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Contents

POLO TIMES

Publisher Margie Brett margie@polotimes.co.uk Editor Yolanda Carslaw yolanda@polotimes.co.uk Deputy Editor James Mullan jamesmullan@polotimes.co.uk Art Editor James Wildman james@polotimes.co.uk Advertising Tom House tom@polotimes.co.uk Subscriptions Georgie May georgie@polotimes.co.uk Marketing and PR PJ Seccombe pj@polotimes.co.uk Accounts Debbie Mason accounts@polotimes.co.uk Contributors Michael Amoore, Arthur Douglas-Nugent, Mark Emerson, John Horswell, Lorna Jowett, Leah Ludlow, Brett O’Callaghan, Jamie Peel, Clare Sheikh, Herbert Spencer, Caroline Stern, Sarah Styler, Camilla Swift, Martha Terry, Carlie Trotter, Lyndsay Warner, Alex Webbe Front cover “Duel”, by Jacqueline Stanhope 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: admin@polotimes.co.uk 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: admin@polotimes.co.uk 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 ISSN 1461-4685 mark of Polo Times Limited.

16 Nicolas Roldan News 4 8 12

All the latest news News special: new US substances rules Obituary: Oaklands founder, Jamie Bruce

Comment 15 16 18 21 22

Herbert Spencer’s global view Interview: Nicolas Roldan Your views: letters to the editor John Horswell’s players’ forum Umpire’s corner

Reports 24 28 32 34 36 38 40

New Zealand Open, Auckland Polo Club Akuma University Arena Polo Championships National Schools Champs, Longdole Hickstead Arena International, Eng vs Scot Arena Gold Cup, RCBPC This winter’s final instalment from Pakistan Dubai Gold Cup / At home and abroad

24 New Zealand Open

Features 44 48

Captured on canvas: polo art and artists Best foot forward: a polo farrier’s work

The knowledge 52 54 57 58 61 62 66 68 70 78 82

Playing around: Lacey Green in Bucks Duty vet with Mark Emerson: wolf teeth Your game with Jamie Peel Pony power: Lanto Sheridan and Beatle Feeding with Lorna Jowett: avoiding tying up Travel: Flying H Ranch, Wyoming – USA My travels: with Hickstead’s John Bunn Property: shift your polo place sharpish Motoring special: driving and upkeep Reviews: The Polo Kid and PJs Bar & Grill What’s on in April and club contacts

44 Polo strokes

Out and about 86 92 98

Social snaps: England, Spain, Italy and the US Classifieds A week in the life of: David Morley

70 Masses of motoring www.polotimes.co.uk April 2010 3


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from the Editor So it’s farewell to the Sultan of Swing. Our beloved columnist John Horswell, who has served up wise words to the polo world for exactly a decade, is retiring from his regular page. At PT HQ we’re broken-hearted to see the big man go, but it’s given me an excellent excuse to trawl the archives and give you a round-up of the world according to the sultan – never dull, often entertaining and always incisive and practical.

His New Year’s resolutions in 2003 (Jan/Feb) included a point about relaxing, noting that one US patron was making his Argie pros do yoga. “I’m not suggesting we all become kaftan-wearing, sprout-eating hippies,” he wrote, “but if we could exorcise some inner demons our games will improve.” May 2003 dealt with saddle-fitting, explaining how to ensure a comfy pony, while October 2004 revealed “the whole truth” about handicapping. In 2005 (Jan/Feb), the sultan warned beginners that polo exposed those who hadn’t learnt to ride properly for polo (and that means plenty of sets). In 2006, he gave essential tips on buying a pony (“one-careful owner is a myth”). April 2007 was one of several issues in which “that” picture of Bautista Heguy appeared. In September 2008 he praised Juan Martin Nero – “the kind of guy the term ‘sang froid’ was invented for”. And last July he bemoaned the fact that players now try to go down rather than up in handicap… John will be back from time to time, as he explains in his last missive on page 21.

Yolanda Carslaw

4 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

Photograph by Tony Ramirez

John’s lesson on the perfect grip in 2000 (March issue) illustrated the perils of being too tight, too narrow and too far up the handle. In describing how not to hold on, John asked readers to imagine there were a caveman taking on a prehistoric beast with a club – or a medieval jouster. In 2001 (Nov/Dec), John tabled dos and don’ts for the arena player, introducing readers to the undesirable prospects of “flat-out whacker” and the “rolling maul”.

George Milford Haven, patron of Broncos, in action. His team that has played 22-goal on and off since 1987

Broncos bow out of high-goal BRITISH HIGH-GOAL this summer is set to feature 14 teams, with half returning with line-ups changed radically, and two big teams retiring. The tally is down on last year, when the Queen’s Cup at Guards fielded 18 teams and the Gold Cup at Cowdray 17. George Milford Haven’s Broncos, who have been playing 22-goal for more than 20 years, are leaving the scene. Milford Haven told Polo Times: “I’ve been playing high-goal off and on since 1987 and have the embarrassing distinction of being the longestserving high-goal patron. I’ve always said I’ll give up high-goal when I’m 50, and that year has come. I’m still passionate about polo and will continue to play.” Apes Hill, the all-pro team that won last year’s Queen’s Cup, is also withdrawing. Its backer, Barbados property magnate Sir Charles “Cow” Williams, got behind British players such as the Tomlinsons and Tom Morley during Apes Hill’s three years in high-goal. Dubai has taken on Pablo MacDonough, while 2008 Gold Cup winners Loro Piana have parted company with Uruguayan nine-

goaler Pelon Stirling and brought in Santiago Chavanne. Pelon has gone to El Remanso, to play with Jaime Huidobro and both Hanbury brothers. Sumaya – initially due to field two teams, is bringing just one. Insiders say Milo FernandezAraujo, Lucas James and Nachi du Plessis have been signed up. Newcomers Habtoor, who played the Queen’s Cup last year, have taken on young guns Hilario Ulloa and Tom de Bruin. Young British pros Max Routledge and Max Charlton have been signed up by Lechuza Caracas and Azzurra respectively, while Jonny Good is to play for Les Lions I. Luke Tomlinson joins Talandracas. Spencer McCarthy’s Emlor will play the Queen’s Cup, its first high-goal foray, fielding John-Paul Clarkin, Nacho Gonzalez and Joaquin Pittaluga. In the Gold Cup only is a new-look Ravensbourne, also with John-Paul Clarkin, plus Ruki Baillieu and Rob Archibald. Returning largely unchanged are La Bamba de Areco, Enigma and Les Lions I. Salkeld and Billingbear Park will not play high-goal in 2010.

