2022 MYOPIA POLO MAGAZINE
2022 MYOPIA POLO MAGAZINE since 1888 / myopiapolo.org
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3 / CAPTAIN’S LETTER 16 / THE RULES 63 / SPOTLIGHT: NACHI VIANI
2022 myopia polo magazine
34 / MYOPIA POLO CLUB
42 / THE GOLD STANDARD
Member enthusiasm keeps the country’s oldest polo club thriving after more than 130 years.
Traditions unavoidably altered, Myopia Polo endures. by Brion O’Connor 48 / TOURNAMENT SPOTLIGHT
36 / TROPHY SPOTLIGHT
A glimpse at the prestigious Chairman’s Cup trophy.
A roundup of the exciting 2021 season by Brion O’Connor
37 / U.S. POLO ASSOCIATION
56 / ALONG FOR THE RIDE!
The history of the United States Polo Association. 38 / THE HUNT
The traditions and history of Myopia Hunt.
A visual chronicle of the most thrilling moments of Myopia’s 2021 season. Feature photographs by Jacqueline Miller
26 / FOOD & DRINK
5 / 2022 SCHEDULE
A great polo Sunday starts with an outstanding tailgate. 28 / FASHION
The right hat makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon look. 30 / SCENE
Photos from the 2021 Myopia Polo Ball. 32 / INSTAGRAM
Hashtag it: #myopiapolo
8 / THE PLAYERS
A rundown of the Myopia Polo players. Plus Polo 101. 18 / MEET ERICA KRATZ
Meet Myopia’s new manager of polo operations. 20 / YOUTH POLO
Myopia’s youth program and coaching league 24 / EQUINE MEDICINE
The Equine Welfare Committee keeps a close eye on Myopia’s polo ponies. ON THE COVER: Manuel Mazzocchi playing for the Del Rancho/Husaria team during the 2021 Chairman’s Cup 8-12 goal match.
Photograph by Jacqueline Miller
2022 myopia polo 1
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CAPTAIN’S LETTER Dear Myopia Polo members, friends and supporters: As I begin my sophomore season as Captain of Myopia Polo, I hope the 134th season of polo will continue to be a memorable and rewarding experience for the players, their families, our patrons and spectators. It has been a busy off-season. I have often been told the success of a polo program depends upon the quality of three things: playing fields, management and umpires. To that end, I have focused with the help of the Myopia Hunt Club and United States Polo Association on improving the famous Gibney and Winthrop polo fields and the club’s practice fields. This year, management will be in the capable hands of Erica Kratz, who has served as the assistant polo manager at Myopia for the past five seasons. To make our six major tournaments as safe and competitive as possible, two of the highest-rated umpires in the country will be officiating this season. This year’s magazine will focus on some of the best polo players in the U.S. who spent their youth playing polo at Myopia. In Kentucky, it’s the bluegrass that makes great racehorses. At Myopia, it’s the long lineage of polo families and their commitment to Myopia polo that has made such great players. That tradition continues with our new generation of exciting and gifted young players. And for those kids and adults new to polo, the interscholastic and coaching programs provide a great launching platform for future stars. I would like to especially thank polo professional Estani Puch, who runs our coaching program, and Myopia polo player Yaz Grotnick, who has spent most of his weekends coaching the interscholastic team affiliated with Myopia. Special thanks also to Terri Campbell, Denny Ryus, Marlene Pippin, Cathy Taylor and Jackie Miller who oversee our marketing and corporate sponsorships essential to running the program. Most important for any polo captain, I offer my gratitude to my wife Tracy for her support and for organizing the Polo Ball, Myopia’s major social event of the year! This season there will be polo every Sunday afternoon from June through September, including exciting tournament polo in July and August and the competitive club games in June and September. I hope you will continue to enjoy tailgating or attending the special events at the Myopia Polo Pavilion. Please visit our website, myopiapolo.org, or call 978-468-POLO for the latest information on schedules, games and polo lessons. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Best Regards,
Dave Strouss, captain/myopia polo photograph at top by kendal j. bush
2022 myopia polo 3
Unique and Fabulous Headwear • Jewels • Textiles • Bags
2022 MYOPIA POLO MAGAZINE EDITOR
Brion O’Connor CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Jacqueline Miller CREATIVE SERVICES DIRECTOR
Jodie Hall SENIOR PRODUCTION ARTIST
MYOPIA POLO COMMITTEE
David Strouss, Captain of Polo, USPA Delegate & Tournament Committee Representative Erica Kratz, Polo Manager Stephen L. Willett, Treasurer Peter Poor, Official Announcer & Tournament Committee Representative Terri Campbell, Polo Committee & Equine Welfare Committee Kurt Miller, Polo Committee Member Jacek Grotnick, Polo Committee Member Lyle Graham, Polo Committee Member Tracy Strouss, Polo Committee Member (Chair, Polo Ball) Michael D. Ryus, Marketing and Design Director WEBSITE
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Located in the heart of historic Portsmouth NH., Puttin on the Glitz curates with local, national & international milliners, jewelers & artisans. Whether simply out strolling, at the beach, at a celebration, derby, polo race or vintage gathering, we offer distinctive headwear, bags & accessories in silk, cashmere & faux fur textiles to suit every person. “It thrills me to send into the universe ripples of happiness & glimmers of inspiration, one sparkle of a jewel and one tilt of a hat, at a time."
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POLO magazine is published for Myopia Polo by McLean Communications. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the magazine; McLean Communications is not responsible for errors or omissions. © Copyright 2022, McLean Communications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of McLean Communications is prohibited.
Welcome to the 2022 Myopia Polo Season
Match time is 3 p.m. Gates open at 1:30 p.m. SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Opening Day – Hamilton-Wenham Cup
Joseph Poor & Stan Bradford Cup Neil Ayer Cup JUNE 19 C.G. Rice Cup JUNE 24–26 Agassiz Club Cup 0-2 Goal/ Michel Fawcett Cup JUNE 5
JUNE 29– JULY 28
Tuckerman Cup 0-4 Goal
USPA Cyril Harrison Cup 4-8 Goal Myopia Polo Ball JULY 10 USPA Cyril Harrison Cup Finals (Donald V. Little Cup) JULY 17 USPA National Chairman’s Cup 8-12 Goal JULY 24 USPA National Chairman’s Cup Finals/ Engel & Volkers By The Sea Cup JULY 29-31 USPA NYTS 4-Goal Super Bowl: Myopia v. Boston Polo JULY 3
AUG. 2-12 AUG. 7 AUG. 14 AUG. 21 AUG. 28 SEPT. 2-24 SEPT. 4 SEPT. 11 SEPT. 18 SEPT. 25 OCT. 2 OCT. 9
photograph by jacqueline miller
USPA Crossman Cup 0-4 Goal USPA W. Cameron Forbes Cup 6 Goal USPA W. Cameron Forbes Cup Finals USPA Governor’s Cup 6 Goal USPA Governor’s Cup Finals September League 0-2 Goal Rodney O’Connor Divot Cup Cohiba Cup Harvard Invitational Cup Harriman Cup Captain’s Cup Last Chukker Cup
2022 myopia polo 5
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AG E N DA DAVE STROUSS
the players TERRI CAMPBELL
2021-2022 MYOPIA POLO TEAMS AVID PONY: The team of Ari Dogani,
ERICA L. AMES
DAVID STROUSS CAPTAIN Dave has played polo most
of his life and has been a member of Myopia Polo for the past 27 years. He is now captain of Myopia Polo and serves as the Club’s delegate to the United States Polo Association. He is the sponsor of the Del Rancho Polo team, which has successfully competed in tournament play at Myopia, including winning the 2020 national Chairman’s Cup with co-sponsor Black Oak. Dave lives on his farm in Ipswich with his wife, Tracy, and is a partner at a law firm in Boston. RATED A
ERICA L. AMES Erica got into polo back in 2013, after spending many years as a hunter jumper and in crosscountry. She quickly fell in love with the sport, and in 2019, started competing along the East Coast in many well-known women’s tournaments. While Myopia is her home club, Erica also spends time playing and training in Aiken, SC. OPEN: RATED B. WOMEN’S: RATED A.
STEPHEN BURR Introduced to polo eight summers ago, Stephen, 22, fell in love with the sport. A longtime soccer player who captained a Division One collegiate team, he was taken
8 myopia polo 2022
with how similar polo and soccer can be — minus the horse. He currently attends Northeastern University.
AMELIA CAFLISCH Amelia started playing polo in January 2020 after driving by a polo club and went in for a look. She started lessons that same week and has been playing regularly since. Her family is from Argentina, so the pull towards polo has always been in her blood. She currently lives in Chestnut Hill with her son, Arthur, and two dogs, and is the owner of a buckskin pony named Bartolo.
TERRI CAMPBELL Terri is a regular at Myopia after playing in Newport for 10 years. The sponsor of the Folly Fields Polo Team, she has played in tournaments in Chile, Ireland and South Africa, and competes in Florida in the winter. When she’s not with the ponies, she is an investment manager in Boston. -1 GOAL
BARRETT COKE A Myopia player since the age of 12, Barrett is passionate about the sport. Barrett was a three-time all-star National Youth Polo player, and in 2015 he went on to win the National Youth Polo
Championships in Denver, Colo., playing on the Northeast regional team. Barrett plays for the Coke family’s Chanticleer Farm team. He loves competing alongside his father and brother. An avid sports enthusiast, Barrett plays soccer, squash, lacrosse and loves freestyle skiing. Barrett graduated from Brooks School in North Andover, Mass. 1 GOAL
BILL COKE An intense and competitive athlete, Bill has played polo at Myopia for more than 20 years. The sponsor of the Chanticleer Farm Polo Team, Bill is known for his powerful and spirited defensive play. He is thrilled to play with his sons, Hamilton and Barrett. A managing director with J.P. Morgan, Bill lives in Topsfield with his wife, Wendy, and his sons. A RATED
HAMILTON COKE An engaged and skilled player on his family’s Chanticleer Farm Polo Team, Hamilton is a computer engineering student at Santa Clara University Engineering School in Silicon Valley, Calif. Hamilton is happiest when freestyle skiing, mountain biking, surfing, playing rugby, lacrosse and programming the next big app. A RATED
a rising star in Boston and Florida polo, teaming with Longmeadow and professional players Federico Wulff and Ernesto Trotz. BLACK OAK: The Colloredo-Mansfeld family team, Black Oak is anchored by Filipe Viana and a rotating roster of family members. DEL RANCHO: David Strouss’s team has competed at every level of Myopia Polo, including winning the 12-goal championship. GALAXY POLO: The Grayken family team, with James and Will Grayken, is successfully competing in Myopia’s 8-goal tournaments, and were winners of the 2021 Harrison Cup. FOLLY FIELDS: Terri Campbell’s team has become a force to be reckoned with, having won the 6-goal Forbes and Governors Cup in 2021. HUSARIA: The Grotnik family team features Yaz, Gracie and Augie Grotnik playing with 4-goal pro Manu Mazzocchi. The crew enjoyed solid success in their first full season of 8-goal winning the Chairman’s Cup in 2021 in partnership with Del Rancho. LONGMEADOW: Kurt Miller’s team, Longmeadow, now with son Reed (1 goal) playing alongside pro Federico Wulff, has had a long run at Myopia dating back to the 1980s. PONY EXPRESS: The Daniels family’s team, Pony Express, teaming up with Walter Eayer in 2021, competes at the highest levels of polo in Florida and at Myopia. PONY UP: Richard Salter’s team has been a highly successful team at Myopia and in Aiken, SC. SPARK: Newcomer Addie Politi’s team playing with manager Jennifer Williams made its debut in 2021. STAGE HILL: The Poor family team, led by Peter Poor and now including Alyson and Amanda, is going on 55 years with Myopia.
JUSTIN E. DANIELS
PAST MYOPIA POLO TEAMS BLACKBURN SUNSET: The Berube family team played competitively at Myopia last season. CHANTICLEER: The Coke family team has competed successfully since the 1990s. EFG: Bob Mehm’s team and employer, EFG has sponsored teams around the globe — and now, at Myopia. HOMEWOOD: The Riva family team, Homewood is led by brothers Nick and Christian Riva and has won numerous championships at Myopia. LITTLE BOW/BIG FOUR: The Ellis family team, Big Four draws on the Ellises’ origins in Western Canada. Big Four won the top championship — the 12-goal Chairman’s Cup — in 2010. MAPLECROFT: The Raymond family team, once led by Ted Raymond, a former Myopia Polo captain, is now under the leadership of Ted’s son, Jed. SEAGULLS: The Snow family’s team, now led by Crocker Snow, has perhaps the longest and most storied history at Myopia. WINTER CREEK: The Graham family’s team, led by former Myopia Polo Captain Lyle Graham, has had a 28-year run at Myopia.
