duck Hill 12-4, but then stumbled in its game against Barrington, losing 11-10 in overtime. The next game against Skaneateles was do-or-die. Hutchinson had to win to make it to the finals. Skaneateles for its part was looking for redemption. The same team (Marty Cregg (A), Cesar Jimenez (2); Pelon Escapite (6) Ulysses Escapite (4)) had come to Aiken for the Copper Cup in 2011 and had won all its games handily until the final. There, the team met Blanco Texas, an unstoppable foursome Pelon Escapite hits while Nick Snow tries to block. (PG)

featuring Tommy Biddle. Blanco Texas won the final with a score of 10-7. With Biddle and Blanco Texas playing elsewhere, Skaneateles seemed a good bet to take home the cup in 2012. They won their first two games against Golden Zebra/Duck Hill (15-7) and against Barrington (10-8), and then just had to defeat Hutchinson to arrive at the final field undefeated once again. The first Hutchinson vs. Skaneateles game took place on Whitney Field and it was the 3 o’clock Sunday game. It was raining. Although the field seemed relatively firm and the horses’ hooves held the turf fairly well, the players were clearly distracted. There were fouls; there were falls. In the first chukker, Skaneateles’s Cesar Jimenez and Hutchinson’s Will Tankard collided and both came off. Although both were hurt, they elected to keep playing. The rain, a fine mist, promised to dissipate, then threatened to get heavier. It wasn’t pretty, but it was polo, and the game was important. Spectators on the sidelines watched from inside their cars, or huddled under umbrellas. The players slogged on. With the rain getting heavier, Hutchinson Farm went up a goal in the last period, and when the final bell rang, they were the winners, 7-6. This meant the tournament was now in a three-way tie between Skaneateles, Hutchinson and Barrington. The number of net goals each team had earned would determine which two teams went to the final. The way it worked out, this called for a rematch between Skaneateles and Hutchinson. The two teams had a week to prepare since the final was scheduled for 1 p.m. the following Sunday, October 7. This time, the game would be at Fox Nation in Windsor, on a field that is known for being ultrafast. Sunday was bright and sunny, and the turf was firm and even a bit dry. With faster footing and without the distraction of the rain, it was clearly going to be quite a different game. There was also a change in the line-up: Cesar Jimenez, still recovering from his injury in the first game against Hutchinson, was replaced by the 2-goaler Ramon Beato. If you had just watched the first two chukkers of the finals, you would probably come away thinking Aiken Polo Club 2013


that Hutchinson Farm was going to win in a blowout. Charlie Hutchinson scored the first goal in chukker one, putting the ball in with a short, angled backshot after Tiger Kneece brought it close to the uprights. In the second chukker, Will Tankard knocked in his first goal, while Nick Snow tallied three times. For their part, the Skaneateles team managed to get one goal on Penalty 2. This meant that as the third chukker started, the scoreboard read 5-1 in favor of Hutchinson Farm. Hutchinson was playing

penalty shot too, and converted. At the end of the fourth the score was 6-6. In the fifth chukker, Marty Cregg brought the ball to within inches of the posts and Beato, in the right place at the right time, picked it up to score and put Skaneateles in the lead for the first time. But just as the chukker was about to end, Snow got a handle on the ball at midfield, drove it forward and necked it through. Once again, the chukker ended in a tie, 7-7. In the sixth chukker Hutchinson rallied back, taking command of the field just as it had in the opening chukkers. First, Will Tankard took the ball from the initial throw-in and scored for Hutchinson. Two minutes later, an unfortunate foul near the goal allowed Hutchinson to go up by two, 9-7. Skaneateles still had four minutes to make a comeback, and it was not out of the question. But Hutchinson was determined and relentless, with a tenacious defense that shut down the Skaneateles players whenever they got possession. Another foul shot awarded to Hutchinson put the score at 10-7, where it stood when the clock ran out. At the trophy table, Hutchinson Farm hoisted the historic USPA Copper Cup. The players each won their own replicas. The cup itself will be engraved with the players’ names and returned to 2012 USPA Copper Cup Winners, Charlie Hutchinson, Nick Snow, the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in Florida. Will Tankard and Tiger Kneece. (GK) Nick Snow, who was responsible for seven of his aggressively, and seemed in charge of every play. team’s goals, was named the MVP. Best playing pony But the third chukker would be a different story. honors went to Pelon Escapite’s third chukker horse, Less than a minute into that chukker, Pelon Escapite, Olivia. Perhaps coincidentally, Olivia was also the riding his dark bay mare Olivia, hit in a goal. Now best playing pony in the 2011 Copper Cup, and the the score was 5-2. Two minutes later, Ramon Beato score, 10-7 was identical. followed up a run by Ulysses Escapite to shoot a The results were a repeat in another way, too. It can bouncing ball home. 5-3. Another minute and half, be unusual for a team composed entirely of North and Skaneateles was awarded a 60-yard penalty. Americans to win a 12-goal tournament, since so Pelon’s shot bounced off the goal post, but Ulysses many of the higher rated players in this country are was right there to put the ball through. 5-4. Then, from South America. Last year, the Blanco Texas with 40 seconds left in the chukker, Beato scored team was an all North American squad. This year, again. At halftime, the board read 5-5 and now it was Hutchinson Farm was also all North American, and it anybody’s game. was an all local team: Charlie has a winter home here The fourth chukker was most notable for tenacious and comes down from New Hampshire each season. defense on both sides. Both teams had opportunities Tiger Kneece, like Tommy Biddle, grew up in Aiken to score, but everyone was pressing hard, hooking and and learned to play here, while Nick Snow and Will riding off. Near the end of the chukker, Nick Snow Tankard, both members of the Team USPA training scored on a penalty to give his team the advantage program, have homes and family connections in once again. 6-5. But Skaneateles was awarded a Aiken. 38

Aiken Polo Club 2013

get dressed


Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

Alan Meeker sees the play. (GK)

Left: Marty Cregg. Above: Jose Rodriguez with a powerful backshot. (GK)

Tyler Morris on the ball. (GB)

Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Del Walton hooks Agustin Arellano (PG)

Pedro Lara rides off against Gary Knoll (PG)

Craig Fraser goes for the backshot against Mason Primm (GB) 44

Aiken Polo Club 2013

Nick Snow with a quick pass to Tiger Kneece. (PG)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Pam Gleason on the ball. The whole field in pursuit. (GB)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Gary Knoll takes a hard hit from Marcos Onetto. (PG)

Lauren Biddle in a ride off. (GK)

Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013





IHSA • Eventing • Polo • Scholars

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Polo in Aiken

131 years of history

By Pam Gleason In the late 1800s, Aiken was famous throughout the South as a health resort and a vacation spot. Not only did it attract many seasonal visitors from the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia, it also brought in hundreds of winter travelers from the North. By 1880, these “tourists” had established a Winter Colony in the city. They would come down on the train in November, pursue outdoor activities with a vengeance until April, then pack up and migrate home. Tourists came from Boston, Chicago and especially New York. In those years, horse sports were particularly in vogue. In 1876, James Gordon Bennett, an eccentric newspaper publisher, had introduced polo to members of the leisure class in New York. The sport, which has its roots in antiquity, caught on quickly and began to make its way across the country. Captain Clarence Southerland Wallace, a New Yorker and an executive in the Havemeyer Sugar Company (now Domino Sugar) organized Aiken’s first game. That first game took place at the site of today’s Whitney Field on Mead Avenue. 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.” Not much is known about the very earliest years of polo in the city, but by the 1890s, it was a well-established and popular pastime. Prominent Aikenites who took up the sport included Aiken’s mayor as well as numerous 50

Aiken Polo Club 2013

international matches. Famous players included the Hitchcocks, the Bostwicks, the Gerrys, the Posts, the Knoxes, the von Stades, the Igleharts, Alan Corey Jr., Harry Payne Whitney, Jimmy Mills, Russell Grace, Jules Rompf, Devereux Milburn and Louis E. Stoddard. It was the Golden Age of American polo, and Aiken was at the center of it all. World War II dealt a severe blow to polo everywhere. During the conflict, Aiken’s women’s teams held occasional charity matches to raise money for war bonds. After the war, regular polo resumed winter residents. The Aiken Polo Club became an official member of the United States Polo Association (then just the Polo Association) in 1899. 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 a member of 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. Many young players nurtured in Mrs. Hitchcock’s junior programs went on to become the premier players in the country. 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. He was also a friend of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and is said to have been an inspiration for the character Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. During the first three decades of the twentieth century, Aiken was the acknowledged polo center of the South. Great numbers of high-ranked players came to spend the winter, competing daily on the 16 fields the city offered. The horse trainer Fred Post arrived in Aiken in the early 1910s and soon had over 100 horses in training, along with a stable of young players to work them. Polo dominated the Aiken sports scene, and poloists who practiced in Aiken went on to represent the United States in many

Julio Arellano takes a nearside neckshot. Julio (9 goals) is one of the top professional players who makes his home in Aiken and can be found playing in tournament and practice games whenever he is in town. When he is not playing, he might be grooming for his children who also play in Aiken.

on Aiken’s fields under the auspices of the Knox, Bostwick and Corey families. Society was changing, however, and as the years passed, polo in America was in decline and polo in Aiken along with it. Many of the illustrious players from before the war retired or died, and fewer members of the next generations stayed with polo. Across the country, old clubs near big cities were giving way to development. Aiken still had Whitney Field and the complex of fields on Powder House Road. A group of families upheld Aiken’s polo tradition, but it was only a shadow of what it had been in earlier years. By the mid-1970s, polo was coming back across Aiken Polo Club 2013


America. Players polo, intercollegiate from other parts of and interscholastic polo the country moved came to Aiken in 2011. to Aiken, joining the Today, Aiken County descendants of players boasts 9 separate United from the Golden Age States Polo Association and encouraging others recognized clubs and to take up the sport. By almost 50 fields, many 1982, the Centennial of them of the best year of polo in Aiken, quality. The area has the club was on the gained an international upswing. Tom Biddle reputation as a place to (who later would play, as well as a place Tommy Biddle with Julian Daniels in pursuit. (GK) become Chairman of the to breed and train polo United States Polo Association), David Widener and ponies. Players come to Aiken for the spring season Gene Kneece, wanting to play with their sons, helped on their way north from Florida, or for the fall season develop a new program on Aiken’s historic fields. Tom on their way south from points north and west. The and Gene’s sons, Tommy Biddle and Tiger Kneece, spring and fall seasons now feature numerous United matured into top professionals, bringing their talents States Polo Association tournaments, including the to clubs around the country. prestigious USPA National Copper Cup 12 Goal, Things really heated up in the 1990s when played each September. A growing number of players Owen Rinehart and Adam Snow, two of America’s stay and play year round. Aiken now has both best players, bought property outside town and summer and winter polo. established the Langdon Road Club to hold medium Polo is an essential part of the city because, as and high goal matches. High goal clubs came into 10-goaler Devereux Milburn remarked many years being on the East side of town: first there was the ago, “so many people who love horses naturally New Bridge Polo and Country Club, which brought are attracted to Aiken.” The attraction today is the prestigious USPA Gold Cup tournament. Then, still as great as it was in Milburn’s day. The polo 302 Polo began organizing more medium and community is growing steadily, with more polo high goal polo, including the USPA Silver Cup. players buying property in the area every year. With Players were moving to Aiken, buying up old cotton its distinguished history and its current popularity, fields, forests and farms, and putting in first class Aiken Polo’s future has never looked brighter, and tournament and practice fields. Other clubs sprouted, Whitney Field, the oldest polo field in continuous mostly dedicated to low goal, low stress matches and use in the United States, promises to hold its place as tournaments. Aiken’s program for children’s polo has the focal point of Aiken’s Sunday afternoons for many introduced many young players to the sport. Arena years to come.


Aiken Polo Club 2013


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Aiken Polo Club 2013


Walter J. Durrett at practice. (GK)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Above: Julio Arellano at practice. (GK) Right: Luis Galvan rides off Eddy Martinez. (PG)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


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Aiken Polo Club 2013

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Aiken Polo Club 2013


Grayson Brown backs it. (GK)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Glenn Miller follows the line. (GK)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Julie Boyle about to score with Cecelia Cochran looking on. Jolie Liston goes for the hook. (GB)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Meaghan Scanlon reaches for the hook, but Courtney Asdourian gets by. (GK)

Rose Sease hits ahead of Belinda Brody. (GK)

Rachel Turner tries to ride off Sherri Lynn Hensman. (GB)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Alan Corey shoots for goal. (GB)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Ali Henderson versus Amy Flowers. (PG)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Grayson Brown on the move. (GB)


Geoff Cameron with a strong shot. (GK) Aiken Polo Club 2013

Amy Flowers warms up before the game. (GK)

Lauren Biddle hits it hard. (PG)

Matt Sekera ahead of Lauren Biddle. (GB)

Pancho Eddy scores again. (PG) Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

Tournament Season 2012 Round Up


iken Polo Club had a great year in 2012. The spring season, which started in late March with the annual Pacers and Polo Match on Powder House Field, ran through early June. During these months, there were five well-attended tournaments at the 4 through 8 goal levels, as well as many weekday and weekend practices. The fall season, which started up after Labor Day and ran through mid-November, had a record eight tournaments, including the Campbell Cup women’s tournament and the USPA Copper Cup 12-Goal, one of the most prestigious contests on the American polo circuit. All of the tournaments drew competitive teams, and many teams came from long distances to compete on Aiken’s fields and enjoy the city’s special equestrian atmosphere.