Veteran Argentine to lead FIP EDUARDO J HUERGO of Argentina has been appointed interim president of the International Polo Federation (FIP), writes Herbert Spencer, and FIP has rescheduled its General Assembly for 19 April in Wellington, Florida. Huergo is the fourth man to head FIP in as many months. France’s Patrick GuerrandHermès resigned under pressure last November to be replaced by Australia’s James Ashton as interim president. After Ashton was killed in a polo accident in February, FIP’s senior vice-

president, Tom Biddle (US), took the helm briefly until FIP’s Council of Administration appointed Huergo on 9 March. It appears certain that the April General Assembly will formally elect Huergo as president to fill the unexpired term of GuerrandHermès to 2012. The 71-year old Argentine is a veteran member of the FIP’s Council, having served most years since 1987. He has been vicepresident of the Argentine Polo Association four times and is a member of its International

Committee. Related to the famous Cavanagh family, Huergo took up polo at Tortugas aged 15 and rose to five goals. After graduating as a civil engineer, he played in 1964 in England, reaching the final of the Gold Cup with Centaurs. He played the Argentine Open when the minimum handicap was 18 goals and has played in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, the US and South Africa. Huergo has worked in the auto industry, finance and as a farmer. He and his wife María have six children and eight grandchildren.


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Mucho interest in pre-season sale A MAJOR READY-TO-PLAY polo pony sale is taking and-balling these very easy horses. Others have place in Berkshire this month, with 38 carefully been entered by various individuals – after being selected polo ponies available. Mucho Polo Ponies, thoroughly “vetted” by McShane. “They have to be the British enterprise behind the sale, is installing horses anyone can ride – that is what people want,” marquees and an undercover sale ring at Burley says McShane. “We’ve had interest from as far away Lodge, Will Hine’s Shinfield base, for the event on as Dubai and Germany, and several telephone Sunday 25 April. The catalogue will be available from bidders are signed up.” 1 April, and the ponies on hand to try out the week From Saturday 17 to Friday 23 April buyers can preceding the auction. view and try ponies at Burley Lodge, near junction 11 Two years’ preparation has led up to the sale, as of the M4. Chukkas and stick-and-balling will be Mucho Polo Ponies’ Jenny McShane explains. “We limited to four minutes per pony, and Saavedra will have made sure we meet check riding ability to make “They have to be horses the needs of buyers by sure buyers are matched with anyone can ride: that’s suitable ponies. concentrating on ready-towhat people want” play ponies, holding the Gates to the sale, which sale at the start of the is entirely undercover, open – Jenny McShane season before people are at 9am on 25 April, with a too busy at weekends, choosing a central location parade of ponies at 1.30pm and the sale at 2pm. and letting buyers try ponies beforehand.” Wielding Prospective buyers can download a bidding form the hammer will be Richard Botterill, a seasoned and email it back to Mucho Polo Ponies before the auctioneer from Brightwells – the equestrian sale – allowing more time for pony inspections on auction house’s first foray into polo. the day – or fill one in on 25 April. For details Last year McShane and Chilean and to download a catalogue (from 1 April) player and pony producer Antonio visit www.mucho-polo-ponies.com. For Saavedra teamed up to form Mucho general enquiries call Jenny Polo Ponies, which specialises in pony McShane on 07738 hire and sales, and aims to make the 235627. auction an annual pre-season fixture. McShane and Saavedra have handpicked the 38 horses, most of which are aged 11 and under, with the emphasis on patron ponies. Sixteen are their own, including Chilean, English and Irish (including some that are eligible for RoR awards). Another 16 are being sold by Polo del Sol, the British-run holiday centre in Spain that folded late last year. Polo Times can vouch for this consignment: on our own visit last May, we enjoyed playing and stick-

News in brief ◗ THE HPA, IN conjunction with Lycetts, is

providing new insurance – effective from 1 April – for coaches who teach as freelancers or as part of a club or business. Every accredited coach will pay an annual premium (£262.50 for 2010) under the new HPA Coaches and Instructors Public Liability Policy – unless they teach entirely for free. ◗ THE ARGENTINE FOUR NATIONS Cup is

returning for the second year to Palermo, Buenos Aires, on 17-25 April. The 28-goal tournament will once again feature England who last year played against Brazil, Argentina and a Rest of the World team. The England side fields James Beim (7), Mark Tomlinson (7), Malcolm Borwick (6) and Luke Tomlinson (8), playing under Argentine handicaps. ◗ CHELSEA RESTAURANT PJ’s Polo Bar and

Grill turns 20 this year, and Polo Times finds it in good shape (see page 80). But why is it called PJ’s? Owner Brian Stein says: “When we were building PJ’s I ran into the vet PJ McMahon and joked we were naming it after him. He said, ‘Don’t talk such cr*p.’ For a laugh, on the press releases at the launch, I said it was named after PJ McMahon, the world’s best polo vet. Somehow in the papers it then appeared as ‘PJ McMahon, the world’s best polo player’! Later Victoria Grace asked me: ‘Is it after Polo Joe?’ – I agreed it was.” Polo folk will gather for PJ’s Polo Party on 10 May – by invitation, but with a tradition of welcoming polo newcomers. If you’re not on the guest list, but want to be, contact PJ’s to see if you qualify! ◗ GROUND-BREAKING new guidelines on pony

hire were in force at last month’s SUPA championships (page 28). Most students rent ponies, and policy sets minimum standards for pony providers, particularly in terms of insurance, licensing, passports, vaccinations and fees. SUPA leads the way in this realm compared to other polo bodies. Next up for scrutiny new guidelines will be coaching.

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News News in brief ◗ MORE THAN 40 horses will go on

under the hammer on 27 May at Burningfold Polo Club in Surrey, midway between Guards and Cowdray. Nearly half have been home-bred by retired player Peter Hewett, who has run a successful breeding programme for a decade, building a stock of 20 proven broodmares whose progeny have won prizes. The 17 horses he is entering in the sale range from youngstock to aged 10. More details will appear in the May issue of Polo Times, meanwhile readers interested in entering horses in the sale should contact Gary Jones at Burningfold (07970 340861). ◗ POLO-PLAYING WOMEN taking part in all-female tournaments in Argentina are to be subject to new ladies’ handicaps with a wider range, more akin to the 0 to 10-goal ratings in the unisex game. England’s Nina Clarkin and the USA’s Sunny Hale – the two highest-rated female players on the international polo circuit, rated at four goals – will both now play off a nine-goal handicap in all-female competition in Argentina. Emma Tomlinson, Rosie Ross and Tamara Vestey are rated at eight goals, along with Argentina’s Marianela Castagnola, while Lucy Taylor is among the notable list of those on seven.