JUNIOR PLAYERS Julietta Burr Augie Grotnik James Grayken William Grayken Bella Grayken Estani James Puch Sofia Puch Ava Croce Addie Politi Thomas Grieser Chloe Irvine Dominic Irvine Emma Croke Landen Daniels
CARLOS COLES A resident of Wenham who has played polo for almost 40 years, Carlos learned the game from his father Charlie — a Myopia equestrian legend. A big hitter and very competitive player, he plays with speed and abandon. After spending a number of years playing for multiple sponsors at Gulfstream in Florida, Wellington, Vero Beach and Ocala during the winter months, Carlos rededicated his efforts to the continued growth of Myopia Polo. His work with younger generations helps feed Myopia Polo and the USPA with new sponsors. 1 GOAL (OUT) / 2 GOALS (ARENA)
of the Black Oak Polo team. Franz runs an international real estate investment firm based in Boston. A RATED
JOHANN COLLOREDOMANSFELD Johann is a graduate of Harvard University, where he was captain of the Harvard Polo Team. Over the past five years, Johann has played in tournaments in China, Italy and France. In 2013, he was selected for the U19 National Championship Tournament Team for the Northeast. Johann plays for the Black Oak and Myopia Teams. 1 GOAL
tional Tournament Team for the Northeast. A naturally talented horseman, Simon is a graduate of the junior polo program at Myopia and plays for Black Oak and Myopia. 1 GOAL
BENJI E. DANIELS A summer resident of Ipswich, Benji played youth polo in Wellington on the Pony Express Polo team under the watchful eye of Tomas Goti and Julian deLusaretta, who taught him well. Benji is calm, cool and collected on the field, where he has continuously improved his ability to take the man and hit a solid backhander. His ball control and smooth swing seem to improve with each tournament he plays. 1.5 GOALS
Annie is a graduate of the Groton School where she was a varsity cross-country runner and rower. She is an accomplished young rider and has competed in three phase events in Massachusetts and Vermont. The past few summers she has been playing with her family, and has joined the junior program at Myopia. B RATED
Seppi grew up riding and playing polo with Myopia. Seppi is a former three-year captain of the men’s Yale Polo Team. He has played in tournaments throughout the Northeast and in England on historic Guards Field at Windsor. Seppi was also a rower and a member of the Yale Lightweight Crew Team. Seppi now lives in New York City and works in the real estate development business. 1 GOAL
Landen is the youngest of six polo-playing brothers. He has made quite a name for himself among the polo community in Wellington, Fla. An accomplished soccer player, Landen plays travel soccer when he is not on a horse. Playing polo
Franz grew up riding and hunting with Myopia. He has won the Myopia Hunter Trials numerous times. Over the past decade, he has enjoyed playing polo with his children. He is the sponsor
Simon is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he played on the polo team in one of the country’s top-rated college programs. In 2013, Simon was selected for the U19 Na-
JUSTIN E. DANIELS A summer resident of Ipswich, Justin has been playing polo for more than 12 years, and is an excellent rider with a hard-hitting sense of urgency on the field. Justin was selected to play on the first-ever USPA National Youth Tournament for the winning Florida team in 2013. 2 GOALS
LANDEN E. DANIELS
2022 myopia polo 9
AG E N DA ALBERT ELLIS
the players LYLE GRAHAM
Polo 101 GLOSSARY, POSITIONS, “WHAT TO WATCH FOR” AND A FEW OTHER BASICS.
for 10 years (two years without a mallet), Landen has developed a keen understanding of where to be on the polo field — both defending as well as making key offensive plays. Landen’s potential as a polo player is demonstrated every time he plays competitively in kids’ polo or in 6-goal competition matched against an opposing young player. A RATED
ARIANDNE “ARI” DOGANI Ari started with I/I Arena Polo in 2016, qualifying for Nationals twice, and earning the 2020 USPA National Sportsmanship Award. The speed of outdoor fields won her over, and she now plays year-round with her team, AVID Polo, in up to 12-goal tournaments. Ari is currently a Dana Hall rising senior heading to college this fall. Besides polo, Ari loves showjumping, barnculture, animals and people. In her downtime, she plays piano and violin. Her outdoor handicap is 0.
ALBERT ELLIS An experienced horseman, Albert grew up hunting and three-day-event riding at Myopia before becoming a polo player. Albert served as polo captain from 2007-2011 and has been a
10 myopia polo 2022
long-time fixture on the Myopia fields. He lives in Gloucester with his wife, Anne-Seymour, and their three daughters, Isabella, Caroline and Jane. 1 GOAL
WHITNEY ELLIS Whitney will be returning to the fields of Myopia this summer. He has come back to his roots here on the North Shore after stints in Ireland, getting his master’s degree in English, and in New York, pursuing journalistic and literary endeavors. 2 GOALS
SCOTT FABYAN Scott is an avid outdoorsman, skier and licensed captain with the U.S. Coast Guard. He is in his fifth season of polo, playing in both the Winter Arena and Myopia Coaching Leagues. He owns Kinsman Farm in Ipswich and is a portfolio manager in Boston.
JONATHAN GRAHAM Having started polo in Myopia’s junior program, Jon has played on his father Lyle’s Winter Creek team, captained the Colorado State University team, and played professionally in Aspen and on the East Coast. One of the biggest hitters at Myopia, Jon is always a threat to score from the middle of the game. 2 GOALS
LYLE GRAHAM A former Myopia Captain, Lyle has been an active player for the last 38 years (30 seasons at Myopia) on the family’s Winter Creek team and played competitively at a five-goal USPA handicap. Taking a sabbatical from horses and polo, Lyle focuses on family activities, farm projects, boating and motorcycling. He lives in Rowley with his wife, Donna, and sons, Jon and Ian.
JAMES GRAYKEN James has been playing polo for just over seven years. He started his polo career at a club just outside London. He now is an active participant of Myopia Polo, playing in the junior program and with the Stage Hill/Myopia Interscholastic Polo Team. James is a competitive player who is eager to learn, and plans to play polo through college and for the rest of his life.
WILLIAM GRAYKEN William’s polo career began seven years ago. He is the youngest player on the Stage Hill/Myopia Interscholastic Polo Team. Prior to polo, he had been riding for almost three years. His family often went to see polo, and as he watched, he fell in love with the game. He and his brother James
APPROACH SHOT: A long shot taken to get the ball close to the opponent’s goal. BACK SHOT: When a player hits the ball backwards, can be played on both the nearside and the offside. BOARDS: Wooden barriers placed alongside a polo field to keep the ball in the playing area. BUMP (A.K.A. RIDE OFF): When two riders come into contact with each other, with the objective of knocking or pushing the other rider off the line of the ball, so they are unable to hit it. CENTER LINE: Middle of field where the ball is thrown in after each goal. CROSSING: When one rider cuts across another player’s rightof-way. CUT SHOT: When a player makes a stroke that is at an angle to the direction in which he/she is riding. DIVOT STOMP: A halftime tradition in which spectators enter the field to replace divots made by the horses back into the ground. DRIVE: A player hitting the ball either forward or backward along the same parallel line the horse is taking. FOREHAND: When a player hits the ball forward, can be played on both the nearside and the offside. FREE HIT: For certain rule violations, a player will be allowed a free and uncontested hit at the ball. GOAL: When the ball crosses between the two goal posts, resulting in a score. HOOK: A defensive tactic used when a player makes contact with an offensive player’s mallet before it hits the ball. KNOCK IN (A.K.A. HIT IN): When the offensive team hits the ball over the back line wide of goal. The defending team then plays the ball from the point at which it went over the back line.
AUGUSTUS “AUGIE” GROTNIK
JACEK “YAZ” K. GROTNIK
Polo 101, cont. LINE OF THE BALL: The path along
which the ball travels after a hit, this line extends beyond the ball as well. LINE JUDGE: Assists the umpires by signaling whether the ball went between or outside the goal posts. NECK SHOT/TAIL SHOT: The former is played under the horse’s neck. The latter, beneath and behind the tail. OFFSIDE/NEARSIDE: When seated on a horse, the offside refers to the player’s right side, and the nearside refers to his/her left side. TACK TIME: Stop in play, called by umpire, if a player’s tack is broken. TAILGATING: One of the most celebrated polo pastimes, complete with picnic tables and baskets, gourmet snacks and plenty of beverages. THROW-IN: When an umpire bowls the ball between teams to start play.
POSITIONS A polo match pits two teams of four against each other. The players on each team are numbered one through four, with each number representing a general role as follows: 1. GOAL SCORER. This player pushes forward aggressively and seeks openings into which teammates can hit. This player also marks the opposing team’s No. 4, or Back. 2. ENERGIZER. The energizer is always involved in play while quarterbacking the offense and neutralizing the opponent’s top player. 3. FIELD CAPTAIN. The field captain typically is the best player on the team and directs the flow of the game. 4. DEFENDER. The defender plays at the back of the game to prevent the other team from scoring. Handicap descriptions. Every player on the field carries a handicap from -2 to 10 goals, based on his/her skill level and horsemanship, as determined by a national handicap committee. A handicap of 10 represents the highest rank» ing in the game.
were offered the opportunity to ride a polo pony and discovered how different they were from the horses they were used to riding. Since then, he and his brother have taken regular polo lessons in addition to horse-riding lessons.
THOMAS GRIESER A junior member of Myopia Polo Club, Thomas plays in the Myopia Coaching League and for Crimson Polo when based at home in Newton, Mass. Thomas is a boarding student at Eton College in the U.K., where he competes for Eton Polo during the academic year.
AUGUSTUS “AUGIE” GROTNIK Augie started playing polo at the end of 2017 and has four seasons under his belt with the Stage Hill and Myopia Interscholastic Polo Team. He has played polo on grass and in the arena in Arizona, Florida and New England. Augie attends Ipswich High School and enjoys skiing and soccer. B (OUT) / B (ARENA)
GRACE ELLEN GROTNIK Grace is one of Myopia’s junior players. She started playing polo at 10 years old and entered her first tournament at 13. She has played polo on grass, in the arena and on snow. Grace was presented the Dr. Billy Linfoot Award and named the Most-Improved Club Player
at Myopia in 2016. She plays on the Myopia Interscholastic Varsity Team and was awarded the Sportsmanship Award in 2017 and All Star in 2018 at the USPA Preliminary Regionals and at the BTC NYTS in Arizona. She has won several medium goal women’s tournaments including the 14-Goal Women’s NE Arena Challenge, the 10-Goal Meadowbrook Women’s Cup and the 2017 Polish Women’s Open. Grace attends Southern Methodist University and enjoys skiing, soccer and tennis. B (OUT) /
A (ARENA, WOMEN’S) / A (OUT) / +2 (ARENA)
Martin began playing polo as a child when his father founded the first Swiss polo club — Polo Club de Veytay — in 1988. He has competed in various countries and had the opportunity to represent Switzerland internationally. Martin has two tenures as president of the Swiss Polo Association. He is a marketing and communications professional currently completing a mid-career Masters in Public Administration at Harvard. He is looking forward to playing at Myopia!
JACEK “YAZ” K. GROTNIK Yaz started playing polo after a Sunday visit to Gibney Field more than 26 years ago, and has since played across the U.S. and internationally in various lowand medium-goal tournaments up to the 14-goal level. He was captain of the Polish National Polo Team at the 8th Manipur International Tournament in India and represented the USA Men’s Team in their win of the 2015 Bukovina Polo Snow Masters. In 2016, his team won the USPA Border Circuit Amateur Cup. He lives at Husaria Farm in Ipswich and is a patron of Myopia Polo and the Husaria Polo Team. Yaz is the team advisor to the Stage Hill and Myopia Interscholastic Polo Teams and a USPA Certified Umpire. A (OUT) / +2 (ARENA)
Patricia has had a lifelong passion for horses, which spurred a love for the sport four years ago via Stage Hill Polo. Now she and her husband, Gary, owners of Stones Throw Farm in Ipswich, are enthusiastic supporters of all aspects of the game. She is actively involved in the Myopia Coaching League, Winter Arena League and a supporter of the Myopia Polo Interscholastic Team.
MAX MEHM Max began polo at age 8 at the Veytay Polo Club in Geneva, Switzerland. In high school, he played for the Myopia interscholastic team. As a junior player, he played in Myopia and Harvard summer polo programs. He has played polo several times in Argentina. B RATED
2022 myopia polo 11
AG E N DA CHELSEA MESSINGER
the players MIKE NOLL
Polo 101, cont. WHAT TO WATCH FOR
OBJECT OF THE GAME. The objective of the game is simple: Score as many goals as possible and win by outscoring the opposing team. PLAYING THE GAME. Because polo involves horses that weigh thousands of pounds, all moving at high speeds toward the same ball, “right-of-way” is the most important concept in the game, and is designed to keep both horse and rider safe. RIGHT-OF-WAY AND RIDING OFF.