Julio Arellano. In the first half, each of the two teams worked hard to take control of the play and the score seesawed back and forth. By the middle of the third chukker, however, the ball started bouncing Bodega’s way, and by the fourth and final chukker, Firehouse was playing catch-up. A few unfortunate Firehouse fouls in the final frame put Bodega’s lead out of reach, and they emerged the winner, 9.5-6.


USPA Sportsmanship Cup 6 Goal

The USPA Sportsmanship Cup 6 goal attracted six teams that were divided into two brackets. The play was in a cross-bracket format, with the teams in Bracket A playing those in Bracket B and the two teams with the best records advancing to the finals. Those two teams, Firehouse Subs and Bodega Gratia, both from Bracket B, came to the final field with 3-0 records along with an identical number of net goals (+4). It was clearly going to be a close match. The finals took place at Whitney Field on Sunday, April 29 in front of a large crowd. Firehouse Subs had Pancho Eddy and Del Walton to set up the plays and hit long balls. Gary Knoll was tenacious on defense, while Rick Salter went forward to goal. Bodega Gratia had the everenergetic Marcos Onetto bolstered by Tom Uskup with Marvin Slosman and 14-year-old Agustin Arellano, whose father is the well-known 9 goaler,

The USPA Sportsmanship Cup 6 Goal Winner, Bodega Gratia. Agustin Arellano, Tom Uskup, Marcos Onetto, Marvin Slosman. MVP: Marcos Onetto. BPP: Del Walton’s Minnie. (PG)

Smoak Aiken Cup 8 Goal

The Smoak Aiken Cup 8 Goal, sponsored by the Smoak family, attracted six teams that were divided into two brackets. Like the Sportsmanship Cup, this tournament was played in a cross-bracket format. At the end of match play, one team, Diavoli Rossi, was undefeated. Two teams had 2-1 records, Hutchinson Farms/First View and Peachtree (Barb Uskup, Randy Rizor, Marcos Onetto, Antonio Galvan). Which of the two would make it to the finals came down to a question of “who beat who.” Since Hutchinson/First View had defeated Peachtree when they met on the Sunday field earlier in the tournament, Hutchinson advanced to the finals. From the beginning of the tournament, Diavoli Rossi was clearly the team to beat. The team featured the 3-goaler Matthew Fonseca with Andrew Seibert along with the 6-goaler Tommy Biddle and his

Left: Del Walton hits it past Tom Uskup. Above: Agustin Arellano about to score; Gary Knoll going for the bump.(PG)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


daughter Lauren. Hutchinson/First View was also one of the early favorites: Joe Meyer and Charlie Hutchinson were teamed with Will Tankard (3) and Nick Snow (4). Since the two teams were in opposite brackets, they had met once before in the very first game of the tournament. That time the game went to overtime, and Diavoli Rossi won by a score of 14-13.

a penalty four to give Hutchinson its first lead of the game. At this point, Tommy Biddle switched horses and came roaring back to score two goals, putting his team up 16-15. But then, near the end of regulation time, a foul was called against Diavoli Rossi. Snow capitalized, sending the teams to sudden death overtime. The overtime chukker was anti-climactic,

Matthew Fonseca hits. Tommy Biddle in support; Will Tankard and Nick Snow in pursuit. (GK)

The final on May 13 at Whitney Field was possibly the best as well as the highest scoring game of the season. Tommy Biddle’s masterful performance, especially in the third chukker (he scored five goals) gave his team a 10-6 lead at the half. But Hutchinson/ First View never lost their will to win. Nick Snow kept the pressure on Tommy Biddle, shutting down his offensive plays, while Will Tankard turned Snow’s defense into offense for Hutchinson. The two teams traded goals back and forth, but Hutchinson/First View seemed to gain momentum and confidence with every passing minute. Down three goals at the beginning of the sixth chukker, Hutchinson won the first bowl-in and Joe Meyer scored. Then they won the second bowl-in, and Charlie Hutchinson scored. They won the third bowl-in, and Nick Snow scored to tie the match. Almost immediately afterwards, Tankard converted 68

Aiken Polo Club 2013

since it, too, ended with a Diavoli Rossi foul and a successful penalty conversion by Will Tankard. Hutchinson/First View was the winner, 17-16.

Smoak Aiken Cup winners: Hutchinson Farms/First View: Will Tankard, Joe Meyer, Nick Snow, Charlie Hutchinson, with Ambassador Joe Smoak and his daughter Mary Frances Walde. MVP: Tommy Biddle. BPP: Tommy Biddle’s Magic Man. (GK)

Atlantic Broadband 4 Goal USPA Constitution Cup

The Atlantic Broadband 4 Goal USPA Constitution Cup had eight teams divided into two brackets, with the winner of each bracket advancing to the finals. The winner of Bracket A was Natural Soda (Bill Gunn, Diego Ferreira, Rodolfo Irigoyen and

Mason Primm) and the winner of Bracket B was Blackberg Ranch (Derrick Berg, Joachin Tadeo, Pedro Lara and Luis Galvan.) The final, a four chukker affair, was played on Whitney Field on Sunday, May 20. The teams

Ranch was awarded several penalty shots, but failed to convert them. Finally, Joaquin Tadeo put in a Penalty Three to send his team to the trophy table.

traded goals back and forth, coming to the end of regulation play tied at six goals apiece. In the sudden death period, Blackberg

Atlantic Broadband 4 Goal USPA Constitution Cup Winners: Blackberg Ranch. Luis Galvan, Gaston Bravo, Joaquin Tadeo, Derrick Berg. With Congressman Joe Wilson. MVP: Diego Ferreira. BPP: Muneca, played by Rodolfo Irigoyen. (GB)

Aiken Polo Club Best Wishes for an Excellent Season!