Fulham fixture back with a bang – and HPA backing JODIE KIDD TOOK centre stage at an eventful press launch last month for the second year of the London polo event, MINT Polo in the Park. Fulham’s Hurlingham Park will once again host a revised form of the game, and hopes to attract 25,000 spectators from 4-6 June. Last summer’s inaugural event introduced drastic new rules, a reshaped ground and technological innovations that aimed to make the game faster, more exciting and more accessible to uninitiated spectators. Despite snubbing the HPA by devising and staging the event independently, organisers gave polo a successful return to its historic UK home. This year, however, the second running of the self-billed “World Polo

Series” moves up a gear, welcoming twice as many teams and further innovations, but this time all in official consultation with the HPA, who are keen to piggyback on the exposure of the game to new spectators and large terrestrial TV audiences. “We fully support this variant of the game,” said HPA chief executive, David Woodd. “This year promises to be a better and more competitive spectacle, with three rather than four a side, and will be great chance to introduce polo to Londoners.” Players Kirsty Craig, Lucy Field and Sarah Wiseman were on hand with the winning male members of the Team London line-up from last year at the press conference, highlighting the new aim that each side should

feature at least one female player. As well as a presentation about this year’s Polo in the Park, now in association with UK-based brokerage firm MINT, the launch included a horseback parade into Hurlingham Park, where the players stick-andballed on Ascot Park ponies in front of the media, gave lessons to a handful of local children and gave BBC rugby pundit Brian Moore his first taste of polo in a lesson with Kirsty Craig. A couple of disgruntled locals caused disruption by standing in front of the cameras to complain about damage caused to the park’s running track, but few photographers seemed interested, focusing instead on what Jamie Morrison described as “the Jack and Jodie show”.

Kidds with kids: Jack and Jodie with Fulham schoolchildren

◗ POLO WRITERS and photographers

Clare Milford Haven, Vanessa Taylor, Michael Chevis and Roger Chatterton Newman, who are producing Cowdray’s centenary book this spring, are seeking archival material – and would welcome contributions from Polo Times readers. If you have images or anecdotes of Cowdray Park through the decades, email claremilfordhaven@hotmail.com ◗ VOTING IS UNDERWAY for the

2010 Audi Polo Awards (17 May). Give your support to your favourite players, patrons and teams at www.audipoloawards.com. ◗ COUNTY POLO’S organisers have

invited more clubs to join their growing three-a-side initiative, a league specifically for novice players. The newcomer-friendly format is the brainchild of Claire Tomlinson, and aims to give players plenty of time on the ball whilst receiving tuition throughout chukkas. County Polo will be a regular weekend fixture at the Beaufort this summer, and Tomlinson is now encouraging other clubs to follow in her footsteps. ◗ POLO AT THE British Open Show

Jumping Championships has been jettisoned for this year’s fixture at Birmingham’s NEC after five years, to be replaced by a new event, known only as “The H Factor”. 6 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

Farm chukkas at Freddie’s new facility FEMALE PROFESSIONAL Farida “Freddie” RossoBaldacchino has opened a private yard and polo centre in Berkshire. The one-goaler (pictured) has taken a 20-year lease on a former stud, Benham Park, in a parkland setting near Newbury, minutes from junction 13 of the M4, where she has renovated historic stables and set up two grounds. “We aim to offer five-star livery and friendly chukkas whenever people want them, so that people from the area can enjoy their polo at times that suit them,” says Freddie, who has played professionally since 2001. “There’s a hole in this area in terms of facilities. Quite a few people here play, but they have to travel, for instance to the Berkshire. That’s one of the best places in the UK for all levels of polo, but it’s quite a trip. “Benham Park will not be a club, with membership

and big tournaments, but a place where people can rock up after work and play for fun.” The 48 spacious stables have been refurbished using original materials, and further stabling will be available in a barn in due course. Some 50 polo ponies already overwinter on the 100 acres of post-and-rail fenced paddocks, and there’s an all-weather exercise track. The fields sit on contrasting ground: the full-sized one, drilled three years ago, is on gravel – “you could play there in December,” says Freddie – while the second smaller ground has springy peat-like soil beneath. The focus will be on play, not tuition. “The point is to get people together who know the rules and can play, a bit like Argentine farm chukkas,” Freddie adds. For more visit www.benhamparkpolo.co.uk or tel 01635 550287.


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Above and below: coaching underway this spring at the inaugural Team USA assessment weekend in Florida, putting the country’s best 19 to 25-year-olds through their paces

American youth gets a leg-up 10-goalers Adam Snow and Owen Rinehart and the country’s leading lady player, Sunny Hale, donated their time to work with the candidates. “The way the polo community came together to help these talented young players was a major success,” said Team USA head coach Charlie Muldoon. “The USPA and my fellow professionals did a wonderful job so that each player of Team USA got the most they could from the weekend.” The original plan was to choose eight of the 24 candidates to become selected “interns” or “apprentices” with professionals. “Now we have modified this and aim to find opportunities for all 24 players,” said Peter Rizzo, the USPA’s executive director. “We’ve already found places with professionals for half of them.” Rizzo said the Florida sessions were such a success that the association is now considering a second intake of Team USA players this summer, with another coaching and selection event at the Wyoming ranch of former USPA chairman Skey Johnston (see Travel, page 62). Funding of the Team USA programme originates with the millions of dollars of income the USPA has been accruing through its highly successful marketing arm, USPA Properties Inc.

Photographs by Wisehart

THE US POLO Association (USPA) has initiated a five-year, young player development programme that could cost upwards of a million dollars if the first-year spend is maintained, writes Herbert Spencer. According to USPA chairman Tom Biddle, the association has earmarked up to $175,000 (£116,800) for its “Team USA” programme in 2010, aimed at giving talented, home-grown players chances to improve by working with top American professionals. “Regardless of whether the players want to become pros or to compete as amateurs,” Biddle said, “the goal of Team USA is to improve polo in this country across the board, from the grass roots up to high-goal.” The Team USA scheme, under the direction of former seven-goaler Charles Smith, began last year with the USPA inviting players aged 19 to 25 to submit applications for inclusion in the programme. A blue-ribbon panel chose 24 players from 73 applicants. Those chosen, including four female players, came from states right across the country, from Florida to Hawaii, Connecticut to California. Their current handicaps range from B (-1) to 4. The USPA paid the young players’ expenses to attend a weekend of coaching and assessment in Wellington, Florida, this February. A dozen of America’s top pros, including former

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Latest from the HPA

HPA chief executive David Woodd rounds up the news from UK polo’s headquarters

Arena International Test Match

Blue Books

England beat Scotland 14-13 in extra time to win the Bryan Morrison Trophy for the third consecutive year on 27 February at AEPC, Hickstead. Congratulations to the England Team of Sebastian Dawnay (7), Jonny Good (8) and Jamie Morrison (7) and the Scotland Team of Howard Smith (6), Jamie Le Hardy (8) and Chris Hyde (9), who produced an outstanding game for those watching. [Ed. A full report appears on page 34 of this issue of Polo Times]

The 2010 HPA Blue Books will be dispatched to clubs during the second week of April. Please ensure that you pick up your copy and read the regulations and rules. There have been some significant changes, which are also covered in Umpire’s Corner on page 22.

and the welfare booklet. The cards allow club managers to verify players’ handicaps and memberships easily and efficiently. Players of one goal and above will also receive a pocket rulebook, on the basis that the UK’s more accomplished players will hopefully help to umpire. The above will only be distributed to players once the HPA has been both notified of their membership and given their correct postal addresses by clubs. Therefore, if you do not receive them, it will probably be because the HPA has not been given your correct contact details.

