Per Bound Cover Issue 2
Polo Times March 2010
Per Bound Cover Issue 2
PTMarch 2010 p2 - 3 contents YC
Publisher Margie Brett firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Yolanda Carslaw email@example.com Deputy Editor James Mullan firstname.lastname@example.org Art Editor James Wildman email@example.com Advertising Tom House firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions Georgie May email@example.com Accounts Debbie Mason firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Troy Buntine, Abigail Butcher, Max Charlton, Mark Charter, Arthur Douglas-Nugent, Aurora Eastwood, Mark Emerson, John Horswell, Lorna Jowett, Cristina Kroll, Sophie Kyriazi, Lesley-Ann Masterton FongYee, Brett O’Callaghan, Jamie Peel, Clare Sheikh, Herbert Spencer, Caroline Stern, Martha Terry, Carlie Trotter, Dara Williams Front cover The winning Cartier team at St Moritz. By Swiss Image Designed and typeset by Wildman Design www.wildmandesign.co.uk Printed by Stones – Banbury, Oxfordshire Mailers Jordan & Co – Witney, Oxfordshire Subscription per annum UK £55 Europe & Ireland £65 Rest of the World £75 email: email@example.com or subscribe online at www.polotimes.co.uk
Polo Times East End Farm, North Leigh Oxfordshire OX29 6PX Tel: 01993 886 885 Fax: 01993 882 660 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.polotimes.co.uk © Polo Times Limited 2010 and Database Right 2010 Polo Times Limited holds the copyright & database right to the information it publishes in Polo Times and on the Polo Times website. No content may be reproduced or distributed without the consent of the Editor. ‘Polo Times’ is the trade mark of Polo Times Limited.
24, 70 & 86 A St Moritz to remember News 4 8 10
All the latest news HPA news and obituary: Bill Ylvisaker Obituary: James Ashton
Comment 13 14 18 21 22
John Horswell’s players’ forum Interview: Felicity Matthews Your views: letters to the editor Herbert Spencer’s global view Umpire’s corner
Reports 24 32 34 36 38 40 42 44
32 & 90 Arena antics
St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow HPA Arena Championships, RCBPC England vs New Zealand Action from Lahore, Pakistan Young England triumph in Thailand Sentebale challenge in Barbados Ladies’ Tri-Nations in Jamaica Australia vs USA / At home and abroad
Features 50 56
Yard revamp special – Ranelagh and Todham Meet six super SUPA players
The knowledge 60 62 65 66 69 70 78 80 84
50 & 78 Marvellous makeovers
NEW COLUMN! Playing around: Ash Farm Duty vet with Mark Emerson: Equine herpes Your game with Jamie Peel Pony power: Howard Smith and Rafi Feeding with Lorna Jowett: back to work Travel: three hotels in central St Moritz Property: the pitfalls of a revamp Gear: nine of the best polo helmets What’s on in March and club contacts
Out and about 86 92 98
Social snaps: St Moritz, Klosters and RCBPC Classifieds A week in the life of: Mike Hobday
56 SUPA special www.polotimes.co.uk March 2010 3
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from the Editor James Ashton’s untimely death after a fall in Thailand has come as a shock to the polo world. We at Polo Times extend great sympathy to James’s family, and the tributes, opposite, from a crosssection of polo folk show how keenly the Australian will be missed in polo circles.
Several stories I’ve heard lately convince me polo is sailing close to the wind in other ways. A fall in the UK last summer left one female RAF player, whose husband had been killed in Afghanistan, with a broken back. The accident happened in a warm-up for club polo; however, had it taken place at last month’s SUPA championships, she would have been covered by a personal accident policy that pays out £25,000. Sure, the HPA has a discretionary Injured Players’ and Officials Fund, but how many people realise they can claim? It baffles me that SUPA has to lead the way on this. In another recent horror story, a polo pony got loose on the road and collided with a car. Said player now faces a claim from the driver. HPA members have inbuilt public liability cover, but a question mark hangs over whether the horse was insured, as its passport had not been given the necessary HPA overstamp. This requirement is detailed in the Blue Book, but has much attention been paid to making sure players are aware of it? I also did a little digging into another type of cover. This month, grooms arrive in their dozens. Everyone who pays a groom must have employers’ liability insurance, and the HPA public liability policy does include this. However, it only counts for grooms employed for personal and private use. One insider estimates that one-third of registered players employ grooms in a commercial capacity. Not all make a complete living from polo; some sell a few horses or give a lesson or two. But in the eyes of the underwriter, these are commercial activities. And patrons whose horses are owned under a company name also need a commercial policy. A standalone employers’ liability policy is available, through insurers Lycetts, but how many people know that they need one?
4 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Photograph courtesy of the Ashton family
Although there is no suggestion his death could have been prevented by special forethought or better headgear, an accident such as this can’t fail to put safety at the front of people’s minds. Over the page, Herbert Spencer reopens the issue on helmet testing, uncovering the alarming fact that for many players, safety still comes a firm second to looks. This seems to me crazy and archaic, and I can’t see why it’s so difficult for “grown-up” polo to think along the same lines as the Pony Club and SUPA, and introduce minimum standards.
James Ashton playing at Cowdray in the 1960s. He took up polo aged 21, taught by his father and Sinclair Hill
Goodbye to one of the game’s greatest gentlemen THE INTERNATIONAL POLO community was in true gentleman of polo, and he will be sorely missed mourning after Australia’s James Ashton, interim by everyone.” Colquhoun-Denvers had meetings with president of the Federation of International Polo (FIP), Ashton in Sydney a few days before the Australian died following a bad fall at polo during a 10-goal left on his tour. match in Thailand on Sunday 14 February, writes Amad Jumabhoy, a FIP ambassador, said: “I was Herbert Spencer. honoured that James spent much of his last week at Ashton, 69, had been leading a reorganisation of our home in Singapore, and in Malaysia, culminating the FIP and preparing for a meeting of the federation’s in a polo game. I bade him a warm farewell late at General Assembly in Florida on “He lived and died doing what he 29 March at which he was due to be formally elected president. loved best, and his passing is a FIP sources said the meeting is huge loss” – Susan Ashton now likely to be postponed while the federation seeks a replacement to take the helm night on Wednesday after a dinner hosted by HRH of the global body. the Crown Prince of Pahang in Kuala Lumpur, not I spoke with James by phone to discuss FIP knowing it would be our last meeting.” affairs just before he left his home in Millamolong, James went on to Thailand and was playing in the New South Wales, on a tour of South-East Asian three-day, 10-goal Adamas Trophy tournament at countries for FIP. He was due to visit Singapore, Polo Escape near Pattaya when his accident Malaysia, Thailand and Pakistan, and was occurred. Players included amateurs and pros from enthusiastic about the trip. “I feel I must visit our Thailand, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Australia, smaller member associations to reassure them of England and Argentina – the kind of “grass-roots” their place in the future of the FIP and this region is a polo James was keen to encourage. good place to start,” he said. “I’ll also have a chance On the final day, which was helping to raise to play some polo.” Fateful words. money for clean water projects in north-east “James’s death is a tragic loss and our hearts go Thailand, James was playing for the Kuppa team. He out to his widow Susan and the rest of the family,” was riding Tati, an eight-year old chestnut mare from said Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers, chairman of the Argentina belonging to Polo Escape co-owner Susy Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) and a viceLourvanij, when he fell. president of the FIP. The sport has lost one of its most He and an opposing player were chasing the ball popular and respected players and administrators, a at speed when their ponies’ legs tangled. James and
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How the polo world reacted Margie Brett, founder and publisher of Polo Times “I was devastated to hear of James’s death. What a loss to the polo world. I first met James at the FIP World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, in 2001. James had invested a huge amount of his time and money for the staging of that championships and it showed in the great success that the event was. “The FIP World Championships in Australia became the benchmark for the future. There the polo world learnt what could be achieved at world championships in terms of pony standards and good organisation. “James’s quiet gentlemanly approach was exemplary and a great inspiration to all of us. He was always straightforward, and in true Aussie style always spoke his mind and ‘said it as it was’. He was always a delight to be with and he will be very sorely missed.”
Photographs by Nicole Grunwell and Serge Thomann
Ambassador Glen Holden, former FIP president “James’s drive and determination in organising our 2001 World Cup in Melbourne set a new benchmark for our world championships, especially in the quality of ponies loaned by his fellow Australians.” Leon Reardon, president of the Australian Polo Council “He's one of the people I held in the highest regard in all of my dealings, personally, socially, in sport and in business.”
Clockwise from above: James (second left) with Lucas Di Paola, Agustin Lorea and Robin Lourvanij (owner of Polo Escape) the weekend of his accident; James (centre) at the FIP championships he organised in Melbourne in 2001 with his cousin Chris Ashton (left) and brother Wal; at the same event with Syah Abdurrachman, Sylvia Uranga and Marlene MacFarlane
his pony went down and he landed hard on his head. Henry Brett, a member of the England national squad, played in a preceding match and was watching the second match in which James played. “I went in the ambulance with him,” Henry said. “He was obviously badly injured. The paramedics fought to save him, but he was gone before we reached the hospital.” James’s widow, Susan, told Polo Times: "He lived and died doing what he loved best, and his passing is a huge loss." Plans were for James to be buried on 26 February
beside the polo ground at his beloved Millamolong. England team manager Andrew Hine was due to be there representing the HPA. Meanwhile Tom Biddle, chairman of the US Polo Association and senior vice-president of FIP, took over as head of the federation’s Council of Administration, which must now appoint a president pro tem to replace James Ashton. Finding someone of James’s international standing and abilities will not be easy. ◗ Turn to page 10 to read James Ashton’s obituary
Dr Richard Caleel, member of the FIP Executive Committee “I competed with or against James in Ambassadors Cup tournaments and we were on the same team at Polo de Paris a few years ago. He was a helluva player even in his sixties, very focused, playing by the rules but always out to win.” Sophie McPherson, English player and HPA staff member “I worked for several months at Millamolong some years ago, helping with young horses. It was a beautiful place, I learned a lot from James about polo and ponies, and he and Susan were wonderful hosts.” Alex Schwarz, steward of the German Polo Association “I played against James and his brother Wallace, who were on the Australia team in the 1989 FIP World Cup, in front of 40,000 spectators in Berlin’s Olympic stadium. Australia won no medals, but James was a tough and fair competitor.”
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News News in brief ◗ POLO TIMES IS very sorry to learn of the death Jamie Bruce, owner and founder of Oaklands Polo and Country Club in South Africa, from a brain tumour on Tuesday 9 February. He was just 57 and was ill for little more than a month. Staff were assured that business at family-run Oaklands would continue as normal, providing exclusive holidays in Kwazulu Natal (see travel, Jan/Feb issue). His funeral took place on Friday 19 February and a full obituary will appear in the April issue of Polo Times. ◗ ACCLAIMED HIGH-GOAL umpire Jason Dixon and his wife Clare have been formally appointed by the board at Cirencester Park Polo Club to assist polo manager Nick Musgrave in the polo office. Jason, who grew up nearby and is a former member at the club from the late 1980s, has been brought on board as chairman of the development committee, with the principal objective of establishing a training academy for current and prospective members. “Jason is overseas a lot with his umpring commitments,” said Cirencester Park chairman Richard Britten-Long. “So, he will be a valuable addition to the club, promoting us both at home and abroad.” As well as developing young talent, Jason will be offering full polo management services under the stewardship of Nick Musgrave. “On a personal note,” Nick said, “I am thrilled to welcome back an old friend.” ◗ THE DATE AND VENUE for this year’s Audi Polo Awards was announced early last month, confirming that the glamorous event will be held on Monday 17 May at the Hilton Park Lane in London. This is the same venue as last year and the ceremony will also welcome back comedian Rory Bremner and Australian player Hamish MacLachlan as its cohosts. The evening is designed to celebrate polo’s success stories from the previous season. Online voting for some of the main awards opens on Monday 1 March at www.audipoloawards.com
6 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
LEGISLATION ON the horizon in America, which will require players to wear helmets that pass stringent polo-specific tests, has reignited the debate over helmettesting worldwide, writes Herbert Spencer. From 2012 the US Polo Association (USPA) will enforce a new rule that players in USPA events will have to wear tested helmets, bringing polo into line with other horse sports – from dressage to polocrosse – which have long had in place strict regulations requiring competitors to wear protective headgear that meets approved standards. Polo has serious catching up to do, with the Pony Club and SUPA the only UK polo organisations that require kitemarked helmets. Two years ago the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) spent £16,000 testing helmets. The association has yet to move towards requiring mandatory approved helmets, but the dismal results of the headgear they tested at least caused some manufacturers to sit up and take notice. One problem in establishing helmet standards in polo is the plethora of national and internationally recognised tests for protective headgear: British, European Union, American and more. Charles Owen’s latest polo helmet, developed from its riding hats, has the approval of Pony Club Polo here and comes in both adult and child models – but it has failed the USPA’s tests, according to Dr Victor Ramon, chairman of the USPA safety committee. La Martina introduced a new model at the Argentine Open last year and is now having it tested here hoping for a British kite-mark, according to the company’s Becky Simpson. Other companies have also been reassessing their designs. However, some polo players are nothing if not vain, a fact that does not go
New USPA regulations are set to put the issue of mandatory approved helmets back on the worldwide agenda. But, for some players, safety is secondary to vanity
unnoticed by the manufacturers and retailers of so-called “protective headgear” for the sport. The promotional blurbs and sales pitches for the dozens of makes and models of polo helmets on the market today often read more like high-fashion reviews in Vogue, emphasising style and what polo celebs such as Cambiaso are wearing. References to safety standards take second place. “Let’s face it,” says one manufacturer’s rep, “until now a player’s choice of helmet has been seen more as a fashion statement, ‘what looks good on me’, with little regard to how much protection headgear affords.” “Often when players try on helmets, they head straight for the mirror,” said one retailer. “They pay less attention to whether the helmet meets any safety standards.” Considering the risks of serious brain injury or death in falls, and head injuries
from strikes by mallets or balls, such attitudes by players seem to defy logic. In the main, polo’s governing bodies have gone along with this, resisting calls to establish and enforce safety standards. “There are commercial factors involved,” adds one retailer in the UK. “When we asked our manufacturer if a safer helmet could be developed, they said development would cost half-amillion pounds or more and take five years. And, compared with riding hats, it’s a relatively small market.” For the international polo community to reconcile all these to develop global regulations will take time and money and, above all, a change in the attitudes of fashionconscious players everywhere.
◗ Is it time kite-marked helmets were made compulsory across polo? Write to email@example.com ◗ See also page 80
Ambitious Brits in need of help FOUR YOUNG ENGLISH polo players are seeking a helping hand to climb the polo ladder, in the form of a major sponsor. The enterprising quartet are looking to play a higher standard of polo but for now lack sufficient funds to back up their passion and enthusiasm. The four 1 and 0-goal amateurs – Jack Mesquita, 17, Jack Berner, 18, Alistair Paterson, 18 and Barney Wilson, 16 – have already had success, including victory in a 4-goal subsidiary final featuring professionals at Beaufort Polo Club last season. They aim to play eight tournaments this year, backed by a title sponsor and several more minor supporters to help cover costs, which include membership fees, tournament fees, coaching and travelling expenses. If you think you could give the team the financial support they need to advance as a successful Young England team please contact team member Ali Paterson on 07899 862200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph by Sylvain Guenot
◗ A GROUP OF polo-mad students from the UK has recently left for Argentina as part of a “Gap year polo on an estancia” programme run by specialist travel firm, The Leap. As well as improving their polo with professional tuition, learning Spanish and engaging in volunteer work with local gaucho kids, the group will also get involved in horse breeding. Discover what one of last year’s gappers made of it all on page 14. Other programmes with The Leap now include a recently launched horse safari and conservation trip to South Africa, in which the students satisfy their love of horses with plenty of riding, but also help on a wildlife reserve and in the local community. This ranges from rescuing injured game and breeding cheetahs to teaching orphaned children. The next tour leaves in April. Call organiser Milly Whitehead on 01672 519922 for more.
Helmets confusion escalates
Britain’s got talent (l-r): Jack Mesquita, Laurie Thomason (filling in for Jack Berner, who was abroad), Ali Paterson and Barney Wilson
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Back from the brink – Inglesham reincarnated EXCITING NEWS reached the Polo Times offices in February, when we learnt that recently-sold Gloucestershire polo club, Inglesham, will be making an unexpected return to British low-goal schedules in time for the 2010 summer season. Cirencester-based professional player Guy Verdon and his wife Charlotte have taken a lease on the club, which sits on the Wilts/Glos/Oxon borders, and will be relaunching as “Lynt Lynt’s Guy and Charlotte Verdon have big plans for Polo Club”. their “dream come true” – running their own polo club The new tenants have former polo manager at Inglesham (1999already started their move to their new 2002), is a two-goal player and an HPA base and the club is expected to open coach, and will be leading the lessons. for business in mid-April. Utilising many “We are thrilled to be running our own of the excellent facilities Inglesham Polo polo club,” Charlotte told Polo Times. “It’s Club established, including 60 stables, an absolute dream come true and we an exercise track, an indoor school and hope that the club will once again be a two of the six playing fields, the couple is thriving place to play at this summer.” gearing up to provide polo for all abilities A website is due to be launched at a low cost and in what they describe shortly but those interested in discovering as “a low-key friendly atmosphere”. more about chukkas, tournaments, livery, The Verdons, who already organise pony hire and new cash-prize initiatives at school polo trips to Argentina, will be Lynt Polo Club should call 07957 468220 working closely with schools and universities in the surrounding area. Guy, a or email email@example.com.
Photograph by www.chrisallerton.com
Tomlinson ties the knot IN POLO’S FIRST big wedding of the year Emma Tomlinson wed Nick Wood on Saturday 2 January. The ceremony took place at Shipton Moyne Church, a handy two-minute walk from the popular Cat and Custard Pot Pub, where the ushers had their lunch. The 400 guests, many of them from the polo fraternity, enjoyed a spectacular reception at Down Farm, Gloucestershire, the base of Beaufort Polo Club. The huge marquee overlooked the lake at the farm which was lit up along with the nearby Westonbirt Arboretum. Guests feasted on a Newlyweds Emma and Nick leave the church scrumptious meal of organic beef from Down Farm before Emma and Nick were seen off in an old fashioned horse-drawn carriage on a beautiful crisp clear winter’s night. Following the wedding breakfast, the couple left in Emma’s grandmother’s Triumph Stag, driven by Luke Tomlinson complete with top hat! For their honeymoon Emma and Nick spent a fantastic five weeks travelling from Cousine Island in the Seychelles to Australia, on to New Zealand and then to Argentina.
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Latest from the HPA
HPA chief executive David Woodd rounds up the news from UK polo’s headquarters
Dates for the diary
Young players’ development trip to South Africa
Thailand: Congratulations to Ed Parsons, Max Charlton, Andrew Hine and Ollie Cudmore, who beat South East Asia 6-4 in a 14-goal match at the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club on 17 January (see p38).
The Development Committee has selected the following players for a week of intensive training with Buster MacKenzie in South Africa: William Berner, Max Hutchinson, Charlie Scott, Roddy SeymourWilliams and William Batchelor.
Argentina: England has entered a team in the Argentine Nations Cup (17-25 April). The tournament will be played open at Palermo. The 28-goal England Team, listed with Argentine handicaps, is as follows: James Beim 7 Mark Tomlinson 7 Malcolm Borwick 6 Luke Tomlinson 8
HPA National Arena Club Championships The HPA continued its sponsorship of the National Arena Club Championships this season. The finals were played at RCBPC on 7 February. To read a full report, go to page 32.
Coaching 14-16 April - coaching course at Down Farm 20 April – seminar for HPA Coaches at Down Farm 12 May - voluntary assistants' course at Down Farm 9 June – seminar for HPA Coaches at RCBPC 22-24 September – coaching course at Down Farm Meetings 6 April – Welfare AGM – RCBPC 13 April – Stewards, Cavalry and Guards Club, London 26 April – Club Chief Umpires, Sunningdale Park Hotel 10 May – Council, Cavalry and Guards Club, London
Victor Ludorum Victor Ludorum tournaments for 2010 are as follows: 22 Goal The Queen's Cup The Prince of Wales Trophy Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Warwickshire Cup (20-goal) Cowdray Park Challenge Cup (20) Beaufort 20-goal 18 Goal Indian Empire Shield Duke of Sutherland Duke of Beaufort Cup Cirencester 18 Goal 15 Goal The Arthur Lucas Cup Royal Windsor Cup The Eduardo Moore Tournament Coworth Park Challenge Harrison Cup National 15 Goal Championship
12 Goal Dollar Cup RCBPC 12 Goal Challenge The Prince of Wales Cup The Queen Mother Trophy (Cirencester 12 Goal Championship) Cheltenham Cup Autumn League The John Prestwich Trophy 8 Goal Gerald Balding Cup The Eduardo Rojas Lanusse Cup The Meyardo Archie David Cup National 8 Goal Championships The Julian and Howard Hipwood Trophy Holden White Challenge Cup Budgett Everett Trophy (Kirtlington)
The points system works as follows: a) 10 points for every match won in the league/group/qualifying stage. In leagues/groups/qualifying stages where a draw is possible, five points will be awarded to each team. b) Points will then be awarded as follows: Main tournament:
Win in Quarter Finals - 20 points Win Semi-Finals - 30 points Win Finals - 50 points Win Finals - 10 points
c) Byes. (i) Should it be necessary to award a team a bye in the knockout phase following the qualifying/league matches, then the bye will be awarded to the best overall ranked team. That team will be automatically awarded the points from the missed game. (ii) Should it be necessary to award a team a bye in the knockout stage when no qualifying/league matches have been played, then that team will only receive points from the bye if it wins its first match. d) Final not played – in the event that a final is not played, and there is no overall winner, no further points will be awarded.
Palm Beach polo magnate could face charges JOHN B GOODMAN, multi-millionaire founder of International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPCPB), was involved in a fatal car crash in Wellington, Florida, in the early hours of 12 February, writes Herbert Spencer. According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, 46-year-old Goodman’s black Bentley convertible ran a stop sign at an intersection less than a mile from IPCPB and smashed into a compact car, throwing it upside down into an canal. The body of 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson was found in the badly damaged vehicle. A sheriff’s log ticked an “alcohol/drugs” box beside Goodman’s name, but deputies would not say whether he was breathalysed at the crash scene or blood-tested in hospital. Goodman, who suffered minor injuries in the accident, was not held by the authorities. "Mr. Goodman was devastated to learn that the young man driving the other car had died,” his attorney
8 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
The story has made headlines in the US, such as this report on the Palm Beach Post website
Roy Black said in a statement. “He asked me to express his deepest sympathy and regret to the family and friends of Scott Patrick Wilson. Mr Goodman has remained in contact with officials investigating the accident and will continue to cooperate as needed." Traffic homicide officers said it could be some time before they complete their investigations to decide what charges Goodman might face. As well as investing heavily in creating IPCPB after selling his family’s Houston-based heating and airconditioning company in 2004, Goodman is patron of the Isla Carroll team, which lost narrowly in the semifinal of the 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup 36 hours before the accident, beaten by eventual champions Lucchese. Isla Carroll, named after Goodman’s wife, has won two US Opens in 10 appearances since 1996, and won the Queen’s Cup at Guards in 1997 at first attempt.
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William T Ylvisaker 1924-2010
Photograph by David Lominska
illiam Ylvisaker, or Bill as he was more widely known, was a pioneer for American polo, and the polo world was saddened to hear of his death on 6 February, aged 85, during the middle stages of the 20goal tournament that bore his name, the Ylvisaker Cup. He was a successful businessman, developer and polo player, making his mark on polo in Florida in the late 1970s when he founded Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. While serving as CEO of Gould Electronics of Chicago and transforming it into a billion-dollar enterprise, Bill saw the gap in the market for Palm Beach to become a hub for polo and equestrian sports. He created the prestigious Palm Beach Polo and Country Club, with 11 polo grounds, golf, tennis, Bill Ylvisaker, a seven-goal amateur at his peak, at Palm Beach in 1988 swimming pools and a major horse show venue. The polo club rose quickly to prominence, hosting top-flight 26-goal tournaments such as the US Open and putting Wellington firmly on the map. The complex was sold in 1986 by Gould after 10 years of successful growth. Now a major residential development, the club’s polo activities have scaled back recently and most Florida high-goal is today held at nearby International Polo Club Palm Beach, operated by John Goodman. During his own polo career, Bill reached a handicap of seven goals (in 1957) as an amateur and represented the US on numerous occasions, having started the game at Yale. He won the US Open ‘Polo is played today in Palm Beach because three times, played on the winning US team in the of Bill’ – Julian Hipwood 1973 and 1974 Coronation Cups and won the USPA Gold Cup in 1982, amongst many other achievements. He co-founded the Polo Training Foundation in 1964 to develop young players, served as chairman of the USPA from 1970-75 and was elected to the Polo Hall of Fame in 1996. More lately, he bred horses at his farm in Virginia, also keeping bases in Illinois and at West Palm Beach in the country club he founded. US-based former England captain Julian Hipwood told the Palm Beach Daily News, "I played with Bill in the Gold Cup in England and with the Cadillac team in Wellington. "We moved here because of Bill, and polo is being played here at Palm Beach today because of him." Ylvisaker leaves behind three children – Laurie Ylvisaker, Elizabeth Maren Keeley and John Ylvisaker – and four grandchildren. His memorial service was held on 12 February, prior to the Ylvisaker Cup final on Sunday 14 February, at St David’s in the Pines, Wellington. In lieu of flowers, donations were invited to the Polo Training Foundation. F
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Photographs courtesy of the Ashton family
Clockwise from below: James Ashton and his wife Susan in Egypt a year ago; playing at home at Millamolong, New South Wales; happy in the saddle in 2006
James Ashton 1941-2010 Herbert Spencer pays tribute to a lifelong aficionado and brilliant organiser from the greatest Australian polo family in history ames Ashton, who died on 14 February 2010 after a polo accident in Thailand, aged 69, belonged to one of the world’s great polo dynasties, the most famous in Australian history. His father, also James, was a player and was one of four Ashton brothers who, in 1930, embarked upon an amazing odyssey that put Australian polo on the map. They loaded 25 ponies on a small cargo ship and sailed for 48 days to England. As a 24-goal team, they narrowly missed defeating a 31-goal English side in the Hurlingham Championship and won several other major contests, including the Indian Empire Shield. Sailing on to America, they won matches there and sold their ponies in the Great Depression for $77,000, which today equates to almost a million dollars in buying power. The brothers’ profit from the trip enabled them to expand their rural holdings from one sheep farm to four. James bought Millamolong where his son, James W, was raised and where he is now buried by the polo ground. James W Ashton, born 26 January 1941, took up polo when he was 21, under the tutelage of his
10 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
father and Australian 10-goaler Sinclair Hill, and achieved a four-goal handicap. He got a BA degree from Sydney University, where he first met his wife-to-be, Susan Kirby; they were married in 1965 and eventually had twin sons, twin daughters and a third daughter. Tragedy struck in 1994 when their eldest son, Jamie, was killed in a road accident. Having taken over Millamolong from his father in his mid-twenties, over the years James expanded the station into a 4,000-hectare operation that now includes livestock and crops, a prize-winning winery, polo club and pony breeding operation. In 1968 James was struck by a rare lung disease that took him out of polo for 15 years; at one stage he was given only six months to live. During his illness, he earned an MBA degree from the University of New South Wales. After he returned to polo, James played for Australia with his brother Wallace in the first two World Cups of the Federation of International Polo (FIP), in Buenos Aires 1987 and Berlin 1989. He was president of the New South Wales Polo Association, 1994-1998, and then of the
Australian Polo Council, 1998-2002. It was during the latter term of office that James organised the 2001 FIP World Cup in Melbourne, considered by many to be the best ever held. He became treasurer of the FIP in 2005 and served until 2009 when he was appointed interim president of the federation, charged with leading a reorganisation of the global body. James was also involved in politics, as a Liberal Party official, unsuccessful candidate for the Australian parliament and a member of the shire council. He and Susan were also known for their philanthropy and work with charities. But it was polo that was his passion and he played the game around the world, including in England, where he won the Royal Windsor. Polo was his life – and, eventually, the death of him, playing at speed and suffering a fatal fall on a polo ground in Thailand (news, page 4). James W Ashton is survived by his wife Susan; son Andrew; daughters Sally, Emily and Georgina; five grandchildren; brother Wallace; and sisters Rosemary Foot and Joan Masterman. F ◗ See also news, page 4
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10 x 25m oval horsewalker. 6 - 16 polo ponies
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PTMarch 2010 p12-13 Advertorial and Horswell YC JM PJ
to go on sale this spring
etired medium-goal patron Peter Hewett, a respected breeder of high- and medium-goal polo ponies since the end of his competitive playing days, is staging a sale of much of his best up-and-coming stock. The sale is to take place in May, in time for the 2010 British polo season. Some 17 ponies will be made available by Peter directly, many of which have been tried successfully in competition by David Morley and his son, England international Tom. 2010 marks the 11th year of Hewett’s Surrey-based breeding operation, a programme that began by chance out of his underlying interest in horses as a player. Peter, who enjoyed a successful playing career from 1986 until injury forced him to hang up his mallets in the early noughties, always started his own youngsters, many of whom went on to great success with him in low and medium-goal. Peter himself is a three-time winner of Cowdray’s prestigious 8-goal Holden White trophy with his Mill Farm side, as well as numerous 8, 12 and 15-goal tournament cups at Cowdray, Cirencester, Hurtwood and Knepp Castle. He began breeding in 2000, when he ran his stallion Khan with two of his best retired playing mares as an experiment. The progeny turned out so well he continued, with more than 80 ponies born since. All have been sired by the ever-present Khan, put with proven ex-playing mares from England, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and South Africa.