From your Friends & Neighbors at Banbury Cross Farm Polo, Fox and Hound Realty & The Gallop Aiken Polo Club 2013


Tommy Biddle slams the ball up field and races past the tent. (PG)

USPA Congressional Cup 8 Goal

The USPA Congressional Cup 8 Goal was a replay of the Smoak Aiken Cup, with just one new team entered. Once again, the six teams played in a crossbracket format. Once again, the two teams with the best records were Diavoli Rossi and Hutchinson Farms/First View. This time, however, the two teams were in the same bracket and so did not have to play

Hutchinson was down two goals. Early in the chukker, Nick Snow scored on a penalty conversion, and it looked as though a rally might be in the offing. However, Biddle scored twice to widen the gap again. With less than a minute remaining, Nick Snow and then Joe Meyer scored for Hutchinson, and the crowd held its collective breath, hoping for another overtime decision. But the clock ran out, leaving the score at 13-12, with Diavoli Rossi the winner.

June 4 Goal Invitational

USPA Congressional Cup 8 Goal winners: Diavoli Rossi: Andrew Seibert, Lauren Biddle, Matthew Fonseca, Tommy Biddle. MVP: Tommy Biddle. BPP: Charlie Hutchinson’s Militia. (GB)

against one another before the final. Hutchinson/ First View won all of its games in match play, while Diavoli Rossi racked up a 2-1 record and managed to squeak into the finals on the strength of a half of a net goal. In the finals, Diavoli Rossi came out strong, with Tommy Biddle scoring two quick goals in the first chukker. Hutchinson/First View played hard, tying the score several times throughout the match. Diavoli Rossi was tenacious however, and Hutchinson never pulled ahead. At the start of the sixth chukker, 70

Aiken Polo Club 2013

The June 4 Goal Invitational got started on Saturday, May 26. Six teams were divided into two brackets, and the format was cross-bracket. Firehouse Subs (Eliza Limehouse, Rick Salter, Kegan Walsh and Marcos Onetto) and Derry Heir ( Jeff Shuler, Will Donahey, Tom Uskup and Craig Fraser) emerged the finalists, each with a perfect record. The finals were held at CII Polo field on Wednesday, June 6. Though the teams were equally matched and the score remained close throughout, in the end, Firehouse Subs was victorious, beating their opponents by a score of 5.5 to 4.

June 4 Goal Invitational winner: Firehouse Subs: Eliza Limehouse, Kim Snider, Kegan Walsh, Marcos Onetto. MVP: Marcos Onetto. BPP: Kegan Walsh’s Clever. (GK)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Fall Season

USPA Governor’s Cup 6 Goal

The USPA Governor’s Cup 6 Goal was the first tournament of a very active fall polo season. This tournament had six competitive entries, and the finalists were both undefeated teams. The first, Blackberg/Bodega relied on the teamwork and aggressive play of two 3 goal players, Marcos Onetto and Luis Galvan, assisted by the young Derrick Berg and the always-competitive Marvin Slosman. The second finalist, La Vinas, had Cesar Rangel, Mario Maldonado and Stacie Rodriguez, all directed by the veteran 4 goaler Eddy Martinez. The 6 goal final, held at Whitney Field on September 30, was a four-chukker contest. For the first three of those four chukkers, Blackberg/ Bodega was in control, scoring the first two goals of the match in quick succession. Las Vinas answered, often tying the score, but never pulling ahead. Then came the fourth chukker. Going in, Las Vinas was at a 6-4 deficit. Eddy Martinez, who had played steadily throughout the game, suddenly seemed to be everywhere at once, pushing every play and on every ball. He scored two quick goals to tie things up early in the chukker. Then Cesar Rangel added another tally for Las Vinas, and Eddy Martinez drove the ball home on two successive penalty shots. In all, the Las Vinas team scored five goals in the final chukker while holding Blackberg/Bodega scoreless. Las Vinas won, 9-6.

USPA Governor’s Cup 6 Goal winners: Las Vinas: Mario Maldonado, Cesar Rangel, Stacie Rodriguez, Eddy Martinez. MVP: Eddy Martinez. BPP: Elephant, owned and played by Marcos Onetto. (PG)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Campbell Cup Ladies Invitational

Campbell Cup Ladies Invitational featured five 0-2 goal teams. Four of these teams were composed of mostly local players, while the fifth, Wildwood, was shipping in from Tennessee. The four local teams played against one another on Wednesday, September 19. Then on Thursday, the fourth placed team played against the second place team, while the third placed team played against Wildwood. The next day, Friday, the first placed team played against Wildwood. The teams with the best records advanced to the finals. The finalists were Wildwood and Walkabout Farm. Wildwood, with Ali Henderson, Cathy Brown,

Campbell Cup Ladies Invitational Winners: Wildwood: Ali Henderson, Courtney Asdourian, Cathy Brown, Martha Bennett. MVP: Rachel Turner. BPP: Meaghan Scanlon’s Piss Ant. (PG)

Martha Bennett and Courtney Asdourian, was the favorite from the start. Not only were these four strong and well-mounted players, they were also coached by Julian Hipwood, the former 9 goaler and member of the Polo Hall of Fame. Wildwood easily beat the third seeded Stone Pony, and then eked out a victory against the first seeded Virginia Beach. Walkabout (Amy Flowers, Fiona Eagle, Rachel Turner, Meaghan Scanlon) narrowly beat Stone Pony in their first game and fourth-seeded Rude Girls in their second. The final game started out slow for Wildwood, with Walkabout drawing first blood on two successful penalty conversions by Rachel Turner in the first chukker. In the second chukker, however, Wildwood came alive with two goals from Ali Henderson and one from Cathy Brown. Wildwood continued to pour it on in the third and fourth, with goals from all four team members. Late in the fourth, Rachel Turner had

another successful penalty conversion, but Wildwood remained firmly in control of the play. They won by a final score of 7-3.

plays. Will Tankard managed to put in three goals for Hutchinson, but it was not enough. Skaneateles emerged the winner by a score of 12-9.

Cup of Aiken 8 Goal

USPA Players Cup 4 Goal

The Cup of Aiken 8 Goal started just after the end of the USPA Copper Cup 12 Goal (see the article on page 30), and many of the 8 goal teams that competed included Copper Cup teams that had been reorganized for the lower goal limit. Seven teams were entered, and the two that made it to the final were Hutchinson Farm and Skaneateles, the same two teams that were finalists in the 12 goal. In the Copper Cup, Hutchinson (the winner) had Charlie Hutchinson, Nick Snow, Will Tankard and Tiger Kneece. In the Cup of Aiken, the team switched Tiger (5 goals) for Kegan Walsh (1). Skaneateles (Marty Cregg, Cesar Jimenez, Ulysses Escapite, Pelon Escapite) switched Pelon Escapite (6) for Marcos Onetto (3). Coming off their 12-goal victory and undefeated in 8-goal match play, Hutchinson was the favorite at the outset. Skaneateles and Hutchinson had played against one another earlier in the tournament, and Hutchinson had won by two goals. In the October 5 Cup of Aiken final, however, Skaneateles seemed determined to stage a comeback, scoring two quick goals early in the first chukker. Although Hutchinson tied the score several times in the first half, they never pulled ahead. At halftime, the score was tied at 6 to 6. In the second half, Marcos Onetto began an offensive campaign. He scored three goals in the fourth chukker, one in the fifth and two in the sixth. Meanwhile, Ulysses Escapite put pressure on Nick Snow, successfully keeping him from completing his

Cup of Aiken 8 Goal winners: Skaneateles. Ulysses Escapite, Marcos Onetto, Cesar Jimenez, Marty Cregg. MVP: Marcos Onetto. BPP: Nick Snow’s Honey.