Membership cards This year, all members with an HPA handicap will be sent a membership card, rules and umpire DVD

Regional chief umpires

Nations Cup

The regional chief umpires for this season are as follows: South East (15) A Douglas- Nugent Tel: 01730 815150 Cowdray

Ascot Park Barcombe Burningfold FHM

Coworth Epsom Fifield Knepp Castle

Guards Ham Hurtwood

RMA Sandhurst Sussex

South West (13) Tim Keyte Tel: 07768 886605

Asthall Farm Beaufort Cirencester

Druids Lodge Edgeworth Ladyswood

Longdole New Forest Taunton

Tidworth Vaux Park West Somerset

Central (10) Julian Appleby Tel: 07710 521184

Binfield Heath Cheshire Chester Racecourse

Kirtlington Lacey Green Offchurch Bury

RLS Rugby Stapleford Park

West Wycombe

East (11) Tim Bown Tel: 07971 061909 Frolic Polo Club

Apsley End Cambridge Dedham Vale Ranksboro

Haggis Farm Leadenham Little Bentley St Albans

RCBPC Rutland Silver Leys

Suffolk

North & Scotland (6) TBC

Beverley Dundee & Perth

Edinburgh Toulston

Vale of York White Rose

Ireland (10) Brian Mullins Tel: +35 3879 674225

All Ireland Brannockstown Bunclody

Curraghmore Donaghadee Limerick

Moyne Northern Ireland Waterford

St Regis Test Match England will play South Africa at Cowdray Park Polo Club on Saturday 22 May.

Cartier International Day England will play New Zealand for the Coronation Cup at Guards Polo Club at Sunday 25 July.

Dates for the diary

Wicklow

If you need advice or wish to organise a rules test (formerly the CP test), please contact your local representative. All players are expected to take and pass the rules test before they can be raised in handicap or moved off ‘S’.

8 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

The following will represent England in the 28-goal Nations Cup in Argentina, from 17-25 April: James Beim (7), Mark Tomlinson (7), Malcolm Borwick (6) and Luke Tomlinson (8) at back.

6 April – Welfare AGM, RCBPC (2.30pm) 14-16 April – HPA Coaching course, Beaufort (10am – contact the HPA) 20 April – Coaching seminar, Beaufort Polo Club (am & pm) 26 April – Club chief umpires meeting, Sunningdale Park Hotel, Ascot (10.30am) 10 May – Council meeting, Cavalry & Guards Club, London (2.30pm) 11 May – High-goal & Prof Umpires meeting, RCBPC (10.30am)

Junior HPA and Pony Club Entries for the above close on 1 May. Please see the HPA website (www.hpa-polo.co.uk) for further information and to download an entry form.


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Quake hits polo heartland THE CHILEAN POLO community is slowly recovering from the devastating magnitude 8.8 earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit the country at the end of February, writes Herbert Spencer. Mario Pablo Silva Silva, president of the Federación Chilena de Polo, reported the death of Osvaldo Astaburuaga, a founder of Curicó Polo Club in one of the worst hit areas south of Santiago. The 82-year-old former player was in bed when the earthquake collapsed his house in the early hours of the morning of 27 February. Silva said facilities at Chile’s major clubs escaped damage, but stables at some polo farms suffered, as did the houses of grooms and some players, including that of high-goaler Max Errazuriz. Seven players from Newport, Rhode Island, had just finished a tournament in Curicó when the earthquake struck, bringing in the roof of the house where they were staying. All the Americans escaped with minor cuts and bruises. The earthquake and its consequences forced the withdrawal of Chile’s national team from the April Cup of Nations in Argentina, Silva said, and several domestic and international events in Chile had to be suspended or cancelled. Play restarted in mid-March despite aftershocks. “The solidarity has been excellent in Chile,” Silva said. “Patrons are supporting petiseros (grooms) despite their own problems. The spirit is very positive.” A benefit match, “Chile Helps Chile”, was scheduled at San Christóbal Polo Club outside Santiago and Argentina is planning a highgoal charity match for the latter half of April.

Ex-racer scheme widens the goalposts RETRAINING OF RACEHORSES (RoR) has launched 2010’s prize scheme for polo ponies from the racetrack – in a revised format to its first year in 2009, to cover all levels. Like last year, owners, trainers and players of ex-racers can register their pony for a chance to win a share in £10,000 of prize-money. The charity is offering a first prize of £5,000 to the ex-racehorse judged to be the best in high-goal – last year won by Mark Tomlinson’s mare Marmite. Prize categories differ from last year, when two runner-up prizes of £2,000 were won by Henry Brett and Max Routledge for their ponies Dashfa Baileys and Crafty

Politician (below). The final prize of £1,000 went to Robin Spicer’s Onion. This year, £2,500 will go to the best pony retrained and ridden by a player of four goals or under, and there will be five prizes of £500 to the best ponies retrained and played by one-goalers or under. The prizes are open to any polo pony that has raced in the UK and is registered with RoR. To register free of charge visit www.ror.org.uk, then submit a performance record to Di Arbuthnot at RoR, by emailing darbuthnot@ror.org.uk. This needs to be done by mid-May. The top two prizes will be awarded in July; the £500 prizes in September. “Please register your ex-racers – it’s free!” urges Di. “Even if you don’t own an ex-racer, tell friends and keep an eye on other people’s ponies – they might well win a prize!”

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News New US substances rules

One year on from Lechuza, America Nearly 12 months after 21 ponies died following injections of a botched batch of the USPA has begun random testing of ponies for substances. Herbert Spencer

ANTI-DOPING RULES AT A GLANCE Hurlingham Polo Association: • With the exception of 12 named substances, no substance is allowed “which is not a normal constituent of horse feed”. Photograph by Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post / ZUMA

• Restrictions on Phenylbutazone (“bute”) and Flunixin, recommending dosing no later than 10 pm the day before match. No intravenous use of diuretics. • Random or specific tests arranged by the HPA, analysed at the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory. • Positive tests must be reported to owners/players, the club and the HPA Welfare Committee. Club to hold disciplinary hearing. admitted it had made a mistake in duplicating a A MAJOR ADVANCE in anti-doping regulations for batch of the supplement Biodyl with which the polo ponies kicked off last month, almost a year ponies had been injected just hours before the after 21 high-goal mounts died in Florida from a scheduled match. Necropsies later revealed that the botched batch of a nutritional supplement. The US injections contained 10 times the proper amount of Polo Association (USPA) has published its first-ever selenium, a naturally occurring mineral that can be Equine Drugs and Medication Rules and announced fatal in large doses. that random tests on ponies will start on 28 March. The pony deaths brought condemnation from Although the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) America’s largest animal protection organisation for has been testing ponies on this side of the Atlantic the sport’s lack of for more than The rules spell out who any substance 10 years, the USPA, until is responsible for a pony, control. The USPA quickly responded now, has never whether player, owner or by appointing a had any broadly based regulations renter or patron committee of 21 governing leading polo vets, players and club officials to study substance control for polo mounts. long-existing regulations of other horse sports The Florida tragedy that sparked the USPA’s including those of the US Equestrian Federation landmark Equine Drug and Medication Program (USEF) and of the HPA. (EDMP) began unfolding on 19 April 2009 at At the USPA’s meeting in October, it adopted the International Polo Club Palm Beach as ponies of first of its new regulations for substance control and Venezuelan Victor Vargas’s Lechuza Caracas team drug testing: all USPA members must agree to arrived at a match in the US Open Championship. testing of their ponies ridden at any event at any US Most of the 21 ponies died beside the polo ground, club. Then, in late February this year, the the rest overnight in the team’s stables. association published an eight-page document, the Within days a Florida compounding chemist