Surrey-based retired player Peter Hewett (top) will be offering 17 ponies for sale this May, including five-yearolds Tjana (left) and Ilonka (right), who are pictured here as two-year-olds
12 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
“Khan was never broken in, due to an injury he sustained as a foal,” says Peter. “However, he’s 18 now and has always produced fantastic horses. I’ve built up nearly 20 mares that I use for breeding with him for all my youngsters, which for the last four or five years has meant I’ve had 12 to 16 foals each season. “All have turned out consistently well, with great conformation and terrific temperaments, and I’ve decided this year it’s time to have a full-scale sale to reduce my rapidly growing stock. It will the first of ‘All are branded, and it’s a rare opportunity to buy excellent ponies with a clear papertrail’
what will be an ongoing series of sales run on an annual basis. “I’m proud of them all, and all are branded clearly with their age and breeding number. Nothing is hidden, and I believe it’s a rare opportunity to buy excellent ponies with a clear papertrail from a trustworthy source.” The progeny of Peter Hewett’s programme are broken in as two-year-olds and then go on to stickand-ball as three- and four-year-olds, before playing
chukkas and low-goal polo aged five. David Morley reports that all offspring go on to successfully play polo without exception, the best examples to date being the decorated high-goal pony Esperanza, out of Magic Story, and Whiz, which won best playing pony at the Dutch Polo Open playing for Brazil. Even some of Peter’s youngest ponies have won prizes already, indicating the maturity and fine temperament of the programme’s progeny. Peter has previously taken older progeny on preseason trips to play early spring tournaments in Sotogrande with Alan Kent – but most ponies set for May’s sale are younger horses that are yet to reach their potential. A number of older horses are also included, the oldest aged 10. “I am fortunate enough to play many of Peter Hewett’s young horses,” explains Tom Morley. “I’ve always been impressed with their easy temperaments and their amazing potential.” F ◗ The date and venue of the sale are yet to be announced, and subscribers to Polo Times can expect to find out in next month’s magazine and the weekly email newsletter. There is also a possibility that Peter will join forces with another breeding operation for the sale and offer up a handful more.
PTMarch 2010 p12-13 Advertorial and Horswell YC JM PJ
Players’ forum Comment With John Horswell, the outspoken sultan of swing
Why I’m so excited I could swing! want to start this month by congratulating all those who forsook the soft option of fleeing to sunnier climes and who stayed home this winter instead and played arena polo. It has not been easy. Cold throughout, with more snow that most tobogganingloving children would consider decent, we have somehow come through it. However, not only have we just survived, the game has flourished – there were an unbelievable number of entries for the nationals and a healthy eight teams in the Gold Cup. Having been present at most of the matches in these competitions, I am happy to report that it definitely does real good for your game. Arena polo on a good surface and with dry and well pumped-up balls is a fantastic way of keeping fit and improves equitation and pony control immensely. The elevated number of repetitions per chukka ensures that a far better workout is achieved than in the summer. The need to react and move quickly combined with the need to maintain pace in an enclosed area also means that you achieve more positivity in your seat. Finally, the very confines of the arena promote enhanced pony control (unless you are the type who enjoys flying headlong into walls à la Wacko Jacko Kidd!). Close control is necessary in the arena and, in my view, a greater range of shots are also required, as is the ability to play on both sides of the pony. All these aspects are fantastic for your game.
that they would miss my patter. Whichever way you want it, the news is truly fantastic. Alongside my years of training professionals and amateurs alike, I am certain the new technology will at last
SWING NEW, SWEET TECHNOLOGY I am delighted to announce that I am currently trialling some bespoke software for detailed polo swing analysis. This includes building up a database of swings that can be used in conjunction with the technology, such that by the summer I will be in a position to have the polish put on your swing without you even having to see me. Many would say this is a HUGE breakthrough, whilst others say
Swing technology has already proved very successful in the golfing world
levels that it needs to be. This is when the real work comes in. Practice does make perfect. However, its crucial to practise against the right people, and filming your training and first few matches for a coach of some standing to analyse will really help. He will then be able to set up the team properly and it’s so important that, in the context of the total spend, the cost is not that significant. It’s what the good high-goal teams all do, so why not everyone? If it’s good enough for them, it should be something worth considering. The proof is in the pudding – look at last year’s Victor Ludorum 8-goal winners (AFB). They won by some distance, with two genuine patrons, and all despite not entering all the tournaments. What they had was a
Playing in the arena is a fantastic way of keeping fit and improves equitation and pony control immensely represent the fool-proof means to getting everyone on the right track. I know that the above probably constitutes what is known in the press as an advertorial but I am so excited by it all that I could not resist mentioning it. TAKING SIDES AND PICKING TEAMS Team selection for the summer is well underway throughout the land and a lot of time and effort is put into coming up with the perfect combination. And, of course, there are many factors that go into the choosing of a team: financial, geographical, pony power, compatibility and even a chance meeting in the pub are often decisive. But, however a side is selected, patrons and players must remember that putting the team together itself is only half of the job. A season-long commitment can come to resemble a life sentence if the team is not working on any or just one of the
proper coach, rather than just a friend, relation or acquaintance. It just so happened to be me but that is not the point I am making. On paper, the team wasn’t anyone’s pick but the fact is that it worked as a result of a minor budgetary increase and some quality input. Singing from the same hymn sheet can achieve a lot of things and a good coach can make that happen. A PERSONAL NOTE I was very sorry this February to learn of the deaths of James Ashton and Jamie Bruce within just a few days of each other. Jamie, I regret not having spent more time with you. Your enthusiasm and joie de vivre were genuinely uplifting. Your generosity and hospitality were the stuff of legend. Your courage and fortitude were awe inspiring. You were unique and irreplaceable. And now all my thoughts are with your wife Caroline. F
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PTMarch 2010 p14-17 As I see it YC PJ
Felicity Matthews Champion of pony welfare
Photograph by Tom Reynolds
The outgoing Guards welfare officer, who has been awarded a citation for her work on welfare, tells Abigail Butcher about her 22 years at the club, how she came to write Polo Pony Welfare Guidelines and why polo still is still playing catch-up on spurs, whipping, tack and feeding How did you get into polo? I was working at an estate agent in Chelsea when, aged 25, I decided to leave London. I became head girl at Flemish Farm, home to the Guards stables. A year later, with the help of Gen Sir Reddy Watt, I became assistant polo manager and PA to Col Robert ffrench Blake. The job was very different then – it was just Robert and I doing everything. Neither of us had organised polo before, and with Maj Ferguson and his staff from the old regime departed there was no one to show us the ropes. We had a ghastly time. I didn’t take a day off all summer because on Mondays I’d be finding umpires and goaljudges for the following week (match officials were not paid in those days) and writing reports of weekend matches for Horse & Hound. Fortunately the legendary “Ginger”
14 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
[Robert John Crawford] was on hand, a stickler for punctuality, rallying the troops and splattering any latecomers with streams of saliva bursting through his whistle. Much later I was PA to the club’s CEO, Charles Stisted. What prompted your concerns about polo pony welfare? When I first worked at Guards, coming from a racing background I was shocked at the poor horse management I saw at the stables and in the pony lines. I remember looking around the pony lines and asking Maj Ferguson where we could water the horses after matches. There were no taps or troughs and he kindly had these facilities installed. Later I asked for shade, washdown bays and hoses in the pony lines. The chairman of Guards, the board, the CEO and the polo managers, Roddy Wood and later
Oliver Ellis, were very supportive, budgeting for and actioning new welfare initiatives. Buff Crisp [former HPA chairman] asked the much revered Lord Patrick Beresford to form and chair the first HPA Polo Pony Welfare Committee and it started from there. Each club appointed a welfare officer (I was the first welfare officer for Guards and later was chairman of the club’s welfare committee), and each April all the welfare representatives meet up to discuss interpretation and enforcement of any new welfare rules. This is the way forward. We are indebted to Lord Patrick for his wise counsel. The current chairman of the HPA welfare committee, David Morley, is always available to discuss welfare concerns.
PTMarch 2010 p14-17 As I see it YC PJ
Felicity Matthews at work for Guards (below), and the citation she was awarded by the HPA in December for her work on polo pony welfare
that the regulation of pony welfare benefits their sport as a whole as well as the ponies. I was married to an English professional player [Roddy Matthews] for 11 years so I understood the financial pressures players were under to keep a string of ponies on the road. I still find it annoying seeing players and grooms quenching their own thirst after a match then loading their ponies up without offering them a drink. It doesn’t make
“Once I mentioned to a player that his whole string looked underweight. His girlfriend shouted, ‘They’re meant to be thin – what do you know about horses?’ I’ve put up with some flack”
sense, especially when they know the ponies will benefit and when water is readily available and costs nothing. Have you noticed welfare improvements in the last 20 years? Things have definitely improved. People are much more aware of false economies in horse care. For example, they have learnt that if they send their ponies to someone responsible in winter, where they will be well fed, then their string will be in much better stead for the start of the season when long, slow work will turn fat into muscle. But polo still has catching up to do.
How did the booklet come about? I felt I needed to do something about the situation and I wrote it just for players and grooms at Guards initially. It was tricky getting the message across as the subject of welfare was a new focal point. Also, being a girl and not speaking Spanish made it more difficult. No one had seen me around horses – just
quietly observing the pony lines. After one day’s play, I mentioned to a player that his whole string looked underweight and his girlfriend shouted, “These are thoroughbreds, they are supposed to be thin – and anyway what do you know about horses?” I’ve put up with a fair amount of flack. Nowadays players and grooms appreciate
What are the problems you think still need addressing? Mainly the artificial aids. I think the ubiquitous use of the gag and running reins is an enigma, with its conflicting message of the pain of the gag sending the horse’s head up and the pulley system of running reins holding the head down – it is too severe when so many players do not have light enough hands. Players still whip their ponies on the sensitive flanks, making them recoil and become unbalanced, rather than hitting them on the rump. I don’t like to see saddles swapped from pony to pony when one size doesn’t fit all, especially on the wither, and the breast girth presses on the
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PTMarch 2010 p14-17 As I see it YC PJ
Comment Interview The drawing below, by polo cartoonist Kate Scurfield, is one of several commissioned by Felicity (left) that appear on billboards in the now-shaded Guards pony lines (bottom)
“Things have improved: people are far more aware of false economies in horse care”
Photographs by Centaur Photographic, Snoopy Productions and Yolanda Carslaw; Illustration by Kate Scurfield
X windpipe when the saddle is hurriedly
plonked on a broad pony from a narrow pony without the necessary strap adjustments being made. I accept that players need a steady platform to hit from but I still think girths are fastened too tightly around the pony’s ribcage, nearly cutting it in two. I have watched a few coaching sessions and wonder what happened to the leg aids we were taught when we were little. Feeding is erratic, too. With summer matches at differing times from club to club when, say, a pony is fed at 5am and travels to another club for a 6pm game, by the time it returns home it hasn’t eaten for 15 hours, which is wrong when it is a grazing animal whose digestive system is designed to eat little and often. What happened to travelling with haynets? No wonder they get ulcers. I think players should discuss feeding regimes with their grooms daily. I have helped out at many a yard where all the ponies get the same to eat despite their size and workload, and when the feed scoops themselves differ in size how does anyone know how many pounds each pony is getting to eat? Would you say that Britain and British players are ahead in horsemanship? That’s a difficult one to answer, politically.
16 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
What about the incident in Florida last year, when 21 high-goal ponies died? I don’t want to comment on that – or on the drugs allowed in polo. These are veterinary matters. What do you think can still be done? I think grooms applying for permits to work in the UK should sit an oral exam on basic horse management, but who knows what would happen if they failed: I’m not sure we could ban them! I think clubs should host seminars for grooms where respected players along with vets and nutritionists could discuss topical subjects and grooms could get involved in Q&A sessions. Some of my best friends who look after polo ponies have terrific ideas that I think should be heard. We’ve all seen players constantly bashing
their spurs against ponies’ ribs throughout a chukka. I think someone should invent spurs with a little rubber ball on the shank and that only these spurs should be allowed in polo. I don’t think whips or spurs have a place in the close confines of arena polo. Perhaps a charity match could be sponsored and played without whips and spurs to test this proposal. As for keeping ponies muzzled, and exercising them with their lead ropes tied together – well, I despair at these ludicrous practices. What’s next for you? I’m working for an Australian patron at Liphook in Hampshire, but polo is mostly behind me now. I’m hoping to work for the Brooke Hospital in Egypt at whose headquarters I used to work on a voluntary basis 25 years ago. F ◗ Do you agree with Felicity? Which welfare
points do you think are most pressing in polo? Are British players ahead in horse care? Write to email@example.com
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PTMarch 2010 p18-19 letters YC PJ GM
Comment Your views
Letter of the month Why Argentina was less of a leap into the unknown than I had expected
Letters firstname.lastname@example.org Why does it take a foreign paper to galvanise the HPA? I refer to the article by the deputy chief umpire in your January/February 2010 issue. To read about the Pandora’s box, and “Fear not, the HPA has taken all the suggestions and arguments on board…” is quite astounding. What on earth have the great and good of the HPA been doing in recent years that it takes a paper from someone the other side of the world to galvanise them out of their sleepy and intolerant approach. If the Stewards are to enjoy the prestige of their positions they also need to remember their responsibilities and work considerably harder to involve their members, many of whom have had the same views as Mr Tanoira for some time. It is surely time for an overhaul of the HPA constitution to bring it into line with this century and certainly to make the hierarchy more accountable.
Philip Magor Hungerford
Pato helps improve riding confidence I was pleased to see your article on pato in the January/February issue of Polo Times. Here in Suffolk we play a version of the game at our Woodland Pony Camp for children, in which we give the youngsters the chance to try a variety of pony-based sports. As well as polo and pato, the children can also try horseball, horseback orienteering and trekking, mounted games, team rides and, as of this year, we have even brought in a version of jousting! On the first occasion we played pato, we were lucky enough to have help from the world’s best player Nico Taberna, who was in the area. I have never seen so many jaws drop when Nico casually scooped up the ball at the canter. "You expect us to do that!" came a chorus. Within half an hour every child was able to pick up the ball from the ground at least at a standstill and
18 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
The idea of Argentine high-goal polo was an alien, glamorous and exotic concept to me just a year ago. However, after a six-week leap into the unknown last summer, I now realise that for the players and gauchos themselves the opulence the game endorses is of little concern. Their passion is the ponies and it should be an inspiration to us all. I travelled to Argentina with gap year polo specialists “The Leap” late last July for six weeks. The trip really allowed us to get behind the scenes and witness the intimate Sophie and friends and intricate process that during their trip breeding ponies for high-goal to Argentina with polo entails. It was a fascinating Gap Year specialists chance to learn the basic skills The Leap of taming and breaking youngsters, as well as the routes taken to mix and match bloodlines. Oh, and we played a fair bit of polo, too! Seeing polo first-hand in its heartland, at the sport’s hotspots in and around Buenos Aires, was a captivating experience. Visits to places like the Jockey Club and Campo Argentino in Palermo really helped us to appreciate polo’s broad allure in Argentina. Then, as we ogled the pristine yards and immaculately groomed polo fields during a week’s stay in Pilar Chico, it soon hit us that polo was indeed appropriately named “the game of kings”. For the first five weeks of our trip, we passed our time stick and balling, fouling and falling off in the homely environment of our estancia, La Ascución, about 40 minutes from Buenos Aires near Belgrano. The final week was spent living and playing in Pilar Chico, the Hollywood of the polo “Meeting Bautista Heguy world. It gave us the chance to meet Bautista Heguy confirmed that an at his bar in Open Door, where he confirmed the unruffled disposition was Argentine attitude we had observed throughout our common to both gauchos trip: patient and trusting with the horses and fun and friendly with us. and 10-goal champions” Like our host from “The Leap”, Diego, the Argentines were always excellent ambassadors – confident and competitive, but quiet and conscientious in the company of the ponies, always listening. It was evident that the players had an underlying respect for the ponies. Perhaps it was because without the athleticism and power of this extraordinary animal, polo would not be the exciting and stimulating game it is. The laid-back atmosphere and irrelevance of time was soothing to us students, especially after our weekends in Buenos Aires! Everything was fascinating and enjoyable but, most importantly, we had such a laugh doing even the most boring things, such as tack cleaning and boot polishing, that nothing felt dull for a moment. And meeting Bautista Heguy confirmed that an unruffled disposition was common to both gauchos and 10-goal champions. I returned to England having made unbelievably close friends, improved my polo no end and learned valuable horsemanship skills that will stay with me for life. I also returned with a greater understanding and appreciation for different equine cultures. I’d do anything to go back and do it again – I still talk to Diego, and hopefully it will happen one day soon!
Sophie Wellesley-Wood West Sussex
The writer of the letter of the month wins a bottle of La Chamiza Argentine red wine
The 17/21st Lancers unwind after winning the United Services Cup against the 7th Hussars (l-r: Douglas-Nugent, Berryman, Coaker and Walford)
Arthur Douglas-Nugent, Sussex
t: 01732 863116
Why modern-day riding footwear deserves the boot In last month’s issue I was excited to learn that there would be a review of polo boots. However, on turning to the page in anticipation, I felt severely let down. “Nine of the best” – my foot! What happened to Messrs Maxwell, Peel and Lobb? Yes, probably the boots listed are the most practical (particularly if you have to drive the horsebox home) but, allied
if you answer ‘yes’ to one or more of the above, then call or email today to begin enjoying the real benefits that Five Star Bedding delivers.
Alison Schwabe Suffolk Polo Club secretary
with the ubiquitous white jeans, any pretensions of style have gone out of the window. And, as for those ghastly yellow add-ons, it’s only a short jump before we’ll have everyone playing in motorcycling leathers! Call me reactionary, but we should still adhere to a dress code with a high standard of turnout exemplified by the Gracida brothers in the last two decades. The photo below taken at Tidworth in 1957 of the 17/21st Lancers polo team, wearing the famous “pyjamas” gives some indication of former times – though, even here, the standard seems to have slipped a little from the pre-war glory days. Yours sincerely, booted and spurred,
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both children and parents said it had improved their riding confidence. Now it has become one of our most popular activities.
Children at Woodland Pony Camp in Suffolk enjoy Argentina’s speciality, pato
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PTMarch 2010 p18-19 letters YC PJ GM
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PTMarch 2010 p20-21 Herbert YC PJ
PTMarch 2010 p20-21 Herbert YC PJ
Global view Comment With Herbert Spencer, who has been following polo around the world for 40 years
Drugs bust – what’s the matter with WADA? International Convention against Doping in Sport, adopted by 130 countries. In the five years to 2008, there were more than 1.2 million WADA-inspired drug tests on athletes analysed in WADAapproved laboratories. No one knows how much has been spent on lab fees and then legal fees when athletes challenge test results or punishments. All this is big bureaucracy in anybody’s book. One is reminded of
federations of their whereabouts 365 days a year and be available for drug testing for a specified hour each day – at home, on holiday, wherever. Athletes in several sports have complained that such draconian rules constitute an extreme intrusion upon their private lives, so opposition from polo players is not surprising. Matthew Syed, the UK’s Sports Journalist of the Year, was scathing in
ne of the contentious issues in the crisis that hit the Federation of International Polo (FIP) last year was the insistence of the then-president Patrick Guerrand-Hermès that polo commit to WADA and accept all its rules, regulations and dictates. What is WADA? WADA is the World Anti-Doping Agency, a Swiss private foundation backed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the United Nations and national governments. Its avowed mission is “to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against doping in sports in all its forms.” No one in his right mind would challenge the view that performanceenhancing drugs have no place in sport. Neither do recreational substances such as alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and the like during competition, not least in polo with its inherent risks and dangers for anyone playing without a clear head. But does sport really need such a big, bureaucratic quango as WADA acting as a kind of international “moral police” force? WADA is based in Montreal, Canada, with regional offices in Lausanne, Tokyo, Cape Town and Montevideo. It is funded annually to the tune of more than $26m, half from national governments and half from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). When the agency was first formed just over 10 years ago (November 1999), it had a modest seven employees; it now has 58. Well over 50 per cent of WADA’s budget in 2008 was spent on personnel, travel, administration and consultancies. An international charity with such a chunk of its income going on admin would be drummed out of the club. WADA effectively controls the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), with its mind-boggling lists of hundreds of prohibited substances, and the
One of the main points in polo’s resistance to WADA is the agency’s draconian “out of competition” testing rules
More than a million test for hundreds of banned substances are instigated each year by the World Anti-Doping Agency
George Orwell’s 1984 or, in the cases of athletes unfairly caught in WADA’s web, Franz Kafka’s The Trial. Granted, most of the punishments dished out when athletes have tested positive for drugs have been deserved: suspensions from competition and loss of medals. But there have also been clear miscarriages of justice, some arising from WADA’s insistence on bureaucratic niceties. Even when cleared on appeal, athletes have had their reputations tarnished. One of the main bones of contention in polo’s resistance to WADA is the agency’s “out of competition” drug testing rules. These require selected athletes to inform their sports
his criticism of WADA in The Times last month (6 January), referring to “oppressive monitoring, invasive scrutiny, blood testing – all are part and parcel of the Orwellian reality of modern sport.” He concluded his fullpage commentary by suggesting that sportsmen could “tell WADA to take a flying jump…” The FIP is currently studying all the implications of the federation signing up to WADA. If the international body decides against it, then the sport must police itself to keep polo clean. The HPA already has stringent anti-doping regulations and has been randomly dope testing players for more than 10 years, but no such regulations exist in the US, Argentina and many other polo-playing countries. This must change and without delay in the interests of fair competition, for the good of players and for public perception to protect the image of polo everywhere. F ◗ What do you think? Is polo capable of
monitoring drugs testing for players, or should we consider signing up to the super-strict control of WADA? Tell us by writing to email@example.com
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PTMarch 2010 p22-23 Umpire YC
Comment Umpire’s corner With Arthur Douglas-Nugent, deputy chief umpire for the HPA
Brits abroad, volume control and checking for foibles still raised in abuse of the umpires rather than as encouragement, if you can call it that, to your team. The rule is clear that only the captain may speak to the umpires, and then only to seek clarification on a decision. We
THE ELLERSTON-CS BROOKS EFFECT I read with interest my colleague John Horswell's article about silence on the polo field. I vividly recall John as captain of Sladmore winning the Harrison Cup on Ambersham 1 by the sheer power of his personality, transmitted to his team by his voice. He is right, of course, that we live in quieter times, but voices are
22 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Finally, back to the question of sanctions against an umpire who is not cutting the mustard. Yes, we do have frequent assessment of performance, even more this year in high-goal as Howard Hipwood has been given increased
It's a manager's duty to brief the team on the foibles of the umpires; they might warn that Tony Keyte is particularly focused on a clean line up or that Jason Dixon is intolerant of verbal abuse
ur umpires are everywhere, which is great. In this field, if sadly in few others nowadays, it can be said that English is best, if you include the odd Kiwi. At last it seems we have broken back into the USPA circuit now that Julian Appleby has been asked to officiate there, although he may not go as he is recovering from an operation. We have yet to crack Argentina. All is far from lost, as we are cooperating with the Argentine Polo Association (AAP) more than ever on rule change and interpretation. On this score HPA chief executive David Woodd is having another go at a universal set of rules, with one part to cover the way the game is played and another to cover rules specific to an individual country, such as those governing pony welfare. The focus for the coming season is, however, on turning and blocking. We plan to produce a DVD for circulation to clubs with examples of a fair turn and an illegal turn or block. The wording will be slightly altered to reflect a stricter interpretation than that which has been applied in recent years. Thus should a player turn the ball in front of an opponent following down the old line the turning player will be penalised if the following player, to avoid a collision at his original speed, is forced to check or pull away. This, along with a stricter interpretation of the rule on blocking, should speed up the game here as it has this winter in the Argentine.
rather discourage umpires from talking to players before a game or vice versa as John suggests. This can lead to all sorts of problems. I well remember the hoo-ha raised by Ellerston when they learnt that Tom Hughes, who was to umpire the Gold Cup final, had spent the previous evening with their opponents, CS Brooks. It is part of a manager's duty to brief the team on the particular foibles of the umpires appointed for their match; for example they might warn that Tony Keyte is focused on a clean line up or that Jason Dixon is intolerant of verbal abuse.
powers, and we do fine or rest those seen to do a poor job. Sometimes this is based on reports submitted by teams. In every case these are followed up and clubs should do likewise. There is no stigma attached to a team that files a report against the umpires (remember they act as a pair); indeed it is only via these reports that we get an overall picture of performance. We now have three grades of professional umpire, with different levels of payment, and we intend to use freely the system of snakes and ladders. F
Play goes on until the whistle blows… This month’s puzzle A pony pecks and a player is deposited on the ground ignominiously but without injury away from the play. What should the umpires do?
