Page 39

YOUNG EQUESTRIAN RIDERS | 2019

Hope Arellano’s keen polo prowess belies her young age. PHOTO BY DAVID LOMINSKA

Hope Arellano

Future Polo Star Aims To Be The Best She Can Be By M. Dennis Taylor

Polo player Hope Arellano, a rising 15-year-old star who regularly competes with men and women, has been busy making a name for herself in the sport since winning the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship in 2017. She was the youngest player ever to win America’s top prize in women’s polo. “I’m going to keep striving to be the best that I can,” said Arellano, who has been heralded as a shining example of the next generation of polo players who are blazing a trail promoting the sport worldwide. Born into a true polo family from Wellington and Aiken, S.C., Arellano played in her first match prenatally. “I was [still] in my mom’s tummy, and the other team said that we were cheating because there were actually five girls on the team, not four,” Arellano explained. Hope is the daughter of Julio and Meghan Arellano, and sister to Agustin and Lucas Arellano. The whole family participates in the sport. “My dad is a professional polo player, and my mom used to play, but when my brothers started playing, she gave them her horses,”

Arellano said. “My mom and my dad are very supportive of my polo career. Since I started competing in tournaments at age 11, my mom even traveled overnight with my horses from Wyoming to Santa Barbara to give me the opportunity to play in the highest-rated tournament on the West Coast.” Proficiently swinging a mallet at age six, Arellano bypassed the transition from competing as a junior competitor to playing with adults because she began playing in adult tournaments when she was so young. Despite her mature talent, Arellano’s current string of horses gives a hint to her age. She named off the current mounts: “Hot Diggity Dog, Milkshake, BB, Bumble Bee, Cha Ching, Goosebumps, Got Milk, Jackson and Wild Flower.”

In addition to winning the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship in 2017, Arellano said other times on the field also stand out as highlights. “Winning the 12-goal Pete Bostwick Memorial with my two brothers and my dad,” she recalled. “Last year, I got to substitute for the Daily Racing Form team in the 20goal season.” Arellano enjoys the comradery of the sport. “The opportunity to play with players at this level was amazing for my learning experience, and they were so kind to me,” she said. “My favorite thing about polo is the horses… But I also love that polo is an extended family. Wherever you go, you’re welcomed.” Arellano is currently homeschooled by her mother because it allows her to travel while still getting a great education. “Polo is a traveling sport, so I enjoy the opportunity to go back and forth from Aiken to South Florida,” she said. The well-organized teenager makes efficient use of her time to balance schoolwork with the equestrian lifestyle and the wellington the magazine | april 2019

39

Profile for Wellington The Magazine LLC

Wellington The Magazine – April 2019  

April 2019 | ON THE COVER The 10th annual International Gay Polo Tournament will be held in Wellington April 4-7. Photo by Abi Hancock/The A...

Wellington The Magazine – April 2019  

April 2019 | ON THE COVER The 10th annual International Gay Polo Tournament will be held in Wellington April 4-7. Photo by Abi Hancock/The A...