OLIVIA MEHM Olivia began polo at age 11 at the Veytay Polo Club in Geneva, Switzerland. In high school, she founded and captained the interscholastic team at Deerfield Academy. As a junior player, she played in Myopia and Harvard summer polo programs. Along with her father and brother, she has played polo in Dubai and Argentina. B RATED
ROBERT MEHM Robert was introduced to polo by his father at Myopia in 1979. Along with his brother Ted, they formed the West Hill Polo Team. Robert has played polo in more than 30 countries from Brazil to Brunei, India to Indonesia. He is also a two-time Nepal World Elephant Polo Champion. A former 3 goaler, Robert now has a 2 goal arena, and a 1 goal outdoor handicap. 1 GOAL
CHELSEA MESSINGER Chelsea grew up riding and began playing arena polo in college as a member of the Yale women’s intercollegiate team. She continues to serve as a member of the Yale Polo Board. She began playing grass polo while living in Malaysia in 2015 and has played at Myopia since 2019. Over the past
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decade, Chelsea has played in tournaments throughout the Northeast as well as in China, Malaysia and Pakistan. She lives in Cambridge, and is in her 7th year of a dual MD-PhD degree at Harvard Medical School. HANDICAP: 0 GOALS / 2 GOALS (WOMEN’S)
SHANE METTERNICK Shane, a graduate of HamiltonWenham Regional High School, started his polo career three years ago. He attends Southern Methodist University, where he plays intercollegiate polo. When he’s not in the saddle, he enjoys playing baseball for his high school team. 0 GOAL (ARENA) -1 GOAL (OUTDOORS)
KURT MILLER A veteran player and horseman at Myopia. Kurt brings steady play and formidable competition to the game. During the winter, he often plays in Chile, where many of his horses are from. Kurt was inspired to follow in the footsteps of his father, who also played at Myopia. This summer, Kurt looks forward to another year at Myopia and joining forces with his son, Reed, on their Longmeadow Team. Kurt’s wife, Jackie, is an active committee member and photographer for Myopia Polo. 0 GOALS
REED PARKER MILLER A third generation Myopia player who grew up around the Myopia Polo fields watching his father, Kurt plays as his grandfather played before him. He began with Myopia’s Junior program and Stage Hill Polo. At age 13, Reed played alongside his father on their Longmeadow Team, and won his first USPA tournament. He played on the Myopia Varsity Interscholastic Team and received an All-Star at the USPA Prelim Regionals. In 2019, Reed won the USPA National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) in Aiken as well as other major tournaments, including Myopia’s Chairman’s Cup 8-12 goal. Reed continues a family tradition of traveling to South America to play polo. 1 GOAL
MIKE NOLL A lifelong competitive athlete, Mike’s passion for horses began at an early age. His family has owned thoroughbred racehorses in Pennsylvania and Florida. Mike is the founder and CEO of Hamilton Capital Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm. B RATED
The rider who is following the ball on its exact line, or who has the least angle to reach the ball and is taking it on the offside without committing a foul, has the rightof-way. A rider can be ridden off the ball. Riding off is also allowed, even if the other player is not playing the ball. But riding off is not allowed if the rider comes in to the other rider at a dangerous angle. When one rider rides off another, he/she is not allowed to hit, strike or push off with the hand, forearm, elbow or head, but he/she is allowed to push off with the upper arm. A rider isn’t allowed to grab another player, their equipment or their horse. A rider is not allowed to weave back and forth in front of another rider, thus forcing the other rider to change the speed at which he/she is riding. CROSSING. A foul will be called if a rider crosses another rider in the right-of-way if they come close enough to be dangerous, or causes a rider and horse to slow up. A rider in possession of the ball can’t be crossed. HOOKING STICKS. A rider is allowed to hook another rider’s stick, as long as he/she and the ball are on the same side of the opponent’s horse and the rider is about to hit the ball. A rider is allowed to hook another rider’s stick if he/she is directly behind an opponent, but the stick must be below the level of the opposing rider’s shoulder.
ESTANISLAO “ESTANI” PUCH
NEIL “JED” RAYMOND, JR.
ESTANI JAMES PUCH
Polo 101, cont. STICK MISUSE. A rider may not reach across or under an opposing rider’s horse to hit. A player is not allowed to use a stick in an unsafe way or in a way that obstructs or hinders another rider or horse. A rider is not allowed to hit the legs of an opposing player’s horse. BALL OUT OF PLAY. A ball is out of play when it is hit over the boards or sidelines, or is hit over the back line by the opposing team. STOPPAGE OF PLAY. An umpire will stop play if a rider is hurt or a horse is injured; a rider loses his or her helmet, provided that no team will gain from a stoppage of play; or a horse’s equipment becomes damaged, presenting potential danger to other horses or riders. Play is not stopped if a rider falls off his/her horse and is uninjured. FOULS AND PENALTIES. Umpires decide the severity of fouls and which penalties are appropriate. One particular foul does not have a specific penalty associated with it. Below are penalties listed in the order of their severity. Team captains are the only players who can discuss issues that arise during a game with an umpire. PENALTIES. 1) A goal awarded to the team that has been fouled. Given for the most dangerous fouls. 2) A free hit given to the fouled team, taken from 30 yards from the front of the goal. Given for dangerous fouls. 3) A free hit given to the fouled team, taken from 40 yards from the front of the goal. Given for less dangerous fouls. 4) A free hit given to the fouled team, taken from 60 yards out. Given for moderate fouls. 5) A free hit for the fouled team, taken from where the foul occurred. This penalty is given for mild fouls. 6) Same as above, but the free hit is taken from the center of the field. 7) A 60-yard hit taken opposite from where the ball crossed over the back line. Given for a defender hitting the ball over their back line.
Marcos has been playing here at Myopia for the past seven seasons. Marcos is a speed demon on the field with a fast group of horses. 4 GOALS
Peter has played polo at Myopia for 60 years, and his two daughters also play. Peter runs Stage Hill Polo School in Newbury and is the Northeast region governor for the USPA. He has been a central figure at Myopia in many capacities and is the announcer of Sunday games. 0 GOALS
BRYAN PARROTT Bryan Parrott, DVM, owner of Parrott Equine Associates LLC, has been practicing equine veterinary medicine for 34 years, and loves the sport of polo and the horses that play. Bryan has been playing polo for 27 years, starting in the coaching league in 1995. As co-founder of the Myopia Equine Welfare Committee, Bryan’s mission is the health and well-being of the horses. RATED A.
ADDIE POLITI Addie started playing polo a year ago after being introduced to the sport by a friend. She’s a graduate of Manchester Essex Regional High School who has played all levels of polo. Her most memorable experience so far was an 8-goal practice. Addie is looking forward to playing more polo this summer and improving her game. -1 RATING
ALYSON POOR Alyson’s career with animals started at age 7, when she began riding and playing polo at her father’s polo school in Hamilton. Alyson graduated with a degree in animal science from the University of Kentucky, where she also played on the polo team.
ESTANISLAO “ESTANI” PUCH With a handicap of three in Argentina and two in the U.S., Estani has played at Myopia for the last 10 years. He divides his time between the U.S. and Argentina, where he runs El Rincon del Polo Club & School outside Buenos Aires in the winter months. 2 GOALS
ESTANI JAMES PUCH Estani James is a third-generation polo player, following the steps of his father Estanislao and grandfather Maximo. He loves horses and helping to develop new players at the Myopia Polo Club and at his family’s estancia “Calchaqui” in the pampas of Argentina. Estani is a member of the Crimson/ Harvard interscholastic varsity polo team, which made it to Nationals this winter. Estani is a freshman at BC High, an honor roll student, and also plays for the men’s soccer team.
NEIL “JED” ST. JOHN RAYMOND, JR. Jed grew up playing polo with his dad, former Myopia captain Ted Raymond, for Maplecroft Farms, and has played in the U.S., Argentina and the U.K. Jed is a graduate of Middlebury College and Harvard Graduate School of Design. A gifted athlete, he excelled in lacrosse, which he played professionally after graduation. 2 GOALS
THOMAS RIZZO Tom has been playing polo for nine years and riding for 11. He is looking forward to playing in the Myopia Coaching League again this year. He is an engineer by day and a pilot and sailor by weekend. B RATED / MYOPIA COACHING LEAGUE
AMANDA ROBERTS Myopia’s highest handicapped woman, Amanda is an avid athlete from Ipswich. A Merrimack College graduate, she plays for Stage Hill as well as at Myopia. RATED A.5
BRYNN ROBERTS Brynn started polo in the fall of 2017. She learned to play from her stepmother, Amanda PoorRoberts. She quickly advanced and now plays regularly with the Stage Hill Polo Club and Myopia Polo Club.
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AG E N DA
CROCKER SNOW, JR.
the players ROB WILKINSON
CAPTAINS OF MYOPIA POLO, PAST AND PRESENT David Strouss PRESENT
Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld 2011 (CO-CAPTAIN)–2020
W. Albert Ellis
2009–2010, 2011 (CO-CAPTAIN)
Lyle Graham AURELIA RUS
Michael S. Fawcett 1996–2000
Neil St. John Raymond 1986–1996
Robert A. Wilkinson 1981–1983
Donald V. Little 1968–1981, 1983–1986
Neil R. Ayer 1960–1967
Forrester A. Clark 1937–1940, 1946–1959
STEVE RUDOLPH In his 10 season at Myopia Polo, Steve is a lifelong New Englander residing in Newburyport with his wife, Sarah. When not playing polo, Steve is a strategy consultant to telecommunications and media companies in the U.S. and Latin America. B RATED th
AURELIA RUS Aurelia has been a playing member at Myopia since 2019. She first learned to play polo while attending Cornell University, and picked it up again with Stage Hill Polo in 2015 after relocating to Boston. Aurelia lives in Medford with her husband and dog. RATED -1
RICK SALTER Rick started playing polo at Myopia in 2001. He plays nearly year-round, as he owns a farm in Aiken, SC, and plays in Florida during the winters and Argentina in the fall. RATED B.5
C.B. SCHERER C.B. joined Team USPA in 2010 and now works in finance in Boston, but continues his passion for polo
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and teaching at Myopia. A third-generation polo player from Florida, C.B. played for the UVA squad and was a three-time Men’s National Intercollegiate Champion. In 2012, he was a finalist at the East Coast Open on the Airstream Polo Team, a Harrison Cup winner and MVP, and winner of the Eduardo Moore 12-goal. 2 GOALS
CROCKER SNOW, JR. Myopia’s senior polo veteran, Crocker started playing in college during the rebirth of polo at Myopia in the early 1960s and has played ever since, broken only by years living abroad. Crocker has played in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. Once rated at four goals, he now typically plays the back position and is co-coach of Harvard’s polo team. 1 GOAL
NICK SNOW The highest-rated homegrown player at Myopia, Nick played with his father and older brothers as a teen and later captained Harvard’s polo team. A big hitter and good horseman, Nick was named to
Team USPA and represented the U.S. in the FIP World Championships in Argentina.
Rob, a former captain of Myopia Polo, was an active player at Myopia for more than 25 years. He has been an enthusiastic rider for many years and enjoys riding and fox hunting with the Myopia Hunt. Rob is president of New England Trust Services and lives in Topsfield with his wife, Darlyn.
Federico grew up playing Polo in Buenos Aires and is a knowledgeable tactician of the sport. He has made Myopia Polo his summer home for the past several seasons, and can usually be seen playing for the Longmeadow Polo Team. Federico works to improve the level of beginner and intermediate players of our Myopia Polo Coaching League. Off the field, Federico is the tournament manager, running the tournaments played at Myopia. 3 GOALS
A finance professional currently working as a project manager in the life sciences sector, Jennifer has been playing arena and grass polo for more than 15 years. She has played in 10 countries, most recently Pakistan, where she won the first-ever women’s polo event at Lahore Polo Club. Coaching, teaching and managing are parts of her passion for the sport. She has played just about every stick sport there is including jai alai, lacrosse and ice hockey. 0 MIXED / 4 WOMEN’S GRASS PLAYER
Philip was the recipient of Myopia Polo’s 2015 Most Improved Player and is the sponsor of Team Georgetown Door & Window. His natural athletic abilities, team sport presence and a love for horses have contributed to raising his level of play and overall passion for the sport of polo. A RATED
Fredrick H. Prince, Jr. 1924–1925
1921–1923, 1929–1936, 1941–1945
Neil W. Rice 1920
Henry P. McKean, Jr. 1919
Charles G. Rice 1918
James H. Proctor 1917
Q.A. Shaw McKean 1916, 1927–1928
Quincy A. Shaw II 1914
Dudley P. Rogers 1908–1912, 1915, 1926
F. Blackwood Fay 1902–1903, 1907, 1913
Rodolphe L. Agassiz 1893–1901, 1904–1906
R. M. Appleton 1891–1892
MYOPIA COACHING LEAGUE MEMBERS Erica Ames Julietta Burr Kirstin Costa Ava Croce Emma Croce David Dunstan Thomas Geiser Dominic Irvine CC Jenkins Patricia Johnstone Francoisa Martinolle Leslie Milne Sophia Puch
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AG E N DA
FOUL A foul is an infraction of the rules. The most common types of fouls are right-of-way infractions, walking the ball, turning the ball, dangerous riding, rough or abusive play, improper use of the mallet and unsportsmanlike conduct. DANGEROUS RIDING A foul which occurs when a player executes an improper or dangerous ride-off, zigzags in front of another player traveling at speed, slides across the back legs of another player’s horse close enough, so there is a risk one or both horses could trip, rides an opponent across the right-of-way of an oncoming player at an unsafe distance, deliberately rides his/her horse into the swing of another player, or generally exhibits a disregard for the safety of other players and/or their horses. IMPROPER USE OF MALLET A foul occurs when a player executes an improper hook, such as high hook (above the shoulder), a cross hook (from the other side of the horse) or a slash hook (excessive force), or uses a mallet in a way that endangers his/her mount, an opponent, an opponent’s mount, an umpire or a spectator.