Last month’s solution In taking a Penalty 4 the striker tries to hit the ball to goal with one shot, but on the downward swing his stick catches in his pony's tail and so he overruns the ball without hitting it. Can he turn to hit a backhand? The umpires must first decide whether the striker intended to make a full shot, which we’ll assume he did. Thus the ball is in play and he has every right to turn and hit a backhander. He will, however, foul if by turning he crosses an opponent who has moved quickly from the 30-yard line or, more probably, if he raises the stick above his shoulder, ie he takes a full swing. Email comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
PTMarch 2010 p22-23 Umpire YC
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PTMarch 2010 p24-31 St Moritz YC
24 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
PTMarch 2010 p24-31 St Moritz YC
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PTMarch 2010 p24-31 St Moritz YC
Report St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow
Left to right: two ‘big guns’ of the final, Glen Gilmore (in red) and Pablo MacDonough; well-insulated Cartier fans from the Cotswolds; action from the subsidiary final
ablo MacDonough was left to lament his second last-gasp defeat in as many months this January, after Julius Baer were denied back-to-back victories at the St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow by a reshuffled and rejuvenated Cartier side. And, just as in the Argentine Open final in December, the umpires played a more prominent role than either they or the spectators would have wanted. At Palermo, MacDonough conceded the muchdebated from-the-spot penalty foul that allowed La Dolfina to equalise just moments before a dramatic period of extra time at the climax of the Argentine Triple Crown. Seven weeks later, in the equally tight final of the frozen alpine spectacle of the 26th St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow, it was MacDonough once again who was at the centre of the late controversy. Playing at number three again and coming back to help out in defence, a from-the-spot penalty was awarded against him in the dying moments of the game in an almost identical position to his indiscretion on Palermo’s number one ground.
26 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
With the scores tied at 3-3, and with just eight seconds left to play, Australian Glen Gilmore fired home the decisive spot hit to spark wild celebrations from a large contingent of Cartier fans in the grandstands and compound MacDonough’s misery.
“If the same foul had been awarded in the first minute of the game, there wouldn’t have been a squeak of complaint”– Umpire Oliver Ellis “It’s a pity to finish a game like that, said MacDonough after their defeat. “I would prefer to lose because of them scoring a really nice goal. But this is so unfair. I definitely had the line and, right now, I’m quite bitter. They got given so many fouls and, in my opinion, the umpires chose the winner. That’s how I feel.” While his outspoken comments are a pleasing indication of how seriously St Moritz now rates on
the high-goal calendar, the tournament still enjoyed its usual pageantry and glamour as more than 15,000 spectators took to the numerous attractions over four days on the Engadine lake. On the field too, the four sides fought out a wonderfully competitive eight games, only two of which were decided by more than a single goal. Indeed, of the six games that had a competitive bearing on the results of the tournament, four were decided by golden goals in extra chukkas. “It was a hard job this year,” said umpire Oliver Ellis. “The equality of the teams and the excellent playing conditions made for fast, open games and, as such, there were lots of results that came right down to the wire. In such a competitive atmosphere it’s natural that some players get hot under the collar with the decisions that come late in a game. That has always been one of the occupational hazards that goes with the territory when umpiring. However, what I can tell you about the penalty at the end of the final is that both umpires blew for X it and, if the same foul had been awarded in the
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St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow; 28 to 31 January 2010; St Moritz, Switzerland Result: Cartier beat Julius Baer, 4-3 Sponsors: Cartier, Julius Baer, Brioni, Maserati, TRITEC International, Louis Roederer, Swiss Jet, Vista Jet, The Niarchos Family, Nespresso Handicap level: 20-22 goals Number of team entries: Four Chukka scores (La Dolfina): 1-1; 2-3; 3-3; 4-3 Most valuable player: Glen Gilmore Best playing pony: Phoenix, owned and played by John Paul Clarkin Final teams: Cartier (22): Saaed Bin Drai 1; Rob Archibald 6; John Paul Clarkin 8; Glen Gilmore 7 Julius Baer (22/21): George Milford Haven 1 / Clare Milford Haven 0; JosĂŠ Donoso 7; Pablo MacDonough 10; Richard Le Poer 4 Subsidiary final teams: Brioni (22): Amr Zedan 0; Gaston Lauhle 7; David Stirling 9; Chris Hyde 6 Maserati (21): Philipp Maeder 0; Federico Bachmann 6; Pablo Jauretche 8; Ignacio Tillous 7
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Report St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow From the desert to the alps Polo Times asks two patrons new to St Moritz, from Dubai and Saudi Arabia, how they got involved “ST MORITZ WORKS WELL for me because I can fit it in around my business commitments in Dubai,” said winning Cartier patron, Saeed Bin Drai. “I love my polo but simply can’t afford to drop everything for six weeks or more to fund and play in a side for an entire season somewhere. I have to work! “However, because I’m a subscriber to Polo Times, I knew all about the snow polo from the magazine – so, when [previous Cartier patron of many years] Adriano Agosti asked me to watch last year’s tournament as his guest, I jumped at the chance. He could see that I fell in love with the place and I’m very grateful to him indeed, as he offered me the opportunity to take over his slot as patron and field the Cartier team in 2010. “I saw Glen [Gilmore] and JP [Clarkin] play last year, and both were available, which meant then it was just a case of trying to find the final component for our team. The two of them have played a lot with Rob Archibald so it seemed natural that he would give us a good synergy. “It was a unique experience playing on snow, and my early days playing polo on sand back home at Dubai Polo Club [where his father used to be the president] definitely helped. I used ponies from my string of around 30 in the UK at Pegglesworth Farm [in Gloucestershire] and they dealt with the conditions well. I felt I did well too, even though I was playing at number one and my usual position is at back. “However, despite growing in confidence as the tournament went on with a couple of goals, I was conscious never to allow myself to get over-confident, even once we’d made the final. The time you go in too confident is the time you get smacked on the nose and fall on your face! If you get cocky, you are in trouble, so I never allow myself to look at the score but stay focused right up until the final bell. Then we celebrate!” “I ALWAYS WANTED to try the snow,” explains Saudi Arabian Brioni patron, Amr Zedan. “So, when I heard Saeed would be entering a team and that there might be an opportunity to come in with Brioni, I was immediately interested. He is a genuine friend, but we also enjoy a good competitive edge on the field. St Moritz is a particularly special and exciting tournament because it is the only snow polo played in a fourman format and at 22 goals. “The highest-level polo I normally play is 12 to 15 goal, which I do in Dubai and at Guards and Cowdray in the British summer, so it’s great for my game and my horses to be tested at such a strong and competitive level. “The horses I used here all came over from the UK, under the direction of my polo manager Roddy Wood. He was also responsible for putting the Brioni team together for me, and I’m really happy with how it worked out. We improved with each day and, with a bit more luck, we could have made the final. But hopefully my finances will allow me to come back with a side next year. I’d certainly like to.”
28 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
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Above: players charge past one of the many new innovations on the lake for 2010, a giant television screen beside the scoreboard, which was used to provide spectators with close-ups and replays, and to display information. Left: a groom for the winning Cartier side exercises ponies in the area beside the repositioned pony lines
X first minute of the game, there wouldn’t have been
a squeak of complaint.” Glen Gilmore, the scorer of the resultant penalty, picked up the most valuable player award, having landed all four of Cartier’s goals on route to their 4-3 victory in the final. It was something of a relief for him, having somehow failed to get among the 15 goals recorded in the tournament’s highestscoring contest the day before. Despite the English flavour in and behind George Milford Haven’s Trippetts-based Julius Baer team, the loudest delegation of Cartier support cheering their side on to the Mallet d’Or trophy came from a party of VIP Brits rooting for New Zealander John Paul Clarkin. It was Gloucestershire’s Vestey clan, in St Moritz to see Nina’s husband compete for the third consecutive year. True to form, Clarkin reached
his third final and, with a typically fast and ferocious performance, the eight-goaler recorded his second St Moritz tournament victory. However, this was the first year he had brought his own ponies, transporting a selection he thought
use her as a spare but she’s ended up being my best mount!” Together with Gilmore, and snow polo debutants Rob Archibald and Dubai-based patron Saeed Bin Drai, Clarkin and his team-mates earned victory for
A huge new bank of solar panels by the ground indicated the pains taken by organisers to ensure the right image suitable from his English string, with excellent results. His 10-year-old dark bay mare Phoenix was named best playing pony after the final, despite never having played on snow before. “She’s a South African Thoroughbred and I only decided to bring her at the last minute,” said Clarkin. “Originally, I had only planned to
Cartier through their superior defensive organisation and constant willingness to work as a team. The same could be said for subsidiary final champions, Brioni, as earlier in the day the side featuring British former champion Chris Hyde and returning nine-goaler David ‘Pelon’ Stirling narrowly held off a late fourth-chukka renaissance X
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Report St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow
Snowy snippets ◗ ON THE SATURDAY and Sunday of the tournament, generous sponsors and guests reached deep into their pockets in aid of UKbased charity, the James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund. After realising that Saturday’s final group game between Cartier and Julius Baer would be little more than a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s final, the events team at Swiss private bank Julius Baer decided to inject extra interest for the thousands of spectators and their guests by pledging 1,000 Swiss Francs for every Julius Baer goal scored. The team scored seven goals in a riveting 8-7 defeat to Cartier, but Julius Baer decided to boost the total to SF10,000 when they discovered an anonymous Julius Baer client agreed to match whatever they donated. This SF20,000 total quickly escalated to 50,000, after both parties agreed to an identical pledge on the Sunday as well, and further donations came in from another Julius Baer client and the financial team at Cartier. Julius Baer donated SF20,000 in total, as did the client that agreed to match them; Cartier gave SF4,000 for the four goals their side scored in clinching Sunday’s final, and the charity’s founder Clare Milford Haven received a pledge for SF6,000 from a female Julius Baer client at the gala dinner. “Everyone’s generosity was overwhelming,” said Clare. “Fundraising is not an easy task and such fantastic spontaneous donations felt truly heaven-sent.” The James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund was set up to raise awareness of the huge problem of depression and suicide among young men in the UK. Visit www.jwsmf.org, where you can also donate.
Clockwise from left: MVP Glen Gilmore gets a closer look at the specialist, larger, lighter snow polo ball; players warm up on the sun-kissed ground on finals day; winners, Cartier, with senior representatives from their sponsor (l-r: Rob Archibald, Saeed Bin Drai, Kaethy Dobers, Arnoud Carrez, Glen Gilmore and John Paul Clarkin)
◗ THE PLAYING CONDITIONS at this year’s event were the best this correspondent has seen, with ideal cold temperatures and just the right depth of snow to ensure an excellent playing surface. When there is too much snow, as in 2009, the groundsmen have a job on their hands maintaining a level and firm surface – it cuts up badly as the day goes on, producing scrappy, disjointed games that are harder work for the ponies. However, this year just enough snow settled for a 15cm compacted layer over the frozen lake, which was easily maintained because of the low temperatures. In addition, the four days of competition were largely blessed with long periods of sunshine and only moderate winds. Finals day, in particular, was beautiful.
Photographs by Swiss-Image.ch and James Mullan
◗ OFF THE GROUND the players enjoyed the usual mix of polo-related events, such as the press conference, photo calls and the annual black tie gala dinner at the Kempinski Hotel. There was also time for most to indulge in skiing, tobogganing, eating out and, for the brave, the Cresta Run, which this year celebrates its 125th anniversary (see p76). A select group of players was found in the King’s Club at Badrutt’s Palace on the night after the final, as Rob Archibald and John Paul Clarkin celebrated their victory with live music and £20 bottles of Corona. Ouch!
30 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
X by Maserati to clinch third place in the
tournament, 7-6. It was another absorbing encounter in another cracking year. And, while a huge bank of solar panels along the side of the ground clearly indicated the increasing pains being taken by organisers to ensure the right image for the salubrious event, the health of the polo itself appears to be in safe hands. More and more of the players prioritise the tournament, bring their own
horses, put their bodies on the line, and genuinely want to win. Sure enough, before they had even changed out of their whites, most players were already looking ahead to 2011. Recent tradition has seen the winners bring back an unchanged line-up the following year. Will Cartier do the same for the 27th year of the tournament? “It hasn’t been discussed yet,” said Rob Archibald as he cradled a jeroboam of champagne at the presentations. “But, hopefully, now we’ve done so well, Saeed will consider keeping us together.” One thing is for sure, the quality and intensity of this year’s event will ensure spectators return in their thousands. Both on and off the field, polo in St Moritz continues to go from strength to strength. F ◗ See also pages 70 and 86
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Snowy snippets ◗ ENGLISH FARRIER Karn Herbert has been shoeing ponies for the St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow for three years, as part of his work for Urs Schwarzenbach at Black Bears and the St Moritz Polo Club. “The shoe we use for the snow is just a normal everyday shoe, but with double stud holes and a ‘snow pad’ on each foot, between the shoe and the pony’s hoof,” he told Polo Times. “This way, each pony has eight studs, to provide better purchase on the snow, and the pad – which is a plasticky, rubbery material – sits inside the shoe and prevents the shoe binding to the freezing foot. The faster the horse is moving, the better snow pads work – they shoot all the loose powder out of the back of the pony’s hooves.” A full interview with Karn will be a major focus of our farriery special in the April issue of Polo Times, when he will discuss the life of a polo farrier and explain why he thinks the ponies are actually safer playing on snow than they are on grass.
◗ DESPITE FOUR DEFEATS on the results table, Swiss patron Philipp Maeder’s popular Maserati side were involved in probably the tournament’s most memorable contest, when two extra chukkas and widened goals were required to decide the winner in their match against defending champions, Julius Baer. The tournament’s most consistent team, playing as an unchanged line-up for the third consecutive year, fought a typically spirited and honest campaign, welcoming Maserati as their new major sponsor in place of Maybach. “It felt like the right time for us to become involved,” explained expatriate Italian Piergiorgio Cecco, Maserati’s managing director in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “Our management headquarters in Modena gave us the brief to look for very special events, and we were familiar with the growing profile and scale of the Polo World Cup on Snow in St Moritz from our nearby annual ‘snow drive’ event in Samedan, which has run for seven years. We also know Philipp Maeder very well, so it was an opportunity that was too tempting to miss.” While Cecco says Maserati would like to make a three-year commitment, the company is waiting to see how 2010 shapes up for the automotive industry. “If we can manage it again next year, we’ll come back,” he said. “Polo is a good fit to help expand the luxury profile of our brand.”
◗ CLARE MILFORD HAVEN made her St Moritz debut on day two of the tournament after her husband George, patron of the Julius Baer side, was called to the UK on business. It proved to be a baptism of fire, as her stamina and the team’s resources were tested to the limit in their unprecedented six-chukka contest with Maserati. “I wasn’t prepared for two extra chukkas in terms of horses,” Clare explained afterwards. “But adrenaline kicks in and you focus on keeping your wits about you and staying with the pace and physicality of the game. I loved it and felt lucky to have the opportunity. Part of me hoped George’s flights back would be cancelled so I could sub again the next day!”
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PTMarch 2010 p32-33 Arena YC PJ
Report HPA National Club Championships
Jack’s back – battered but victorious James Mullan reports from a lively RCBPC, where a fast, furious and frenetic final warmed up a freezing Sunday in February
The victorious Equibuild side, with (l-r) Jack Kidd, Tim Bown and Paul Knight. Kidd broke his jaw, while his opponent Howard Smith suffered a swollen eye
ack Kidd returned to the RCBPC arena after a four-year absence in dramatic fashion on 7 February, putting in a monumental performance alongside Tim Bown and patron Paul Knight to hold off a late rally from Tashan and give Berkshire-based Equibuild a popular victory in the delayed HPA Club Championships 12-goal final. Just. It was a close-run thing, as Vivek Rawal’s Ascot Park-based Tashan side recovered from the two-goal headstart they conceded on handicap and a terrible first chukka to make a game of it and almost take the final into extra time. Down 7-1 at one stage early on, the side in bright orange finally put some colour in their cheeks as they attacked in the second chukka and gradually closed the gap on the scoreboard.
Photographs by Gillian Hughes
32 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
However, as the game entered the final chukka, Tashan’s Martin Lewis, Tarquin Southwell and Howard Smith still had quite a mountain to climb, down by three with
score from a last-gasp penalty that would give them a chance to take the game into overtime. It wasn’t to be but, for both sides, it was one of the most determined and hard-fought
‘I love the arena – it’s the English pros’ battleground; it’s such a raw and competitive type of polo’ – Jack Kidd Equibuild’s Kidd and Bown riding off hard with Southwell and Smith. As a roaring crescendo of noise came from the packed stands and wooden viewing box, Tashan somehow brought the game back to within a single goal, 14-13, with just seconds left to play. Commentator Greg Keating was about to burst. However, perhaps fortunately for him, the final bell sounded as Tashan tried in vain to
contests of the season. The physicality was there to see at the presentations, as a glum-faced Smith nursed a cut and swollen eye. Jack Kidd’s boisterous euphoria at the final whistle was enough to numb the pain of what he later described on Facebook as a “bust jaw and bruised spine”. The last time Kidd won one of the big prizes of the arena season was in January 2006, when he picked up the 12-goal trophy in the same
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Jack Kidd (red hat) and Tarquin Southwell. Left: Equibuild celebrate
Above: (l-r) Equibuild patron Hugh Daly, Paul Knight, Jack Kidd, Tim Bown, Roderick Vere Nicoll, Tarquin Southwell, Vivek Rawal, Martin Davison, Howard Smith
competition for Clive Reid’s Belmont side. A month later, he landed the Arena Gold Cup on Richard Fagan’s Los Grifos team (also with Tim Bown). “That’s two wins from two for me now in the HPA champs,” explained a bed-bound Kidd two days after his dramatic victory. “But I’m paying for it now. I was due to fly home to Barbados this week but I’ve had to cancel because of my injuries. I’m broken! I only hope I’ll be alright for my next snow polo fixture, in Sweden.” In the event the Swedish tournament was cancelled at short notice, and Kidd was unable to try for another British arena double after his side with patron Lucy Fields withdrew from the Arena Gold Cup because of an injury to Fields and because fellow-pro Jonny Good was needed in Argentina. “Injuries are part and parcel of the arena game,” he went on. “These ones have all been
worth it though. I love the arena – it’s the English pros’ battleground. It’s hard to excel in the outdoor game these days without someone there to cash £100,000 cheques for you, but the arena is such a raw and competitive type of polo, and it all comes down to a dog fight and a question of who wants it more. Fortunately, we really wanted it this time, and I love playing with Timmy Bown. The two of us complement each other.” Tashan patron Vivek Rawal, whose team is relatively new on the arena high-goal circuit, said: “It was tough to lose in two consecutive finals for the Arena Gold Cups, and now the 12 goal, but given that we are a new team on the high-goal arena circuit I guess we’ve done well to be in major finals. Watch this space…” The 12-goal section welcomed a record 12 teams as Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club
continued to enjoy a bumper season. In the 6goal, David Lewis’s Roundshaw Farm beat Ahmed Hafeezuddin-Mir’s NASR Polo side, with Roundshaw’s Pedro De Lamare leading the charge. NASR Polo featured Ash Farm’s Charlotte Sweeney who, just 36 hours earlier, had hosted 160 friends in the Berkshire clubhouse to celebrate her 21st birthday. F Finalists in 12-goal Equibuild (12): Paul Knight 0; Jack Kidd 6; Tim Bown 6 Tashan (13): Martin Davison 0; Tarquin Southwell 7; Howard Smith 6 Finalists in 6-goal Roundshaw (6): David Lewis 0; Charlie Wooldridge 2; Pedro De Lamare 4 NASR Polo (6): Ahmed Hafeezuddin-Mir 0; Charlotte Sweeney 2; Tomas Gavina 4
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Report New Zealand vs England
MVP Tommy Wilson out in front for New Zealand. England’s three-goal lead after three chukkas dwindled in the second half, and they lost 11-7 to their hosts
Little love lost over Valentine’s weekend Brett O’Callaghan reports from North Island, NZ, where England surrendered a comfortable half-time lead in a firey test against 2010’s Cartier Day opponents here was much excitement when the HPA announced that this year’s opponents for the Coronation Cup on Cartier International Day would be New Zealand, not least because it meant the two sides – England and the Kiwis – would meet twice in official test matches in 2010. This inevitably added extra spice to their first contest last month, when New Zealand gave the visiting Englishmen a sound beating, 11-7. The English squad – playing in turquoise and white shirts from new sponsors The Mileage Company – had been in New Zealand for 10 days prior to the test, trying out ponies and playing warm-up matches.
Photographs by Brett O’Callaghan
34 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
All of them except James Beim were also taking part in the New Zealand Open, which was nearing completion as Polo Times went to press. The Kiwis were missing one of their regular internationals, with Simon Keyte out with an injury to his ankle. His place was taken by Sam Hopkinson, and a further fitness cloud dogged the home squad prior to the game, as Tommy Wilson was in doubt, struggling with a shoulder injury sustained in a fall. However, he recovered sufficiently not only to play, but to win the game’s most valuable player award. Both sides made a tentative and nervouslooking start, played on the magnificent surface of Kihikihi Polo Club’s Nga Rakau polo field. The hosts were the worst offenders,
producing some uncharacteristic misplaced passes, conceding silly fouls and failing to convert decent chances. The English completely dominated the Kiwis in the second chukka, as Malcolm Borwick and both Tomlinson brothers got on the score sheet with excellent goals, allowing the visitors to take a healthy 5-2 lead into half time after the third. However, this would prove to be a classic game of two halves. Just as they did against an Australian side at the Beaufort last summer, the English quartet crumbled in the final few chukkas and let the game slide away. Once again, against a southern hemisphere side featuring John Paul Clarkin, England were out-horsed and outsmarted when it counted.
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Young England in New Zealand THE YOUNG ENGLISHMEN fared little better than the full internationals, returning with a disappointing record of just one win from four on their tour of New Zealand. The squad, backed by The Mileage Company, comprised Oliver Cudmore, Lanto Sheridan, Harry White, Edward Winterton, Oliver Powell and Toby Pitts. Their win came in their second match, when they beat Waimai Polo Club a couple of days after being defeated by Auckland. Then came the first test match against Young New Zealand, played at Wanstead Polo Club. The host club mounted the English, and the sides fought out a very fast-paced game, but the Kiwis prevailed, 5-3. The age limit for the second test match and the final game of the tour was raised from under 21 to under 23, allowing Nick Pepper to take his place in the test side. However, he did little to steady the teetering British ship, and the Kiwis, led by the excellent Glenn Sherriff, romped to a resounding victory, 9-4. Nevertheless, the losses will do the Young Englishmen more good than harm, and the experience of playing on strange ponies in a foreign land will serve them well. They will remember the defeats and look to redeem themselves at the next chance.
Young England results Vs Vs Vs Vs
Auckland Polo Club: England lost 6-3 Waimai Polo Club: England won 10-7 New Zealand U21s: England lost 5-3 New Zealand U23s: England lost 9-4
Clockwise from top: the winning New Zealand side with trophy and flowers, (l-r) Craig Wilson, JP Clarkin, Sam Hopkinson and Tommy Wilson; a nicely balanced James Beim; JP Clarkin and Luke Tomlinson stick together
After some quiet meaningful words of encouragement from Coach Forsyth at halftime, the Kiwis delighted the strong local crowd with nine goals after the break. All four players in the New Zealand side enjoyed a share of the scoring, with the Wilson brothers – Tommy and Craig – leading the charge and winning the battle over the Tomlinsons. Luke did manage the longest goal of the day, as he scored a dramatic last point for England in the fifth chukka, but they then conceded an unanswered hat-trick of goals from Craig Wilson in the sixth to leave them dejected in defeat, 11-7. First blood to the men in black from New Zealand. The second battle will be at Guards Polo Club on Cartier International Day late in July. F
◗ A full report of the New Zealand Open will
New Zealand v England; February appear in the April issue of13 Polo Times 2010; Kihikihi Polo Club, New Zealand Result: New Zealand beat England 11-7 Principal sponsor: Rosetown Holden. England team sponsor The Mileage Company Handicap level: 28 goals Chukka scores (New Zealand): 1-1; 2-1; 2-5; 5-6; 8-7; 11-7 Most valuable player: Tommy Wilson Best playing pony: Beatle, played by Mark Tomlinson and owned by Stephen Kay Test teams: New Zealand (27): Craig Wilson 6; Tommy Wilson 7; John Paul Clarkin 8; Sam Hopkinson 6 England (28): James Beim 7; Mark Tomlinson 7; Malcolm Borwick 6; Luke Tomlinson 8
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PTMarch 2010 p36-37 Paki JM PJ
Gripping, tense and highly competitive Crushed ribs, balls broadside, Argentine pros in the mix and eminent officials at the sidelines: the action is hotting up in Lahore, says Clare Sheikh he polo tempo continues to rise in Lahore alongside the temperatures, as January beckoned in high-goal and saw the arrival of the first foreign pros of the season. Undaunted by the troubles of the motor trade elsewhere, Suzuki and Toyota sponsored the first two tournaments of the new year. The final of the Suzuki Township Motors Cup was a thrilling event in which the lead alternated throughout between Mir Shoaib Ahmad's Suzuki Swift (8) and Taimur Ali Malik's Remington Pharma/Guard Rice (8) with strong play from in-form Shah Shamyl Alam (4). It was 3-2 in the second chukka to Suzuki Swift and 4-3 to Remington Pharma by the third. The fourth was a vigorous scrap, with five goals. To the delight of largerthan-life patron Taimur Ali Malik, teamwork by Remington Pharma won the day 7-6 and they received their trophy from a doubtless rather disappointed senior manager from Suzuki. In the subsidiary final, Lahore Garrison capitalised on their handicap advantage of 11/2 to beat Security 2000 41/2-3 with a penalty from Lt Col Asif Zahoor and a field goal from Major Mashud. The following week Shamyl's brother, Qubilai, had less luck in the final of the Toyota Cup on 17 January when leading the Pakistan Airforce (PAF)/ETPB team. He suffered a vengeful 9-41/2 defeat at the hands of Suzuki Swift under the watchful gaze of Ch Ahmad Mukhtar, the defence minister of Pakistan, who presented the prizes and commiserated with the PAF team. Matters had started well for PAF but Suzuki Swift then romped ahead with three epic field goals from Raja Temur Nadeem. A further goal from Suzuki provoked a spirited response from Qubilai Alam with a superb lofted neck-shot finding the goal – but this flash of brilliance wasn't enough to save the day. In the subsidiary final Zong registered an emphatic 8-41/2 victory over GTO with outstanding play from Lt Col Asif Zahoor (2), who scored four field goals within two chukkas, his team mates chipping in to complete the win.