USPA Players Cup 4 Goal attracted eight teams that were divided into two brackets. The winner of Bracket A was Peachtree, featuring Marcos Onetto, Kegan Walsh, Randy Rizor and Gary Knoll. Bracket B was dominated by Brookland Plantation (Thomas Ravenel, Misty Allen, Mike Matz and Vincent Mesker.) Both teams came to the final with perfect 3-0 records. In the final, played on Powderhouse Field, Saturday, October 20, Brookland Plantation took command by slowing the down the play and controlling the ball. This disrupted the Peachtree hit-and-run strategy, and it gave Brookland the upper hand. In the first half,

USPA Players Cup 4 Goal winners: Brookland Plantation. Misty Allen, Thomas Ravenel, Mike Matz, Vincent Mesker. MVP: Randy Rizor. BPP: Marcos Onetto’s Elephant.

Brookland scored three quick goals, leaving Peachtree at an uncharacteristic deficit. Although Peachtree got on the board thanks to a pair of successful penalty conversions by Marcos Onetto, by halftime, the team was trailing 6-2. In the second half, Peachtree rallied, whittling the lead down to one goal by the final minutes of the fourth and last chukker. With momentum on their side, they seemed poised to tie the score and force the game into overtime. But a foul was called on a Peachtree player and Vincent Mesker scored for Brookland, which won the game 8-6. Aiken Polo Club 2013


USPA Officers Cup 8 Goal

USPA Officers Cup 8 Goal attracted six teams that were divided into two brackets. In this tournament, the teams played within their own bracket, and finalists were determined after a semifinal round, which pitted the first place team in Bracket A against the second place team in Bracket B and vs. versa. This gave the second place team in each bracket a chance to make it to the finals. As it turned out, in the semis, the second place teams in each bracket (Peachtree and Duck Hill) managed to defeat the first place teams in the opposite brackets (Virginia Beach and Hutchinson Farm). Both bracket winners were shut out and both second place teams ended up finalists. The finals, held on November 4 at Whitney Field,

in Windsor, which are well known for their high quality and for their beautiful setting. The leagues ran concurrently with Aiken Polo’s more established, in-town games, ensuring that anyone who wanted to play competitive polo in Aiken had plenty of opportunities throughout the fall season. The first final on Thursday, October 25 pitted Casa Azul against Firehouse Subs. The Firehouse Subs team (Amy Flowers, Rick Salter, Marcos Onetto and Del Walton) had won all of their games, including their first game against Casa Azul – this contest was decided by a mere half a goal. Casa Azul (Brien Limehouse, Matt Sekera, Todd Martineau, Grayson Brown) won its other two games, the first against Rude Boy by another half a goal, and the second against Silverstone by a solid three goals. Although Firehouse Subs was formidable on both the offense and the defense, Casa Azul was even stronger, bolstered by some particularly aggressive and effective hustling on the part of Brien Limehouse and Todd Martineau. At the end of the four chukkers, Casa Azul was the winner. The second league started on October 21 and had its finals on Sunday, November 4. Once again, Firehouse Subs was a finalist. This time, the team was pitted against Derry Heir (Megan Donahey, Geoff Cameron, Craig Fraser, Bob Donahey). Once again, although Firehouse played hard and well, they were the runners-up. Derry Heir took home the cup with a score of 8-5.

USPA Officers Cup 8 Goal winners: Duck Hill. Bob Stanton, John Gobin, Tom Uskup, Agustin Arellano. MVP: Agustin Arellano. BPP: Tom Uskup’s Christina (David Lominska)

were close and competitive. Duck Hill relied on the talents of John Gobin, who was ably assisted by Tom Uskup, Agustin Arellano and Bob Stanton. Gobin set up the plays, Uskup was quick to the line and young Arellano had a hot mallet shooting to goal. Peachtree (Barb Uskup, Randy Rizor, Antonio Galvan and Marcos Onetto) was a cohesive and forward-moving team. In the early chukkers, Duck Hill took the lead, and, although Peachtree had moments of brilliance, and at times seemed to have to momentum to carry the day, Duck Hill held on to win 11-8.

6 Goal Fox Nation Series

The 6 Goal Fox Nation Series ran throughout the month of October. There were two separate tournaments, each of which attracted six teams. The games were played on the two Fox Nation fields 74

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6 Goal Fox Nation Series October winners: Casa Azul. Brien Limehouse, Matt Sekera, Todd Martineau, Greyson Brown. MVP: Del Walton. BPP: Bobby Donahey’s Riccola. (David Lominska) November winners not pictured: Derry Heir. Megan Donahey, Geoff Cameron, Craig Fraser, Bob Donahey.

Aiken Polo Club 2013


JD Cooper with a backshot. Campbell Davis defends. (GB)


Stacie Rodriguez taps it forward. (GK) Aiken Polo Club 2013

Bill Gunn (GK)

Eliza Limehouse hooks Diego Ferreira. (GK)

Gary Knoll hooks Tom Uskup. (PG)

Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Rob Berg going forward. Pancho Eddy tries to hook. (PG)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Alan Meeker and Peter Bibeau. (GK)

Bob Stanton hits; Alan Corey rides off. (GB)

Randy Rizor on the ball. (PG)

Aiken Polo Club 2013


Will Donahey with Randy Rizor in pursuit. (PG)


Aiken Polo Club 2013

Barb Uskup at practice. (GK)

Andrew Seibert races after the ball. (GK)

Ali Henderson hits while Maria Fenoglio rides off. (GK)

Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

Making it in Polo

Marcos Onetto Moving Up

by Pam Gleason, Photography by Gary Knoll


f you have spent any time at Aiken Polo Club recently, you have probably seen Marcos Onetto play. Marcos, who is 33, has been in almost every tournament the club has offered over the past three years. Starting in 2011, he has also played in most of the finals, and has won over half of them. In the fall of 2012, he was in seven tournaments, winning four and making the finals of three. He was named MVP in the Cup of Aiken 8 goal (which his team won) and his horse Elephant was the Best Playing Pony in both the United States Polo Association Governor’s Cup 6-goal and the USPA Player’s Cup 4 goal. Marcos’s career is on an upward path, as is his rating. At the USPA fall handicap meetings in 2012, his handicap was raised from three to four, a big step up for any player. But it was a step Marcos was ready to take. Over the winter, he had a successful season at four goals in Florida, winning such tournaments as the 8 goal President’s Cup qualifier at International Polo Club Palm Beach, for which he was named the MVP. He competed in nine tournaments, made the finals of seven of them, and won five. Back in Aiken, he is playing in so many tournaments he often has to play in two games every day. Marcos is based in Windsor. S.C., where he lives with his wife Kahla at Don Pedro, their 10-acre farm, named for Marcos’s grandfather. “He didn’t play polo, but he used to watch me stick and ball when I was young in Argentina,” explains Marcos. “We were kind of close.” When he bought the property six years ago, Marcos says there was nothing on it but a terrible old house. “It would rain inside,” he says. “There were three acres cleared and the rest was trees. The first thing I did when I bought it was I put in two paddocks, and that is how I started having my horses here. I’ve been fixing it up little by little. I don’t like loans much. Most of the fence, I did it by hand. Whenever I have little money, I do more fencing, more clearing, putting in good grass.” Today, Don Pedro, while still a work in progress, has

a several paddocks and a barn. It is now a comfortable home for Marcos, Kahla and their growing string of polo ponies. It has a round pen out back for training, and other riding areas for starting green horses. When Marcos needs to stick and ball an up-and-coming green horse, he just takes it with him to a game and works it before he plays. “Since I play almost every day, it works out okay,” he says. Marcos is from Olavarria, a city in the province of

Buenos Aires, which is where he first started riding and playing polo. His older brother, Horacio, is a 4-goal player with a home in Aiken. Although both Marcos and Horacio started playing polo with their father (also Horacio) when they were small boys, Marcos’s polo career almost didn’t happen. When he was 10 years old, there was a devastating accident that almost turned him away from polo and horses forever. “I remember I was playing soccer on the side of the field, while my brother and my father were playing in a game,” he says. “I didn’t see it, but I guess my father was galloping and somebody cut across him, and he went down. He broke his helmet in half. I remember running over, and he was just snoring on the field. One of the other players was holding his tongue so he Aiken Polo Club 2013


wouldn’t choke.” Horacio senior, a six goal player at the time, was gravely injured and in a coma. “My mom made a decision to take him to Buenos Aires, which was four and a half hours away. They told her not to, that if she moved him, he would not live. But that was where the good doctors were, so she took a chance and took him there. Every night, they told her that he was not going to make it. He was in a coma for three and a half months. Then, somehow, one day he opened one eye. A nurse saw him, and told the doctors, but they thought she was crazy. Then he opened both eyes, and finally he woke up.” Marcos’s father was in the hospital for several more months recuperating and eventually was discharged. Before his accident, he had played polo in Chicago and knew people in the polo community there. After he left the hospital, he came back to the States for rehabilitation for a time, helped by players such as Sunny Hale. Although he would never play polo again, he is back on his feet, and he and Marcos’s mother visit their sons in Aiken regularly. “He is lucky to be alive,” says Marcos. The accident affected Marcos deeply. While his father was in the hospital, his mother sent him to stay with family friends, but he missed his father and wanted to see him. One day, they finally relented and let him into intensive care. Marcos remembers how shocked he was by the sight of his father, so thin after two months in a coma. “I got scared,” he says. “I didn’t want to touch a polo mallet, or have anything to do with polo. So I didn’t play at all from the time I was 10 until I was about 17. I 86

Aiken Polo Club 2013

went to school; I played soccer. Then, when I was 17 or 18, my brother was playing in Chicago, and I started grooming for him. Then I started learning how to ride - how to really ride - and school horses, and I started liking it again.” Marcos says he played his first tournament when he was 21. Horacio was playing for David Wigdahl in Florida, and they were entered in a 14-goal tournament. Marcos had been assigned a one-goal rating, and they put him on the team. “I didn’t have any idea what I was doing!” he laughs. From there, he earned more opportunities to play. His first paying job was on a team with Adam Snow. “I guess I was around 23 - it was about ten years ago. Then I said to myself, you can have fun and make money, I like this! And that’s when I started playing more and more and getting serious.” Marcos progressed up the handicap ladder, all the while developing his string and taking playing jobs at various clubs in the South and the Midwest. He gives credit to many different people for helping him get started, including his brother Horacio, David Wigdahl, Bill Patterson, Randy Rizor and Adam Snow. He played in Florida, South Carolina, Chicago and Missouri. While playing in Kentucky for James Miller, he met Kahla Buthlay, who was working for James’s wife, Misdee Wrigley Miller at their Hillcroft Farm near Lexington. Kahla rode and schooled Saddlebreds for Misdee, who is also an international carriage driver. Kahla and Marcos were married at Hillcroft in 2010. Anyone who has followed Marcos’s career will have noticed how much his game has improved over the past three years. He is a quick, active player, who seems

to take advantage of every opportunity, and always appears to be trying his hardest in every situation. Marcos says he got better for two reasons. First, he was playing a lot, sometimes in three tournaments at a time, and sometimes two or even three games a day. Second, his horses have improved immeasurably. “Before, when I was younger, I would play whatever horses I had, I didn’t care. I didn’t really think about it. But now I know what horses I need to make me improve and take me higher. Now I have horses with a lot of speed, and that’s what you need right now, especially with the rule change where you can’t turn the ball. My horses have to be really fast on the takeoff, with a good mouth. Between some new horses that I have now, and some babies that I have brought along, I have a string that is really fantastic. It used to be that I would have maybe three good horses, and the rest I would get by with. But now every chukker is good.” Elephant, a dark bay mare with a snip, is one of Marcos’s standouts. She is a Thoroughbred that Marcos picked out for his friend Bill Patterson about six years ago. She was green, but she was quiet, and Marcos thought she would be a good fit for him. But Bill and Elephant never really clicked. When Marcos

noticed that she wasn’t in Bill’s string, he offered to take her and play her for a while. Although at first he thought she was terrible, after some riding and schooling she suddenly got much better. “She has speed that is insane - she goes by everything,” says Marcos. “She plays unbelievable and now she’s my best chukker.” Marcos made a deal with Bill, and now Elephant is his, and has been earning more than her share of Best Playing Pony Awards. Marcos has several other young horses that he is bringing along that he has high hopes for. His plans for the future include playing more, training more horses and striving to get better. “I’d like to get as high as I can and improve my string every year,” he says. “I’d like to play as much polo as I can as long as I can. I love polo - going down the field, hitting the ball, it’s an addiction - you can’t stop doing it. But my favorite thing is making the green horses. To see how they start playing polo and to see them turning into nice polo ponies, that’s really rewarding for me. I’ve always loved horses - they are the smartest, most majestic creatures. When I get older, I’d like to manage the club or do something like that, but always be around horses, always be making horses. I never want to be away from them.” Aiken Polo Club 2013