Law and Order
The rules of polo are simple and designed to keep the game flowing and to protect the horses from injury. 16 myopia polo 2022
APPEALING FOR A FOUL Trying to influence the call of an umpire, most often done by lifting the mallet up in the air. Appealing for a foul is itself a foul, though seldom called.
PENALTY The result of a called foul or infraction of the rules. The umpire imposes a penalty to either compensate the other team for the loss of advantage or to sufficiently penalize the fouling team for a rule violation that did not cause a disadvantage to the opponent, such as unsportsmanlike conduct. Penalties range in severity from taking possession of the ball from a team
photograph by jacqueline miller
Offering North Shore’s Most Exceptional Properties and bowling it in to ejecting a player from the game. RIGHT-OF-WAY The right-of-way is best thought of as a highway, with the line of the ball creating the centerline. The player traveling in the direction of the ball, with the ball on his/her offside and at the least angle to it, generally has the right-of-way over the other players. When the player’s progress to the ball within that right-of-way is improperly impeded, a foul is called. Examples of right-ofway violations include entering the right-of-way at an unsafe distance or speed (comparable to cutting in from an on-ramp while driving too slowly), crossing over the line of the ball in front of someone on the right-of-way, stopping on the ball or one player meeting two. ROUGH OR ABUSIVE PLAY A foul that occurs when a player abuses his/her horse, another player or another player’s horse. This can include seizing or striking with the hand, elbow, head, mallet or whip. SAFETY When a defending team hits the ball over its own end line. When a safety occurs, the attacking team is awarded a Penalty 6, which is a defended penalty shot from 60 yards out and perpendicular to the end line at the spot the ball went over the end line. TURNING THE BALL Technically known in the USPA rules as a Quick Line Change, turning the ball is
when a player slows down dramatically and changes the line in a very small space. When defended, this is a foul. Until recently, this rule was rarely enforced. In the last several years, all three major associations have begun enforcing the rule to create a more open and flowing game. To distinguish between running a turn, which is not a foul, and turning the ball, which is a foul when the player is defended, look at the distance between the player with the ball and the defender. When running a turn, the distance between the two players does not close. When turning the ball, that distance closes quickly and is considered unsafe.
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UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT When a player uses vulgar or abusive language; is disrespectful to another player, coach, umpire or spectator; argues with an umpire; delays the game by feigning injury or requesting an unnecessary tack time-out; or appeals for a foul, especially by windmilling his/her mallet. WALKING THE BALL Carrying the ball while slowed down to a walk. In outdoor polo, this is a foul for delay of game. When called, it results in a throwin at the spot of the infraction. In arena polo, the player must maintain “reasonable pace” when along the wall. There is no rule governing pace in the arena when not along the walls. Compiled from USPolo.org.
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AG E N DA
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH POLO MANAGER
Erica Kratz After five years as assistant manager, Erica Kratz is eager to take the reins as Myopia Polo Club’s manager this season. “I first came to Myopia after reaching out to former manager Kim Maguire about opportunities to work with her,” says Kratz. “I had met her in her role as the Myopia interscholastic team’s coach. That summer, she hired me to be her right-hand woman with field maintenance, game help, practice help. Basically, whatever she needed.” Kratz, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, acknowledges the attraction of Myopia was the polo and “my initial impression was that Myopia was a beautiful club with welcoming members.” “It feels like a contradiction of environments to be its own enclave of fields and equestrianism while situated in town,” says Kratz. “The town may continue to be built up over time, but Myopia remains. I think one needs to let Myopia sink in to truly appreciate its history and why it has endured for so many years.” Last year, Kratz continued to work under polo manager Amy Trytek. But her love for horses and the sport dates back to her childhood. “I was horse-obsessed since before I can remember, and would be plopped on my aunt’s pony whenever we visited,” she says. “I started taking lessons at a rescue farm when I was eight. I started off as a hunter rider. I gave up ice skating and swim team to spend more time riding since I loved the horses. “I attended Garrison Forest School, one of the few schools in the country with a polo program, and was encouraged by my mother to give polo lessons a try,” says Kratz. “I loved it.” Kratz applied herself, playing once a week through sixth grade, twice a week through seventh grade, and five days a week with high school players in eighth grade.
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“Polo had my heart, and I played polo throughout high school,” she says. “I went to Skidmore College and majored in history and classics. I played polo all four years, including captaining the women’s team and holding the club president title. After college, I studied Greek and Latin at Penn, and earned a certificate in Latin. I also volunteer coached the Brandywine girls’ interscholastic polo team while I lived in Philadelphia.” Kratz subsequently moved to Boston, taking classes at Boston University, but polo still had a special appeal. She began working at the Boston Polo Club, caring for the horses and property, teaching and umpiring. Now, Kratz is looking forward to making her mark at Myopia. “The manager’s role is to facilitate the functioning of polo playing and community involvement,” she says. “The manager is responsible for field management, scheduling practices and tournaments, working with groups for special events and new player recruitment and development. At
Myopia, that means balancing the Club’s past while identifying new opportunities for growth. “As an ambassador to the sport of polo for players and public alike, the manager’s role is to foster a fun and safe environment to enjoy horses, friendships and the natural beauty of Hamilton,” says Kratz. “My favorite aspect of the job is watching other people fall in love with the sport.” And the first-year manager has lofty expectations to improve the polo experience for everyone, from players to spectators. “One of my goals for this season is to take advantage of the work we have put into field improvements to keep the playing rolling and give our players quality fields,” Kratz says. “As we enter our third season since the COVID-19 virus hit the world, I’m also looking forward to rebuilding our spectator and sponsorship relationships stronger than ever. In all that we do accomplish this season, I most hope to uphold the high standards of Myopia Polo and respect its unique history.” photograph by PAUL BILODEAU
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AG E N DA
Growing the Game
Myopia youth program and coaching league Legacies don’t happen overnight. They require decades to establish. The long-term success of any polo club depends on its commitment to developing the next generation of players. At Myopia, the youth program and coaching league ensure that the Club’s future is bright. “The youth and coaching programs offer unique opportunities to younger players to enter polo as beginners and to advance to collegiate and outdoor polo for the more experienced players,” says Myopia Polo Captain David Strouss. “The program provides horses to the players, and players also learn about grooming and proper horse care. “The youth program has grown over the years to include both junior and varsity women and men teams,” says Strouss. “The coaching league is so popular at Myopia that some players have chosen to stay in the program, while many move on to play regular polo at Myopia.”
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Jacek “Yaz” Grotnik of Husaria Farm in Ipswich, and a member of Mypia Polo for more than two decades, oversees the Club’s youth, or interscholastic program, which helps develop players 18 years old and younger. Many players have familiar names, and that’s no coincidence. “Family polo is the basis for youth polo,” says Grotnick. “From its beginning, bringing sons and daughters into the game has always been a tradition at Myopia.” Interscholastic polo, run in conjunction with the Harvard Polo Club, provides entry-level polo for children, generally from 7th to 12th grade, although Myopia has had some younger participants, says Grotnick. “Typically, kids with some riding experience join our program after trying polo at an introductory clinic or after seeing a game at Myopia,” he says. “Our program focuses on four primary tenants — horsemanship, sportsmanship, fair play
and teamwork. Each of these combines to create a well-rounded player and teammate. “A difference that sets polo apart from other equine disciplines is teamwork,” Grotnick says. “Each member of our program learns that for a team to be successful, their contribution needs to benefit each other and their horses.” With the interscholastic program, coaching and playing takes place in the arena, a more contained environment for learning. The smaller size and slower speeds are more conducive to the introduction to the sport. “After a season of arena play, which (goes) through the academic year, our participants move on to coaching league play outside on the grass in the spring and summer,” says Grotnick. “Fundamentals taught in the arena apply to outdoor polo and are further expanded on the big field. There they learn some of the strategies that apply to open-field play.” As young players master the skills needed for more competitive polo, some will graduate to tournament play. The Na-
“Our program focuses on four primary tenants – horsemanship, sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork.” – Jacek “Yaz” Grotnik
tional Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) qualifiers take that competition to the next level. “In the last season at Myopia, each tournament-level team had at least one participant that developed their skills via interscholastic, intercollegiate or both polo programs,” says Grotnick. Grotnik noted that Myopia’s summer polo program allows intermediate and higher-level youth players to continue to compete and learn. “Provided the participant knows the rules and can follow the flow of the game, they can be rated to play,” says Grotnik. “Most are rated minus-1 within the first or second year of participating, which qualifies them for low-goal tournaments. Our interscholastic participants range in age from 12 to 18 years old. The program has consistently had an average of 10 players in its seven-year history.” Myopia typically fields two competitive teams, a junior varsity and a varsity squad. This year, Myopia had a middle school team that won the Northeast Regional Middle School Tournament at Yale. Last »
Opposite page: The youth team at USPA I/I Open National Championship, Brookshire, TX. From left, Augie Grotnik (C), Julia Schaefer and Rehan Kumble Players in action: Top left, Rehan Kuble Top right, Julia Schaefer Above, Augie Grotnik (C)
2022 myopia polo 21
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Above: The junior varsity team at Myopia Schooling Field/Poor Arena. From left, Assistant Coach Abby Kotwick, Emma Croke, Eva Croce, Dom Irvine, Estani J. Puch, Sofia Puch and Assistant Coach Ingrid Donnan At left: The junior varsity team at UPSA NE Preliminary Regional, Tinicum Polo Club, NJ. From left, Sofia Puch, Maverick Ellis, Dom Irvine (C), Emma Croke, Eva Croce
year, the club entered a girls’ team that won the Northeast Girls USPA Circuit Tournament. Myopia’s Interscholastic Varsity team has played at the USPA Interscholastic Open National Championship the past two years, finishing 3rd in 2021 and 5th in 2022. Grotnik’s own experience with Myopia, and with polo, followed much of the same trajectory, though he came to the game later in life, in 1990. “I had just moved to Boston and a
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neighbor invited me to Sunday Polo at Myopia,” says Grotnik. “I had never seen a polo match up close. After seeing Gibney Field, the athletic horses and the speed of the game, I convinced myself I had to give it a try. “The announcer at the time was Peter Poor of Stage Hill Polo, the oldest continuously operating polo school in the country,” he says. “I enrolled in an introductory class, and the rest is history. Within the first year, I had my first horse
and was playing three days a week.” Similarly, Phillip Zocco, Myopia Polo’s 2015 Most Improved Player and sponsor of Team Georgetown Door & Window, credits Poor for his entry into the sport, and dozens of other players from Boston’s South Shore to Maine and southern New Hampshire. “The majority of people in this area have started polo with Peter,” says Zocco. “The coaching league was the next level Peter had (players) step up to, where one could start playing competitively while getting a foot in the Myopia polo community door.” Today, Myopia’s coaching league, which includes players of all ages, is run by Estanislao “Estani” Puch. It is Puch’s second year as a manager of the coaching league and new player development, though he has played at Myopia for 18 years. He’s a 2-goal USPA handicap, a Massachusetts certified riding instructor, and an Argentine Polo Association (AAP) certified polo coach. “I started playing professionally at the Myopia polo club back in 2004,” say Puch. “Since then we — me, my wife Karen, and now my two kids, Estani Jr. and Sofia — are involved in polo.” A native of Argentina, Puch was initially attracted by the tradition and history of Myopia. With the leadership provided by Strouss, Puch says “we took the program to the next level,” improving the fields and emphasizing the game’s importance to the Club. “My take is the same I been doing for the last 20 years — getting new people into polo so that hopefully in the future they will end it up being regular players in Myopia,” he says. Both program directors understand the challenges they face, especially attracting new players. But both are certain that if they can have people try polo, the sport will win converts. “With technology, where everything is so easy, the challenge is to get the people to like and ride horses and try polo,” says Puch. “The way we have organized the coaching league nowadays, if (newcomers) try with good horses and lots of experience, plus nice field and friendly players, they end up playing.”