36 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Clare Sheikh’s husband, Ayyaz, goes on the charge for The Pakistan Airforce team. He received a ball to the jaw for his trouble as they sank to defeat, 41/2-3
The first 10-goal of the year, the New Year Polo Cup, was an edgy and contentious event,
remarkable fouls made the fourth chukka a tense and injurious affair - Shamyl Alam was nursing some badly crushed ribs following a spectacular collision and Ayyaz Sheikh received a ball broadside in the jaw. Shamyl managed a final goal, which drew the final score to 41/2-3 to Diamond Paints. The subsidiary final, between HSBC, with the popular Sufi brothers, and Malir Garrison, was equally close. Despite a strong start from Malir, with two goals early in the first chukka, HSBC kicked off a pounding fusillade of goals with Saquib Khakwani and Dr Kamran Zaidi claiming three and two respectively. A further penalty from Sufi Haris secured them six. Malir Garrison fought back but it was not enough, leaving HSBC the victors half a goal. The pace rose appreciably at the end of January with the arrival of the first foreign professionals. Gaston Davrient (5) joined Mir Shoaib Ahmad's Diamond Paints, bringing them to 10 goals. Naveed Sheikh (Alfalah ) meanwhile imported experienced Argentine pro, Fernando Quinto Bourdieu (6), who has a distinguished high-goal career behind him. When the teams met in the final the result rarely seemed in doubt, with Bourdieu playing
Ch Ahmad Mukhtar, the defence minister, commiserated with the Pakistan Airforce team watched over by Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa, Adviser to the Prime Minister. The Pakistan Airforce (PAF) were once more on the field and this time their opponents were Diamond Paints, under the patronage of Mir Shoaib Ahmad. This time PAF were led by both Alam brothers, Shamyl and Qubilai, who scored the first two goals, nudging PAF ahead, with strong support from Ayyaz Sheikh, playing his first 10-goal final. The fightback from Diamond Paints was soon to follow, with a field goal from Ahmed Ali Tiwana (3), and by the fourth chukka they were leading 41/2-2. A good deal of shouting and some
with a maturity and force that took the score to 5-21/2 after two chukkas. Skilful teamwork added goals from Naveed Sheikh and Ahmed Ali Tiwana and gave Alfalah a convincing 11-61/2 victory and a trophy from chief guest, Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, speaker of the Punjab Assembly. HSBC reached yet another subsidiary final, this time in the company of the in-form Alam brothers. Shamyl had a particularly good game, scoring six of their seven goals and guiding them to a 1/2-goal victory over ICI Army polo. F ◗ To read more about Lahore Polo Club, visit
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Report Young England vs South-East Asia
To paradise and back Three talented and lucky young players joined an England veteran to take on an Asian side in Thailand. Four-goal team member Max Charlton reports met up with Ed Parsons at Heathrow Terminal 3 where, thanks to England and Young England’s new sponsor The Mileage Company, we were transported from the snowfields of Surrey to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, all in the space of a couple of excellent feature films. Our arrival was smooth and soon we were zipping along the highway to the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club in Pattaya, about one hour and 150km east of Bangkok, on the Gulf of Thailand. There we met up with our teammates Andrew Hine and Ollie Cudmore.
We were lucky to stay at the resort at Horseshoe Point, which was incredible, especially the breakfasts: if only I could start the day with one of those all the time; the noodles were to die for! We split our time between preparation for our match and sightseeing in and around Pattaya. We even managed to get in a little jet-skiing; we couldn’t resist the beaches. Before we knew it, match day had arrived. There was a lovely atmosphere at the club and we and our opponents – all Malaysian players – were all made to feel very welcome.
Photographs by Nicole Grunwell
If only I could always start the day with one of those breakfasts: the noodles were to die for! It is a vibrant, friendly club with two first class grounds and brilliant facilities, founded in 2005 by polo-playing expatriate Harald Link. There are some familiar names at the helm: Roddy Matthews is general manager and American coach Rege Ludwig is in charge of teaching. When we arrived, there was no time wasted in getting everyone organised, as it happened to be Harald’s birthday and we had the most amazing Thai supper.
38 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
I had my usual pre-match nerves and our team soon got into our pre-match stretches, though it was too hot to run round the field that day. The match was very tight in the first two chukkas, and we missed a couple of open goals. South-East Asia played very well and marked us hard. The whole game was played in great spirit and I am sure it was a good game to watch. England were fortunate to come out as winners in the end, 6-4.
We all knew we had been in a tight and tough match and everyone enjoyed the cooldown afterwards. The next thing I knew Ed and I were on our way home again, while Andrew and Ollie were lucky enough to be staying on. I had a magical trip in a beautiful country where we were treated with such generous hospitality that I will never forget it. I must give our sincere thanks to the Thai Polo Club for their warm welcome and their generosity with the horses that were made available to us, despite how busy the club was during our visit. F Young England vs South-East Asia, 17 January, Thai Polo and Equestrian Club, Pattaya, Thailand Principal sponsor: The Mileage Company Handicap level: 14 goals Result: Young England beat South-East Asia, 6-4 Teams: Young England: Oliver Cudmore 3; Max Charlton 4; Andrew Hine 5; Ed Parsons 2 South-East Asia: Sharul Onn 1; Prince Ahmad Shazril 3; Shaik Reismann 3; Edham Shaharuddin 4
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Jack Kidd (red hat) and Tarquin Southwell. Left: Equibuild celebrate
Clockwise from left: Ollie Cudmore in an athletic move; The Mileage Company-sponsored England side (l-r) of Ollie Cudmore, Max Charlton, Robin Hine, Andrew Hine and Ed Parsons; Thai Polo Club owner Harald Link at the mike; the all Malaysian South-East Asia team of (l-r) Edham Shaharuddin, Shaik Reismann, Prince Ahmad Shazril and Sharul Onn. Opposite: action in the test match, to an exotic backdrop
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PTMarch 2010 p40-41 Barbados YC GM
Report Sentebale Polo Cup, Barbados
Sentebale on the winners’ podium (l-r): Stephen Williams, Teddy Williams, Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, Sir Charles Williams, Prince Harry and Mark Tomlinson
The prince falls, but Apes Hill’s stock rises Karen Kranenburg watched the Sentebale side rally to victory against the South African visitors in the inaugural match in a new charity series he last day in January represented a massive coup for Apes Hill Club Barbados with the royal seal of approval. If you hadn’t heard of high-goal patron Sir Charles Williams’s sprawling and extravagant golf and polo resort in Barbados before the game, there’s a good chance you will have done by now. Princes Harry of England and Seeiso of Lesotho arrived on the Caribbean island for a three-day official visit, which they used to raise funds and awareness for the humanitarian effort in Haiti, as well as for their own charity, Sentebale. This was set up in 2006 to work with orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho, the tiny landlocked kingdom in southern Africa. Harry spent part of his gap year there, and with his host
Photographs by Mike Harris
40 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Prince Seeiso formed the charity in memory of their mothers, who had both done extensive work with children afflicted by poverty and the HIV/Aids virus. It was for this second worthy cause that 1,200 spectators dug deep into their pockets and joined together at Apes Hill for the inaugural annual Sentebale Polo Cup. The cup will be contested in a polo match in a different location around the world each year, spreading awareness about their charity. However, for its glitzy Bajan launch, organisers arranged for a particularly appropriate set of opponents. South Africa, the country which borders Lesotho, fielded a strong 10-goal side – under the name of the Tshwene Lodge Spoofers – comprising Guy Watson (5), Tom de Bruin (5) and Chick Leigh (-1) alongside Sir Charles Williams’s stepson George
Gemmell (1). They arrived on the island a week before their royal encounter to enjoy the Bajan hospitality and prepare for the big match. The Sentebale side was represented by Prince Harry (1), Teddy Williams (3), Stephen Williams (2) and Mark Tomlinson (7). The prince’s many other charity obligations and the arrival of England’s Mark Tomlinson only shortly before the game meant the side had no chance to prepare together before match day. However, Tomlinson is already well familiar with the facilities and ground at Apes Hill, having played for Sir Charles Williams’s successful British-based high-goal team for three seasons, and the Williams brothers were on home turf. Sure enough, this gave Sentebale the edge, despite the Tshwene Lodge Spoofers’ 11/2 goals
PTMarch 2010 p40-41 Barbados YC GM
Clockwise from above: the Barbados Zouave Band march and play; action from the big day; Prince Harry in action in the four-chukka match at Apes Hill Club Barbados
received on handicap. After a slow start, Sentebale took control in the second chukka as Prince Harry, Teddy Williams and Mark Tomlinson got on the score sheet and nullified the early deficit. Harry then took a well-publicised fall in
unable to prevent Mark Tomlinson from landing a late winner that gave Sentebale the narrowest of victories. The final chukka was uninspiring in truth, despite so much still being at stake, but Tomlinson emerged as the hero of
The Sentebale Cup will be contested in a polo match in a different location around the world each year the third chukka, as his stumbling pony gave him a closer look at the exclusive Apes Hill real estate first hand, but he recovered to line-up for the fourth, which began with the scores tightly poised at 51/2-5 to the Tshwene Lodge Spoofers. South African Tom de Bruin had been the star performer up to this point, but he was
what overall proved to be a generally uninspiring game of polo, enlivened by a few fleeting moments of brilliance, yet for an exceedingly worthy cause. F â—— Karen Kranenburg is editor and publisher of
Polo & More, Barbados.
Sentebale Polo Cup; 31 January; Apes Hill Club, Barbados Result: Sentebale beat The Tshwene Lodge Spoofers from South Africa, 6-51/2 Principal sponsors: Quintessentially, Almond Resorts Handicap level: 13 goal Chukka scores (Sentebale): 1-21/2; 4-41/2; 5-51/2; 6-51/2 Most valuable player: Mark Tomlinson Teams: Sentebale (13): HRH Prince Harry 1; Teddy Williams 3; Stephen Williams 2; Mark Tomlinson 7 The Tshwene Lodge Spoofers (10): Guy Watson 5; Tom de Bruin 5; Chick Leigh -1; George Gemmell 1
www.polotimes.co.uk March 2010 41
PTMarch 2010 p42-43 Ladies YC PJ
Report ICWI Ladies’ Tri-Nations in Jamaica
Jamaica’s Lesley-Ann Masterton Fong-Yee and England’s Sophie Kyriazi report on a busy week’s action, on beach, field and coffee table, as the British tourists lift the inaugural Ladies’ Tri-Nations Trophy after a whirlwind tour nspired by the success of a similar event in Africa and the rapid exponential growth of women’s polo the world over, a wise group of enthusiasts decided that an international ladies’ tournament for multiple nations in the Western world was long overdue. Organised by the Jamaican Polo Association, the ICWI Ladies Tri-Nations was born, with visiting teams invited from the UK and US to compete against each other and their Caribbean hosts. England’s side was put together by two of its leading lights in the ladies’ game, Lucy Taylor and Tamara Vestey, who selected Rosie Ross, Di Jack and Sophie Kyriazi to compete alongside captain Lucy and fly the St George’s flag. The Jamaican side featured the island’s most improved players of 2008 and 2009 – in Rachel
Photographs by Shane Chin/Cheryl Burke
42 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Turner and Michele Subaran – playing alongside alternates Nagina Newman and Anna Dougall, under the guidance of their well-known captain, Lesley-Ann Masterton Fong-Yee. Lesley has spent a life in the saddle and has been a stalwart in medium-goal internationals and ladies’ tournaments the world over for decades. These two sides met an American contingent led by one-goaler Karen Reese, a regular visitor to Jamaica, and a player familiar to several travelling Jamaican players who have accepted her hospitality at home in Aiken, South Carolina. All three nations convened in Kingston on 18 January for a reception hosted by the Hon Denis Lalor, and stayed at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. At Kingston Polo Club, in the opening competitive fixture, England beat Jamaica 5-3.
The party moved 130 miles round the north arc of the island to Toby’s Resort in Montego Bay two days later, joining up with a new set of local sponsors and supporters for a sumptuous dinner at Coyaba Beach Resort before England’s second game on 21 January, against the US. Captain Lucy Taylor once again led from the front, this time at the private club of local player John G Byles, Chukka Blue in Sandy Bay. Taylor scored five goals as the Brits snuck a 6-5 victory and she took the bragging rights after a compelling duel with her opposite number, Karen Reese. Byles’s Chukka Adventure Tours holiday company then arranged for all three teams and their families, friends and grooms to swim their horses in the sea, before embarking on a short hop further anticlockwise round the island to the
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England meet the US. Opposite (behind, l-r): Sophie Kyriazi, Rosie Ross, Lucy Taylor, Fiona Eagle, Karen Reese; (in front): Di Jack, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs, Cecelia Cochran
biggest resort on Jamaica’s west coast, Negril. The group spent a delightful day roaming the sevenmile beach and its attractions before everyone’s attentions turned to the next crucial game, between Jamaica and the US back at Chukka Blue. The late arrival of some of the ponies caused slight disruption to the teams, and seemed especially to effect the hosts, who struggled to contain the revitalised American side more and more as the game went on, eventually losing 5-1. This meant England and the US would fight it out for the inaugural ICWI Ladies Tri-Nations Trophy in a Sunday final back in Kingston. Every member of the US side had bagged a goal against Jamaica and so they were in confident mood, with Reese and Eagle in particular performing at the peak of their abilities. Sure enough, the Americans started the brighter in the decisive game, taking an early lead and dominating all the early exchanges. However, they failed to capitalise on many of the opportunities they created and were left to rue this as the Brits made a spirited comeback in the third chukka, thanks largely to a superb 40-yard goal from Rosie Ross that appeared to bring her side back to life. She and Taylor then led England past the despondent Americans, who saw their early lead
crushed by a 5-2 British victory in what was a riveting final contest. “The Jamaicans very kindly surrendered some of their best ponies for the earlier exhibition game, as they did throughout the tournament,” said England’s Sophie Kyriazi. “This gave both us and the Americans some extra fire power and the
‘The Lalors, Shane Chin, John G Byles and Lesley lent us fabulous horses – we often rode better ones than our hosts’ final was a great game. It was a lot tougher than the score indicates. “If it wasn't for Rosie's very vocal leadership and determination in the third chukka, the outcome could have been very different.” Sure enough, Ross picked up the most valuable player award from the wife of the recently appointed High Commissioner, who had earlier thrown in the ball to start the final, and then Lucy Taylor and her side lifted the trophy.
“It’s been an incredible tour,” said Ross after the presentations. “The horses were all great and it’s a credit to our hosts – we couldn’t have been better looked after.” Ross’s mount from the decisive third chukka that changed the game was deservedly awarded the best playing pony rug and captain Lucy Taylor echoed her sentiment. “The Lalors, Shane Chin, John G Byles and Lesley all lent fantastic horses throughout, meaning that we were often riding better horses than our hosts.” Everyone then retired to the Kingston Polo Club clubhouse for lunch and the high-energy party that always follows tournaments on this wonderful Caribbean island with Lucy Taylor and Karen Kranenburg in attendance. The coffee table got its usual workout, and the fun with the chandeliers will be well remembered. F Teams England (2): Sophie Kyriazi -1; Di Jack 0; Rosie Ross 2; Lucy Taylor 1 USA (2): Fiona Eagle 0; Cecelia Cochran 0; Erica Gandomcar-Sachs 1; Karen Reese 1 Jamaica (2): Nagina Newman/Anna Dougall -1; Michele Subaran 0; Rachel Turner 1; Lesley Fong-Yee 2
www.polotimes.co.uk March 2010 43
PTMarch 2010 p44-49 Home & Abroad YC PJ
Reports At home and abroad Australia
From goalfest to beerfest Troy Buntine watches America fall to their hosts on Stella Artois’s big day in Melbourne before the Aussie, NZ and British pros flex their muscles in a pacey and intense second match very summer in Australia, and in particular Victoria, the polo season produces some special days. The Stella Artois International Day in February was one such occasion, with an American outfit travelling to the state to take on the locals and the resulting 7-goal game fully befitting its “feature match” title. Unfortunately for the guests, they went down to the local heroes 10-3 after Victorian Polo Academy guru Luke O’Leary and his teammates took the Americans to school, with a solid 10-3 victory. The encounter excited the audience by raining goals, but lacked a free-flowing feel. The American team, which featured patron Tareq Salahi, who hit the headlines recently for his foray into the White House, keen couple Alan and Deborah Nash, and Douglas Barnes, were warmly welcomed to Australia, and enjoying the generous hospitality of the Victorian Polo Club during their stay. The match served as the perfect warm-up for the action that followed – a 17-goal game involving some favourite sons. The Stella Artois Southern Australian team certainly looked strong on paper. It fielded globetrotting Victorian Ruki Baillieu, South Australian defensive specialist Gillon McLachlan, his brother Hamish, soon to be returning to the Audi Polo Awards lectern, and adopted local, the Englishman Corin Gibbs. The Stella Artois Internationals brought in the big guns to counterattack. Englishman Sam Gairdner (5), former English captain Andrew Hine (4), the
legend known as ‘The Beard’ – New Zealander Greg Keyte (5) and adopted International Matt O’Leary (2) made up the squad. Keyte once again dominated for the Internationals, taking out the La Martina MVP. As expected, the match went to the wire and was laden with pace, intensity and skill. Scores were tied in the fifth chukka, with the Internationals pulling away in the last to clock a 14-11 win to take the Stella Artois International Cup, the bragging rights, and the flowing Stella Artois itself. Bring on the International in 2011! Stella Artois February International Polo Tournament 7 February, Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre, Vicorian Polo Club Results: VIC defeated USA 10-3; Internationals defeated Southern Australia 14-11 Principal sponsor: Stella Artois Handicap level: Victoria v USA 7-goal, Internationals v Southern Australia 17-goal MVP: Greg Keyte Best playing pony: “Promise”, a grey mare played and owned by Ruki Baillieu Teams Victoria (7): Rob Abbott 2; Luke O’Leary 2; David Yunghanns 1; Sam Baillieu 2 USA (7): Tareq Salahi 1; Deborah Nash 2; Douglas Barnes 3; Alan Nash 1 Final : Internationals defeated Southern Australia
SPECTATORS AT THE THIRD annual Hanover Charity matches played at Chukka Blue Polo Club near Montego Bay were treated to a closely fought main game last month, when Chukka Blue owner John G Byles’ Scotia Bank side held out to beat Round Hill, 5-4. The 12-goal showpiece was the highlight of the Valentine’s weekend extravaganza, which at one stage looked to be threatened by rain when large black clouds bore down that morning. A fast four-chukka game provided plenty of excitement, with enjoyable midfield battles on the dry, bouncy ground, but ultimately Shane Chin’s missed 20-yard from-the-spot penalty against the post cost the Round Hill team, who lost by one. Theirs was an all-star line-up, as Jamaican reggae musician Andy Vernon also turned out for Round Hill alongside the island’s highest-rated black player Craig Russell and the Jamaican minister for energy and mining, the Hon James Robertson. 44 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Visiting player shines in ladies’ three-way tie
Plenty of spectators turned out to see Val de Vie (in pink) sneak a narrow victory Mark Wates in action for Scotia Bank
The day’s games raised money for the various needy causes on Jamaica’s north-west coast that are supported by the Hanover Charity organisations, such as the Westhaven Home for Disabled and Abandoned Children. Teams Scotia Bank (12): John G Byles 2; Kurt Chin 4; Mark Wates 4; Mark Melville 1 Round Hill (12): Craig Russell 2; Shane Chin 2; Andy Vernon 4; James Robertson 3
Photographs by Anel Steyn
Photograph by Cheryl Burke
Tight game rewards generous donors
CAPE TOWN’S FIRST ladies’ polo tournament was held at the Val de Vie Wine and Polo Estate from 12-14 February and welcomed large crowds in idyllic Cape summer weather. They witnessed four teams go head-to-head in an American-style round-robin tournament, with players made up largely of local ladies, as well as what organiser Jo Lister described as one male “thorn” in each side. However, the men were not allowed to score, with the punishment being that they would be forced to jettison items of clothing if they did – the polo equivalent of strip poker! At the end of the two days of fierce competition, the Bongani Mountain Lodge, Britesmile and Val de Vie sides were all tied at the top of the table with two wins each. However, Val de Vie’s superior scoring record announced them as the winners by a narrow margin. One of the tournament’s few players from outside the Cape Town area was awarded the most valuable player prize, as the winning side’s Jacqui Mackenzie from Plettenburg Bay deservedly took home the spoils. A bigger event is already reportedly in the pipeline for next year.
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Hodges and McCarthys hit form
Action for a great cause
AFTER WHAT SEEMED like weeks of white midwinter a valiant effort was made to remove the snow from the arena, with play resuming on 15 January. Thanks to the grooms braving the weather and some clever ideas for exercise, the horses were kept fit right through the snowy period. The first match to be played was the postponed Pig Trophy, and with a demand for a higher level of play the handicap limit was increased to 6-9 goal. The final was won by Emlor – a family affair – with Clinton McCarthy, daughter Laura Ormerod and son-in-law Maurice Ormerod, who defeated Watersfield 13-10. The following week an incredibly closely fought Watersfield Trophy took place, also 6-9 goal. Three teams played a league over three days, with one match ending as a draw, and the others decided by a goal. Once again Emlor were triumphant, with brothers Clinton and Spencer McCarthy well supported by Giles Ormerod. Regent Tailoring attended in force for the last weekend of polo in January, appearing to bring their entire shop with them for the final of the 5-7-goal Regent Tailoring Trophy. Emlor once again ran out the winners, beating Ridgebacks 16-10, Harold Hodges this time supporting the McCarthy brothers. After an explosive first chukka by Emlor, with Spencer slotting in five goals in the first chukka, Ridgebacks had to battle to get back into the game. The first weekend in February was a busy one. Ferne Park emerged winners of the 3-5-goal Forest Edge Rosebowl, beating Poloreg.com in the semi-final to face Fair Haven in the final. Harold Hodges, who put in 10 goals in all, kept Fair Haven a goal ahead throughout, but Ferne Park stole the show in the last 30 seconds after a simple yet effective solo run to goal by Druids polo manager James Stephenson took them ahead. Stephenson and Marcus Goess-Saurau worked exceptionally well together during this game, and Jonathan Rothermere denied Fair Haven a draw with a dramatic save in the dying seconds with the score remaining at 14-13 on the final bell. In the subsidiary final Poloreg.com came back from 11–6 down to draw 15–15.
THE SECOND Heaton-Ellis Trust tournament at Watership Down, Hants, took place on 6-7 February. With four teams in the 4-goal and four in the 6goal it was well supported for this worthy cause. The weather was Arctic, so everybody wrapped up well, and appreciated the mulled wine and bacon sandwiches in the marquee. A raffle ran over the weekend, for which prizes were given by local businesses. James White, Sean Dayus and David Morley took charge of umpiring. Sunday’s 6-goal final, between Stuart Ditcham's Merlin and Martin Ephson's Poulton, was a fantastic game played end to end, but no one could quite catch Marcus Hancock and Merlin won 11-6. In the 4-goal final, Four Quarters defeated Ginyko, husband-and-wife team Simon and Romilla Arber playing well together with David Morley and winning the day. In the subsidiary of the 6-goal, Warren Scott's Grange overcame
Photographs by Carolyn Yencken/www.greatphotos.com.au
Clockwise from left: Hamish McLachlan (for Southern Australia) and Matt O’Leary (for Internationals), with Ruki Baillieu and Andrew Hine behind; the winning Internationals team of Sam Gairdner, Greg Keyte, Matt O’Leary and Andrew Hine; keen local players Jonathan Rush (–2), Arthur Yencken (0) and Will Dwyer (–2) enjoy some sponsor beverages
Sophie Heaton-Ellis with son Geordie
Watership Down. In the 4-goal subfinal, between Reading and Sapphire, Catriona Baker landed a bash to her face from James White's horse but played on to win the game. Sophie Heaton-Ellis, who with her husband David set up the Heaton-Ellis Trust, wishes to thank everyone for their support. Funds raised go to the trust, which raises money to support research into motor neurone disease, from which David, a keen and popular polo player, teacher and organiser, died last year. X
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Hope you enjoy the coming season More than this winterâ€™s experience of global warming.
ATS Weâ€™ve got everything for polo Look on our website:
www.satsfaction.com Phone us on: 01285 841 542 Fax us on: 01285 841 546 Email us on: sats@lineone .net South American Trade Services, Sandpool House, Sandpool Lane, Tarlton, Cirencester, Glos GL7 6PB
46 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
PTMarch 2010 p44-49 Home & Abroad YC PJ
At home and abroad Reports Dubai
Hosts win second UAE Nations Cup X IN LATE JANUARY THE Middle East’s smartest
polo clubs pitted a quartet of countries against one another in one of the highlights of its season, the Desert Palm UAE Nations Cup. The UAE, US, Nigeria and Pakistan gathered at Desert Palm Polo Club in Dubai for the second annual running of the tournament, the only one in which these nations come together – indeed one of only a few inter-nation fixtures worldwide. Devised to highlight polo’s growing popularity in the district, it also celebrates Desert Palm as a leading polo destination as well as a luxury spa resort operated by Per AQUUM. In action for team UAE were Rashid Bin Drai, Musab Alwandanwi, Desert Palm owner Ali Albwardy and Argentine Martin Valent, a pro on Albwardy’s Dubai team in England. Together they beat team USA (Alan Meeker, Bob Mehm, Alan Martinez and Wilf Laugher) 8-6 in the final. Pakistan took third when they inflicted a 9-2 defeat over Nigeria, which was led by a player familiar to UK spectators – Prince Albert Esiri. Luxury brands such as EFG Group and genetics company Crestview sponsored the event, with “support partners” including the UK clothing company Akuma Polo. Luminaries at the sidelines included HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, HPA chairman Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers and His Grace the Duke of Argyll, all of whom presented prizes to the winners. Pakistan’s Muhammad Asif Hafiz and Crestview
From left: winner Ali Albwardy with HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan; Muhammad Asif Hafiz and the Duke of Argyll; Argentine Martin Valent in action
Genetics’ Alan Meeker of the USA received special awards from Jaeger-LeCoultre, recognising them as official “brand ambassadors” for polo in the UAE and the Middle East. After the event’s second successful year, event organiser Equus Passport hopes to continue the fixture at Desert Palm in future years.
Photograph by Credit Maxima Consulting
Gonzalez and Lodder lead victory charge A CROWD OF 1,000 gathered at the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club to watch the final of the 14-goal Mercedes-Benz–B Grimm Thai Polo Open, writes Dara Williams. Seven teams had entered, and Brits Nacho Gonzalez and Matt Lodder were among the quartet that lifted the winners’ trophy. Playing for Harilela The Next Level, formed by Hong Kong businessman Aron Harilela, they and Hissam Ali Hyder met Satinder Garcha’s Jogo Elevation, fielding Argentine Gerardo Manzini, Quizer Ambak and Indian player Simiram Sergil, in the final. Garcha, captain of Singapore Polo Club, is the son of Indian polo legend Colonel Garcha. The fixture is one of Thailand’s premier social events, and finalists were led onto the field by children from the flourishing junior polo programme instigated by
Nunthinee Tanner; and by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Though Jogo Elevation began well, Harilela The Next Level had a 4-1 lead by half-time, and Jogo Elevation never recovered. A superb field goal by Lodder sealed Harilela’s 8-1 win. A Thai Polo Club side, led by owner Harald Link, with Brits Andrew Hine and Ollie Cudmore, beat Royal Pahang to third place. The sole female player in the fray was Claudia Zeisberger, in her second year at the tournament. Based in Singapore, she is a professor at global business school INSEAD. The Open, also backed by EFG Bank, raised £24,000 for the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Charities Fund Chitrlada Vocational School. Umpires were Tim Keyte, Jason Dixon and club manager Roddy Matthews.
Action in front of the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club’s striking clubhouse, the Chukka Bar, between Harilela The Next Level and Jogo Elevation
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At home and abroad Reports Argentina
And the winner is… a Heguy!