10 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

Countries that play under HPA rules – such as NZ, Australia and South Africa – by definition adopt these rules. United States Polo Association: • With exceptions, prohibition on all drug classes including stimulants, depressants, corticosteroids (other than restricted) and psychotropic. • Permitted drugs: antibiotics (but no penicillin procaine), de-wormers, hormonal therapies, anti-ulcer medications. • Exceptions: dosage and time restrictions (4 to 12 hours before play) on 10 named substances including “bute” according to weight of pony. • Testing of any horse at any event at a USPA club, analysed by USEF Testing Laboratory. • Disciplinary procedures and penalties to be announced for 2011. Asociación Argentina de Polo: • No regulations as yet; the subject is currently “under study”.


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starts drug-testing supplements at the US Open in Florida, scrutinises the new regulations

Above and left: horrific scenes last year, when 21 Lechuza Caracas horses died

Equine Drugs and Medications Rules. The EDMP gave USPA members 30 days to familiarise themselves with the new rules before commencing a pilot programme for drug testing of ponies at the end of March. Peter Rizzo, the USPA’s executive director, said random and unannounced tests on both high- and low-goal ponies would begin in Florida and later across the country, including California. Test samples will be analysed in the USEF laboratory. For the remainder of 2010, however, test results will only be reported to players for their information and guidance. Rizzo said disciplinary procedures and penalties for failed tests are being developed and will go into effect in 2011. The new USPA regulations, which run to eight pages, are much more detailed than those of the HPA that occupy only a page in the association’s year book. The American rules cover permitted drugs, restricted use drugs (complete with dosage and timing charts), therapeutic drug use, emergency treatment exceptions, and even warnings against the use of “herbal” and “natural” products that could result in positive tests. Testing protocols are clearly set out and the rules spell out just who is responsible for a pony, whether player, horse owner or renter or team patron. Meanwhile in Argentina, the world’s leading polo nation, there are still no regulations governing drugs, medication and testing for ponies, even though this country provides a lion’s share of polo mounts worldwide. Mauricio Fernández Funes, executive director of the Argentine Polo Association (AAP), says that “studies are in progress”. He said the AAP realises the need for regulation, “which is why we are working hard to get the best standards. But at the same time we must be extremely careful in reaching the objective, step by step, in order to avoid opening Pandora’s box.” F

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Obituary

Jamie Bruce 1952-2010 John Horswell bids an emotional farewell to a very British gentleman, who set up a year-round home-from-home in South Africa for polo holidaymakers his cannot be an obituary in the traditional sense for two reasons. Firstly, I am no historian and have neither the patience nor the luxury of time to pretend to be one. Secondly, and far more importantly, Jamie himself would not, I believe, have wanted a long list of his achievements and significant events laid boastfully before you. For a man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of his ancestors’ place and their part in history, from Robert the Bruce onwards, he was someone who very much lived for the moment. Upon leaving Eton College, Major Ret’d Sir Hervey James Hugh Bruce-Clifton, 7th Baronet, went straight into her Majesty’s armed forces, where he served for 27 years in places as far flung as Canada, Germany, Hong Kong and Belize, as well as closer to home in Northern Ireland. When his wanderlust had been satisfied, not being one for a conventional retirement, he settled in South Africa and busied himself, among other things, with one of his true passions in life – polo. Given Jamie’s long years in the military and his love of a simple and ordered life, the first steps in South Africa most certainly would have had their trickier and funny moments with the locals, whom he fondly called the “bloody Dutchmen” whilst they in return called him “you bloody rooineck” (redneck which is what the Afrikaners’ called the sunburnt Brits during the Boer war). Ultimately – of course – better sense prevailed and mutual respect began to form. Jamie despised all forms of prejudice, injustice and racism, unless of course you were a Russian! His ability to communicate with the Afrikaans was one his great gifts, though his courage and willingness to innovate may also have been, at times, unhelpful in earning him the full cooperation and trust of the traditional South African polo community. However, what his vision and determination led to was the creation of the unique polo resort that is Oaklands Polo & Country Club. Those many parties that have already visited can testify to this, as will many more in the future. At Oaklands, he embraced action and arena polo – championing the game to the initially sceptical locals and relentlessly organising matches and events at home and abroad to promote the cause, notably amongst the polo community in the UK. As a man, Jamie was warm, hospitable and had an uncomplicated view of life. He believed in

Photograph by Sebastian Meredith

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Tributes to Jamie Bruce from Oaklands visitors across the polo fraternity “Of all the 15 years I have been playing polo, I don’t think I have ever experienced hospitality quite like that at Oaklands. Jamie’s invitation taught me the meaning of the word, as well as the strengths of characteristics such as passion, honesty and strong principles. Thanks to him, these will stay for me for the rest of my life.” – Ryan Pemble

Jamie Bruce: vision, courage and strong values

civility and forgiveness and that there was only one way to live your life – the correct way, a life built around strong core traditional British values that he would never compromise or deviate from. He died from cancer after a short illness on 9 February. In the time that remained to him postdiagnosis, Jamie surrounded himself with his family and friends and, right until the end, was always more concerned about their comfort and morale than his own. He was an adored father to Laura, Hamish, Louis and Alasdair, a devoted brother to Lauretta, and a wonderful husband to Caroline. He will be much missed by them and by all others who knew him. He brought laughter and happiness to the lives of all those whose paths crossed his own. My Irish wife tells me that it was the spirit of the ancient Celt that was so easy to relate to. I will leave you with some words Caroline wrote, which I think express the manner of the man far more eloquently than I have been able to: “You gave me such total and unconditional love that I was able to feel whole again.” F ◗ A memorial service for Jamie in the UK will be

held at 3pm on Tuesday 1 June at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks (off Birdcage Walk), Westminster, London, SW1E 6HQ

“Jamie had a gift to be all things to all men – at Oaklands he was a genial host, avid and enthusiastic supporter, but mostly a good man and great friend. We will always miss him.” – Mark Holmes “Over the past three years, going to Oaklands has been one of the biggest highlights of my polo calendar. Not only was Jamie’s hospitality second to none, but his lively personality and enthusiasm for the game was completely contagious, making all my stays there truly memorable. Jamie will undoubtedly be missed by anybody who had the good fortune to meet such a charming man.” – Seb Dawnay “He was a truly gracious host and a real gent with an enormous personality who will be sorely missed.” – Bridget and Marcus Hancock “It is not often one is lucky enough to meet a man who encompasses the amount of drive, enthusiasm, sense of fun and fairness as Jamie Bruce. And, when it came to the world of polo, all these qualities were doubled – his commitment to the game was amazing. A truly wonderful, lovely guy who I will continue to miss for many years to come.” – Michael Amoore


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Global view Comment With Herbert Spencer, who has been following polo around the world for 40 years

Second time around, has city polo got it right? sport’s governing body in the UK, the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA). Polo in the Park was inaugurated in 2009 without any serious consultation with the HPA regarding its revised rules of play. The matches were played four-a-side, too much for a ground that is about half the size of a regulation grass ground. The teams, titled after cities, were made-up sides

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Mint Polo in the Park 2010 (the title sponsor is Mint Partners, a City firm) promises to be even bigger and, most importantly, has the HPA’s blessing. Organisers have been consulting with the association on rules, safety and players to make it a more competitive event – and with a format that could be applied to other venues in other countries.