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AG E N DA
EQUINE WELFARE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN
Terri Campbell ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Dr. Bryan Parrott Cathy Taylor MYOPIA EQUINE WELFARE MEMBERS
Photograph by Jacqueline Miller
Erica Kratz C.J. Brown Betty Muise
Keeping Horses Healthy Equine care a priority at Myopia Polo. / by Brion O’Connor
There are two sets of athletes on a polo field: the players and their ponies. But only one group can take care of themselves. So the health and fitness of the ponies racing up and down Gibney Field remains a priority at Myopia Polo. The Myopia Equine Welfare Committee — made up of polo players, equestrians, veterinarians, experts and longtime club members — ensures the safety and care of the horses. “Our mission is to provide the highest level of oversight to the care of our horses in the community, and the polo horses in the polo community, in particular,” says Dr. Bryan Parrott, owner of Parrott Equine Associates and one of the founding members of the Myopia Welfare
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Committee. “We wanted to develop and raise the standards for the welfare of these wonderful animals.” The committee was first founded several years ago when it became apparent that improvements were needed. The group came together, organized, codified standards and then put them into action. These innovations didn’t go unnoticed on a national level. The United States Polo Association (USPA) has adopted most of the committee’s standards for the care and maintenance of horses, both on and off the field. Among those standards is Myopia’s rules on using artificial aids and core conditioning, ensuring the horses are healthy and fit to play.
“Having that happen was so rewarding,” Dr. Parrott says. “It was cause for celebration. It wasn’t just me — I was there to help steamroll it — but there was such a passion from the committee as a whole. We really worked well together.” Each year the committee works with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and leads training sessions to update and improve the club’s standards. “If it wasn’t for Myopia’s willingness to look at this and make changes, for the good of our community and for the good of the world, it wouldn’t have been adopted by the USPA,” Dr. Parrott says. “It has brought such a level of improvement in horsemanship to our community.”
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THE ANNUAL MYOPIA POLO BALL JULY 20, 2021
This page, clockwise from left: 1. Griffin Veldran, Caroline Strouss, Tracy Strouss, David Strouss, Samantha Gray and Jason Gray. 2. Alyssa Scherer and CB Scherer 3. Janine Jaques, Nicholas White, Erin Whitmore, Pippa White and Olaf Krohg. Left page, clockwise from left: 4. Michael Mars, Terri Campbell and Estani Puch. 5. Tracy Strouss. 6. Kurt Miller, Thomas Schwenke and Jackie Miller. 7. Anastasia Nickerson, Pippa White, Erin Whitmore, Anastasia’s sister.
Having a Ball
Myopia’s Polo Ball celebrates all that is good about the game Polo is a fierce-but-chivalrous game, with eight players and eight ponies locked in high-stakes combat. That kind of spirited rivalry can cultivate a camaraderie that’s every bit as strong and durable as a top-flight polo pony. And it’s those bonds, those friendships, that are the highlight of the Myopia Polo ball, when riding britches and helmets are traded in for gowns and suit coats, mallets give way to adult beverages, and the festivities move from Gibney Field to the Myopia Clubhouse. “Polo is an extremely competitive sport. There is a lot of hard work before
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the player mounts their horse and walks out on the field,” says Tracy Strouss, wife of Polo Captain David Strouss and chairwoman of the Myopia Polo Ball. “On the field, the thrill of playing in a match is equally enjoyed by all the players, regardless of victory or defeat. The thrill of the Polo Ball is all the players share the same goal, and that’s to have a great time.” Though the exact date of the first Myopia Polo Ball is something of a mystery, there’s no question that it was the brainchild of Donald V. Little, the former Myopia Polo Captain (1968–1981, 1983–1986). Based on conversations with
longtime members, Mrs. Strouss estimates the first ball was held in 1982. “Forty years ago,” she says. “This is a great cause for us to celebrate this year.” Mrs. Strouss took over the organization of the Polo Ball in 2018, and has endeavored to continue growing the event since its cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. “Last year we had 150 in attendance,” she says. “This includes people who attend for after-dinner dancing. In addition to the Myopia polo players, their families and patrons, we welcome Myopia Club members and Myopia Hunt Club members. This makes it for a really fun evening. “Let me tell you, polo players can dance,” she says. “The dance floor is full
photographs by kendra dott for sharon’s studio
down to the band’s last song. This makes all my hard work worth every minute.” At a club known for the cherished traditions it has developed in the past 134 years, the Polo Ball, at 40 years, is a relatively new event. According to Little’s son, Donald V. “Doo” Little Jr., the first polo balls were typically held the night before the East Coast Open, and were lively evenings from the very beginning. “The tables had teams intermingled for the camaraderie and sportsmanship that polo always displayed,” says Doo Little. “It was also a big social event, as the dance was open to the socialites of Boston. It was a highlight in Bostonians’ summer schedule.” Polo Captain David Strouss says he
hopes the current ball, scheduled for July 9, the Saturday evening prior to the Cyril Harrison Cup finals, captures the same sense of revelry. “Myopia’s Polo Ball is an incredible blend of tradition of elegant equestrian celebrations at Myopia,” he says. “Players, family members and Myopians gather together away from the polo fields and truly enjoy this opportunity to socialize. “Like any great event, an enormous amount of work and effort go into the Polo Ball,” says Strouss. “Tremendous thanks to the person who heads putting this event on, Tracy Strouss.” Planning the Polo Ball, said Mrs. Strouss, “is similar to a wedding reception with respect to the numerous
The 2022 Myopia Polo Ball is on July 9. Tickets at myopiapolo.org. details orchestrated for a joyful evening.” “I secure the event date in early March, followed by designing the save-the-date invitations and securing the band in April,” she says. “May and June are an allout blitz of countless meetings to select floral arrangements, menu, guest speaker, player awards, decor, photographer, staffing, etcetera. “2021 was an exceptionally challenging year to plan as we emerged from the pandemic, ” says Mrs. Strouss. “Regardless, our community came out in record numbers, and everyone had a wonderful evening.” Members can expect the same this July.
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#Myopia Polo Shoot it. Share it. Hashtag it.
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through the years MEMBER ENTHUSIASM KEEPS THE COUNTRY’S OLDEST POLO CLUB THRIVING Myopia, the oldest continually active polo club in the country, traces its roots back to the late 1800s, when the sport was first introduced to the United States. As polo traveled along the coast from New York in the 1880s, Randolph M. “Bud” Appleton, who played on the Harvard Polo Team, encouraged fellow enthusiasts to knock a ball around at Gibney Field. The following summer, more than 200 people traveled by carriage to watch players scrimmage. Myopia was emboldened by the sport’s popularity and issued a challenge to the Dedham Country and Polo Club, igniting an intense rivalry that would last almost 50 years. “There have been so many great things about Myopia,” said former Captain of Polo Lyle Graham. “You’re looking at a history which has this blend of British aristocracy, ordered military and the can-do attitude of Americans. That’s compelling. That’s what Myopia was and is today.” While enthusiastic spectators arrive on Sundays in SUVs instead of horse-drawn carriages, not much else has changed at Gibney Field, where players have been swinging mallets since 1887. “Newell Bent in 1929 wrote in his book American Polo, ‘of all the Northeast polo clubs, (in which there were about 10 to 15 clubs at the time), the Myopia Club at Hamilton is the best known and has the greatest polo history,’” said Leighton S. Jordan, USPA Northeastern Circuit governor, at last year’s Myopia Polo Ball. “And outside of the Northeast, this statement, still in 2021, holds true.” According to Jordan, “Myopia hosted some of the greatest players this country has seen. From the 1920s, you had two of the country’s top players — RL Agassiz at 10 goals and RG Shaw at 9 goals. These two men were the mainstay of the Myopia club.” “More recently, top Americans Adam and Nick Snow, Owen Reinhart, Don and Doo Little, Memo and Carlos Gracida, Tommy Hitchcock, Bob Skene, Nic Roldan and Phil Lake, to name a few, have played on these fields,” said Jordan. “There are very few clubs with such rich tradition and history that can boast this.”
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1887-1930: polo dazzles North Shore’s elite In 1890, when the United States Polo Association formed, Myopia joined as a charter member. Five years later, the young team from Hamilton competed in the Senior Championship, the equivalent of the National Open today, and took the top prize. Ties to the Harvard Polo Team, which are strong to this day, grew in 1907, when the team started practicing at Gibney Field; it was there that it defeated Yale during the country’s first formal college game. Pictures from those early days showed the sidelines crowded with carriages and parasols. When automobiles first appeared on the scene, they were segregated to one corner, so as not to scare the horses. 1930-1958: the lean years Cars soon became an accepted fixture on the sidelines, but the Great Depression and global conflict brought growth of the sport to a virtual standstill. Polo was simply too expensive during those difficult years. Loathe to lose the game entirely, some players took to bicycle polo to keep costs down. But even that disappeared
when news of the attack on Pearl Harbor was brought to a group of bicycle polo players on the Myopia club practice field in 1941. “In 1959, Myopia installed arena lights, the first club that I am aware of to have done this, well ahead of its time, as only decades later would other clubs follow,” said Jordan. “The depth of its history and level of commitment here in Myopia is amazing. It has survived countless hurdles — two World Wars, the Depression, even financial setback. Yet the Club endures.” 1958-1990: the glamour years It took years after the war for polo to regain momentum in Hamilton, but the youthful energy of players like Adam Winthrop, Crocker Snow and the late Don Little — the latter of whom organized impromptu matches during his time as a B-47 bomber pilot at the Strategic Air Command Base in Tucson, Arizona — inspired veteran players like Tim Clark, C.G. Rice and Neil Ayer to retake Gibney Field, which had been turned into a hay field. Polo became so popular that members, many of whom had demanding weekday jobs and could only play on Sundays, were inspired to build an outdoor arena, so they could also play on Wednesday nights. The arena, built entirely by the players using timbers from a torn-down dancehall in Peabody, became the site for several national tournaments. Hollywood discovered Myopia in 1967. Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway shot polo scenes for “The Thomas Crown Affair,” which tells the story of a bored Boston playboy who robs a bank for kicks (in addition to playing at Myopia). The money from the two-week experience enabled Myopia to build a 24-stall polo barn, still in use today. A year later, the Myopia team was invited to play in Iran, the birthplace of polo, as part of that nation’s 2,500th anniversary celebration, according to the book “Myopia: 1875-1975,” compiled and edited by Edward Weeks. As the book notes: “Each player chose three (Arabian stallions) from an original string of 30, and began to get accustomed to the (pebble) field … the steady diet of lamb kebab, vodka, and Caspian Sea caviar, and the hot desert air.” In 1969, Myopia coach Mike Andrews helped relaunch the Harvard Polo Club. In the 1970s, an Iranian team visited Gibney Field, as well as teams from New Zealand, Pakistan and Argentina. The resurgence of polo on a national level, combined with the inspiration of Myopia captains like Ayer, Little and Michael Fawcett, attracted more players and more teams. The annual Forbes Cup, a New England championship game generally played against Fairfield, Connecticut, gained a strong following during this time, as did the renowned East Coast Open, at the 20-goal level, which attracted 11 teams at its height, with top high-goal players and enthusiastic crowds. 1990-2014: a comfortable place Under the leadership of captains like Neil Raymond, Rob Wilkinson, Lyle Graham, Albert Ellis and Franz ColloredoMansfeld, Myopia Polo has achieved a storied place on the polo scene. Further accolades have come to the Club through a solidified relationship with Harvard Polo and the great honor bestowed
upon Adam Snow, who achieved the USPA’s cherished 10-goal handicap — only the second Myopia-trained player to do so. In the past decade, the club has sent many local players to intercollegiate, national and international tournaments. Since 2017, said Jordan, Myopia hosted 18 USPA tournaments, more than any other club in the Northeast. “Since 1978, barring one year in 1993, you host the USPA National Chairman Cup,” he said. “I do not know of any other club in the Northeast that has this number of tournaments, much less a USPA cup consecutively for so many years. Again, amazing dedication and perseverance. “You have managed to do something that no one else has — you have kept this polo club alive over many lifetimes of players,” said Jordan. “You have developed new great players, great tournaments with great history.” The Club has also put an emphasis on horse welfare. It continues to introduce young players to the sport, hosting a number of National Youth Tournament Series qualifiers in recent years. Above all, Myopia remains dedicated to introducing players to the sport. “When you look at the landscape of the polo community, it is littered with many clubs that have risen to fame and success with the tournaments, teams and spectators, only to die out and be part of the polo club graveyard,” said Jordan in 2021. “The Butler family built Chicago Polo with 11 fields, hosted the US Open, San Antonio, Dallas and even Palm Beach Polo built large showcase clubs, complete with stadiums and corporate sponsors. Today, gone. “Meadowbrook, with 25,000-plus spectators, 25 fields in a 5-mile radius and the best and strongest teams in the country — Armory A in New York City, Brooklyn, Princeton. All gone,” he told members. “And yet you, Myopia, have built and maintained a lasting club. Your formula for success, your secret sauce, is the envy of others. With the dedication and hard work for 133 years, to keep this going is a testament to your leadership and commitment, as well as the desire of one common goal — to play polo.”