After lectures comes the league
X THE 19TH ABIERTO DE Polo for the Horacio y
Gonzalo Heguy Cup took place at Chapaluefu Polo Club in La Pampa, from 4-7 February. The tournament featured six teams of up to 29 goals – and all but one team featured at least one Heguy. Britons featured too – this year both George and Charlie Hanbury played, following in the footsteps of Luke (winner in 2004 and 2007) and Mark (winner in 2003) Tomlinson. The final, between Bautista Heguy's Chapa Bar and Eduardo Heguy's La Gitana, took place on the stunning number one ground, surrounded by majestic decades-old eucalyptus trees, planted when the club was founded by the Heguy family almost 80 years ago.
The first half was dominated by La Gitana and ended 5-3, including a particularly impressive flatout run to goal by Charlie Hanbury and some perfectly converted penalties by Eduardo. Chapa Bar fought back in the second half, and despite very impressive play by Nito Uranga for La Gitana, Chapa Bar won 11-10 in the last 15 seconds, with Bautista proving that he most certainly still "has it"! Teams Chapa Bar (26): Bautista de Urbana 5; Julian de Lusarreta 5; Juan Martin Zavaleta 7; Bautista Heguy 9 La Gitana (26): Charlie Hanbury 4; Nito Uranga 6; Augustin Nero 7; Eduardo Heguy 9
Photograph by Alice Gipps
Charlie Hanbury en route to goal in the final last month
◗ FORMER DRUIDS LODGE polo manager
Is this the next St Moritz?
Photograph © I. POLO KLUB Bratislava 1888, Martin Îilka
FOLLOWING ITS HUGE success last year the University League has once again been hosted by Druids Lodge over the course of the winter. The number of teams entered from Exeter, Bristol, RAC, UWE and Southampton universities had to be capped at a total of 10. With such demand from the numerous universities across the South of England competition has been fierce and there have been some great team performances. The league was established to give the more experienced students competitive polo on a regular basis. The weekly three-chukka matches have been great fun and well supported by university club peers. RAC, UWE, and Exeter teams finished in the top two of their leagues, and the final place play-offs will be played in March. Druids Lodge’s reputation for first-class coaching continues and we are excited that Troop Leaders from Bovington have joined the ranks; the club is also due to welcome Bournemouth students next month. Schools coaching continues to grow, with Sandroyd and Lee Hurst Swann joining Dauntsey’s and St Mary’s. Meanwhile Marlborough College, Bryanston and Milton Abbey are looking forward to their end of term interschool matches as part of their coaching schedule at Druids Lodge. The interschool matches continue through the summer, involving each school that trains at Druids Lodge at various levels.
SNOW POLO CAME to Slovakia last month, in the Tatras mountains. Four three-man teams gathered at Vysoké Tatry for the J&T Bank Trophy, with players coming from Slovakia, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain, plus an Austrian substitute and an Argentine umpire. With organisers and J&T Bank cooperating with Bratislava Polo Club to pull in sponsors, the winners were BMW, followed by Park Snow, Bollinger and – unusually for them, on past snow records – Cartier in fourth. BMW fielded Frenchman Mariano Lopez (3)
The winning side, of two Slovakians and a Frenchman, lift the cup
and the 0-goal Slovak players Vincent Sagart and Martin Magal. Some 10,000 spectators watched the event, held to promote a tourism initiative in the High Tatras in which private bank J&T are investors. And the polo contingent, at least, sampled the existing tourist infrastructure in style. As in St Moritz, players stayed in luxury in a local Kempinski – the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras. Unlike in Switzerland, the hotel also put up the horses, according to a report by German polo glossy PACE. PACE added that the lake on which matches were played, is frozen 155 days a year. J&T’s Patrik Tkac told PACE : “In the next years we want to invest 90 million Euros in the region.”
Fi Stephenson (right) – no relation to current incumbent James – has spent the past month on Haiti after volunteering to help in the earthquake-struck country. Fi, who has played polo at Tidworth, Taunton and Druids Lodge and was once PA to Carlos Gracida, originally went for a fortnight, funding her own flight and taking two weeks’ unpaid leave. She is trained as a midwife, and lately has been working in the A&E department of Salisbury District Hospital. Fi was asked to stay another month to head up the establishment of a hospital, again on a voluntary basis. If polo folk would like to donate towards a fund that goes directly towards Fi’s work in Haiti, Clare McNamara is the UK collecting point (email@example.com; 01722 782300).
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Feature Yard revamp special
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alfway down Crouch Lane, Winkfield, crumbling white concrete pillars have been replaced by smart electric gates and the corrugated steel hiding a “breakers’ yard” have been cleared away, writes Caroline Stern. During winter 2007-08, curiosity was rife in the district following the sale of Ranelagh Farm, hitherto part of Tony Pidgley’s Cadenza estate adjacent to RCBPC. The causes of this local interest were Fatboyz patron Roy Moed and his dressagerider wife, Yvette Conn. South-African born Roy challenged himself by learning to fly a plane aged 40 and, though new to riding, took up polo at 50. After four years in polo, Roy bought the 35-acre farm in December 2007, moving within a fortnight from first viewing to completion, via roadside calls from Argentina. Roy and Yvette’s welcome to Berkshire was ungracious – a break-in on handover day. “Within hours of the previous tenants and their Alsatian leaving, thieves stripped large portions of lead from the roof and copper from the boiler, which flooded the whole house,” Roy explains. Yvette oversaw a 90-day clear up of what she describes as “two collapsing barns, three derelict boats, 18 obsolete fridges and ducks on the polo field”. Eleven industrial lorries removed rubbish, including 200 car tyres. Having put the Wombles to shame, Roy and Yvette sought contractors to improve existing facilities, with the proviso that the property had to be ready for horses to move into by
March 2008. The arena was damaged and an exercise track was needed. Roy obtained three quotes for the 500m track. “Some were remarkably cheap, but I wanted quality. I opted for the firm that put in the original field and they did an excellent job, putting in seven-day weeks and 12-hour days.” This was Whitehorse Contractors Ltd, known locally not only in polo but for rebuilding the Ascot Racecourse track in 2004. The existing arena was cleared of underlying rocks and the surface removed. New drainage was installed and a welded liner covered with a new surface. Due to planning, this was kept to its original dimensions of 90x40m. The yard, from house to exercise track, was Tarmac-ed. And Tarmac was also used over the substrate and drainage of the exercise track before being finished with premium wood chip. The project was delayed by a month due to the requirement for archeological digs probing the putative exercise track. “The planning consent required us to pay archaeologists to supervise six dig pits around the track to ensure there were no artefacts found.” Despite this, the rubbish was cleared and the arena, barns and stables were ready in 90 days. Roy and Yvette contributed ideas throughout. “I believe in quality,” is Roy’s rationale. “I had never done a project on this scale, but am used to putting quality into whatever I undertake.” “The exercise track will be good for 20 years,” Roy explains. The middle area was land drained and laser levelled and the couple hired a 12-man ground crew to de-stone it X
This picture: a thorough clear-up was needed at Ranelagh Farm. Inset: the polo ground at Ranelagh Farm now
Makeover marvels A FAVOURITE STABLING option for smart polo set-ups, Scotts of Thrapston, is this year celebrating its 90th birthday. Scotts provides high-quality and distinctive stables for UK and overseas developments. One such project was for entrepreneur Hedley Aylott, founder of the White Rose Polo Club in Yorkshire. Aylott puts his facilities to use entertaining clients and staging teambuilding events for staff at his online marketing firm, involving them in polo. Others, such as Alex Clover's Vicarage Farm (right) near Newmarket, have incorporated design influences from the international circuit, such as terracotta roof tiles and bold timber stains. Zoe Dolan, sales manager, says: “We work with clients to meet various needs, not only to house polo teams but hunters, family ponies and other types. We design bespoke solutions and pride ourselves in the high standard of finish.” www.scottsofthrapston.co.uk A LEADING BRITISH firm has been capitalising on polo’s worldwide growth, carrying out major infrastructure projects in locations from Spain to Sri Lanka. Equibuild, the installer of Softrack surface, worked with the team at Todham, laying the Tarmac and supplying and making the Softrack wax surface (see main feature), but this was a small job for the company. Last year Equibuild completed the indoor arena at Polo del Sol near Jerez as well as two grass fields, a 100x50 floodlit arena and an indoor arena in Poland. They have done work for Tony Pidgley and for Jean-Francois Decaux in France, and future major projects are planned in Sri Lanka, Oman and the UK. While Equibuild’s main business is arenas and gallops, the firm can do “the package” from conception to completion, to include stabling, accommodation and so on. Director Hugh Daly says: “Abroad, we find local suppliers and planners, and the surface is usually shipped out in containers, though it can be made on site, worldwide. For Poland we filled an entire ship.” Softrack is Equibuild’s preferred surface. For a 100x50 arena, “from womb to tomb”, the spend is £250,000 to £300,000. “If you scrimp, you get problems,” warns Daly. “Most polo clients require simplicity and perfection.” The firm is backing the game in other ways: at the HPA National Championships at RCBPC an Equibuild team won (see page 32) and an Equibuild side also played at Klosters this year (page 88). www.equibuild.com LORNA JOWETT, Polo Times’s feeding guru (see page 69) and nutritionist for Baileys Horse Feeds, has four main tips for managing feed and forage at a yard. She recommends: “Ensure your feed is stored in a cool, dark, dry place and used within the use-by date. Keep your feed room clean and vermin-free, sweep up after every feed, and especially thoroughly before a new delivery. Give feed and water buckets a scrub at least weekly. And hay/haylage must be kept dry, and out of reach of yard dogs!”
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Feature Yard revamp special Makeover marvels VISIT ANY SUBSTANTIAL polo yard and more often than not you’ll find temporary stabling of some description. West of England Stabling, a major supplier of temporary and permanent stabling – which installed the boxes in Todham’s American barn (see main feature) – says demand has been increasing. A third of the firm’s business goes to polo clients, and among customers are Ellerston, Les Lions, Alan Kent and Trippetts, which was their biggest polo project. “They’re made of tough, reclaimed hardwood and galvanized steel – they’re pretty much indestructible,” says Pip Wiegersma from the family-run firm (of eventing fame – daughter Lucy Wiegersma is an international rider). “Permanent ones use the same materials but with a prettier finish.” Polo folk favour the smallest size, 10x10ft, and Henrik Wiegersma, Pip’s husband, adds: “Polo people don’t have especially different needs to other disciplines, but they tend to decide on Tuesday that they need 90 stables by Wednesday – and it’s not the Alan Kents that can’t make up their minds, but their customers!” Stables start at £22.50 a week. www.westofenglandstabling.co.uk TWO POLO PLAYERS in South Africa have customised a colonial-style gun rack to create a “silent groom” for the polo field. Rob and Rick Melvill, of safari gear firm Melvill & Moon, have devised the polo rack (below) as an accessory for organising the player’s day. Constructed of African mahogany with veg tan leather and brass fittings, the polo rack can stand by with mallets and balls for access during stick and ball practice or for a change of mallet during a decisive chukka; helmets, knee pads and other bits and pieces can also hang there. Foldable and with a webbing strap for portability, the rack is a stylish combination of form and function. The idea of customising a traditional gun rack for polo evolved at Rick’s farm Prynnsberg – a historic home with its own field in the Easter Free State, where Rick keeps ponies. Rick, a lifelong polo addict, also plays in the north-western suburbs of Johannesburg, at Crocodile Creek Polo Club, while Rob used to play regularly at Nairobi when the family lived in Kenya. www. melvillandmoon.com; goods are available in the UK from SandRiver Trading AN INDUSTRY INSIDER has told Polo Times that employers who scrimp on grooms’ lodgings are operating a false economy. Susi Northen, who founded and runs the website YardandGroom.com, says: “Lodgings are extremely important for staff, and of the complaints we receive about employers, accommodation and living conditions are two of the most common. After a long day, there’s nothing worse than returning to cold, damp room with little comfort – especially in winter! “Sometimes, there is no heating or hot water. The bottom line is, treat your grooms as you’d like to be treated! I love the saying ‘No foot no horse’, but I love my version more: ‘No groom, no horse’!”
52 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Clockwise from above: Ranelagh Farm in development; owner Roy Moed; the finished field, approved by the HPA
X manually before seeding, using trowels to dig
several inches below the surface after the usual machinery to push stones underground had passed over. “Before laying the woodchip,” says Roy, “we had a ‘fun-day’ with professional drivers taking guests at speeds of up to 75mph on the Tarmac underlay to prove its strength.” Roy deplores the tendency to house grooms in substandard accommodation: “I made the grooms’ accommodation top quality, which is respectfully treated – give people somewhere decent to live and they look after it.” Ranelagh Farm’s polo field is HPA-approved for high-goal, featuring a height differential of 0.6 meters between the ends. Roy and Yvette stage invitation-only tournaments each summer, at 2-goal and 4-goal levels and restricted to four teams over a weekend. This is always followed by a BBQ with Corona flowing liberally. “Having never played on a high-goal field, I thought I couldn’t hit the ball,” says Roy. “This has all changed and I now offer low-goalers the same chance to use a quality field. They love it.”
Summer 2009’s highlight was organised by Yvette, the only amateur to train with Swedish dressage Olympian Kyra Kyrklund, and jointowner of Kyra’s horse Max. Yvette invited 400 officials, judges and competitors taking part in the European Dressage Championships at Windsor, including the FEI President , Princess Haya of Jordan, to a 12-goal final at Ranelagh alongside players including HPA chairman Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers. Twenty-one horses live on site, including Roy’s first pony, the eponymous Fatboy (now 28). After his first lesson at RCBPC, Roy paid his friend Alison Kelly £500 for pony and tack. “The essence of Ranelagh Farm is good polo and good company – as can be seen on our website [www.ranelaghfarm.com]. The friendly atmosphere is how polo should be. Ranelagh is not a club; invited players contribute to costs. We welcome nice people only, no fighting with umpires, swearing or misbehaving.” For anyone seeking to emulate the Moeds’ example, Roy suggests: “You need at least 25-35 acres; the polo field alone uses up to 10. Above
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Makeover marvels AN INGENIOUS FEED storage system is catching on in the polo world, with Rugby and West Wycombe clubs among the converts. Chestnut Horse Feeds, which delivers “bulk bins” with a Chestnut feed of choice, obviating the need for storage, opening and disposal of bags, reports a wave of interest from the polo community. The bulk bins, which won product of the year at Your Horse Live in 2008, come in two sizes up to 230kg and 390kg – equivalent to 8-15 bags, on wheels. They arrive filled with British-produced feed, made and mixed at the firm’s Midlands mill. “We sell 80 per cent of our horse feed in bulk bins,” explains Lisa Roberts from Chestnut. “We provide feed in bulk bins to show pony producers, polo yards and everything in between. We visit new customers for a nutritional assessment to recommend the appropriate feed, and deliver weekly to all areas.” Many polo clients opt for the Chestnut Alpha Cool Mix, with alfalfa, wheat, barley, molasses, soya oil and vitamins, while some opt for the high-protein Stud and Performance Mix. “People save time on mixing, and our complete feeds ensure a balanced died with every scoop,” adds Roberts. www.chestnuthorsefeeds.co.uk
for high-goal; Todham’s clubhouse, a listed barn; spectators crowd on to the viewing bank at Ranelagh Farm
all, invest in quality. We now have a desirable property, but if you take on a place, be prepared to spend: maintaining our polo field alone uses 400 tons of sand each year!” hen Malcolm Borwick took on two historic yards on the Cowdray Estate 18 months ago, it was the realisation of a long-held dream, writes Yolanda Carslaw. The England international had seen other UK high-goalers – such as Alan Kent and Andrew Hine – make successes of their own bases, and wanted to do the same. Now, after major redevelopment over winter 2008-09, with the finishing touches put in place this winter, Borwick presides over the new-look Todham, with more than 100 stables, a state-of-the-art exercise track, an expanded polo ground and a beautiful listed clubhouse. “I negotiated for four years to secure the lease,” says Borwick, whose patron in the Enigma high-goal team, Jerome Wirth, has based the entire team there. “George Milford Haven helped advise me on the deal, and I said
to Jerome that I'd take on the lease with or without him. I wanted to be near Cowdray: I loved it in my Pony Club days and I came here to work for Alan Kent in 2005. I have a real affinity with the area’s community and village life, which you don't get in Ascot or Windsor.” Indeed the 24-acre property could not be more central to the club: a former base of Ronnie Driver and Julian Hipwood – who planted weeping willows at the entrance – it sits between the Lawns and Ambersham. It also has a well-established ground, laid by Martin “Sticky” Glue and his wife Wendy, who held the lease from 1993 to 2008, and ran popular chukkas on “Stick’s Lawn” for a decade. With expanded capacity, an exercise track and a general facelift in mind, Borwick and his manager, Mark Hyde, enlisted local planning consultant Elizabeth Lawrence. They decided only to use local suppliers and workers, including British firms Equibuild, installer of Softrack, and West of England Stabling. Nick Hallam, who worked on Trippetts and Stedham, X came in as the main site contractor.
IF YOU’VE FELT tractor envy at Cowdray or Guards during high-goal half-time tidy-up, here’s some inside information. The monsters keeping the fields in top condition at these clubs come from the appropriately named Major Equipment, a leading supplier of grass-cutting machinery. Polo clubs and racecourses favour similar models, in cutting widths from 8ft (2.4m) to 20ft (6.1m). The most popular polo model is the TDR20000 roller mower. Spokesman Eibhlin Murphy says: “This is a three-deck machine with a 20ft width. The wings can be raised, letting the operator mow around obstacles, and the cutting height altered.” Murphy adds that polo clubs require perfect finishes. Also ideal for large set-ups are the MJ2000 Flail Collector, which mows, scarifies and collects horse waste, and the 1200T topper. Major is developing a front-mounted product for launch this year. www.major-equipment.com GUARDS POLO CLUB has two; Longdole treasures its model; show jumper William Funnell says his has saved him £7,000 in six months: the purpose-built industrial washing machine is fast becoming a must-have accessory at busy yards. Supplier Laundry Machine Ltd leases and sells these giant white goods new and reconditioned. They come in various sizes ranging from the basic model, yours for £2,000, to a coin- or token-operated giant-size machine with a capacity for 20 turnout rugs. Laundry Machine sales director Ian Rollinson says: “You could fit your horse in there, never mind the rug.” He added that the cost of a wash in a regular large washer equates to about £1.20 per load. Using outside services in the Sussex area would cost around £25 per wash. The equipment, which is made in Spain, is supplied throughout the UK and abroad. The firm also supplies reproofing solutions and dryers. www.laundry-machine.com
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Feature Yard revamp special Makeover marvels
Mark Hyde (top) and Malcolm Borwick have overseen the building of a Softrack exercise track, a barn and stabling within
put in 200 stables we'd fill them, but we don't have Major expenses have been the American barn, concrete works and all-weather track. To expand the the infrastructure for that many,” says Hyde. Hyde has also had to think about impact on the polo ground to nearly match-size, contractors also reseeded the former exercise track outside the field. neighbours. “Our drivers go out one way and come back the other,” says Hyde. “You're better having The River Rother provides useful irrigation. two artics than seven smaller lorries, and the non“We got planning permission on 28 December 2008 for the track and barn, had staff here 24/7 for high-goalers hack to Ambersham, Lawns and River.” Finishing touches include post-and-rail corrals, four months and opened on 6 March 2009,” says completing the clubhouse (in a listed barn) and Borwick. “The hardest thing was keeping up with installing a gym (in an adjoining stable block) – payment schedules and making it all happen on private facilities for players based time. Mark Hyde has handled the there. Verbal change-of-use teams on site unbelievably well.” consent has been granted. The exercise track is 460m long “Our pride and joy is the and 6m wide, with a 40x30m clubhouse, with a west-facing schooling area within – the result – Mark Hyde terrace [see August 2009 issue of of a moment of inspiration from Jonny Good, according to Borwick. In the middle is a PT for pictures of the colourful inaugration party],” says Borwick. “When we lost a crucial Gold Cup stick-and-ball or turnout area. “The biggest task was getting the high-goal barn match last season, we cheered ourselves up by completed,” says Hyde, who grew up nearby and has sitting out there with a few beers.” Borwick, who has a 10-year lease with a fiveworked in polo for years. “We didn't start until we year rolling extension – and a favourable rate in had planning consent, but we could get on with return for making major improvements – adds: “We infrastructure such as flooring before then.” aim to be boutique, high-class, friendly and fun. The 55 stables within house ponies belonging to People have to contribute not just financially but to Enigma’s Borwick, Wirth, James Beim and Matias MacDonough. There are 24 boxes at “Great Todham” the atmosphere. I'm grateful Jerome bought into the project and has taken it on as much as I have, and (next to the polo ground) and 26 in the courtyard we've invested a lot of money to get it right.” (“Little Todham”), which have been re-clad with So Borwick is living the dream – albeit in nearby Douglas Fir from Cowdray Estate forestry. Borwick adds: “We've scrapped the idea of Little and Great – Lodsworth and not in Todham’s Georgian farmhouse, part of which he lets; part of which is for grooms. it was the wrong way round, anyway.” “Alix [Borwick’s wife] and I thought we might live Todham is full for 2010; players include Cow on site, but polo is so all-consuming that if you live Williams and his stepson George Gemmell, a at the yard you'd never get away!” he says. F Spanish patron and three new local patrons. “If we
Photographs by Yolanda Carslaw, Roy Moed and Caroline Stern
“If we put in 200 stables, we’d fill them”
54 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
WHEN OUR ESTEEMED columnist Herbert Spencer profiled Great Trippetts, George Milford Haven’s base, last July, he wrote: “I’d be surprised if any polo farm treats its grooms better.” Herbert had inspected their lodgings – more than 30 “deluxe sleepers”, brought to the site by portable lodgings firm Bunkabin. Dubai high-goal team are among others who put grooms up in the 9x14ft cabins (below), which cost £79 a week – or £8 per person per night. “Trippetts was our first polo customer,” says Bunkabin director Luke Rothwell, whose clients include construction sites, festivals and race meetings at Aintree and Ascot. “They have their first lot in March, and ramp up the numbers up towards summer.” The one- to three-bed sleepers, with shower and loo, arrive from depots in Oldham or Dunstable, three or four to a lorry. The “original” model is suitable for shorter stays, while the deluxe, with extra storage, fridge, microwave and floor mats, are best for longer spells. Summer is peak season, with demand at a high over Glastonbury and the bank holidays. And should you by chance require a portable multi-storey car park, Bunkabin has a sister company, Another Level, that can put one up in a couple of days – “like assembling a giant Meccano set,” says Rothwell. www.bunkabin.co.uk A BRITISH FIRM IS launching to the polo market a device that puts an end to the laborious process of soaking hay in water – a practice carried out to rid the forage of mould and dust. The hay steamer, made by Happy Horse Products, came about after engineer Cliff Cogger suggested to a horse-owning friend, whose bad back made soaking her dust-sensitive horse’s hay a trial, that she steam it instead. Cogger experimented with a kettle and hessian sack, constructing a basic steamer using a continuous steam supply on large quantities of hay. Happily, his first makeshift gadget has been transformed into a sophisticated system that now comes in four models and won a BETA award after its launch in 2007. “They’re popular across the board, from happy hackers to the Thoroughbred sector,” says Jenny Doran, spokesman for Happy Horse Products. “The racing boys tend not to feed haylege as it can put weight on; hay is a more natural feed, but dust is a problem.” The Bale Buster (£1,195), takes a bale, while the Professional takes loose hay or four nets. The new Stable Mate (£695), takes 3/4 of a bale, while the Traveller (£185), a bag with a generator, takes a haynet. www.happyhorseproducts.co.uk
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Feature School and university players
Elsa Rochaix; Sylvain Guenot/www.portrait-photographer-gloucestershire.co.uk
As the national university championships enter the history books this month with record participation, Martha Terry asks six up-and-coming SUPA players aged 14 to 22 about their highlights, influences and ambitions
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How did you get started? “I’ve ridden since I was tiny and used to show jump for Wales on ponies, winning national and international grand prix. I decided I wanted to do something different with horses and signed up at the Freshers’ Fair as polo looked fun and competitive. I got hooked very quickly.” Taught by: Glen Percy and Jason Dixon How much do you play? “I ride every day and play polo once or twice a week.” How many ponies: Three (one is owned by Jason Dixon)
Rebecca Griffiths, 22 Studying: Management (third year) at Warwick University (president of polo club) Handicap: –2
Best pony you’ve ridden? “My favourite arena pony is Fizz (Champagne). She is tough, quick and a bit of a monkey. For the summer, it’s Cachita (owned by Jason Dixon). She too is extremely cheeky and frequently tries to headbutt me or stamp on my feet, but is without doubt the best, and fastest, pony I have ever ridden.” Experience abroad: “None yet, but I’m hoping to go to Lyon, France, this summer. I’d love to play
further afield as it’s my last summer before starting a full-time job.” Best polo moment? “I’ve been really lucky; I’ve never lost a national championships since I’ve been playing SUPA. But my real highlight was playing the IWPA National Women’s Polo Championships last year. My team, consisting of two good friends and my sister, were champions of the –8 to –7 division. We were just a batch of students and this was a bit of an eye-opener for us.” Ambition: “I’ve got a graduate’s job at management consultancy firm Accenture. I’ve done internships there and been organising beginners’ polo for the company so I hope to keep that going. I’ve set myself a target of getting to 0 within a couple of years, and will also play SAPA.” Favourite player: “Rosie Ross for her tenacity and skill. I’m so impressed with her professionalism on and off the field, as well as her positive nature and helpful advice.”
‘I signed up at the Freshers’ Fair as polo looked fun and competitive. I got hooked very quickly’ – Rebecca Griffiths How did you get started? “In the Pony Club (Royal Artillery) – going from Surtees through to Gannon. I started riding when I was 10 and used to event, but converted to polo pretty quickly.” Taught by: David Heaton-Ellis at Watership Down Polo Club How much do you play? “It’s a full-time hobby. I come home to play most weekends, play in proam games, and I managed Watership Down during the summer. How many ponies: six – “all of which belong to my brother” Best pony you’ve ridden? “Orange, a New Zealand thoroughbred bred by Cody Forsyth. He is very easy, very quick, big and strong with an immaculate mouth.”
Experience abroad: “Young England a couple of years ago, and snow polo in Verbier last year.” Best polo moment? “Playing snow polo for GB in Verbier last year. We got to the final, where we were beaten by France. It was amazing – skiing in the day, matches under floodlights – and we got paid for it!” Ambition: “I’ve actually got to put polo on the back-burner when I do my finals this year. I’m going to earn some money and restart the polo when I’ve got enough money to sustain it.” Favourite player: Hilario Ulloa and Nachi du Plessis: “They’re both raw, talented young guys who have been allowed to get on with it by more experienced pros and thrived.”
James White, 21 Studying: Business and Marketing (third year) at University of West of England, Bristol Handicap: 1 X
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Feature School and university players How did you get started? “I was six – my brothers were into Pony Club polo (Pytchley), so I had to follow suit. We were taught on the top of a hill by the Gannon players – we had Malcolm Borwick coaching us as a 17-year-old. The snag now is that there is a family rule that we have to leave polo for a couple of years and get a proper job until we can pay for ourselves.”