The latest new version seems to offer a logical compromise between traditional polo on grass and arena polo, and this year it has gained the support of the HPA

Photograph by James Mullan

an yet another 21st century version of the oldest team game known to man attract the general public and eventually raise polo’s standing from that of a minority sport? Over the years polo has tried just about everything to popularise the game. There’s been bicycle polo, snow polo, beach polo, not to mention weird and exotic versions played on almost anything that runs on four legs – elephants, camels, yaks. Old army hand David Woodd (now HPA chief executive) says they even played from tanks in the North African desert. For aficionados, of course, there is nothing more appealing than traditional polo on grass: eight riders galloping Thoroughbreds at speed across a vast green expanse seven and a half times that of the average soccer pitch. That’s a lot of real estate, which effectively confines the game to the countryside. The size of the ground also makes much of the action hard to follow for the uninitiated. Punch once described polo as “a game played on the other side of the ground”. Arena polo, played three-a-side or two-a-side in an area a fraction of the size of a grass ground, has been around since the 19th century. Because of the reduced playing area, this game is more spectator-friendly and also lends itself to the staging of polo at indoor equestrian events. Arena polo can appear more gladiatorial and in-your-face, but much of the feeling of speed of traditional grass polo is lost. The latest new version of polo, aimed at attracting inner-city spectators, seems to offer a logical compromise between traditional polo on grass and arena polo, and this year it has gained the support of the

The press launch 2010 (l-r: Lucy Fields, Jamie Morrison, Jack Kidd, Jodie Kidd, Henry Brett, Kirsty Craig and Sarah Wiseman)

hardly representative of their metropolitan names. The action was more like an exhibition than a true competitive tournament. The HPA was not overly impressed by the format and withheld judgement. In the end, however, that first edition attracted a gate of 25,000 spectators over two days and reached out to a potential TV audience of more than two million, an impressive start.

The “World Series” of polo sounds rather grand, but the possibilities are there. The organisers are already looking at other inner-city venues, in New York, Paris, Moscow, once they’ve got London right. Polo in the Park is the first new version of the sport to come along since beach polo began taking off a few years ago. By targeting inner-city venues, the potential for more spectators is enormous and can lead to increased TV coverage, more lucrative sponsorship and, along the way, the recruitment of more participants in the sport. If the whole global concept comes off, it is historically appropriate that this 21st century version of polo kicked off where the modern game had its beginnings, at the Hurlingham Club in London, whence it spread around the world. F ◗ What do you think? Did you go to Polo

in the Park last year? Will you be tempted this summer (4-6 June)? Tell us by writing to letters@polotimes.co.uk

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Comment Interview

Nicolas Roldan America’s rising young star

Photographs by LILA PHOTO/www.lilaphotos.com and Getty Images/Alexander Tamargo

Recently raised to nine goals, Nicolas Roldan, 27, sits atop the USPA handicap list. A natural athlete with celebrity looks, he has taken American polo by storm since winning the US Open aged 15. Here, exclusively for Polo Times, he talks to Alex Webbe How did you get into polo? I’ve always loved horses, and I love all sports. My father [Raul, an Argentine] was a successful six-goal professional and it was natural for me to follow him into polo. He had a great deal of success in the US and continues to give me support and direction today. So, how did it start? At four or five I was riding and swinging a mallet, but it wasn’t until I was eight that I played in my first game. I became a professional at the age of 15 and enjoyed a baptism of fire that year [1998], when I reached the US Open final with Sheik Abdus Qureshi’s Escue team. I played with Pite and Sebastian Merlos, and Sugar Erskine, and we beat Isla Carroll 13-10. It was one of the very few occasions that Carlos and Memo Gracida failed to win the trophy playing together so that was a proud victory.

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And it made you the US Open’s youngest ever winner? Yes, it was an amazing experience. Then, that summer, Memo Gracida took me with him to Saratoga and then Texas, where we won everything we entered. My handicap shot up from zero to three. A year later I returned to the Open with Pony Express [in 1999], by then playing off a five-goal handicap, so it all happened pretty quickly. However, despite making the final again, I couldn’t make it another victory, as we lost to Tim Gannon’s Outback team featuring Jeff Blake, Lolo Castagnola and Adolfo Cambiaso.

sheer determination. I haven’t come from a wealthy family and didn’t always have top horses at my disposal, so I had to get the most out of what I had. I was lucky enough to get a lot of help along the way from the likes of my father, Bob Daniels, Memo Gracida and Adolfo Cambiaso, but it was because those people saw my desire, I think, and that I wasn’t afraid of hard work.

Since then, your handicap has continued to rise. What’s your secret? I made it to seven goals in 2005 and eight in 2006. Now, since the changes at the end of last season, I have been put up to nine. I put it down entirely to

Did selection for the US national side for the Westchester Cup last year feel like recognition for your effort? Yes, it was an amazing feeling. I had no idea what it meant until I rode out onto the field that afternoon before we played


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I’m 50 per cent Argentinean and 100 per cent American! I’ve never felt prouder than when I rode out for the Westchester. But losing hurt, so I’m looking forward to a rematch

Clockwise from left: Nicolas Roldan with the singer Celine Dion; talking to a reporter at International Polo Club Palm Beach; Nicolas is an ambassador for Piaget, along with Marcos Heguy. The Swiss watchmakers and jewellers have reinvigorated their sponsorship of high-goal polo lately

England. I’ve never felt prouder to be an American. But you were born in Argentina, weren’t you? I’m Argentinean by birth, but American by choice. We moved to the US just two months after I was born, so what I say now is that I’m 50 per cent Argentinean but 100 per cent American! Playing in

the Westchester was very special for me and losing hurt – so I’m looking forward to a rematch. What countries have you played in and which is your favourite? I’ve played polo in South Africa, Australia, England, France and Argentina, as well as all over the United States, and it’s hard to know which one I have

enjoyed the most. Each country or club has its own attractions but, for pure polo reasons, I think you’d always have to say Argentina is the best. It’s where all the best players are based and is where I have to play if I am to continually improve my game. Is that how you think you will reach that elusive 10-goal rating? Yes. The key is going to be the horses, good organisation, and a little luck. I now have a barn in Argentina and a small horse operation. Almost everything I make goes straight back into my horses. The most talented player in the world isn’t going to go any higher than nine goals unless he has the horses that allow him to compete and the organisation behind him to support his efforts on the field. Do you feel as though you have “made it” now, playing at such a consistently high level? There are certainly some good perks to the levels I have attained already. These days I can pick and choose which jobs are best for me, rather than just taking whatever comes along, and the pay-cheques are starting to look a lot more healthy. I have also had the thrill of being flown to England at short notice to substitute for the likes of Lucas Criado and Adolfo Cambiaso. Many people would think it doesn’t get much better than that but those who know me know how seriously I take this sport. I’m very ambitious and reaching a 10-goal handicap is my biggest goal at the moment. So, for now, I will continue to invest in my horses – without whom there is no future – and I will leave the time for self congratulation to later. F