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THE DONALD V. LITTLE MEMORIAL CUP A look at the prize awarded at the annual tournament.
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United States Polo Association as well as governor of the Northeast Circuit for many years. His team, Centennial Farms, was represented at major tournaments throughout the East. His passion was passed on to his son, Donald V. “Doo” Little, Jr., who went on to play professionally, served as governor of the Northeast Circuit and was a member of the USPA’s Tournament and Executive committees.
Additional credits Credit Name
Donald V. Little was the face of Myopia Polo for years, and he is fondly remembered each year with the presentation of the Donald V. Little Memorial Cup. Little, known to many as “Big D,” was pivotal in the success of Myopia polo during the 1970s, ‘80s and early ‘90s. His passion for the sport and horses in general was infectious. He became captain of Myopia in 1968, serving in that role for almost 20 years (1968–1981, 1983–1986). He had a major role in making Myopia the club to play at on the East Coast during the summer, including re-establishing the East Coast Open in 1978. During it’s 25-year run at Myopia, the tournament hosted the best teams from the United States, and the best players from around the world. (The tournament is still played at the Greenwich Polo Club in Connecticut.) On a national level, Little was a past president of the
photograph by paul bilodeau
u.s. polo association
More than 130 years of innovation, inclusion and tradition Polo is considered the oldest team sport in known history, dating back thousands of years. The innovations of the past century, however, have molded it into the fast-paced, exciting game we recognize today. What was once a contest with eight or more players galloping up and down the field for the better part of an afternoon has evolved into a focused, precise sport that highlights horsemanship, physical prowess and intricate team play. Much of the credit for that organizational transformation — at least in the U.S. — belongs to the United States Polo Association (USPA). In 1890, over dinner in New York City, H.L. Herbert, John Cowdin and Thomas Hitchcock formally created the Polo Association, now the USPA. The group was made up of seven clubs and was headquartered in New York. One hundred handicaps were assigned to members, including future President Teddy Roosevelt. Herbert was elected chairman — a post he would hold for the next 31 years. “The USPA, our governing body, was developed as an old boys club,” Leighton S. Jordan, USPA Northeastern Circuit governor, told members at last year’s Myopia Polo Ball. “In the 1890s, players realized they needed an organization to set the governing rules of play. “This newly formed group funded the USPA management when it was short of cash,” said Jordan. “They did what they had to do to keep the sport alive. Over time they assigned circuit governors to help manage the sport across the country. They all put their own funds in to oversee the sport.” The first U.S. Open Championship was played in 1904, and the legendary American team that would become known as the Big Four (Harry Payne Whitney, Devereux Milburn, and Larry and Monty Waterbury) defeated England to win the Westchester Cup.
Under the USPA’s guidance, the sport grew in popularity throughout the U.S., expanding south and west. In the 1920s, crowds of more than 35,000 gathered to watch major tournaments, and players began numbering their jerseys 1 through 4 to designate their position and role. According to the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, there was an annual need for more than 63,000 polo ponies during this era. Women began making their mark in the sport during the 1930s, as Cornell fielded an intercollegiate women’s team, and a group of Army officers’ wives form the Whippettes. The Pacific Women’s Polo Association was formed in 1934. Women now comprise 40% of the USPA’s membership. The 1940s saw the growth of the sport slow, with record-keeping suspended during World War II. The sport’s recovery took hold over the next 20 years, as the popularity of Arena Polo grew and a surge in the top ranks set the stage for expansion. The fashion world adopted the polo image, high-goal polo was recognized as one of the fastest-moving and exciting spectator sports in the world, and the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club opened in 1979, becoming the foremost center for international high-goal polo. In the 1980s, USPA membership reached an all-time high.
As the millennium drew to a close, the USPA evolves from an all-volunteer organization to one employing a full administrative and executive staff. Broadcasting and streaming tournaments, using drones and instant replay, have all become a normal part of this traditional sport. Today, the USPA includes nearly 300 member clubs in 13 geographic circuits around the U.S. and oversees 40 national tournaments. “The USPA’s aim is to provide support to the clubs,” said Jordan. “Not how to manage the clubs or how to grow players. They tried this for years, and it did not work. They now recognize that they must find ways to help the clubs do what they do best.”
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myopia hunt club
The Myopia Hunt A tradition that celebrates relationships / by Brion O’Connor No organization survives, much less thrives, for more than a century without passion and without developing relationships. The Myopia Hunt and Polo Club is built on both. Nowhere is that reality better represented than the Myopia Hunt, which highlights the relationships between the riders, the riders and their horses, the riders and the Club’s hounds, and the Club and the community. Each of those relationships has played a role in the Club’s long, colorful history. “One of the biggest assets of the hunt for the entire community is its neverending quest to keep land open for all — walkers, bikers and riders — to use,” says Kim Brady Cutler, former Master of Fox Hounds (2012-17). “I’m sure most people, as they walk, bike or ride the trails around Hamilton and many other (communities) all the way up to the Merrimack River, have no idea that the
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Hunt clears and maintains many of them.” One of the best examples, says Cutler, can be found close to downtown Hamilton — the Myopia Schooling Fields. The fields, situated across Route 1A from the Club, once housed Cilly’s Farm. (The knoll to the north of the property is still known as Cilly’s Hill.) “The farm was bought from the Burrage family by five Myopia members in 1931 and put into a trust that still runs it to this day,” Cutler says. “They gave 19 acres of the farm to the town of Hamilton to form Patton Park. I really don’t think most people know how much the Hunt has given back to the community at large over the years.” The Hunt was already well established before polo (and golf ) first arrived and captured the fancy of many club members. Today, the Hunt is still an integral part of the Club, although it doesn’t have
the same spectator draw, for obvious reasons. In fact, one of the new Joint Masters of the Hunt, along with Wendy Wood, is Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld, the former Captain of Polo. “Franz grew up riding with the Hunt as a child, and he brings all that history,” say Cutler. “His enthusiasm for getting out in the country and jumping is just spectacular. So we’re all thrilled about having him back.” The social aspect of the Hunt can’t be overstated. Wendy Wood, Joint Master of the Hunt, emphasized that the Hunt is open to the general public, and participants don’t need to be Myopia members. Again, it’s about relationships. “We are always ready to greet a new member or follower,” Wood says. “The history of our area is rich with foxhunting tradition, and it’s very important to all of us to keep this wonderful history fresh and relevant. The more, the merrier. “Our stable has been public for many years, and visiting riders from other hunts and other stables have always been welcomed,” she says. “Each year,
“One of the unique aspects of the Hunt is its ability to hold onto its long traditions. Things that were done in 1882 still take place today — the Blessing of the Hounds, Hunt Ball, Hunter Paces, etcetera — and I think traditions are very important to the Club as well.” – Former Master of Fox Hounds, Kim Brady Cutler
the Hunt hosts several events which draw participants from outside our area. Our own homes and stables often house the overflow.” Nicholas R. White, former Joint Master of the Hunt (2014-17), agrees, noting that the Hunt will cross more than 200 local parcels during the season. “We also have an active social calendar which includes teas — oldfashioned parlance for food and drink — sponsored after hunts, Spring Hunt dinner, our annual Hunt Ball, (and a) landowners’ picnic where we serve lunch to all the landowners whose properties we hunt through,” he says. The Hunt itself has changed little over the years. The Myopia Hunt Club, established in Winchester, originally started as a baseball team and evolved to focus on foxhunting. They moved to Hamilton in 1882, where the rolling hills and stonewalls were ideal for their forays. Members first leased stables and kennels from the Gibney family, before eventually buying the farm. “Our club logo is made up of a fox head and hunting horn, so I’d say that the Hunt plays a very important part as far as public recognition of the Club,” says Cutler, a longtime member of the Hunt Committee. “One of the unique aspects of the Hunt is its ability to hold onto its long traditions. Things that were done in 1882 still take place today — the Blessing of photographs by jacqueline miller
the Hounds, Hunt Ball, Hunter Paces, etcetera — and I think traditions are very important to the club as well.” Then, of course, are the hounds of the Hunt. This remarkable collection of more than three dozen good-natured canines has been groomed since they were puppies to lead the Hunt. “Unlike a live quarry pack, we do not go out and look for fox or coyote,” says Phillip Headdon, the Club’s Huntsman. “Our hounds are trained to hunt a particular line and are trained not to chase anything live. Me and my kennelmen go out the day before a hunt and determine where we are going to lay the line for the hounds. “I try to keep it as close to hunting a fox as possible with all the twists and turns as a fox would do in the woods and open farmland,” says Headdon. “We make sure it is safe for riders and paramount, respecting the wishes of the landowners and farmers whose land we ride over, so we do not do any damage to their property.” And when every rider, and all the animals, are working together, a special alchemy is created. “It’s very rewarding to be a part of a hunt,” says White. “It’s the culmination of hard work and dedication. It’s the coming together of all three compo-
nents that make up a hunt: horsemanship, training of hounds and setting a route through our countryside. “We hunt through approximately 225 different properties,” he says. “Our horses and riders have put in countless hours working together. The hounds are fit and healthy. Riding in the countryside following a pack of hounds is much different, much better, than doing circles in a riding ring. “Truly, when I look at our membership, the common threads that bring us together, rain or shine, are a love of animals and the outdoors, interest in being part of a great community and enjoying that sporting camaraderie, the thrill of riding/jumping a horse, being part of a time honored-tradition which holds us to high standards of dress and behavior,” says White. Ultimately, that hunt is a reminder of the strength of relationships, how they can withstand the test of time, how they can endure. “It’s hard to put into words how special the traditions of the Hunt are especially in today’s society, when everything is moving so fast and rules change,” says Cutler. “The experience of being out in the countryside with the horse and hounds, the beauty of the sites and sounds. It’s just amazing.”
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The Gold Standard ADAM SNOW AND NIC ROLDAN / PAGE 42
2021 Tournament Recap RESULTS FROM AN EXCITING SEASON / PAGE 48
Along for the Ride! PHOTO ESSAY / PAGE 56
Adam Snow and Nic Roldan represent the best of Myopia
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hey are two of the most decorated American-born polo players to ever sit astride a polo pony. Fueled by their passion for polo, Adam Snow and Nicolas “Nic” Roldan have established rich and rewarding multifaceted careers in their chosen sport, both on and off the pitch.
by Brion O’Connor
Top left photo by Jacqueline Miller / Top right photo by Michael CB Stevens
THE GOLD STANDARD
TH E GO LD S TAN DAR D Below: 2019 Harrison Cup 8 goal final match winning team Folly Fields. Left to right: Adam Snow, Marcos Onetto, Steven Burr and Terri Campbell.
Photo by Nick Mele
Photos by Jacqueline Miller
Despite the difference in their ages — Snow is 57 years old, and Roldan is 39 — the two share a number of common milestones. They have achieved tremendous success playing the game, winning numerous championships, with Snow rated at 10 goals and Roldan at 8 (but as high as 9 earlier in his career). They have also achieved significant accomplishments in the competitive world of business. Snow and his wife, veterinarian Shelly Onderdonk, manage New Haven Farm in Aiken, South Carolina, where they breed and train polo ponies (the couple also has three sons — Dylan, Nathan and Aidan). He is a play-by-play announcer and analyst with ESPN and an author (with his wife) of “Polo Life: Horses, Sport, 10 and Zen.” Roldan, who is single, is co-founder of High Goal Luxury Gin, is a licensed realtor with Equestrian Sotheby’s and developer, and recently launched a clothing line, “Roldan Lifestyle,” at Equitana USA. He has also teamed with brands such as Technogym and Therabody to develop equestrian-specific protocols for warm-up and recovery. Both were multi-sport athletes, with Snow playing lacrosse and ice hockey at Yale (he captained the Bulldogs’ hockey team his senior year), and Roldan, in addition to qualifying for the Junior Olympics in roller hockey, also playing ice hockey, golf, tennis, soccer and baseball. Perhaps most importantly, Snow and Roldan developed their exceptional polo talents, in part, on the playing fields of Boston’s North Shore, specifically at the Myopia Hunt and Polo Club.