Taught by: Malcolm Borwick
Robin Spicer, 18 Studying: A-levels in business studies, design and technology, maths at Bloxham School, Banbury Handicap: 1
How much do you play? “I play mostly at Rugby Polo Club – my mum brings the horses every Monday afternoon. I’m trying to get the school back to its former days of glory – Bloxham won the schools championship 15 years ago. We’ve beaten Stowe and Rugby so we’re on our way!” How many ponies: five Best pony you’ve ridden? “I’ve got two ponies, Noddy and Tommy, from Malcolm Borwick, that played in the Cartier International. They are both
really easy, safe, sharp and agile with kind temperaments. Tommy’s the better horse, but Noddy is an amazing character.” Experience abroad: “I’ve been really, really lucky to go on tour every year since 2006 – California and Kenya with the pony club, and Dubai and India with SUPA. All the trips have been unbelievable and brilliantly organised. It gave us a taste of international polo and I learnt a lot.” Best polo moment? “Winning the Junior Gold Cup against the West Indies in 2009.” Ambition: “To make some money, have a highgoal team and employ my mates! I want to study industrial design at uni: as a GCSE project, I designed a tack-trolley which I’m selling to the polo market.” [See March 09 issue of PT for more on Robin’s tack trolley.] Favourite player: “Juan Martin Nero for his riding style.”
‘I want to make some money, have a high-goal team and employ my mates!’ – Robin Spicer How did you get started? “My parents used to play when they were at uni and passed the interest on to me. I’ve been playing since I was about seven, and have learnt through the Pony Club (Beaufort) and at Cirencester Park Polo Club.”
albino. He used to play high-goal.”
Taught by: Dan Banks and Ed Hitchman
Best polo moment? “I’ve won a few Pony Club Championships – in Langford, Loriner and Surtees. I also play four-goal in a team for Cirencester Polo Club – called Ballistic. We are all 18 and under and rarely exceed two goals. We’ve won a couple of games and that is really exciting.”
How much do you play? “In summer, I generally finish school at 3.30pm and head straight off for a game. I’ll ride most days and play twice a week.” How many ponies: “I have five mares, but three are very old, so I’m always on the lookout for someone’s old favourite that needs to be played at a lower level.”
Photographs by Alice Gipps and Sylvain Guenot
Best pony you’ve ridden? “Blanco, Argentinebred: he’s 20 and is completely white, like an
58 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Experience abroad: “I went on the SUPA tour to India last year. We had three international games, felt like ambassadors for our country and travelled from Delhi to Rahjastan to Jaipur.”
Ambition: “To play as much as possible over the next few years, and to create good team atmosphere.” Favourite player: Ed Hitchman
Barnaby Wilson, 16 Studying: GCSEs at Malmesbury School, Wiltshire Handicap: 0
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How did you get started? “My cousins (the Spicers) played and they gave me a pony when I was about eight years old. I have learnt through the Pony Club (Old Berkshire) – at rallies and at Longdole Polo Club.” Taught by: Old Berks Pony Club, Dan Banks (Longdole) How much do you play? “I play every Monday and we have matches every other weekend. There are lots of people playing at my school. I play all the Old Berks Pony Club polo events.” How many ponies? Two
Frankie Dent, 15 Studying: GCSEs at Cheltenham College, Gloucestershire Handicap: –2
Best pony you’ve ridden? “I rode a lot of really good horses when I was at Polo del Sol in Spain, but the best of my two is Matti, a Chilean-bred. We got her from Rugby Polo
Club. She’s small but really fast and nippy.” Experience abroad: A visit to Polo del Sol: “It was really good fun, the horses were great. We spent a week there, played every day and had a tournament at the end.” Best polo moment? “Last year I was invited to play for Wales in the SUPA Tri-Nations and we won. It was a mixed-age team, so it was a lot higher standard than I am usually playing, which was exciting.” Ambition: “I’d like to keep playing and keep improving – play in bigger tournaments at a higher standard.” Favourite player: “I don’t watch much polo, but Cambiaso is incredible.”
‘I’ve been riding all my life – but I didn’t really enjoy it. Then three years ago, I watched a friend playing polo. I loved it immediately and started myself’ – Tim Pearce-May How did you get started? “My mother runs a riding school and I’ve been riding all my life – but I didn’t really enjoy it. Then three years ago, I watched one of my friends playing polo. I loved it immediately and starting playing myself. Taught by: through Pony Club (Old Berkshire)
lot and he’s now my best pony. He has played 40-goal and is quite old, so he knows everything. I just sit there.” Experience abroad: Polo del Sol in Spain: “It was really good fun. I went with a group of friends – we trained and played games.”
How much do you play? In the winter I play rugby so I hardly play at all, but in the summer I play three or four times a week, with friends and neighbours.”
Best polo moment? “I’ve played three games for Young England – winning two. That was really exciting.”
How many ponies: eight
Ambition: “I want to be a pro and I’m pretty serious when I’m playing, but at the moment I try to take it as it comes and have fun.”
Best pony you’ve ridden? “Frank, Argentine thoroughbred: I didn’t like him at all when we bought him, but my mum made me ride him a
Tim Pearce-May, 14 Studying: at Bredon School, Tewkesbury Handicap: –1
Favourite player: Adolfo Cambiaso F
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PTMarch 2010 p60-61 Playing YC PJ
The knowledge Playing around NEW COLUMN – With our intrepid improver Carlie Trotter (–2). This month: Ash Farm
Into the fray in a sporting Despite riding a schoolmaster mare, I committed some horrid fouls, which could have haunted me had I not seen one six-goaler try to get away with the same later. Watching the pros so close up, practising alongside them as a crowd of spectators cheered and jeered, was easily as educational as playing competitively. “You can really get stuck into instructionals here because it’s so relaxed,” said Wendy Nagle, playing her second arena season at the club. The tournament welcomed Afterwards, as I watched the some of the UK’s top arena resident physio work her magic specialists, as well as the club’s performing massages, I customary posse of Londoners understood how much thought escaping the rat race for a day went into making the club a together at Ash Farm’s clubhouse, sporting haven. styled more like a country pub I stayed on to watch new girl than a functional polo base. Sally Dawson in her first polo Chukkas have been fully booked tournament, which took her as far since mid-October and, when the Ash Farm’s familiar clubhouse, the scene of wall-to-wall polo, daytime and under lights as a subsidiary final, playing as club offered me my chance, it part of CPG against Heiko Voelker’s Tschogan. Le Hardy, playing for CPG, came in some illustrious company. Seeing Jamie Le Hardy (8) on the kept them in reach of Tschogan with some genius tail shot goals, but opposing team is generally a disadvantage, but fortunately it was only ultimately Tim Bown’s knack of winning and converting clever penalties practice chukkas and I had club chairman Charlotte Sweeney (2) on my gave Voelker’s side victory, 20-16. side to help defend Le Hardy’s formidable threat. More action followed as Al Habtoor fought it out with Asprey London Getting tips from two pros in a laidback scenario was invaluable, and in a high-voltage final. Al Habtoor received two goals on handicap and, when Jamie suggested: “You look like you’ve been riding with perhaps because Asprey was keen to nullify the gap early on, the game Argentineans, get your legs underneath you more,” I shifted sharpish.
sh Farm has enjoyed its busiest ever winter and, having spent a special weekend observing and even getting a taste of the action with the big stars of arena polo, it’s not hard to see why. My trip coincided with the inaugural 12-goal Paul Sweeney Memorial Trophy, a tournament commemorating the life of the club’s founder, who died suddenly at the end of January in 2009.
Photographs courtesy of Ash Farm
Soundbites from the sidelines Charlotte Sweeney (2)
Jamie Le Hardy (8)
Sam Warburton (0)
We make sure everyone, including spectators, has a good time. We like people to feel relaxed in an environment that’s familiar. There’s no social membership fee because I think it’s unwelcoming. The club is family-run, we’re all here every weekend. Most people have at least one or two ponies of their own, and we have a base of 15 school ponies. We arrange practices for all handicaps, challenge matches every weekend, and monthly tournaments. The two-a-side Open is a great opportunity for patrons.
It’s a great learning environment, and people need somewhere warm like this clubhouse in winter. This is the first winter in 16 years that I’ve been in England full-time, which has made it hard to build a string when away so much. However, I keep seven ponies here. They like it, especially seeing as we somehow seem to miss most of the bad weather because we’re at the bottom of a valley. The club has a really nice, family atmosphere, and the parties are usually pretty decent too – things were still going strog when I left at 1am last time!
This is such a hotspot for people to hang out. I’m really glad when I make the trip to watch games here because you get chatting to so many different kinds of people. Spectating at other clubs can be cold and quiet. In terms of playing, where else can a beginner play instructional chukkas with an eight-goaler! My firm Stickhedz is sponsoring a 6-goal tournament soon, so I’m hoping to play. By that, I mean Charlotte’s trying to convince me!
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haven began faster than Superman changes clothes! Both sides threw their teddies out of the pram early on, as they clashed over the rules and the game began in ferocious fashion. Asprey’s Charlotte Sweeney was almost trampled against the boards after a tack malfunction at the end of the first chukka. “I wouldn’t wish playing with those boys on my worst enemy,” she joked afterwards. The competitive edge continued with some banter and taunting from Asprey’s nine-goaler Chris Hyde, berating Al Habtoor’s Tarquin Southwell (6) with shouts of “You’re going down now sucker!” after scoring in the second chukka. However, Al Habtoor’s clever passing and a particularly guileful and effective attacking performance from most valuable player Danny Muriel (3) brought Al Habtoor a deserved victory, 22-17. But that wasn’t the end of the day’s polo. While most of us were loading our plates from the barbeque, on clicked the arena floodlights for a 6-goal match. For wall-to-wall, sofa-to-steed, Ash Farm Polo Club is the place to be, it seems. F
Ash Farm vital statistics Playing members 30 Non-playing Anyone is welcome Facilities Purpose-built 91x46m arena; period clubhouse with bar, log fire and multiple viewing galleries; lavatories, parking, and covered barbeque area. Club philosophy Quality polo in welcoming, first-class surroundings. “We cater for all abilities, and we like people to chill out here,” says polo manager Charlotte Sweeney. Running the show In partnership with polo manager Roy Prisk (3), Charlotte Sweeney (2) runs the club, which was formed in 1996 by her late father. Besides teaching and beating up the boys in tournaments Charlotte makes polo ponies of Irish youngsters. A RCBPC coach in the summer, Roy oversees the welfare of around 50 ponies at Ash Farm. Charlotte’s mother Lesley Sweeney is figurehead for the spectator-friendly club, keeping the pros in check with the help of fourth umpire Chris Benford. Location A private farm at the bottom of a valley in Surrey, five minutes from M25 or Woking station, 35 minutes from London. Crowd Big-name players and patrons play winter polo at Ash Farm together with beginners, chiefly from the city. Players fresh off the field elsewhere join armchair polo aficionados aged from five to 95 in “Sweeney’s Bar”. Lessons with Jamie Le Hardy (8) or Sebastian Dawnay (7) have shaped up many a member’s swing. Watching Arena Gold Cup stars Heiko Volker (2) and Tim Bown (6) in action alongside Simon Tosh (4) as umpire is good tactics-training too. Ponies 30 stables available for full livery at £150 p/week including feed, exercise and Monday turnout. Ash Farm is 15 minutes from Ascot Park, and within 40 minutes of RCBPC and Guards in summer. Costs Group lessons from £85 Full winter membership £400 Contact www.arena-polo.co.uk; 01932 872521; 07799 812739
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PTMarch 2010 p62-63 Duty Vet YC
The knowledge Duty vet Mark Emerson MRCVS is a two-goal, fifth-generation polo player and an ambulatory equine vet
Herpes: a risk to horses, too Problems caused by the equine herpes virus range from mild respiratory disease to neurological syndromes, and breeding operations can often suffer through abortions n outbreak of herpes in the polo world probably wouldn’t come as much of a shock to many people – the surprise to some might be that it’s the horses that are likely to be infected! Herpes is actually a family of viruses that affects many species. In humans, as I’m sure most will know, herpes viruses cause venereal disease, as well as common cold sores. Chicken pox and shingles are also caused by herpes viruses. A common characteristic of herpes viruses is their ability to lie dormant and only become problematic during times of stress. In horses, five different types of herpes virus have been identified and are (perhaps rather unimaginatively) called Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) 1 to 5, although not all cause clinical disease. The most relevant of the herpes viruses to the UK horse population is EHV-1, followed by EHV-4. EHV-1 can cause a variety of problems from mild respiratory disease to abortion, neurological syndromes and even sudden death. EHV4, although pretty much indistinguishable from EHV-1 with regard to respiratory disease, is generally not as virulent, is less likely to cause abortions, and is not associated with neurological disease or sudden death. Unlike many other infectious diseases, horses that survive EHV infections may be re-infected again and again throughout their lives.
Photographs by Mark Emerson
How are horses affected? The most common route of transmission of EHV is via respiratory secretions. Reduced performance in polo ponies may be attributed to respiratory EHV. Respiratory EHV disease causes inflammation of the upper airways and lungs, which is manifest as a watery nasal discharge that can get progressively thicker and creamier. There is often, but
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Above: The most likely manifestation of equine herpes in polo ponies is respiratory disease which is typically characterised by a nasal discharge and loss of performance.
not always, a cough. There is usually an accompanying fever – but this can fluctuate and, if the horse’s temperature is only taken once, it may not be apparent. In some cases, horses can become depressed and lose their appetite. Most blood tests for viruses usually involve checking for the presence of viral antibodies specific to the suspect virus. Such tests are not particularly useful with EHV, as the disease is so common that normal individuals often test positive for EHV antibodies. Hence, the only definitive way of confirming the disease is to actually isolate the virus from swabs taken from deep within the horse’s nasal passages. As with most viruses, actual treatment of respiratory EHV is limited, and ultimately the disease has to be left to run its course. Full recovery can take several weeks. Depressed individuals may benefit from non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs such as “but”’ which can be used to control fever. However,
using such drugs can make it difficult to monitor recovery as they effectively mask the symptoms. Antibiotics should only be used if there is a suspicion of secondary bacterial involvement or a risk of pneumonia developing. However, EHV is arguably far more costly to breeding operations. It is the commonest cause of late gestation abortions and still births in horses. Although an abortion can be a single isolated event, “abortion storms” can occur on stud farms where large numbers of brood mares abort over several weeks. Diagnosis is confirmed by isolating the virus from tissue samples taken from the aborted foetus that has been infected while in the womb. There may or may not have been a history of respiratory disease in affected mares, as initial infection can occur several months before the abortion. Some infected foetuses may survive but are born premature or weak and rarely survive more than a few days.
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Clockwise from above: It is advisable to vaccinate your mare against equine herpes during pregnancy to ensure a healthy foal; equine herpes is a common cause of late gestation abortion and stillbirths; vaccination gives some protection against the respiratory form of the disease and can help reduce the risk of abortion in broodmares
them to fill with fluid. Horses that appeared totally healthy one day can be found dead the following morning.
Can herpes be prevented?
In an alarming recent development, horses that appeared healthy one day can be found dead the next How do sufferers recover? A worrying manifestation of EHV infection is a neurological form of the disease in which a single genetic mutation in the EHV-1 virus results in a virulent strain that affects the central nervous system. Affected horses, with or without a history of respiratory symptoms, will show signs of hind limb weakness and poor coordination in the first instance. The tail may appear unusually floppy and they may suffer from urinary incontinence. This can be rapidly progressive and result in them being unable to stand within 48 hours. Diagnosis is usually confirmed by
analysing a sample of spinal fluid. Aggressive supportive treatment, including the use of powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, is required. Of those that survive, a full recovery without permanent damage is more likely in individuals that retain the ability to stand unaided. Recovery may take several months. However the most alarming development is the recent identification of EHV-1 as a cause of sudden death in adult horses. Infection results in severe and rapid inflammation of blood capillaries (vasculitis) in the lungs causing
Vaccines against EHV-1 and EHV-4 are available, and will give some protection against the respiratory form of the disease as well as helping to reduce the spread of the virus. A combined flu and EHV vaccine is now available, which is proving popular in racing yards. It is standard protocol on many stud farms to vaccinate brood mares against EHV at five, seven and nine months of gestation. If an outbreak is confirmed, affected animals should be quarantined and strict hygiene precautions should be implemented immediately. F â—— Mark Emerson works as an ambulatory
equine vet based near Ascot in Berkshire and has many polo clients across the south of England. Tel: 07973 800358 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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PTMarch 2010 p64-65 Game YC PJ
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Your game The knowledge Vital riding and playing tips from Jamie Peel, three-goal pro and 2008 Gold Cup winner
Why fittening wisely now will pay off all summer etting your ponies fit pre-season is arguably the most important task of the year. The longer you give them the better, as it will condition them for what is a long and hard season. Over the years people's ideas have changed. When I first started, everyone would spend hours walking and trotting on the roads, hardening up the legs, we were told! We probably jarred them more than anything, although I think this was largely due to the poor facilities we had. Trotting around a muddy field in March was never going to benefit the ponies much – or the groom, who was often trying to catch them from the same field first. Now most yards have all-weather exercise tracks. With the rain we get in England, these are worth their weight in gold. Walking and trotting is still very important but your ponies can now be worked every day on a consistent
surface. This benefits their legs and makes “sets” much more enjoyable for the grooms. Some people have been bringing their ponies in later and then started cantering earlier. Perhaps this is due to rising costs or trying to save money, but rushing a pony into fitness will have repercussions later in the season. After the first six weeks it is usually time to start schooling and begin some slow chukkas. Most people will try to get at least 10 chukkas into their ponies before starting tournaments.
Photographs by Tony Ramirez and Yolanda Carslaw
If a pony show signs of being fresh, don’t panice or cut the feed: this is a good sign
Using an exercise track rather than a muddy field for fittening is more pleasant for both horses and grooms
Polo ponies, like us, will only reach top fitness through playing matches, so many will use the first tournament as a warm-up for both. Try not to push your ponies too hard too soon. If a pony shows signs of being fresh, don't panic or cut the feed; this is a good sign and will benefit them later on. At the same time your ponies are getting fit you should also be working to get yourself in shape. Player fitness has become much more important in recent years. In Argentina you regularly see top players working with personal trainers: jogging, stretching and core exercises all help you to perform better and for a longer period of time. As a sponsor or amateur who perhaps only plays during the summer, you are just as likely to pick
Jamie asks...asks… Jane Newnham Jamie pasto co-ordination, largo = long grass “Agility, balance, endurance, flexibility, strength and speed are all components of fitness. When training, allocate your time proportionately to these disciplines depending on your strengths and weaknesses and their relevance to the game. “Try to fit in one to two sessions a week. You need to incorporate specific core, mobility, flexibility and re-alignment exercises. These are priceless sessions that
up an injury as a professional. Setting aside time for a workout will help you to avoid injury. The fitter you and your ponies are the more successful you will be. Injuries are something we all come across at some stage, whether a broken collar bone or high suspensory, and the better shape you are in the quicker you will recover. This should be an incentive in itself! F
Five things I’ll be doing in March 1 2 3 4 5
Arranging flights for the grooms Organising the farrier Flu vaccines for the ponies Stick repairs from the winter Getting the lorry back on the road
What do players need to think about in terms of their own fitness?
will lower your injury potential and help to rehabilitate any existing injuries. “With disruption of your normal routine, plan your training around polo and meetings, and don't undervalue short, relevant, 20minute sessions. With limited time mix up your training and keep your motivation high. “Appropriate injury management is vital for common problems such as tendonitis, strains and sprains. Treat them early to
prevent them developing into chronic debilitating injuries that are much harder to deal with once games have started. “As with horses, a balanced diet is key to optimum performance. Make sure you are putting quality fuel in your tank and that your daily intake is in line with your physical demands and activity levels.” ◗ Jane Newnham is a Midhurst-based sports therapist
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PTMarch 2010 p66-67 Pony power YC
The knowledge Pony power
Rafi Arena six-goaler Howard Smith talks to Caroline Stern about a fun-loving mare that plays a major role in his string and is set for international action for Scotland in late February
Photographs by Gillian Hughes
Name: Height: Age: Sex: Origin:
Rafaela, known as Rafi 15.1hh 13 years old Mare Argentina
What has Rafi been up to recently? She’s had a good start to the year, having been a useful mount when I used her for Tashan Polo team in the HPA National Club Championships at the Berkshire, where we made the final in early February [see page 32]. The Westbury Arena Gold Cup followed straight afterwards, and I played her for Paul Castle’s ‘The Goose’ team, a side which also included another six-goal pro, Pete Webb. I also hope to play Rafi in the Arena Test Match for the Bryan Morrison Trophy at Hickstead on the last weekend in February, when I’m looking forward to representing Scotland. She’s already very familiar with this winter workload, having played with me in the Arena Gold Cup for the last three years and in the Hickstead International for the past two. What is Rafi’s background? She doesn’t actually belong to me – two-goaler Charlie Wooldridge owns her and very kindly lets me make use of her abilities! She was imported from Argentina by Anthony Crichton-Brown in 2003 and came to Twelve Oaks [near Ascot Park Polo Club] about five years ago, as a made horse. Among all the horses you have played, what makes this horse stand out for you? She has been my best horse in the arena for the last three years, consistently performing at the highest level. I am surprised she has not won
more best playing pony prizes, with or without me! I like small horses for the arena that can perform quick sprints and check cleanly and easily. She certainly fulfils that description and is just a very handy and easy mare all round. Does she play outdoor polo as well? As well as playing at the very top level in the English arena, Rafi also plays low and mediumgoal polo (up to 15-goal) on grass, all very well. In addition, she does this for three different players – myself, her owner Charlie, and Joaquin Pittaluga, who plays off six outside. The only thing Rafi draws the line at is lowgoal arena polo – she gets agitated with the slower and messier quality of games and clearly just doesn’t enjoy it. I always play her in the first and fourth chukkas in the arena, but never for the full chukka’s length. Outside, I try always to use her early on, in the first or second in case she is needed again later. Rafi looks in great condition, how is she looked after? The mare lives in and is fed Tally Ho Conditioning Mix and haylege. She needs little or no schooling, just playing seems to do the trick. Donna Harding has been Rafi’s groom ever since the horse came to Twelve Oaks. She describes her as “fun to look after – lively and mischievous, with a lot of spirit but also a good character”. F
Experts in polo nutrition Tel: +44 (0)1371 850247 www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk 66 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
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PTMarch 2010 p68-69 Feeding YC PJ
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Feeding The knowledge Lorna Jowett, specialist equine nutritionist, gives expert advice on all things edible
What should I feed my pony as I bring him back into work? y en español...
Ponies coming out of winter (above
Tip of the month and below) into exercise should be HOPEFULLY, YOUR PONY fed according to their condition has wintered well and, if Ensure your feed is stored in a cool, so, feeding for fitness dark, dry place and used within the use by date. For more on good feed will be much easier as management, turn to page 51. coffee mugs are required you will not be battling per day. Bulking with an to put condition on Asegurate de guardar el alimento balanceado en un lugar fresco, oscuro y alfalfa chaff will increase whilst burning calories seco, y de usarlo dentro del tiempo de eating time. as work is introduced. validez. Para mas consejos: I strongly suggest using Should your pony have pagina 51. a pre/probiotic for those wintered well and looks who need condition, fine, introduce a high-fibre, but it will be of low-energy cube, particularly if benefit for all types you have a spirited individual! of ponies. If your pony has not done so Pre/probiotics assist well over winter and needs hindgut bacteria condition, I would suggest a with changes to diet conditioning feed – choosing a and lifestyle, cube rather than a mix if natural especially when energy is abundant. forage intake is Quantities to consider feeding reduced and hard of a cube or mix: 5-7lb (2.2-3kg) feed increased. For per day for initial work, increasing those individuals gradually to 10-12lb (4.5-5.4kg) that lose weight for hard work – remember to easily throughout weigh your scoop! the season, using If you have a pony that pre- or probiotics has done too well over the continuously will only be winter then don’t bring it of benefit. into work and not feed it el ejercicio = exercise un caballo enérgico = a lively pony You must allow – use a balancer instead volver del campo = to return from the field plenty of hay/haylage so it still receives protein el trabajo mas fuerte = harder work when your pony comes (for muscle), vitamins pesar el cucharón = weigh the scoop back into work. and minerals, but not the leer la bolsa = read the packet Restricting too much will calories. Balancers are fed la temporada = the season not encourage rapid weight in small quantities, so read loss, and it can sometimes the instructions first, but help keep them calmer! F usually only around 2-3 half-pint
ES DE ESPERAR que tu caballo haya pasado bien el invierno, eso hará mucho mas fácil la tarea de alimentarlo ya que no vas a tener que luchar para que aumente de peso mientras queme calorías al empezar con el ejercicio de vareo. Si volviese bien del descanso invernal, dale una ración a base de cubos de alto contenido de fibra y bajo en calorías, en especial si se tratara de un caballo naturalmente enérgico. Si volviese flaco, te sugeriría un alimento de acondicionamiento, eligiendo cubos en lugar de mix si su energía natural fuese abudante. Las cantidades aconsejables para una ración de cubos o mix es de 2.2 a 3kg por día durante el período inicial, incrementándolo gradualmente a entre 4.5 y 5.4kg. cuando empieces con el trabajo mas fuerte (y no te olvides de pesar el cucharón!). Si en cambio hubiera vuelto muy gordo del invierno, no dejes de darle ración, dale un “balanceador” que le de las proteínas (para generar músculo), vitaminas y minerales necesarios, pero sin las calorías. Los balanceadores se dan en pequeñas cantidades, por lo general entre 2 y 3 demi-tasas de café por día (no dejes de leer la bolsa para mayor detalle). Mezclalo con alfalfa molida para incrementar el volumen de la ración y aumentar el tiempo de ingestión. Te super recomendaría el uso de pre/probióticos para caballos que necesiten aumentar de peso. Estos ayudan a la reproducción de bacterias beneficiosas en los intestinos, especialmente provechoso cuando sufran cambios en la dieta, menos forraje y mas alimento balanceado, y también en la rutina diaria. Pro/prebióticos son también buenos para caballos propensos a la pédida de peso durante la temporada. Sé generoso con la cantidad de fardo/haylage que le des cuando vuelva del campo, ayudará a mantenerlo tranquilo y compensará la falta repentina y permanente de pasto que de otra manera podría generar una pérdida rápida de peso. F www.polotimes.co.uk March 2010 69
PTMarch 2010 p70-75 Travel YC
The knowledge Travel
As the 22-goal St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow in the Swiss Alps continues its upward spiral, James Mullan checks out three contrasting hotels bang in the centre of snow polo's cosmopolitan capital
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Boggis and Bunce and Bean One fat, one short, one lean. These horrible crooks So different in looks Were nonetheless equally mean. So goes the chorus that appears again and again in Roald Dahl’s classic tale, Fantastic Mr Fox. For no other reason than because we can, a similar lyric can be used to sum up the three Swiss hotels Polo Times visited this month:
Kulm and Eden and Steffani One grand, one homely, one trendy. These three polo bases Such different places Were nonetheless equally friendly. Sociable mid-range
Hotel Steffani Unmistakably the “coolest” option of these three, the Steffani dates back to 1869, when Lorenzo Steffani launched the enterprise that is today run by Peter Märky and his wife Brigitte. Peter has been at the helm for 27 years, the
third-generation owner after his grandfather bought the hotel from the Steffani family in 1928. His two daughters in their 20s are set to take over this decade, so the Steffani is secure and consistent – which probably helps explain why an amazing 80 per cent of guests are repeat bookings. The hotel, which has 63 rooms, three restaurants and four themed bars, has long been a popular winter hang-out for Cresta riders, skiing parties, polo-goers and those in town for the town's other famously eccentric events, such as cricket on ice, the White Turf horse racing and snow golf. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Cresta Run is the worldfamous tobogganing course that is celebrating its 125th year this winter.