Aiken Polo Club 2013

Kegan Walsh hits. (PG)

Left: Joe Meyer in a hard rideoff with Lauren Biddle. (GK) Above: Bob Stanton flying down field with Andrew Seibert in pursuit. (PG)

Lucas Arellano. (GB) Aiken Polo Club 2013


Polo Glossary

What are they saying? When you go to a polo match, especially if it is your first one, you will discover that polo players and fans speak a slightly different language. Just what are the players saying and what do they mean? The following is an abbreviated polo glossary that might help you understand what is going on around you. Away! When a player yells “away!” he is calling for a backshot that is angled away from his horse. Most of the time, the players will try to hit their backshots at an angle. There are two good reasons for this. The first is that it is easier for the players following to turn and get “on the line” if the ball is travelling at an angle. The second is that there are usually players directly behind the hitter, so hitting straight back often means

the ball will bounce off horses or other players. (See also “open” and “tail.”) Ball: The polo ball is about 3½ inches in diameter and weighs around 4½ ounces. In ancient days, the polo ball was made of the root of the willow tree; the word “polo” may derive from the word “pulu” which was an ancient Manipuri Indian word meaning “willow.” Throughout history, polo balls have been made of a variety of different materials including wood and leather. Today, they are almost exclusively made of white plastic. Every hard hit dents the ball a bit, so that one that has gone through a game is no longer absolutely round and is actually smaller than a new 90

Aiken Polo Club 2013

ball. A polo game requires many balls so that there is always one handy for knock-ins from the endline, throw-ins from the sideboards or for foul shots. If a ball rolls out of bounds near your foot, don’t throw it back onto the field. The umpire will do that. If a ball is flying towards you off the field, duck! Do not try to catch it! Balls can travel at great speed, they are very hard, and they can cause serious injury. Blue Book: The Blue Book is the rulebook and player directory published each spring by the United States Polo Association. The Blue Book contains all the rules of the game, which are updated annually, as well as listings of all the recognized clubs and registered players in the country. It also has records of the winners of recognized tournaments in the previous year, as well as the winners of important tournaments going back to the association’s founding in 1890. Bump: A player may ride into an opponent in order to spoil his or her shot. The angle of the bump must be no greater than 45 degrees. Although a bump can be quite hard, it may not endanger either horse or rider. 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. Cambiaso: When people refer to Cambiaso (“He looked like Cambiaso out there!” “Who do you think you are? Cambiaso?”) they are talking about Adolfo Cambiaso, an Argentine 10-goal player who is frequently singled out as the best player in the world. Adolfo reached the 10-goal pinnacle when he was 19, making him the youngest player ever to get to 10. This year, he is 38. Eventually, another polo superstar will take his place - there are many young players who are spectacular. Twenty years ago, the top player was Memo Gracida (“Memo”) who was 10 goals for a record 21 straight years. Before World War II, the number one player was Tommy Hitchcock, who

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Aiken Polo Club 2013


played in Aiken with his family. Chukker: A period in polo is called a chukker, or sometimes a chukka. Each chukker lasts seven and a half minutes and there are 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. The word chukker comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “the turn of a wheel,” which is presumably how periods in polo used to be timed. Today, officials use electronic timers. Divot: A piece cut loose from the turf, created by galloping hooves, or more likely by horses stopping 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 the flag over his head. If no, he waves it down by his feet. Foul: Also a penalty. A foul is any infringement of the rules. When the umpires blow their whistles, time stops and the team fouled takes a free hit. Depending on the severity of the foul, the free hit may be from the point of the infraction, or closer to the goal. If the umpires determine that there was no foul or that both teams fouled simultaneously, they may have a throwin instead of the foul shot. Polo being a gentleman’s game, it is a foul to appeal for a foul. Goal: The purpose of polo is to score goals by hitting the ball through the goal posts. It doesn’t matter how high in the air a player hits the ball. As long as it passes between the parallel lines created by the goal posts, it counts as a goal. After each goal, the teams switch directions and return to the center of the field for a throw-in. Also a term for a handicap, as in “How many goals are you?” (See next entry) Handicap: Every player is assigned a handicap from -2 to 10 goals. This handicap reflects the player’s theoretical worth to his or her team and has nothing whatever to do with how many goals he or she 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 an 8-goal tournament, each team may be a maximum of eight goals, for instance. If a 7-goal team plays against an 8-goal team, the 7-goal team will start the game with one goal, (on handicap.) The majority of players in the U.S. are under 2 goals. 92

Aiken Polo Club 2013

Most people who are over 2 goals are professional players and the handful of 10-goalers in the world are professional superstars. Hook: A defensive play. A player may hook or strike at an opponentís mallet when the opponent is in the act of hitting at the ball. No player may reach over, under or across an 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. Sometimes a player commits a foul hook by accident. This is an inadvertent foul hook and merits a free hit from the spot. “Leave it!” A player may call for a teammate to “leave it” (meaning don’t try to hit the ball) if the player behind the one “on the ball” thinks he has a better shot. In theory, the player behind has a better view of the game and knows if it would be better for the player in front to leave it or not. 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, a player tries not to cross the line of the ball, especially in front of someone who is on the line. A player on the line might yell at another player to keep him from crossing: “My line! My line!” 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. Mallet: The polo stick. Mallet canes are made of malacca, a type of palm that grows in the Asian rainforest. The mallet head is typically made of tipa wood from Argentina or Brazil. Since polo is not croquet, players do not have to hit the ball with the pointy end of the mallet. Instead, they hit it with the side of the head, at the juncture of the head and the cane. Sometimes when a player yells for a teammate to hook an opponent, he will yell “Mallet!” Other times, when a player breaks his mallet, he may yell “mallet!” to his groom. With luck, someone will come to the endline to bring him a new one. Players are not allowed to get a mallet from someone on the sidelines. The play never stops just because one of the players has a broken mallet. Near Side: The left side of the horse. A near side shot is one taken on the left side of the horse. All players