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Comment Your views

Letter of the month Facing up to the fitness factor

Letters letters@polotimes.co.uk Hoping for better in 2010

Herbert Spencer’s Jan/Feb column justifiably called 2009 the game's "annus horribilis", such was the number of gaffes and scandals befalling the polo world. Amongst the most distasteful was the exodus of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA), the US Polo Association (USPA) and the Argentine Polo Association (AAP) from the Federation of International Polo (FIP) over irreconcilable differences with its then-president, Patrick Guerrand-Hermès. It should have never come to this point and a civilized compromise and reconciliation should have been found much earlier on. The second – much less serious – gaffe was the gate-crashing by Tareq and Michaele Salahi of a high-profile White House gala event. In this instance, the Secret Service and lax security measures were to blame and the Salahis’ self-appointed relationship with the world of American polo is, at best, a secondary joke, though highly regrettable. As Herbert Spencer no doubt would agree, the game is difficult enough to take to new and bigger audiences without petty internal in-fighting and the sport being made a laughing stock by the actions of pushy peripheral figures like the Salahis. Thus, may 2010 be a better year both on and off the playing fields! Dr Karl H Pagac Villeneuve-Loubet, France

After reading the feature in the Jan/Feb issue requesting feedback on health and fitness tips, I’d like to broaden the question to all readers and ask how they get themselves fit for the start of the new season. How do their own preparations compare with the work their ponies are put through in order to get them in the best possible shape? Unfortunately I suspect the closest many get to a proper warm-up is standing by the barbeque, while most players’ cool-downs are usually of the liquid variety at the bar after their games. Fitness for players has a vital place for the game that they all feel so passionate about. Improved conditioning with good flexibility will open the door to faster and better decision-making, which will be the first step towards an improved handicap and a quicker recovery time after matches. Regardless of level and ability, player fitness is the one factor that shouldn’t be a factor. As Aristotle said: “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” James De Mountfort Team Trainer Red Bull F1, Northamptonshire ◗ What do you think? Has getting in shape made a difference to your game? Or do you feel player fitness is over-hyped? Tell us here, at letters@polotimes.co.uk The writer of the letter of the month wins a bottle of La Chamiza Argentine red wine

exams than my final SUPA Arena Championships? Each year since I started, I have encountered an increasing number of universities and even more so a growing number of hard-working individuals at each university club. With friendly faces around every corner it is easy to see why the atmosphere is so relaxed. This Championship was particularly special for me as it was the first time that my brother

(Oliver, Newcastle Beginner), my sister (Emily, St Andrews Novice) and I have all played. Consequently I found myself asking Warwick to cheer for St Andrews, Newcastle, Loughborough (where my best friend Amy Young is President), RCSI Dublin (as I was also playing with them in combined), Reading and York among others. This year has also seen us join forces with ULU for a string of

Fun and competitive: SUPA strikes the ideal balance

In the final stint at university, what could prove more of a diversion from the library and

18 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

“Some students’ hangovers were more serious than others”

friendly games after a tumultuous period and they proved to be as tough as ever at these championships. As SUPA continues to grow, I believe it is more important than ever to maintain these individual links to ensure that we all enjoy not only the nationals but also games and chukkas in between. More regional activity (such as the Druids Lodge league mentioned in At Home & Abroad in last month’s Polo Times) will provide regular competition against different players and will also encourage more of our members to play competitively instead of just having lessons. The friends we make throughout our time with SUPA will help us find games and tournaments when we leave university and we will find ourselves with opportunities across the country. As I am frequently told, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Indeed, I have had many conversations with Mike Hobday about the vision of SUPA and how to move forward given its growing popularity. I have yet to encounter another university sport where all players of all


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Don Jorge Herrera, the longtime groom of Juan Carlos Harriott. Going to the extra expense of importing an expert groom can be invaluable levels can represent their university at one event: how they manage to fit in the total number of chukkas and ensure everyone has a good time I will never know. Of course any organisation will have aspects that could be improved. But having returned from another successful championship, I believe SUPA has provided the perfect platform for developing both my own and my fellow players’ polo whilst having fun and meeting new friends along the way. After all, isn’t that what polo is all about? Rebecca Griffiths Warwick University Compromising on groom quality is a false economy

As always at this time of year, there is much to-ing and fro-ing of grooms. As ever, it seems that few people have remembered to think ahead. It doesn’t seem like a difficult task to me, but people still leave it too late, given that it takes nearly a month to process a visa in Argentina. So they recruit their grooms from inside the UK, as it is easy and they hope also that they will avoid some of the hidden costs that can often go with importing them. In my view, this misses a real opportunity. You can’t put a price on expertise. It makes me laugh when I hear patrons proclaiming proudly how much they’ve spent

on ponies, knowing that a bad groom could render their pricey new mounts little more than a bag of bones in a matter of days if they’re not careful. The value of a good groom cannot be underestimated. They needn’t be grooms with a large price tag. You don’t always need a super high-goal groom, just one that is a good worker and a good listener. Looking for a cheaper groom will eventually only mean looking for problems, and a more expensive end result. Nevertheless, I wish England better luck with the weather during their season than we had back in Argentina with ours. Although, if nothing else, at least it was interesting. Atilio Degrossi Buenos Aires, Argentina ◗ What do you think are the most important qualities in a polo groom? Tell us by writing to letters@polotimes.co.uk Ambulances for all?

Does anyone know the HPA guidelines for clubs on having ambulances at all matches and practices? Is it a legal requirement? Should it be? Has the HPA ever taken the initiative on this? I would love to know, as I’m sure would many others. Anonymously, via email ◗ Is there always an ambulance on site at your club? Let us know at letters@polotimes.co.uk

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Players’ forum Comment With John Horswell, the outspoken sultan of swing

It’s not goodbye, just au revoir t is with much sadness that I have to announce that I will be becoming a much more irregular contributor to Polo Times than I have been this past decade. The scale-back is, in the main, my own fault, because I have been offered a new project that will occupy most of my time. However, some of the blame for my retreat lies at your door – yes you, the readers. When I first started out with my forum I hoped that it would create far more reaction and discussion than it has. Of course, this may well be my fault, though I have tried my best to cajole you with deliberately controversial comments and regular encouragement for feedback. But what have I heard? NADA! Or, next-to-nada anyway, as few polo people appear willing to put their heads on the chopping board. Nevertheless, it only remains for me to congratulate Margie and her team on the fantastic job that they have done with the growth of the magazine and I hope that my purple prose has been a small assistance in this. The magazine looks incredible these days and is a genuinely interesting, informative and, at times, entertaining read, so I step back with a heavy heart.