Where is it? The Steffani sits in the middle of the action, on the largest bank of the main roundabout in the centre of St Moritz Dorf. To walk to polo, you cross the roundabout and head past Badrutt's Palace – the official tournament hotel until 2009 – before turning right down the covered escalators, which bring you out near the entrance. For skiing, walk two minutes uphill to catch the funicular up to Corviglia.
Character and layout The hotel is broadly arranged over five levels and compiled in an enjoyably haphazard way. Rooms are spacious and functional rather than cutting edge, with a comforting alpine feel, plenty of pine and simple fixtures and fittings. Most have large bathrooms and at least one balcony. Mine was an extremely decent no-frills base, the only minor complaint being that my bed was only just long enough to accommodate my 6’2” frame. Facilities include an attractive swimming pool complex at the top of the building, complete with sauna and whirlpool and due for further development this spring. Guests can make use of a gym nearby. The hotel has a sociable international feel, with English and Swiss-German permeating loudest from the chatter in the restaurants and bars. Conversation in the popular Cresta Bar appeared to be carried out almost exclusively in English, with Home Counties accents engaging with those from Italy, France and Switzerland.
Where to eat and drink The hotel’s biggest restaurant is the Lapin Bleu, which sits on the ground floor and takes much of its custom from the street. Dining there on my X first night in Switzerland this year was none
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Travel The knowledge
Clockwise from right: a bathroom at the Kulm; the view from the Kulm; the pools at the Steffani, on the top floor; a private dining room at the Steffani
X other than a regular British polo contingent
including Charles Stisted, Chris Bethell, Oliver Ellis and Rob Cudmore. The quartet’s annual work for St Moritz Polo AG means they are put up in the tournament’s official hotel, the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains a 20-minute walk away in St Moritz Bad. However, the Lapin Bleu is a popular choice for those in search of affordable Swiss cuisine and a jolly atmosphere in the town’s main hub. My tasty three-course meal of beef broth, sirloin steak with chips and crème caramel, plus a glass of red wine, came to SF82 (£49). The Steffani also offers evening meals in its first-floor breakfast restaurant, and a popular new option is its Chinese restaurant, also on the first floor.
Full marks for... For those looking to be right in the centre of the action, the Steffani’s location is second to none and, with its wide range of places to eat, drink and unwind all under one roof, it’s not hard to see why it has consistently been a popular choice.
Kulm Hotel “More than five stars,” proclaims the Kulm's website proudly. One of St Moritz’s five top-rated hotels (the others are the Kempinski, Badrutt's Palace, the Suvretta House and the Carlton), the Kulm sits apart for its quiet atmosphere, refined feel and proud location at the top of St Moritz main town. Formed in 1856 by the father of the founder of the Badrutt’s Palace, initially with just eight rooms, it now has 173 across 13 categories. Having welcomed various illustrious guests over the years, the hotel is inextricably bound with the evolution of St Moritz as a prestigious winter resort. British guests there developed the Cresta Run, the polo and the cricket and it maintains a close association with all these activities.
Could do better... The soft lighting in the Lapin Bleu was attractive, but sitting in the middle of the restaurant, I struggled to see my food clearly. Service in general was pleasant but somewhat relaxed rather than super-efficient.
Where to eat and drink Where is it? A few steps from the centre of St Moritz Dorf, yet above it and slightly removed, with fabulous views over the lake.
Character and layout Essentials Steffani Hotel, Sonnenplatz, CH-7500 St Moritz; +41 818 36 96 96; www.steffani.ch; email@example.com. Rooms during polo from SF350 (£210) per night for a single, SF640 (£384) for a double and SF940 (£564) for a suite.
with an array of treatments to supervised children’s play areas and a bridge room. Its numerous large public areas and five restaurants enjoy incredible views over the lake beneath. There is less razzmatazz during the polo week than at the tournament’s associated hotels, Badrutt’s Palace and the Kempinski, and this will appeal to guests looking for a more private weekend. The layout of many rooms is flexible, suiting families or parties who need large connected spaces but who don’t necessarily want to fork out for a suite. My junior suite was fabulous – decorated tastefully in a warm combination of red and gold, and complete with a huge super-comfy bed, a pleasant sitting area, great storage, a balcony overlooking the lake and mountains beyond and a spotless and luxurious marble bathroom.
These days, British guests are in the minority, behind German and Swiss clientele, though the hotel hopes to welcome increasing numbers from the UK in 2010 and 2011 as the economy recovers. The Kulm has all the facilities you'd expect, from a 20m swimming pool and a spa
Between them, the Kulm’s five restaurants serve a range of international cuisine, from Italian to Japanese, and menus are regularly updated to keep things interesting. Almost all guests stay on a half-board basis; during my visit I donned the required jacket and tie to enjoy a six-course dinner in the grand and colossal main dining room. Service was terrifically prompt and a seemingly unending stream of scrumptious dishes provided me with potato soup with duck breast, a giant salad buffet, scallops, veal, tiramisu and, finally, cheese. Phew! No X
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The knowledge Travel X wonder most guests stay only a few days – you'd
need to do some serious winter sports to work off your daily feasts if you stayed much longer. The bar areas around the foyer are great places to soak up the atmosphere in the evenings, to a soundtrack of live gentle piano music.
Full marks for... Service. Everything is conducted quickly and efficiently, and yet calmly so you never feel rushed. You are made to feel special, though with a lack of pretence or over-friendliness, such that the beautiful rooms and public spaces take on a relaxing homely feel despite their grandeur.
Could do better The huge dining room could do with some light background music so people don't feel they have to murmur their conversations (and would distract those dining alone from said murmurs). Another gripe, shared by other guests, was that my room was incredibly warm, with no obvious way to bring down the temperature without opening a window. However, for escaping the famous Engadine chill, this might be a plus.
Clockwise from this picture: the Eden’s breakfast room; an Eden bathroom; a suite at the Kulm
Essentials Kulm Hotel St Moritz, Via Veglia, CH-7500 St Moritz; +41 818 36 80 00; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.kulmhotel-stmoritz.ch Single rooms during polo from SF700 (£418); lakeside doubles from SF1,125 (£672); suites from SF2,400 (£1,434).
Affordable and family-friendly
Hotel Eden This centrally located b&b is the smallest and most family-orientated of the three hotels I visited. Indeed, since being taken on by current owner Pia Jehle-Degiacomi in 1989, the Eden has discouraged large parties and only accepts bookings from families, couples and individuals. One of the oldest guesthouses in St Moritz, the building dates back to 1856 or possibly earlier, and has been run by Pia’s family since 1959. She and her husband have made various changes in the past decade to enhance the family atmosphere and traditional Swiss feel.
friend’s rather large house rather than a hotel. The building has been sympathetically renovated over the years, staying true to Swiss architect Nicolaus Hartmann’s designs from the early 20th century. The 33 rooms, over three floors, are accessed from a stylish central galleried stairwell, through which light floods down from a glass skylight. The ground-floor lounge area is cosy, with a fireplace and an honesty bar, as well as large windows to let light flow in. There's also a sun terrace for warmer days. The bedrooms, mostly in the quaint, rustic style of the region, have been recently enlarged or reconfigured to provide more interconnecting options. Rooms are standard or superior, with a bath or shower, some with views. There's one suite, complete with a fireplace, sitting room, bedroom, bathroom and balcony. The Eden has no pool or spa, but the owners have arranged with the nearby Hotel Crystal for guests to enjoy reduced-price indoor exercise.
Where is it? A one minute walk down the hill from the Kulm in central St Moritz Dorf, it sits half-way up a short steep road that climbs straight out of the town past the tourism office. The shops are just seconds away.
Character and layout The homely atmosphere and modest facilities here make you feel as though you're staying at a
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Where to eat and drink There is a good buzz at breakfast, where another of Pia’s changes has made a good impact. In 1997 she moved the breakfast room to the basement, when the lease on the library there ended. Despite being at the bottom of the building, it is on the right side to enjoy all the morning sunshine that streams over the mountains. The family slant of the guesthouse is immediately
obvious at breakfast: an international mix of families and couples came and went with a smile and a “Gruezi!” or a “Guten morgen!” as they helped themselves to an array of cold food from the imaginative buffet, made from an old sleigh. Contemporary crockery adorns the pine tables, adding to the youthful freshness of the place.
Full marks for... The Eden combines traditional Swiss style with friendly service. Owner and general manager Pia was virtually omnipresent, as were a number of the other staff, and the nice thing for someone travelling on their own (like me!) was that after 24 hours you already felt a part of the family and knew all the hotel’s team.
Could do better There didn’t appear to be hot food available at breakfast, although the cold offerings were ample. The only television channel in English as far as I could tell was BBC World News, which some people might find limited. Still, all the more reason to get out and enjoy the snow.
Essentials Hotel Eden, Via Veglia, CH-7500 St Moritz; +41 818 30 81 00; email@example.com www.edenstmoritz.ch. Single rooms during polo from SF156 (£93); doubles from SF304 (£182). The suite costs SF764 (£456). F
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The knowledge Travel Travel news in brief ◗ A WEEK AFTER January’s snow polo, the St
Moritz Tobogganing Club celebrated its 125th anniversary, writes PJ Seccombe. Club members from worldwide gathered in St Moritz for a special week of celebrations featuring top races, special events and glamorous anniversary parties. For the first time in 125 years there was an official ladies’ race and among other special attractions were a historic car rally and uphill climb, and a thrilling aerobatic aerial display over the lake. In 1885, a group of British men and women who believed the Alpine sun and clean air of St
The Cresta clubhouse, at the top of the course
Moritz would cure them of illnesses such as pneumonia and tuberculosis looked to ways of curing their boredom during their prolonged stay in the resort. Having been invited to take part in a toboggan race in Davos, and enjoyed wonderful hospitality, the St Moritzers decided to reciprocate the generosity. As there was no suitable road available in St Moritz to provide a long enough course, they conceived and built a toboggan run, starting in the tiny village of Cresta, running through a natural valley and finishing in the village of Celerina. The natural course was not demanding enough and thus the banks, such as the famous shuttlecock corner, were built and the world famous Cresta Run was born. The Cresta Run, the only one of its kind in the world, is inextricably bound to its native home and for well over a century the village and run have grown together. Cresta riders come back to St Moritz year after year addicted to the excitement, beauty and sheer exhilaration of the place.
A young British tobogganer on the Cresta run
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My travels with Pete McCormack
What did you do after last summer? I had a busy season, taking over as polo director at Ham Polo Club, so the first thing I did this winter was take about two weeks off. The summer was manic: now that our chairman Nicholas Colqhuoun-Denvers is chairman of the HPA, the day-to-day running of the London polo club falls mainly on my shoulders and the polo manager Adolfo Casabal. After my break in early October, It was back to work in my other role as a brand representative for Adolfo Cambiaso, for whom I handle endorsements and brand associations. I flew to Argentina in November for the Open, where it was a great thrill to see La Dolfina have such a successful campaign. Sadly I had to fly back mid-week before the rescheduled final, so didn’t get the chance to see them win.
was amazing, and there were some memorable moments, such as being chased by piranhas and nearly eaten by crocodiles. What is the first thing that goes in your case on a polo trip? Always a clean pair of underpants. You don’t want to be without. Especially when you have nearly been eaten by a crocodile! Which is your favourite hotel? I’ve travelled to most polo countries, and the Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires is still my favourite place to stay. The service, the people, the atmosphere and the general ambience are second to none. I stay there during the Open, and it’s a five-star home from home.
Do you have a favourite restaurant? In Argentina it’s the good old-fashioned Munich restaurant in Where did you Recoleta. It serves go after classic good food, Argentina? with great service, I headed to Dubai. So Aly Albwardy in action at Desert Palm, where Pete and eating there spent time in January during the UAE Nations Cup I arrived home from has become Argentina, changed something of a tradition for all of the suitcases, and disappeared there for five days travelling polo community. before coming home for Christmas. It’s all part of my work outside Ham Polo club: Ali Albwardy, Have you had any nasty experiences Cambiaso’s patron, owns the Middle East’s on a polo trip? leading polo club Desert Palm, and has a major Fortunately I’ve never broken bones or ended association with Ham. up in a police cell, but I suppose the main thing I returned to Dubai almost immediately after when you are overseas in a place where you New Year and was there basically for the whole are not local is to take extra care. I abide by the of January for the UAE Nations Cup. After a few saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” Just always weeks at home in February, I’m there again this be aware. month, for the annual Cartier International. Then Where is the one place in the world it’s back to London to work on the exciting every polo player should visit? changes at Ham for 2010 season. That’s easy – Palermo. It’s the Mecca of polo. What has been your most Away from polo, where is your memorable polo trip? favourite place for a holiday? It’s probably when myself and couple of other Not much happens for me away from the polo players were flown to Venezuela in the late circuit, as my life revolves around it. But the 1990s by Giovanni de Massi. He wanted us there best place I have travelled to for a holiday is to help with the schooling programme of his Arab Mauritius. Because there was no polo there, all polo ponies. I could do was relax on the beautiful beaches He owned a private bank and was quite an and forget about it. It’s a wonderful place. eccentric, and it was an unusual and exciting task, especially as Arab horses are not considered ◗ Interview by James Mullan particularly genetically suitable for polo. The trip
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Cortijo La Clarita is situated in 15 acres of stunning private farmland on the edge of a National Park, approximately 2 km from Sotogrande Port. There are sports and leisure facilities for everyone - with golf and polo being the most renowned - all year round. The cortijo is ideal for a complete polo team and their horses but can just as easily accommodate non-riding families who are looking for a private, secluded piece of Anadalusian countryside close to all the latest facilities of Marbella and San Roque. The main house, swimming pool, casita and grooms accommodation can be rented separately or can include the stabling, corrals, paddocks, exercise track, sand school and horsewalker for up to 40 horses.The permanent housekeeper and gardener live on the property and provide excellent security, maintenance and housekeeping services. Our local manager can provide a concierge service for all needs including polo lessons and tournaments at both Ayala and Santa Maria Polo Clubs plus skiing or sailing!
Contact Clare Mathias Tel: 01483 281 755 Mob: 07909 991003
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The knowledge Property
Hot property or hot water? With renovations on our minds (see pages 50-54), Mark Charter explains the potential legal perils of transforming a property into a dream polo base hen you get caught up in the excitement of finding the ideal property to establish as a polo base, it is only too easy to overlook legal perils that can result in nasty consequences. These will usually fall into one or more of the following categories: (1) the cost of remedying the position is significantly higher than the fees incurred by obtaining professional advice at the start; (2) selling or letting the property in the future could be much more difficult, and the sale or rental value reduced from what it would be otherwise; or (3) for significant breaches of covenants or obligations in your mortgage (if you have a loan secured on the property) or your lease (if you rent the property), relevant authorities can take out enforcement action against you. All of the above will also bring about associated personal as well as financial stresses. One of the biggest typical pitfalls involves complications in the planning. The vast majority of developments for equestrian activities, including everything from polo grounds and arenas to stick and ball fields, stables and even horse walkers, will require planning permission. Planning permission may be required not only for the construction of a structure, but also for a change in use. There is often a false assumption that, for planning purposes, equestrian development is classified as agricultural development (for which no
express planning consent is required). This is rarely the case and developers should be wary of failing to obtain complete and specific planning permission. Almost by definition, polo properties are highvalue purchases. Buyers of such properties, and more particularly their solicitors (and lenders), will expect all of the paperwork for any equestrian development to be in “apple pie” order. Hence,
a new polo base because of the obvious attributes of grass and appropriate buildings. However, in converting a farm or part of a farm for polo use, a number of issues need to be carefully considered. These include: (1) converting to polo use may prejudice the ability otherwise to claim Agriculture Property Relief for the purposes of
Even if the planning authority has not discovered your development, it’s likely that a buyer’s solicitor will vendors of a redeveloped property for polo should take care. A sale may fall through or take months to complete if, for example, retrospective planning consent has to be applied for. The system of searches and preliminary enquiries prior to exchange of contracts is designed to reveal any shortcomings – so, even if the planning authority has not discovered your unauthorised development, it is likely a buyer's solicitor will. The same considerations apply for those developers proposing to let their properties. Development carried out without the requisite consents may mean that mortgage conditions are breached or that lenders are not willing to grant a mortgage loan in the first place. As readers of Polo Times will be well aware, farms often provide the best potential to establish
Inheritance Tax; (2) The development may impinge on or breach agri-environmental schemes the farm is already subject to; (3) If a farm is held under a long lease (particularly on an Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancy), moving to polo use may well breach the tenant's lease obligations, which would give the landlord a legal opportunity to terminate the lease and recover the farm for himself. Establishing a new polo base is always an exciting venture – and good preparation and appropriate professional advice at the outset should ensure it stays that way! F ◗ Mark Charter is a partner at Blake Lapthorn,
where he heads up the team specialising in agriculture and equine property law. For more, visit www.bllaw.co.uk
Three properties ripe for a revamp
£1,250,000 – Saltby Lodge in Melton Mowbray, near Leadenham polo club, sits in 11.5 acres, with a fourbedroom Grade II listed farmhouse, an extensive range of stables and outbuildings and excellent potential for further development. Through Chesterton Humberts (www.chestertonhumberts.com)
£2,950,00 – Set in 40 acres, Melksham Court already provides extensive equestrian facilities, which could be developed for polo. The six-bedroom listed medieval manor house, as well as staff houses, a pool and outbuildings is 22 miles from Cirencester Park. Through Smiths Gore (www.smithsgore.co.uk)
For further information with regard to equestrian property sales contracts, please contact Mark Charter at Blake Lapthorn directly: on 023 8085 7116; via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org; or write to Mark Charter, Partner, Real Estate, Blake Lapthorn, New Kings Court, Tollgate, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 3LG
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£1,350,000 – A 56-acre polo centre with potential for modernisation, Parklands Farm has the facilities for a great set-up, including arena, stick and ball field and stables. Planning permission is in place for a 2000 sq ft house, and it’s a stone’s throw from Ascot Park, RCBPC, Guards and Fifield. Through Knight Frank (www.knightfrank.co.uk)
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PTMarch 2010 p80-81 Products YC GM
The knowledge Gear
Navy Charles Owen Young Rider From Polo Splice (www.polosplice.co.uk 01730 814991)
Traditional red Argentine From SATS (www.satsfaction.com 01285 841542)
Fully approved for Pony Club polo, BSI Kitemark, EN1384 and PAS015, and recently re-designed to look like a polo helmet. Three-point fastening; lightweight for its frame. The damage: £125
Red fabric with chin-strap, featuring small SATS logo. The lowest priced option here. The damage: £115
Flower design by La Martina From Guards Store (www.lamartina.com 01784 437962)
Grey Charles Owen Palermo From Polo Splice, as before
Girly option with logo on side and front. Name-plate within, where you can enter your blood type and allergies. The damage: £160
The “adult version” of the model above, with BSI Kitemark, EN1384, PAS015. Features protective padding at the back. The damage: £165
Navy and red Falcon From Polo Splice, as before
Dark pink leather From Roxtons (www.roxtons.co.uk 01285 659033)
Simple Argentine-style navy blue with red peak and white chin-strap. The damage: £165
Bright and stylish, with white chin-strap. Available in various colours. The damage: £159
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White and pale blue From Roxtons, as before Personalised design featuring player’s initials – an optional extra. Fairly weighty traditional design. The damage: £145 (£185 for personalised)
Black Patey From UberPolo (www.uberpolo.com) PAS015 approved. Smart design made by bespoke hatmakers Patey, with slimmer peak than most. This model features a chin strap; three-point fastening and made-tomeasure cost extra. The damage: £185 (£210 for leather)
La Martina Union Jack From Guards Store, as before Eyecatching and stylish, with red chin-strap. Logo on side and front. Other flags available. Name-plate within, where you can enter your blood type and allergies. The damage: £180
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PTMarch 2010 p82-83 Review
PTMarch 2010 p82-83 Review
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The knowledge Dates for the diary
What’s on in March
Principal fixtures at home and abroad UK Highlights Main events Wicklow, Ireland – France (Deauville) vs Ireland (Open): 5-7 March Druids Lodge – The Bodensee Trophy (6-9 goal): 6-7 March Ascot Park – Westcroft Park Plate (4-8 goal): 6-7 March Fifield – End of season Trophy (4-6 goal): 20-21 March Druids Lodge – The Renshaw Trophy (3-5 goal): 13-14 March Vaux Park – End of Season Open Tournament (2-6 goal): 13-14 March AEPC – The Champagne Jacquart End of Season Tournament (Open): 13 March Other events Tidworth – Inter Regimental Trophy (Open): 6-7 March Longdole – SUPA Junior and Senior Novice Schools (Open): 14 March Longdole – SUPA National Senior Schools (Open): 14 March Druids Lodge – Schools Tournament (Open): 16 March Vale of York – ABI Beach Challenge (Open): 21 March
Overseas USA IPCPB, Florida – Piaget USPA Gold Cup (26 goal): 25 February-21 March IPCPB, Florida – US Open Polo Championships (26 goal): 25 March-18 April Australia Ellerston – Ellerston 14 Goal Tournament (14 goal): 13-14 March Ellerston – Ellerston 16 Goal Tournament (16 goal): 20-21 March and 27-28 March Adelaide Polo Club – Gold Cup Tournament (12, 6 and 0 goal): 27-28 March Windsor Polo Club – Easter Invitational, Australia vs New Zealand (Open): 28 March 10 Goal Druids Lodge The Bodensee Trophy
6 Goal Fifield End of Season Trophy Druids Lodge The Renshaw Trophy Vaux Park Open Tournament
21-22 March 14-15 March 14-15 March
4 Goal Epsom St. Patrick’s Cup Epsom 4 Goal Tournament Epsom Mayflower Cup 21-22 March Fifield 4 Goal Challenge Maywood 4 Goal Tournament Fifield One Day Challenges*
7-8 March 14-15 March 7-8 March 28-29 March 14-15 March
2 Goal FHM End of Season Tournament
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Barbados Lion Castle, Holders, Clifton, Waterhall – Barbados Open (8 goal): 14-21 March Holders, Lion Castle, Waterhall, Clifton – Jamaica vs Ireland (Open): 23-28 March Dubai Dubai Polo Challenge Week and Cartier International (8 goal): 20- 26 March Thailand Anantara Golden Triangle Resort, Chiang Rai – King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament: 22-29 March
Other dates for the diary Goffs, Ireland – Kempton Breeze Up Sale: 12 March Reading, Berkshire – Mucho Polo Ponies Readyto-Play Sale: 25 April
Polo on TV TV highlights on Horse & Country TV (Sky 280) 2 March, 7pm: 2008 Polo Masters 4 March, 7pm: 2008 Beaufort Test Match 9 March, 7pm: Beach Championships from Sandbanks 15 March, 8.30pm: AEPC International Test Match, USA vs Eng 16 March, 7pm: 2008 Cartier International 23 March, 7pm: Westchester Cup, USA vs Eng 24 March, 7pm: 2009 CV Whitney Cup, Audi vs Lechuza Caracas 25 March, 7pm: 2009 US Open, Audi vs Las Montijas 25 February, 7pm: Polo in the Park 2009 Fifield End of Season Trophy
8 Goal Ascot Westcroft Park Plate
New Zealand Ranitikei – Savile Cup (16, 6, 3 and 0 goal): 2-7 March Lanherne – 0-40 Goal (0-40 goal): 27- 28 March
Open AEPC Arundel Equine Hospital Cup 7-8 March AEPC The Champagne Jacquart 14 March Druids Lodge Schools Tournament 17 March Longdole SUPA – Junior & Senior 8 March Longdole SUPA – National Senior Schools 15 March Longdole Club Tournament 21-22 March Tidworth Inter Regimental Trophy 7-8 March Vale of York ABI Beach Challenge 22 March Vale of York Beach Party Match 29-Mar-14 29-Mar-14 Vaux Park Open Match 21-Mar-14 22-Mar-14 Wicklow France (Deauville) v Ireland 6-Mar-14 8-Mar-14
April Wicklow USA (Yale) v Ireland Wicklow SUPA Tri-Nations
contacts (UK and Ireland)
AEPC, Hickstead – 01273 834315 All Ireland – +353 (1) 6896732 Apsley End – 01462 712444 Ascot Park – 01276 858545 Ash Farm – 01932 872521 Asthall Farm – 01367 860207 Beaufort – 01666 880510 Belmont, Mill Hill – 01344 829955 Beverley – 01964 544455 Binfield Heath – 01491 411969 Borders Reivers – 01890 840777 Brannockstown – +353 45483708 Brightling – 01435 810017 Bunclody – +353 876605917 Burningfold – 01483 200722 Cambridge & Newmarket – 07769 976781 Carlton House – 01986 892231 Cheshire – 01270 611100 Chester Racecourse – 01244 304602 Cirencester Park – 01285 653225 Cowdray Park – 01730 813257 Coworth Park – 01344 875155 Curraghmore – +353 51387102 Dedham Vale – 01473 280900 Donaghadee – 02891 882521 Druids Lodge – 01722 782597 Dundee & Perth – 07831 365194 Edgeworth – 07879 825660 Edinburgh – 0131 449 6696 Epsom – 01372 748200 FHM – 07778 436468 Fifield – 01628 620061 Foxhill – 0115 9651790 Frolic Farm – 01223 812922 Guards – 01784 434212 Haggis Farm – 01223 460353 Ham – 020 8334 0000 Herbertstown – +353 872552331 Hertfordshire – 01707 256023 Hurtwood Park – 01483 272828 Kinross – 07831 365194 Kirtlington – 01869 650138 Knepp Castle – 01403 741007 Lacey Green – 07947 725305 Ladyswood – 01666 840880 Limerick – +353 872373903 Little Bentley – 01206 250435 Longdole – 01452 864544 Maywood – 01962 885500 Moyne – +353 851313224 New Forest – 02380 811818 Offchurch Bury – 07785 223383 Orchard – 01258 471000 Park Lane – 01491 411969 Ranksboro – 01572 720046 RMAS – 01276 412276 Royal County of Berkshire – 01344 890060 RLS – 01926 812409 Rugby – 01788 817724 Rutland – 01572 724568 Silver Leys – 01279 652652 St Albans – 07710 262435 Stewarton – 01560 483411 Suffolk Polo – 07990 576974 Sussex Polo – 01342 714920 Taunton – 01823 480460 Tidworth – 01980 846705 Toulston – 01422 372529 Vale of York – 07788 426968 Vaux Park – 01460 242684 West Wycombe – 01865 858475 White Rose – 01430 875750 Wicklow – +353 (0) 404 67164 ◗ To contact the HPA, tel: 01367 242828 ◗ To contact SUPA, tel: 01344 625124
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PTMarch 2010 p86-87 St Moritz YC GM
Out and about St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow, Switzerland 28-31 January
Assiduous alpine activity away from the action There was a big new emphasis on efficiency and “green-ness” at this January’s St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow but, despite fewer vehicles allowed on the lake, simpler decoration to the VIP marquees, some outdoor unheated social areas and huge Tritic International solar panels at the western corner of the ground, there was still as much lavish attire and opulent living on show as ever. Blessed with excellent playing conditions all week and better weather on finals day than at the silver anniversary celebrations in 2009, huge crowds flocked to the action as the tournament enjoyed its 26th year on the expansive lake beneath Switzerland’s majestic Engadine mountains. These included plenty of familiar faces from across the polo world and, in particular, a substantial contingent from the UK.