Aiken Polo Club 2013


carry their mallets in their right hands, so to execute a near side shot, they must lean across the horse. Near side shots are more difficult than off side (right side) shots. Neck Shot: A shot made under the horse’s neck, causing the ball to travel at an angle in front of the horse. Players must lean forward and hit the ball well in front of them to execute a neck shot properly. Otherwise, the ball will bounce off the pony’s galloping legs. Off Side: The right side of the horse. The most common shot in polo is an off side forehand. The right side of the horse is called the “off side” because riders usually handle horses from the left (near) side. Open: (a) A shot that travels at an angle away from the horse, either backwards or forwards. Also called a cut shot. (b) A polo game that is played without consideration of handicaps. In other words, a lower handicapped team would not receive any goals to start with. 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 British tea planters learned the game from Manipuri Indians in the mid-nineteenth century, they did indeed play on ponies, which looked pretty silly when they were six-foot-tall, portly men. It was probably pretty hard on the ponies, too. As the sport developed, players used larger and larger mounts. By the end of the World War I, height limits for polo mounts were a memory. Today, the majority of polo ponies in America are Thoroughbred horses, some of which began their careers on the racetrack. There is a registry for polo ponies (the American Polo Horse Association) but mounts do not have to be registered to participate in the game. According to the Blue Book, “A mount is a horse or pony of any breed or size.” Even mules have been known to play polo. Pony Goal: A goal that is scored by a pony kicking it in. Pony goals count just as much as goals scored by players. If your pony scores a goal, the trick, of course, is to make sure that he kicks it through the correct goal. No one likes to ride a pony that is scoring points for the opposition. Ride-off: See “Bump.” In a ride-off, a player encourages his horse to lean into his opponentís horse. The rider may also make contact with his opponent, but only with his shoulder. “Elbowing” is 94

Aiken Polo Club 2013

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. Sideboards: Low boards that help keep the ball from going out of bounds. If the ball goes over the sideboards, the players line up facing the boards and the umpire bowls the ball between them, just as he does after a goal. Although play stops if the ball goes over the boards, horses jump them regularly and keep on playing. Time does not stop when a ball goes out of bounds. Sudden Death: If the score is tied at the end of four or six chukkers of regulation play, the game goes to sudden death overtime. The overtime chukker is timed just like a regular chukker, and ends either if one team scores, or at the seven-and-a-half minute mark. It is possible for a game to go to double, or triple overtime. Sometimes, if a game is still tied at the end of the overtime period, the match winner will be determined by a shootout, in which every player on each team takes a turn making a foul shot. Tail shot: A back shot executed at an angle behind the horse (“under the tail.”) When a player calls to a teammate to “tail-it!” he is asking for a tail shot. “Take the man!” Like “leave it!” this is something that a player might yell at a teammate who is in front of him. He is asking his teammate to ride off an opponent and leave the ball for the player behind him. Technical: A penalty exacted against displays of poor sportsmanship. If an umpire awards a foul and the player or team that fouled argues, the penalty might be “moved up” (increased) on a technical. Umpires ask a player who earns two technicals in a chukker, or three in a game, to leave the field. Third Man: Also the “referee.” 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. Never distract the third man. Throw-In: The way a ball is put into play in a neutral situation, such as at the beginning of the game, after a goal, or if the ball goes out of bounds. The umpire lines the two teams up facing him, and then bowls the ball between them. Each team fights for possession.

Aiken Polo Club 2013


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Aiken Polo Club 2013


Remembering Pete Bostwick by Pam Gleason

trainer ever to have horses win more that $1 million eorge Herbert Bostwick, always known as Pete, in a single year. He was inducted into the National was one of the most accomplished polo players Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1968. and horsemen ever to ride on Aiken’s fields. Born in Pete loved polo, and he was known for getting 1909, he attended Aiken Prep School where he was the most out of his horses. In 1935, when he was 26 captain of the bicycle polo and rated 6 goals, the team. He also played junior great 10-goaler Tommy polo in Aiken and on Long Hitchcock chose him to Island under the tutelage of play on the Greentree Louise Hitchcock. team which won the U.S. After Aiken Prep, Pete Open. He eventually went to St. Paul’s school in rose to an 8 goal rating, New Hampshire. There, his won the U.S. Open six schoolmate Jimmy Mills times, and played on remembered that instead of America’s international studying he used to occupy team. He was inducted himself carving his initials into the Polo Hall of into his desk. Eventually, he Fame in 1996. was expelled from school. Perhaps Pete’s greatest When he got home his legacy to polo was as mother was angry. a promoter. He and “What is the meaning of his siblings created this, George Herbert?” she Bostwick Field on Long asked. Island where they held Pete told his mother “polo for the public” not to worry. “You know with a 50 cent admission perfectly well you can get fee and free parking. much further on the back of From the 1930s to his a horse than you can reading death in 1982, he was a book,” he said. one of the mainstays of At least in Pete’s case, this Aiken Polo. Referred was true. Small, athletic and to in the Aiken papers wiry, he became a successful as “the little man in the “gentleman jockey.” He green helmet” he was was the leading amateur frequently the star of steeplechase rider in the the Sunday game. Later, country six times in the he played with his sons 1920s and 1930s, winning Rickie and Charlie in over 28 percent of his races. tournaments up and He had his own stable in down the East Coast, as England and rode in the well as at his own polo Playing for Greentree. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Polo. Aintree Grand National in club in Gilbertsville, NY. Liverpool. In 1932, he became the second jockey in With a love of horses and of competition, he left an America ever to win a flat race and a jump race on the indelible mark on Aiken’s polo history, and is one of same day, and then he repeated that feat two weeks the people who helped establish the city’s reputation afterward. Later, he became the first steeplechase as a world class equestrian destination.



Aiken Polo Club 2013

Complete Equestrian Shop | Polo Outfitters since 1975





800.882.POLO |


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WHAT ARE ICE-VIBE BOOTS? Ice-Vibe boots are portable massage boots with hot/cold inserts to create warm or cold circulation treatments that can be used before or after exercise or during rehabilitation.

MY HORSE HAS NO PROBLEMS. WHY DO I NEED ICE-VIBE BOOTS? Tendons are much slower to heal than muscles due to their poor blood supply and slow metabolism. Tendon problems are often the result of a build-up of damage. By using the Ice-Vibe boots regularly you can help stimulate blood flow to your horse’s legs while they are standing in a stable.

WWW.ICE-VIBE.COM • Email: Phone: 561-793-2012 / 561-793-6422 Fax: 561-795-0691 13501 South Shore Blvd • Wellington, FL 33414 Established 1975

Aiken Polo Club 2013


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