“I first played polo at the Myopia arena when I was about 10 years old,” says Snow, who grew up in Hamilton. “I was scared of horses initially, but then my competitive instincts took over when there were kids of a similar age to play with.” When he was 14, Snow was coached, and encouraged, by his father, Crocker Snow, and his cousin, Donald “Doo” Little. “I liked every sport I played — hockey, lacrosse, football, baseball, tennis,” he says. “Initially, polo represented another fun team sport.” “My earliest memories of Myopia are of riding my horse across the golf course from our home on Bridge Street, and then across Bay Road, to attend the Mike Andrews indoor clinic in the arena,” says Snow. “I was quite young, the only kid in the program, and it was a scary, 2- to 3-mile hack to make it to the clinic. Still, challenges are good, and I still roll and wrap bandages the way Mike taught me.” Snow describes Andrews as a “ground up” instructor who emphasized the importance of youngsters learning how to take care of their horses and their gear. “And I was watching my older cousin, Doo Little, competing on this field with the Fortugnos and Brad Scherer — it looked like they were flying,” he says. “They were a huge inspiration.” Likewise, Roldan started playing at a young age, often at Myopia thanks to his father, Raül Roldan. working as the manager for Bob Daniel’s Pony Express team. Current Myopia Polo captain David Strouss has vivid memories of a young Roldan. “I’ll never forget Nic, when he was about 10
“My earliest memories of Myopia are of riding my horse across the golf course from our home on Bridge Street, and then across Bay Road, to attend the Mike Andrews indoor clinic in the arena.” Adam Snow
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“Myopia is where we spent our summers for 15, 20 years.It was a beautiful club with such nice members, amazing camaraderie. ”
career, replies: “My Grandad, who we called ‘Too,’ stick and balled with me frequently, and Dave Roberts, who was a 4-goal professional and worked for Uncle Donald (Little). And my Dad was always very supportive and also pushed us sometimes, but in a good way.” “Then when we began to play with the Young Myopia group, it was my brother Andrew, Phillip Lake, Teddy and Bobby Mehm, Carlos Coles, Courtney Fawcett that I grew up playing with,” he says. “And several of the Myopia players were extremely supportive of the young players. Uncle Donald, Mike Fawcett, Bob Daniels, Ted Raymond, Adam Winthrop and others, were finding ways to help us with horses, fields and later teams to play on.” Roldan also credits his father with lighting the spark that continues to sustain him. “He’s been my mentor throughout my whole career, starting from when I was a little kid, taking me to the barn, always encouraging me, but never pushing me,” he says. “Both my Mom and Dad did always push me to play sports, and to follow my dreams and passions. They gave me the most opportunities they could and always supported me through the ups and downs of life and a career in sport. “He’s always been there for me, and I think that’s obviously really important,” says Roldan. “There have been a few other mentors throughout my career, but he was and is the most important one.”
Left photo by Jacqueline Miller / Right photo by Michael CB Stevens
years old, hitting a polo ball with a foot mallet halfway across a polo field,” says Strouss. “His athleticism and complete commitment to the game make him the perfect face for USA polo.” Roldan is a fourth-generation polo player, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and Myopia provided “amazing golden memories.” “My father was also a professional, and I’m fortunate enough to have taken it to the next level,” Roldan says. “I grew up between winters in Wellington, Florida, and summers in Boston. “Myopia is where we spent our summers for 15, 20 years,” he says. “It was a beautiful club with such nice members, amazing camaraderie. I went to the tennis club at Myopia, and got to play golf and polo. It was one of the best places to grow up as a kid. “Some of my fondest memories as a child were definitely in Myopia, just because it was also summer break, so I got to play loads of polo, spent most of my time out on the farm riding, stick and balling,” he says. “I have so many different memories, from flagging all the games with Nicky Snow to the Whitney and Winthrop fields, to kids’ games, to my first tournaments with grown-ups, to playing with my father, the amazing barbecues that the Club used to have, which I always thought was something very special and very unique.” Both men are also grateful to have had people who nourished a love for the game. Snow, when asked who had a major influence on his early
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TH E GO LD S TAN DAR D
Photo by Jacqueline Miller
Another common thread that runs though their early careers, of course, is Myopia. “Young players can only get to the higher professional levels of polo by playing with better players in more competitive polo,” says Strouss. “Myopia has been fortunate to have young local players growing up together and historically playing in mid- to high-goal polo like Adam and Nic. Myopia is not one of the largest polo clubs in the U.S., but it is one of the most well known, because players like Adam and Nic grew up playing here.” Ultimately, Snow graduated from Yale as a 4-goal player, and quickly began climbing the ladder toward his goal as a world-class talent. “Then in 1997, at age 33, I was lowered from 8 to 7,” he says. “It was the first time my handicap had ever gone down, and I was concerned my career was on a descent.” However, Snow rebounded, thanks to what he calls “the multiple layers of team,” which includes his wife, their horses, supportive sponsors, the chance to play in the Argentine Open and a trusted sports psychologist. “Five years later, in 2002, I won the U.S. Open and got raised to 10 goals,” he says. “It was a dream come true. Once I began working with a sports psychologist, I became truly all in for the first time since I had started to swing a mallet.” Asked to recount his career highlights, Snow lists playing with his brother and father for the legendary Myopia Seagulls (“It was about family and taking care of the horses and tack together,” he says. “Andrew and I even repaired our own mallets.”), winning his first U.S. Open, and MVP, and BPP (Pumbaa) in 2002 with Coca-Cola, and qualifying for and then playing the Argentine Open on his own horses in 2004.
“My whole family was there, supporting me,” he says. “We played the Jockey Club, the qualification in Palermo — the scariest two games of my life, because our whole season depended on a successful result — and then Hurlingham and Palermo. Only a few wins, but it was the experience of a lifetime.” Those results cemented Snow’s reputation as one of the greatest American-born polo players. “Anybody who has played with and against Adam knows he is the consummate field general and commands a game like no other player,” says Strouss. “Having been the last U.S. player to achieve the maximum 10-goal handicap, it is truly remarkable what he has accomplished in polo.” Roldan’s success came early, at the age of 15, when he played in and won the U.S. Open Polo Championships. “That was the kickstart of my career,” he says. “It was my introduction and gateway into a professional polo career.” Playing the Argentine Triple Crown, which includes the Argentine Open, “was obviously an amazing experience and something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” he says. “I feel very grateful to have been able to have that experience.” He also won the Queen’s Cup in the United Kingdom, “another accolade that a lot of top professionals want to achieve,” says Roldan. “Historically, it’s one of the most important tournaments in the world, probably one of the oldest,” he says. “I’d also been in the final the two previous years, so it was good to crack that nut at last and is a truly memorable and magical experience. A huge achievement.” The careers of Snow and Roldan also intersected for a few brief, shining moments. “Adam and I went on to win one of the most important tournaments in the United States
Photo by Guadalupe Aizaga
Above: In 2018, Nic Roldan met Queen Elizabeth II after his team, La Indiana, won the Queen’s Cup tournament, played at Guards Polo Club, Windsor, UK. At left: Adam Snow (front) competing at the 2019 Chairman’s Cup preliminary match.
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together in 2007, the C.V. Whitney, as part of the Catamount team,” says Roldan. “And in 2009, we played together representing the USA against England in the Westchester Cup.” The pair is connected by a humility born from their gratitude for the assistance, and the opportunities, both received along the way. “I don’t know about superstars in other sports, but Nic and Adam are as approachable today as they were years ago as young players,” says Strouss. “They have never forgotten where they came from.” That modesty is a byproduct of the fact that both Snow and Roldan recognize their success was built on the efforts of others, including their sponsors, their ponies and their teammates. “Polo is everything, it’s given me everything,” says Roldan. “Whatever I have today, I have because of polo, whether it’s the polo aspect, the family or friends I have, or even as a transition into the business side of the sport and beyond.” “There have been chapters in my career and so many people I’ve learned from, starting with Memo and Carlos Gracida,” says Roldan. “They were the visionaries in the beginning. They brought me on to play between the ages of 15 and 16 years old. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to play with them.” In a similar vein, Snow credits Alfonso Pieres as a major influence. “I lucked into getting to play with him in my first Florida season, the first time I’d ever been on the field with a 10-goal player,” he says. “We clicked, and went on to play three to four seasons together in Florida and Greenwich. He
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“I hope Myopia will continue to flourish and remain a very special place, and hopefully it will inspire more young players like it did me.”
supported me with horses to play almost every time I went to Argentina to improve my polo. We are friends to this day.” Further, Snow says he’s “had many great teammates over the course of my career — my brother Andrew, Alfonso Pieres, Owen Rinehart, Julio Arellano, Tiger Kneece, Mariano Gonzalez, Luis Escobar, Martin Zegers, etcetera. This is another amazing aspect of the sport. The bonds we developed while in the midst of competition, and danger, survive forever.” Like most polo players, the pair shares a love of their steeds. “Now, it’s the horses that have become the most compelling aspect of the sport for me,” Snow says. “We bred horses — my best retired mares from the peak of my career — for about 10 years. And now, their offspring comprise five of my favorite six ponies. Being involved with every stage of this process — from foal to best-playing pony, when it works out — is an amazing and rewarding experience. “You have a special bond with the individual ponies you play. And, especially now, when most of my favorites are homebreds,” he says. “One mare, LolliBopp, is the daughter of my all-time favorite, Hale Bopp. Now that we’re playing tournaments together, when we’re successful on the playing field, it’s a very special feeling. She’s dark gray, and cocky, with a lot of attitude, and has a great career in front of her.” Roldan sounds a similar note, saying: “The horses have always been first and foremost for me, and my biggest passion. I’ve always loved horses. I’ve been around them since I was 2 years old and always had a very close bond with them.” “Without my horses I wouldn’t be who I am today,” he says. “I have a team of horse trainers and grooms who work around the clock every day, seven days a week, to make sure that the horses are looking their best, feeling their best and playing their best. “The horses are probably the most beautiful part of the sport,” says Roldan. “They give their all every time they step out onto the polo field, and we all have to be very thankful for all they do. It’s also great mentally to start and end a day at the barn with my horses in tranquility.” It is a feeling that was born, and nurtured, at Myopia. “It was a thrill to go out on Gibney Field for a chukker or two,” says Snow. “My two brothers, Josh and Andrew, and I played bike polo endlessly during this period. We’d go round
MAKE THE MOST OF GAME DAY and round a small circle in front of our house, with little mallets and a tennis ball, and we’d commentate our play: ‘Benny, Benny, Benny Guitterez takes it out of the air.’ These were the best players we were seeing in the (Myopia) tournaments as we were growing up. Now I’m commentating for the USPA productions on ESPN. It’s kind of funny that it all started around our little circle on Bridge Street in Hamilton. “Myopia is one of the oldest polo clubs in the whole country, and the story of the sport’s resurgence after World War II is incredible,” he says. “It’s a really good community of people who have fostered and nurtured the sport at the club since then.” Roldan is wistful is his recollections of polo on Boston’s North Shore. “I’ve not been back to Myopia in such a long time,” says Roldan. “The last time I visited was during the off season in 2012, when I was visiting a friend in Boston. Of course, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take a trip down Memory Lane.” Roldan says he’s aware that the landscape has changed, but that polo at Myopia “is still going strong.” “I know Pony Express sold,” he says. “I think Raymond’s field isn’t around anymore, but it will always have a special place in my heart. And definitely, the fondest memories of my childhood were at Myopia. “I hope Myopia will continue to flourish and remain a very special place, and hopefully it will inspire more young players like it did me.”
An insider’s guide to the where, when and how of Sundays at Myopia. Make the Most of Game Day A polo outing at Myopia is an invitation to a great time, provided you’re properly prepared. With matches starting in late spring and continuing through late fall, weather conditions can vary dramatically. “On cloudy days, either early in the season or late season, it’s good to have an extra jacket in the car for when the wind picks up,” says Hamilton’s Terri Campbell, a Myopia member and polo player. “Setting up a 10-by-10 tent is essential on hot days. We often open the back end of the SUV to provide a little extra shade, especially for food setup and a cooler space for the dogs.” Bug spray, sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher, and plenty of fresh water (and other fluids) are highly recommended. There is no concession stand. “I have a canopy for shade, and bring chairs, tables, luxury food and drinks that I share with my guests and anyone who drops in,” says Mary Blair of Peabody, a longtime polo patron. “We are side by side, and there’s a lot of socializing while the match is under way. “There is nothing better than sitting within 10 feet of the sideboards on a great summer day and hearing the pounding of the horses’ hooves as they race by toward the goal,” she says. “It’s exhilarating.” What to Wear “While Myopia is among the oldest polo clubs in the U.S. and has a long history of traditions, there is flexibility in proper clothing for a polo match,” says Campbell. The emphasis should be comfort. Start with polarized sunglasses and the right clothing. “No one will be out of place with summer dresses for women and lightweight trousers with a linen jacket for men,” says Campbell. “However, polo shirts and khaki shorts are more common.” Ladies, leave the spiked heels at home, since they sink into the soft turf. Wedges or flats are a better choice, especially
when it’s time to stomp divots. Conversely, wide-brimmed hats will protect your eyes from the mid-summer sun. Likewise, baseball caps work for women, men and children, though it’s not unusual to see gentlemen sporting stylish straw fedoras. Where to Sit Gibney Field is enormous, with an infamous dip toward the clubhouse. A comfortable chair is a big advantage to keep your eye on the action. Recommended accessories include binoculars and a camera with a telephoto lens. “I’ve collected pink metal folding chairs and several folding tables, and somehow it all fits in the car,” says Kirsten Alexander of Wenham. “I set the tables with linens, and use vintage tin plates, a silver champagne bucket and a vintage picnic basket. Don’t forget paper towels.” Spectators should pack out whatever they bring in. Trash bags are a must. Safety First Respect the white lines drawn to keep you and your cohorts at a safe distance. Don’t forget, this a game with eight large, powerful ponies capable of making the ground shake. “The first rule of thumb is more about safety than fun,” says Campbell. “Always keep an eye on where the play is, so if the ball is hit in your direction, you can move away quickly. Remember, this isn’t like hockey where there is a Plexiglas shield between players and spectators. And that ball will hurt if you get hit.” Don’t be Shy Players and their ponies are usually very approachable, giving fans a chance for a real “hands-on” experience. “Visit the horse trailers on the side of the field,” says Blair. “You’ll be able to see the horses and equipment up close.” Pet Owners Your four-legged friends are welcome but with restrictions. Dogs are expected to be on a leash at all times. Have enough water for them on warm days.