Swiss 26-year-old Eliana Burki entertains guests with a traditional tune
There were numerous Brits involved behind the scenes as well, from umpires, organisers and commentators to farriers, grooms and polo managers. ◗ Read James Mullan’s report of the St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow and see more photographs on page 24. You can also read reviews of three of the best hotels in central St Moritz “Dorf” – the Steffani, the Kulm Hotel and the Eden – in our travel section on page 70
Nina Clarkin celebrates after Cartier’s victory
Team Cartier and representatives of their sponsors enjoy the moment
Photographs by James Mullan, Tony Ramirez and Swiss-Image.ch
Private aircraft at Samedan airport, just 10 minutes from St Moritz
Horst Edenhofer, former MD of Cartier Switzerland, plays waiter to a friend
The magnificent view of the lake by night from a balcony at the five-star Kulm Hotel 86 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Oliver and Sam Hipwood at the subsidiary final
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Above: Julius Baer brought easily the largest contingent of guests and clients, and they were treated to lavish service in the VIP marquee all week Right: umpire Rob Cudmore was performing his duties for the 11th year
The hungry were treated to culinary delights designed by two-time Swiss chef of the year, Andreas Caminada
Lauri Agosti watches with her daughter
Around six polo lorries were used each day to transport the ponies to the lake
John Paul Clarkin pokes his head out of the Cartier team tent for a look at the ground ahead of the final
Urs Schwarzenbach enjoys the games
Above: new ÂŁ500,000 temporary stables this year in nearby Samedan ensured all four teamsâ€™ ponies enjoyed the best possible care in a warm and spacious environment. Right: commentator Jan-Erik Franck joined regular Ebe Sievwright to describe all the action www.polotimes.co.uk March 2010 87
PTMarch 2010 p88-89 Out and A Klos YC GM
Out and about Berenberg Snow Polo in Klosters, Switzerland, 21-24 January
Après-polo erupts as Manconi makes it two wins in a row The Swiss Alpine skiing resort of Klosters was once again the centre of the polo community's attention when players, sponsors, ponies and fans descended for the sixth annual Berenberg Snow Polo event in the week before the action in St Moritz. The ground, fashioned on the "auf Christlis" fields in the heart of the village, welcomed six three-man sides this year, who entertained spectators with three evenings of floodlit action en route to the final on the tournament’s fourth day. Light was provided in these twilight encounters by three huge illuminated helium balloons before John Manconi’s new-look eCRT side successfully defended his 2009 title in the final in natural daylight.
Markus Haltiner, the Mayor of Klosters, with the jubilant winning eCRT team of John Manconi, Jack Kidd and Rupert Lee-Uff
It all added to the atmosphere of the event, which also enjoyed plenty of après-polo activities warmed by the roaring fires of the chic alpine bar and smokers’ lounge in the VIP and hospitality tents. The entertainment was kept alive well into the early hours by UK-based after-party DJ Dan Lywood, fresh from working the crowds at the Quintessentially Soho Club in London.
Berenberg Bank’s Ana Breckwoldt and Liane Alban, head of Klosters Tourism
Tournament organisers Daniel Waechter, Theo Baertschi and Francisco Podesta relax with a well-earned beer and a friend (far left)
Callie Moore and fiancé Jack Kidd
Photographs by Tony Ramirez
Lucy Field and Charlotte Wellesley partied hard all week
Rupert Lee-Uff, happy with his team's victory
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Seb Dawnay in action for Team Berenberg Bank
Has Seb Baker lost something?
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From Berkshire to Klosters â€“ the French family enjoy a moment with players Ben Riordan and Oscar Mancini (wearing whites)
Arena regular Paul Knights unwinds with Charley Larcombe (left) but is a picture of focus and concentration on the field in his first snow polo event (above)
Paul Knights and Heiko Voelker battle for control of the ball
Brits abroad (l-r: John Bunn, Katy Jones, Tim Bown and Paul Knights)
Juliet Herd from Hello! magazine with the event organiser Daniel Waechter
Commentator Sebastian Baker kept the crowds entertained
Steven Indijc supported Baker with commentary in German for the locals
A well-insulated furry friend joins John Manconi and Heiko Voelker
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PTMarch 2010 p90-91 Arena YC PJ JM
Out and about HPA National Club Championships, RCBPC 30 January - 7 February
A festival of fun to warm the coldest afternoon Scrambling for space in the packed grandstands on finals day at last month’s delayed HPA National Club Championships, spectators hoisted themselves over each other in something tantamount to an impromptu game of twister. And from the players’ perspectives on the ground in the arena, with the vocal masses bearing down on them, it must have given them an insight as to what it would be like fighting as a gladiator in Rome’s coliseum. Funnily enough, given how the day’s games turned out, the analogy with gladiatorial combat isn’t a flight of imagery that required too much invention. Except, on this occasion is was not the plebs urbanus braying for blood, but what read like a Who’s Who of British polo clamouring anxiously for victory for their favourite sides. As Jack Kidd attests in the full report that appears earlier in this month’s issue, the final was a brutal, physical dogfight. With the alcohol that numbed his pain firmly out of his system two days later, Kidd found himself bed-bound, and his opponent Howard Smith was left with a badly cut and bruised eyebrow.
Winners in the 12-goal section, Equibuild, and runners-up, Tashan
However, with the dramatic action out of the way, the great and the good of arena polo recovered themselves for a fantastic buffet lunch in the specially erected marquee, courtesy of the HPA, which was represented by Lucy Lewis. ◗ Read a full report of a clamorous finals day at the Berkshire on page 32
Lucy Northmore and Catriona Christie are all smiles at lunchtime
RCBPC’s manager Michael Amoore and arena two-goaler Ollie Browne
Alex Jacob and Guille O'Flaherty
Photographs by Gillian Hughes
Nick and Mandie Beitner huddle for warmth in the chilly February air
Equibuild’s MD Hugh Daly with his winning side of Paul Knight, Tim Bown and Jack Kidd
90 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
Jose Rojas and Danny Muriel
PTMarch 2010 p90-91 Arena YC PJ JM
Above: Paul Rogers, photographer Gillian Hughes and Ian Wooldridge Right: Barbara and Michael Amoore before Michaelâ€™s speech in the marquee
Grania Horswell and Linda Burston
Lizzi Amoore, Georgia Sweeney, Ollie Hughes and friends, wrapped up against the bitter wind
Charlotte Christodoulou and a friend
Paul Rogers and John Horswell
Tim Bown and Tony Pidgley
Left: A boisterous Jack Kidd and Paul Knight put their 12-goal trophy to an unintended use Above: Ian and Thandy Wooldridge, Charley Flain and Roundshawâ€™s Charlie Wooldridge
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PTMarch 2010 p92-93 Classifieds
Club information SCHOOLS
You could be advertising your club fixtures here email: email@example.com
for full details
Rob Cudmore England Coach, 2 HPA Instructors • International Equitrack Polo Arena • Fantastic clubhouse with licensed bar & excellent viewing of the arena • Polo Pony Hire, School Ponies • Chukkas and Matches - call the office for Info • Individual Coaching, Group Lessons, Social & Corporate Events For information on membership, polo lessons and general enquiries please call: Tel: (office) 01452 864 544 Mobile: 07974 532 841 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Longdole Polo Club, Birdlip, Gloucestershire, GL4 8LH
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PTMarch 2010 p92-93 Classifieds
RETIRED POLICE OFFICER OFFERS: PRIVATE CHAUFFEURING IN YOUR OWN CAR Cost efficient alternative to car hire.
RESIDENTIAL / STABLE YARD & PERSONAL PROTECTION Royalty Protection background & Horse owner myself. Totally discreet, flexible & references of the highest order available. 24 hour service. Highest standards of service. Trusted colleagues also available where a team approach is required.
My aim is simply to help make your day go well. Telephone Michael on 07971 028325 or e-mail email@example.com
Advertising equine employment to thousands of local and international job seekers. www.equusconnect.com.au GIFTS
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PTMarch 2010 p94-95 Classifieds
Classifieds GROUND MAINTENANCE
Good quality hay/haylage and shavings Competitive prices Nationwide delivery email: firstname.lastname@example.org
07917 760 645 01235 816 564 TRANSPORT
Try before you buy Call for a demo on your own arena We now have a maintenance only service • arena levelling • paddock maintenance
FIND OUT WHEN WE ARE IN YOUR AREA
Type 1 for sand rubber woodchip Turf Float cloph waxed and all synthetic surfaces with or without tyres
Type 2 for Alruba (long thin rubber) only
Grass harrow adjustable settings
New Quad safe
01427 728 700 07775 607 339 www.arenamate.co.uk Also in Ireland
94 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
PTMarch 2010 p94-95 Classifieds
WINTERBORNE HORSEBOX C O
Builders of Bespoke Horseboxes since 1976
Valley Fabrications, Winterborne Stickland, Dorset, DT11 0NT
Tel: (01258) 880490 / 881295 (eves)
Polo Lorries Made to Order Contact Cris Matthews on 07885 734 282 Polo Lorries built by qualified engineer and polo player who understands your requirements. • Can adapt to your specifications. • Any repairs to partitions, ramps, floors, welding of cabs, resprays and M.O.T preparation. • Or keep your container and we can swap your chassis/cab for a newer one. • Pick up and delivery service.
P010 COW Great plate! Available now! Currently held on retention certificate.
Offers over £3,500 Tel: 07921 85 93 30 The example is a accurate representation of how the plate must be displayed and it can be allocated to any new vehicle registered in the UK from 1st March 2010 onwards. Once purchased the registration number can be held on retention, for a small administration fee, until the perfect nearly new or used vehicle is found in future years.
www.willowpolo.co.uk Tizzie Craggs • • • •
Tack repairs Bespoke leather work Saddle re-flocking Stick repairs
Tel: 01986 893 161 Mob: 07774 272 476 Email: email@example.com
www.polotimes.co.uk March 2010 95
PTMarch 2010 p96-97 Classifieds
Classifieds PONIES HANDLEY CROSS SCHOOLMASTER 14.2hh
gelding excels at polo and dressage. Fast but safe and agile. Sensibly priced as aged but good home more important for this genuine gent. Easy to do, played for last six years. Call 07811 353344 START YOUR SPECIAL PONY THE RIGHT WAY! Do you have that special pony? 25 years experience breaking and schooling undertaken for polo and jump training and playing. Individual work programme. Enquiries welcome from Pony Club members. Telephone 07963 787790 ARGENTINE BRED 15.3HH, 13 YEAR OLD CHESTNUT MARE Very good natured. Lovely to
do. Fast and nippy. Played Pony Club and up to 15 goal. £3500. Contact Charlie Higson on 01963 370543 or 07595 036339. FIVE POLO PONIES FOR SALE Reducing string, ponies from £1400 to £6000. Two just schooled, one veteran (bargain) and two mid-age playing superb polo. Wiltshire, due in from winter rest 1 March. Tel 07545 501763 15HH 9 YEAR OLD ARGENTINE DARK BAY POLO PONY FOR SALE All rounder and lightly jumped.
Played outdoor to 6 goal and arena polo. Would suit Pony Club/young player, up-and-coming pro or lady. Good to box, shoe, load, lead, stick and ball etc. £5500 ono. Contact Harry Tucker on 07816 257532 TRANSPORT AND MACHINERY WANTED FOUR HORSE TRAILER Wanted four
horse trailer. Tel 01823 461315 or 07786 235289 NON-HGV LORRY Mercedes 814 EcoPower 1997. Generously partitioned for five. Large, secure Luton storage area. Very reliable, regularly serviced, easy to drive. New floor and ramp. £7250 ono. Call Rona 01491 682221 IVECO 75 TECTOR HORSE BOX NON HGV 7.5KG Y REG Super polo wagon, partitioned for six,
brand new conversion and paint, sliding windows and roof vents, superb granolithic rubber flooring throughout, galvanized partitions, internal lights, wagon immaculate. £15,500. Telephone 07836 551227 PRIVATE PLATE - £1495 The best plate you could get for a polo-playing dad - PO10 DAD - need to assign to a vehicle registered March 2010 onwards. Swift easy transfer of entitlement assured. Please contact Paul on 01934 843260 10 HORSE BOX, CONVERTED 3 YEARS AGO DAF 240, water on board, lockable storage boxes,
galvanised partitions. Tack racks. CCTV. HGV, T Reg, Mint. Tested May 2010. £14,000 ono. Tel 07899 977412 LIVERY LONDON LIVERIES Ham Polo and Liveries have a
few remaining spaces for the 2010 season. We are based within the grounds of Ham Polo Club and whether you have one pony or a string, we provide care that is second to none with a supportive and encouraging environment from which to play. Call Lucy Dowie on 07813 818355 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
96 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
POLO YARD, SUPERB EXTENSIVE GRAZING, DORSET Yard near Sherborne, 20 minutes from
SECRETARY/PA REQUIRED FOR CIRENCESTER PARK POLO CLUB to assist Polo Manager in
A303 Wincanton/Yeovil. 70 acre farm in glorious countryside. Well placed for Vaux Park, Druids Lodge. Eleven internal stables in Dutch barn, level practice ground. Excellent hacking and lorry parking. Ideal for players wanting to share/practise together. Competent players for schooling if required. Email anniebolesworth @hotmail.com or telephone 01963 23611
running all aspects of prestigious Polo Club. Must be fully IT literate and have experience of managing accounts. Please send CVs by email to email@example.com or telephone 07768 394661 GROOM WANTED Groom wanted for a private yard near Towcester, Northants. March until September. Accommodation available. 01327 860735 LOW-GOAL POLO GROOM WANTED Full time groom wanted for small friendly yard near Marlborough, playing at Tidworth. To start as soon as possible. Salary options can include use of car and accommodation. Contact Georgina on 01672 870725 or 07747 033728
STABLES/LIVERY AVAILABLE IN WARGRAVE, BERKS Off of junction 8/9 of M4. Up to 15 stables
to rent, also full/part livery. Arena, walker, stick and ball field, wooden horse, turnout and accommodation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07885 075463 POLO BASE IN OXFORDSHIRE Looking for somewhere good to be this summer? Stabling with use of excellent facilities available for rent. Twenty minutes from Kirtlington. Equi-distant between Berkshire and Cirencester. Superb arena, exercise track, horse walker, wash-down area, polo ground. Groom's accommodation also available. All in a peaceful and pretty location. Call Polo Times office 01993 886885 AFFORDABLE POLO LIVERY Full or part livery available, short or long term, offering great facilities including all year round turnout. Ponies taken in for re-schooling or rehabilitation, special brood mare packages. All levels catered for. Great access to M4 and Cirencester, Beaufort Polo Clubs. For more information please call 07740 252369 STABLES TO RENT 3 MILES SOUTH OF CIRENCESTER with all-weather exercise track,
polo ground, and lots of turn-out. Apply to Mandy Keegan on 07976 867313 or email email@example.com POLO CENTRE AVAILABLE FOR 2010 SEASON
Facilities include stick and ball ground, sand school, American style barn with 12 large stables and tack room. Located in mid Sussex under 50 minutes from Cowdray Park, Knepp Castle, FHM, Hurtwood and Sussex. For more information please call 07802 374222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org PROPERTY WANTED PROPERTY TO RENT Three-bed property, min 10 acres, stabling, indoor and/or outdoor school. Glos, N. Wilts, Oxfordshire. Tel 07796 757977 or email email@example.com PRIVATE YARD - PANGBOURNE, BERKSHIRE Four Stables, tack room, grazing, space to exercise and stick and ball, easy access to M4 J12. Call Simon 07970 841490. SITUATIONS POLO PLAYER/GROOM FOR HIRE 18 year old polo
player worth 1-2 goals playing off 0-goal. Taking gap year off university in QLD Australia. Seeking job in UK - Call 0430036350 or + 61 75 543 2450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org PLAYER/GROOM UK SEASON 0-Goal patron looking for 1-2 goal player to play/groom with low goal friendly family team. Ponies, accommodation, membership, salary all included, ideal position for student on gap year etc. Wiltshire, UK. Tel 07545 501763
TEMPORARY GROOM REQUIRED FOR MARCH/SUSSEX Polo groom required to get five
ponies fit from early March. Accommodation available, for more information please call 07951 817626 or email email@example.com POLO GROOM REQUIRED FOR SOTOGRANDE A patron requires a self driven experienced groom to look after 4-6 horses. The horses are kept in Sotogrande. The salary will reflect experience and work ethic. Accommodation and transport will be provided. References required. Contact 07973 600777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org POLO GROOM FOR 2010 SEASON For 0 Goal player with five/six ponies based in Yorkshire. Must drive non-HGV horsebox. Great accommodation next to yard if required. Very attractive wage. Call 07785 500671 GROOM WANTED AT LONDON POLO CLUB Polo groom required for the 2010 season, from March until September in friendly yard at Ham Polo Club. Experience essential, accommodation available, references required. Tel 07813 818355 or email email@example.com SUMMER POLO GROOM REQUIRED Polo groom required for family yard near Cirencester and Edgeworth. Attractive terms, must be non-HGV driver. Telephone 07866 761727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org GROOM Mature person able to drive non-HGV, live-in deal with all aspects of polo life for 15 year old and four ponies in Leics. Starting April until beginning of September. Tel 07768 821243 GROOM WANTED Experienced groom wanted for 2010 polo season for Guards player based on private farm in Berkshire. Accommodation provided. Must be able to drive non-HGV horsebox. Email email@example.com POLO GROOM REQUIRED FOR FAMILY YARD
Cuckfield, West Sussex, near Knepp Castle. Sole charge, four ponies, non-HGV driver preferred. Tel 07753 617999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org EQUIPMENT SCOREBOARDS AND CLOCKS ESPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR POLO Outdoor and arena sizes.
Fully electronic, displaying the time counting down, both scores and chukka number. Automatic bell/horn. Controlled wirelessly by a remote control you can even wear on your arm. Visit www.SportingDesigns.co.uk or call +44 (0)7860 303217
PTMarch 2010 p96-97 Classifieds
Advertisers in March 2010 Contact details as follows: Apes Hill +1 246 432 4500 www.apeshillclub.com Arena Mate 01427 728700 www.arenamate.co.uk Arthur Carter Ltd. (Happy Horse Hay Steamers) 0845 370 3113 www.happyhorseproducts.co.uk Ashdown Stables and Arenas 01446 772800 www.ashdown-group.com Bailey’s Horse Feeds 01371 850247 www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk Belmont Polo Club 07770 256010 www.belmontpoloclub.com/home Blake Lapthorn 023 8090 8090 www.bllaw.co.uk Bloxham School 01295 720222 www.bloxhamschool.com Brett Polo 01344 885911 www.brettpolo.com Bulthaup 01780 727212 www.bulthaup.com Bunkabin 0845 456 7899 www.bunkabin.co.uk Camino Real +54 114 394 4168 www.caminorealcountryclub.com CH Grounds Maintenance 01494 758208 www.chgrounds.com Cheltenham College 01242 265600 www.cheltenhamcollege.org Chestnut Horse Feeds 01455 558808 www.chestnuthorsefeeds.co.uk Clivenden Stud 07860 223684 www.clivendenstud.co.uk Cris Matthews 07885 734282 email@example.com Detail 07775 770672 www.detailstudio.co.uk Druids Lodge Polo Club 01722 782597 www.druidspolo.co.uk Equibuild 01367 820960 firstname.lastname@example.org Equine Logistics Company 01264 810782 www.equine-logistics-company.com Equus Connect www.equusconnect.com.au Estancia Don Manuel +54 9 11 4998 9800 www.estanciadonmanuel.com Felsted School 01371 822620 www.felsted.org Financial 01242 820738 www.financialprivateclients.ltd.uk/polo
Five Star Bedding 07973 848365 www.fivestarbedding.co.uk Galaxico Internationale +92 523 555 791 www.galaxicopolo.com Ham Polo Club 020 8334 0000 www.Hampoloclub.com Hanslips 01189 713210 www.hanslips.com Haras Canada Rica +54 114 322 4966 www.haraslarica.com Horse Weigh 01547 520169 www.horseweigh.com Images of Polo 01273 834159 www.imagesofpolo.com Jeremy Curling Fencing 01483 894888 www.jcfc.co.uk Julius Baer www.juliusbaer.com Kate’s Art 07887 678421 www.katesart.com Kestrel Ltd 01256 880488 www.kestrelcontractors.co.uk Kulm Hotel, St Moritz +41 81 836 8000 www.kulmhotel-stmoritz.ch La Clarita, Sotogrande 01483 281755 La Mariposa +54 911 518 01759 www.lamariposa.com.ar Laundry Machine Ltd 0121 4863566 www.laundry-machine.com Longdole Polo Club 01452 864544 Lycetts 01672 512512 www.lycetts.co.uk Major Equipment Ltd 01524 850501 www.major-equipment.com Michael Oldham 07971 028325 Mucho Polo Ponies 07738 235627 www.muchopoloponies.co.uk Paddock Woods Stallions 07845 328442 Pampeano 0871 2001272 www.pampeano.co.uk Patey Hats 01285 841250 www.pateyhats.com Pegasus Horseshoes Ltd 01780 762245 www.pledger.co.uk Per Aquum www.peraquum.com Peter Hewett (Pony Sales) 01483 787483 email@example.com Phil Shaw 07917 760645 firstname.lastname@example.org
Polo Africa +27 834 346 372 www.poloafrica.com Polo Fix (Audi Polo Awards) 020 7384 4870 www.polofix.com Polo Permits 01798 869496 www.polopermits.co.uk Polo Plates 07917 802322 email@example.com Poloreg.com www.poloreg.com Ranksboro’ Polo 01572 720046 www.ranksboropolo.co.uk Santa Helena, Brazil 01491 682221 www.polosantahelena.com.br SATS (South American Trade Services) 01285 841542 www.satsfaction.com Scotts of Thrapston 01832 732366 www.scottsofthrapston.co.uk Sebastian Ucha +54 114 7801816 www.sebastianucha.com Spanish Boot Company 0845 3138167 www.thespanishbootcompany.co.uk T & S Harker 01325 332649 www.tandsharkerhorseboxes.co.uk The Home Office Company +333 800 5050 www.thehomeofficecompany.co.uk The Leap Overseas Ltd (Gap year polo) 01672 519922 www.theleap.co.uk The Mileage Company www.themileagecompany.com The Winterborne Horsebox Co. 01258 880490 Tidworth Polo Club 01980 846705 www.tidworthpolo.com Tom Cunningham, Farriery Services, 07748 207037 UberPolo 01428 643534 www.uberpolo.com Warren Clarke Horses, 07802 399233 www.warrenclarke.com Waterhall Polo +1 246 4329550 www.apeshillclub.com West of England Stabling 01837 810209 www.westofenglandstabling.co.uk Wildman Design 01993 842582 www.wildmandesign.co.uk Willow Polo 07774 272476 firstname.lastname@example.org YARDANDGROOM 020 81441636 www.yardandgroom.com
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PTMarch 2010 p98 week YC GM
The last word
in the life of. .
Photograph courtesy of Mike Hobday
I WAS ON THE PHONE from 7am until 2am for many of the days in the fortnight leading up to the SUPA National Universities Arena Championships late last month. The tournament has grown from 60 teams three years ago to 108 in 2010 – so, as well as having gone from strength to strength, it also takes a great deal of coordinating, with the extra task this year of filling out forms for the Guinness Book of Records, who have recognised the event as the largest arena tournament in the world. ON SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY, my day was dedicated to one of my other passions – hockey. I used to play to national league standard and even represented England, despite being half-Scottish, half-French. However, 10 years ago I suffered a blood clot on the brain from whiplash when I was loading a horse. It caused a stroke, which changed my life as I’d always been really active. It put pay to my riding days and stopped me playing competitive hockey, but I still umpire hockey locally to keep me mobile and provide me with a social life! Umpiring has helped with my SUPA work too, because it means I understand confrontation and the kind of club politics that often creep into sport. There was an incident I remember last year when we had to take a title from London and give it to Warwick because of a handicap breach. Aside from hockey, on Saturday I also watched England in the Six Nations rugby before roasting up a rib of beef in the evening and fielding a few more SUPA calls. As
98 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk
The SUPA management team’s most energetic member discusses the frantic build-up to last month’s world recordbreaking four-day university polo event near Bristol with Carlie Trotter something of a serial divorcee, I have come to really enjoy cooking! I’D SOMEHOW MANAGED to double-book myself on Sunday, with helping at the schools arena matches at Longdole and umpiring hockey in Cirencester. So I spent the day darting between the two and, by the time I got home at 6pm, I was shattered. However, I’m part of a big local quiz league, so had to drag myself out to meet my team at 7.30pm. Not having a family, it gets me out and about, and is a fun way to do something completely different. We’ve been quite successful, reaching the finals twice in three years. MONDAY AND TUESDAY afternoon I was busy with hockey coaching and spent the rest
of the time organising the universities polo. I have to make sure there are enough horses, and check the suppliers are definitely insured as part of our new personal sports accident cover. We are insisting on kitemarked helmets this year and more regulation of coaches will be next. When the shit hits the fan, I'm the fan, and students call at all hours with accommodation questions, scheduling issues, and requests for help if clubs are asking silly hire fees. The total outlay for the four-day tournament will be around £150,000, which is why savvy clubs like Rugby are investing in facilities like crazy and why we have new sponsors knocking on our door. This year English brand Akuma has taken over from La Martina as our key sponsor. It took about six hours to seed the teams and work out the timing for all four rounds, then at 2am I got another entry so had to change it. But that was fine – I'd rather stay up an extra hour to make sure an individual gets to play than have an easy life. I personally got a lot out of polo in my playing days and SUPA is about making the sport inclusive. “No” is never an answer – it is always “OK, possibly”. That keeps me busy, but I don't like to stop. I need that adrenaline in life. I WAS FIRE FIGHTING more minor problems on Wednesday and organising drinks for the after-party. We’re definitely more organised this year. From the first week of January, the work is constant and the newly appointed junior schools manager, Sarah Styler, has been helping a lot, along with her daughter Lydia and Rhianydd LeeJones from Birmingham University. SUPA chairman Charles Betz and I regularly have working lunches and our sub-committee meetings are crucial. BY THURSDAY I was feeling in need of some meditation so I took my dog Howard out for a long walk. He has become an important figure in polo, ever since he was refused entry to a club that shall remain nameless a few years ago. From then on, the sponsorship cheques have been signed “Howard Hobday” and these days he sponsors polo, hockey, and rugby teams – but, if the organisers want the teams to play, they have to let him in. I MET UMPIRE JASON Dixon, who manages the SUPA training programme, at The Hand Equestrian Centre on Friday 12 February, when we carried out the final risk assessments before the tournament. As a training centre for the Olympics, Hand is a great place for the tournament. Many people in polo try to rip you off but Nick Davis, the centre’s owner, has been a great supporter of SUPA and is very easy to get on with. All things considered, making the largest arena tournament in the world happen requires a huge team effort, from the organisers and players to the manege maintenance manager (poop scooper). Everyone should be very proud. F
Per Bound Cover Issue 2
Per Bound Cover Issue 2
Polo Times March 2010