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TOURNAMENT PHOTOGRAPHS BY
This summer, experience the excitement of highlevel matches during four major tournaments featuring some of the best polo players. by Brion O’Connor
SPOTLIGHT Not all polo matches are created equal. While almost every match creates a festive atmosphere that’s fun to be a part of, some feature a quality of talent that undoubtedly raises the bar. Mid-summer at Myopia features four major, high-goal tournaments, plus the Tuckerman Cup 4-Goal that runs through the month of July. “The four major tournaments at Myopia are the highest level of polo played at the Club and by far involve the most
competitive and exciting polo,” says Myopia Polo Captain David Strouss. “By having these tournaments, we attract some of the best polo players to Myopia, such as 6-goaler Felipe Viana, who played in the 2022 U.S. Open in Wellington, Florida. “Spectators at the Sunday afternoon finals are in for a special treat to witness some of the best polo played in New England,” says Strouss. “Terri Campbell’s Folly Field team really stood out in 2021, sweeping the August tournaments.”
CYRIL HARRISON FINAL: GALAXY POLO 12, LONGMEADOW/AVID 5
WINNING TEAM: Galaxy Polo (Will Grayken, James Grayken, Marcos Onetto, Martin Jauregui) defeated Longmeadow/Avid (Ariadne Dogani, Reed Miller, Federico Wulff, Ernesto Trotz, Jr.) 12-5 in the final. This was Myopia’s opening 8-goal tournament with four teams competing, and Galaxy claiming a dominant victory in the final. MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Martin Jauregui. BEST PLAYING PONY: “Faucha” (owned by Jennifer Williams, ridden by Martin Jauregui).
Winning Team, Galaxy Polo (from left): William Grayken, James Grayken, Marcos Onetto and Martin Jauregui.
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CHAIRMAN’S CUP FINAL: DEL RANCH/HUSARIA 11, BLACK OAK 9
WINNING TEAM: Del Rancho/Husaria (Augie Grotnick, Grace Grotnick, Dave Strouss, Manuel Mazzochi, Nachi Viana) defeated Black Oak (Annie Colloredo-Mansfeld, Johann ColloredoMansfeld, CB Scherer, Felipe Viana) 11-9 in the final. Myopia’s National USPA tournament, thrilling final on Winthrop Field featuring the Viana brothers, Nachi and Felipe, competing against one another and the Grotnicks winning their inaugural Chairman’s Cup on the DelRancho/Husaria team. MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Manuel Mazzochi. BEST PLAYING PONY: “Lady Rose” (owned and ridden by Felipe Viana).
Winning Team, Del Ranch/Husaria (from left): David Strouss, August “Augie” Grotnick, Grace Grotnick, Nachi Viana, Manuel Mazzocchi.
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FINAL: FOLLY FIELDS 8, LONGMEADOW/REAGAN 7
WINNING TEAM: Folly Fields (Terri Campbell, Juan Viana, Estani Puch, Manuel Mazzochi) defeated Longmeadow/Reagan (Reed Miller, Kathleen Reagan, Augustin Labbe, Ernesto Trotz Jr.), 8-7 in the final. Six teams competed in the 6-goal Forbes Cup, with Folly Fields coming out on top in Myopia’s most competitive tournament. MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Manuel Mazzochi. BEST PLAYING PONY: “Pimienta” (owned by Federico Wulff, ridden by Rulo Trotz).
Winning Team, Folly Fields (from left): Manu Mazzocchi, Estani Puch, Juan Viana and Terri Campbell.
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GOVERNOR’S CUP (SPONSORED BY ENGEL & VOLKERS). FINAL: FOLLY FIELDS 8, DEL RANCHO 7
WINNING TEAM: Folly Fields/Del Rancho (Terri Campbell, David Strouss, CB Scherer, Manuel Mazzochi) defeated Avid/Pony Up (Richard Salter, Ari Dogani, Federico Wulff, Ernesto Trotz Jr.) 8-7 in a dramatic final. Myopia’s final tournament featured an incredibly tight match in the 6-goal final. MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Federico Wulff. BEST PLAYING PONY: “Daniela” (owned by Estani Puch, ridden by Manuel Mazzochi).
Winning Team, Folly Fields (from left): Manu Mazzocchi, Estani Puch, Juan Viana and Terri Campbell.
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TUCKERMAN CUP 4 GOAL FINAL: BLACK OAK, PONY EXPRESS
WINNING TEAM: Won by Black Oak/ Del Rancho (Annie, Seppi, Johann, Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld, Dave Strouss, Nachi Viana, sub Manuel Mazzocchi) over Pony Express (Benji, Justin, Landen Daniels, Shane Metterneck, Walter Eayr, Winston Painter). MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Winston Painter.
Winning Team, Black Oak (from left): Manuel Mazzochi, Dave Strouss, Johann Colloredo-Mansfeld, Annie Colloredo-Mansfeld.
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USPA Northeast Regional Sportsmanship Award The USPA recognizes annually a player from each region who exemplifies sportsmanship in their play and involvement with polo. This year, the recipient of the 2021 USPA Sportsmanship Award for the Northeast Region is Carl “CB” Scherer. “For the past several years, CB, who is 2 goals, has played at Myopia after growing up playing in Florida and Wyoming and then at the University of Virginia,” says Myopia Polo Captain David Strouss. “On the field, he exemplifies a standard all pros and amateurs should strive for. As he pursues a professional
career outside of polo and is recently married, he still has played at a high 2-goal level, winning many of the major tournaments at Myopia. “Even more remarkable, he has always played on rented horses at Myopia, often ones he had never been on before playing a chukker in 8 goal,” says Strouss. “I’ve never seen him lose his temper or composure on or off the field. He plays classic polo, and often had the toughest assignments going against 3-6 goal players on defense.”
USPA 2021 CLUB AWARDS Congratulations to the following recipients of the USPA 2021 Club awards: Dr. Billy Linfoot Most Improved Club Players: Augustus Grotnick Shane Metternick Clint Nagle Excellence in Equine Welfare: Terri Campbell Owen O’Hanlon Best Groom Award: Jose Franco Club Polo Pony of the Year: “Celestia,” owned by Manuel Mazzochi
2022 SCHEDULE/MAJOR TOURNAMENTS JULY JUNE 29-JULY 28 SUNDAY, JULY 3 SUNDAY, JULY 10 SUNDAY, JULY 17 SUNDAY, JULY 24
AUGUST Tuckerman Cup 0-4 Goal USPA Cyril Harrison Cup 4-8 Goal USPA Cyril Harrison Cup Finals *Donald V. Little Cup* USPA National Chairman’s Cup 8-12 Goal USPA National Chairman’s Cup Final
USPA W. Cameron Forbes Cup 6 Goal USPA W. Cameron Forbes Cup Finals SUNDAY, AUGUST 21 USPA Governor’s Cup 6 Goal SUNDAY, AUGUST 28 USPA Governor’s Cup Finals SUNDAY, AUGUST 7
SUNDAY, AUGUST 14
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a visual chronicle of the most thrilling moments of Myopia’s high-flying 2021 season. / Photographs by Jacqueline Miller
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ALON G FO R T HE R I D E
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ALO NG F O R TH E R ID E
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JACQUELINE MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY JacquelineMillerPhoto.com •••
Equestrian Sports | Horse & Rider | Pet Portraits | Wildlife Prints
SPOT LIG HT Nachi Viani (in white) and his brother Felipe (in green) competing during the 2021 Chairman’s Cup Tournament.
Photograph by Jacqueline Miller
Nachi Viani returns to Myopia Over its storied 134-year history, the Myopia Polo has drawn supremely talented high-goal players from around the globe. That trend goes on, as Ignacio Benjamin “Nachi” Viani, considered by many to be one of the sports’ emerging superstars, has decided to again compete at Gibney Field this season. “Nachi was widely viewed as one of the best, if not the best, collegiate polo player while playing at University of Virginia when he left to turn pro two years ago,” said Myopia Polo Captain David Strouss. “When he turned pro, he elected to continue playing at Myopia in the summer seasons. I have no doubt he was in great demand to play elsewhere, but he told me recently he loved playing at Myopia.” Like many of the game’s younger stars, Viani was introduced to the game early.
The 23-year-old native of Montevideo, Uruguay, who now calls Wellington, Florida, home, began playing polo at an age when most youngsters are still attending kindergarten. “My dad made me start riding when I was very young at my farm, at the age of 3, I think,” says Nachi. “So once I was able to hold a mallet, he made me start stick and balling. I started in Uruguay, where I would get on a couple of my brother’s horses after he would play to try to stick and ball. “I was very, very young, and very passionate for horses, so anything that was related to horses I would like,” he says. “At a very young age, I enjoyed of being at the barn, with my groom, just being there with the horses. So being able to play a sport where I could ride
and also be competing was the perfect combination.” With the support of his parents and his brother Felipe, Viani quickly rose through the ranks of youth polo in Uruguay. Though he was a fan of many sports, his commitment to polo was a consistent driving force. “I loved to play rugby, soccer and tennis as well as polo,” he says. “When I turned 12, I stopped playing soccer, because I didn’t have time to do everything. So I continued with rugby, polo and tennis. Later on, at the age of 15, I started playing only polo.” As his game improved, Viani found himself atop better ponies. And he began playing with and against better players, who appreciated his relentlessly positive nature. “The reason that I play polo is because I love horses, and to play polo you need to have good horses,” he says. “That’s the key to improve at it and play higher levels. Horses are not cheap, so upgrading the string doesn’t happen from one day to the other. But once I started adding a couple of new horses when possible, I started playing better. “The relationship with my ponies is very special,” says Viani. “They’re all different from each other, and we treat them all differently. Some of them need to be ridden more than others. We’re next to them 24/7. We know when they are having a good or bad day, when they get stressed. Some of them like competing, and they show it on the field.” In the summer of 2019, while he was studying at the University of Virginia, Viani came to play at Myopia. The connection, he says, was immediate. “I loved that place since the first time I got there,” Viani says. “The surroundings of the Club are beautiful, and the people there are the best. I always feel very welcomed to be back, and that makes me want to go back and help the Club to get better and better every year. “Polo is very fun and competitive there,” he says. “I know they have been
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“Nachi, like many other top polo players who have played at Myopia over the past 100 years, is attracted to playing here because there is no other polo club like Myopia.” 64 myopia polo 2022
putting more work into the polo sector, such as improving the fields. So I’m very excited to be back.” Viani’s decision to play at Myopia puts him in good company, says Strouss. “Nachi, like many other top polo players who have played at Myopia over the past 100 years, is attracted to playing here because there is no other polo club like Myopia,” he says. “One of the most famous hunt and golf clubs in the country, the setting at Myopia Polo really affects those who play here. “It’s hard to describe,” says Strouss, “but I think players who travel all over the world view it as their summer home and a friendly yet intensely competitive polo club.” Viani agrees, saying that Coaching League Manager Estanislao “Estani” Puch “has been doing
a great job introducing more people to the sport, giving classes and teaching the basics of the sport. So I’m sure polo will keep growing.” Among Viani’s accomplishments at Myopia was winning the Chairman’s Cup last summer, with Del Ranch/Husaria teammates Augie and Grace Grotnick, David Strouss and Manu Mazzocchi, and playing in the Tuckerman Cup final with Black Oak/Del Rancho teammates Annie, Seppi, Johann and Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld, David Strouss and Manu Mazzocchi. “Playing with and against friends at the Myopia Polo fields is a great time,” he says. “The goals for the future of Myopia Polo are to bring more people and start adding more teams in the different leagues. It’s a club that has everything.” photographs by jacqueline miller
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