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“The most fun you can have with your clothes on!” – Anonymous SO GOES THE EXPRESSION, regarding polo. However, these days, it seems to be

not in part by seemingly endless affiliation to the HPA, but by the players themselves taking part in pickup games at their club or on a visit to another one nearby. It still happens this way in many other countries and, while some players will certainly move on to swim in larger pools, at least their basis in the game at their core will be from a simple love for the game. Wishful thinking? I hope not.

“I’ll be back!” – Arnold Schwarzenegger I WILL STILL WRITE FOR Polo Times from time to time, though in a new and more irregular capacity, God-willing. In the meantime, I will exercise my creative juices with blogging and, I suppose, I could consider tweeting (though the

The old school have kept the faith and many players above pensionable age play just because they love it we were young. It is all now predicated by other factors first and the sheer joy of being out there on a pony competing has got somewhat lost in translation.

“The king of wishful thinkers.” – Go West DESPITE THE DISAPPOINTMENT of losing this sense of fun, I am still optimistic that some of the myriad new clubs will be able to define a basic and more traditional set of core values in their new recruits. My wish is that low-goal fixtures and events could exist on a simpler basis, funded

that very few people still play polo just for the sheer fun of it. We seem to have lost sight of the fun more often than not. The old school have by and large kept the faith and there are a high number of players of pensionable age and above still playing just because they love it. But, for the younger generation, the game is very different. Things have become far more businesslike (and expensive). Long gone are the days when exchange or barter ruled and your polo season was dictated by the invitations that you received or made. Now, on both sides of the patronprofessional divide, the need to pay or earn money has clouded the fact that we should be playing polo because we love it first and then any other reasons can take their place. I am not seeing the same enthusiasm and desire in the demeanour and eyes of the more recent intakes as we had when

“Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.” – Shakespeare

limitations on characters could be a large obstacle to me). [Tell me about it! – ed.] Anyway, thank you for reading and for all the nice comments I have received over the years. In the meantime…

“May the force be with you.” – General Dodonna, Star Wars ◗ Prove John wrong – send in your

reactions. Is he right to bow out now? What are your memories from the last 10 years of Horswell’s outspoken wisdom? Tell us by writing to letters@polotimes.co.uk F

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Comment Umpire’s corner With Arthur Douglas-Nugent, deputy chief umpire for the HPA

Why I always have time for clockwatchers The rule states that the chukka ends on the first sound of the second bell, and on occasion the umpires are required to make a decision as to whether the ball crossed the line before or after the bell was rung. This problem was highlighted at the 2008 International at Guards when a goal was wrongly credited, and more recently at an

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OUT OF SIGHT, EYES PEELED The other piece of the equation that is often forgotten are the officials – most particularly the polo manager, the match supervisor and the timekeeper. Apart from being in overall charge during the day, the polo manager has to ensure that the teams due to play are qualified, and informed of the time and place of their match. The real star of the show is the match supervisor, who has to make sure the goal judges, gatekeepers and others are in place before the start of every match: cleared, trained and equipped for their important task. The timekeeper is perhaps the most unsung of all; often out of sight but not of hearing. Not only has the timekeeper to stop the clock as the whistle goes but to restart it as the ball is thrown in, hit or hit at and then to ring the bell at the correct time to signify the end of a chukka.

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A HIT WITH INTENT I have been watching a number of DVDs of last season’s high-goal games and believe that as well as tightening up on turning to encourage the backhand we could introduce the onehit Penalty 5a and b (hit from the spot and from the centre) as well as the hit-

The real star of the show is the match supervisor, who has to make sure the goal judges, gatekeepers and others are in place before the start of every match

robably one of the best pieces of advice I was given by the incomparable Martin Trotter – the HPA’s chief umpire throughout the 1990s – was never to umpire oneself. As it happened I needed little persuasion to follow his advice as the last time I had held a whistle, I went through all the checks – are the medics in position, is the timekeeper ready, is the third man awake, is the correct score posted on the board, are the team colours of sufficient contrast and so on – and within 15 seconds found myself on the floor, waking up in the ambulance on the way to hospital. Yes, for the 15 seconds I was on the field I was brilliant, but then I toppled off into oblivion. The point I am making is that players have only to turn up on the ground, albeit with a few horses, and go straight into the game. Not so the umpire, who has a list of duties to perform before the game and thereafter during play has to be alert to every twist and turn.

ice hockey match in the Winter Olympics, eventually sorted out through television replay which – rightly – is denied to our umpires as a help in their decision making. Finally, spare a thought for he or she who has to wrestle with the problems of health and safety and risk assessment – covering everything that can possibly happen to players, spectators and officials; life has become overwhelmingly complicated.

in. This would open up the game immeasurably and stop the present practice of tapping the ball, albeit at a canter, all over the ground. There would have to be some rule to prevent a team-mate coming in behind after an initial tap but we seem to have got round the problem with the more severe penalties; indeed the one word “intent” seems to have done the trick. F

Play goes on until the whistle blows… This month’s puzzle A player delays the hit-in to let a team mate return to the ground having changed his pony. The umpire blows his whistle. What penalty should he impose?

Last month’s solution 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 Whistleblower question concerned the unseated player, on his feet and not interfering with play. In this case the umpires should let play continue until such time as the play is neutral. This ruling is of longstanding and is designed to discourage a player throwing himself from his horse to save a goal; a drastic step, you might say, but one regularly practised in pre-war days. Email comments and questions to whistleblower@polotimes.co.uk


PTApril 2010 p22-23 Umpire YC PJ MB

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PTApril 2010 p24-27 NZ YC PJ MB

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Report New Zealand Open

Kiwi international Sam Hopkinson led the way for Rodd & Gunn at Auckland’s annual high-goal showdown, where plenty of English blood featured among the six team entries, says Brett O’Callaghan

24 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

here’s an old saying in sport that you have to lose a final before you can win one. No doubt, this would have been ringing in the ears of Ross George and his Rodd & Gunn team as they returned unchanged to the New Zealand Open final this February, 12 months after they lost out on the trophy to a Stella Artois

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side featuring England’s Nina Clarkin and George Milford Haven. This year’s final went into an extra chukka as Rodd & Gunn searched desperately for the Open victory that had so far eluded them, eventually putting their 2009 defeat to bed with a hard-fought 12-11 win over a gallant Tommy Wilson-led BNZ team. The BNZ side also fielded Ed Hitchman and Cirencester Park member Kit Brooks in a wellbalanced side that was clearly looking to play four-man polo. Rodd & Gunn and BNZ had already met earlier in the tournament that week, with both teams drawn on the same side of the schedule. Rodd & Gunn won the first encounter 12-9, but BNZ had talismanic sevengoaler Tommy Wilson back in place of X


PTApril 2010 p24-27 NZ YC PJ MB

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Ross Ainsley, with Englishman Johnny Wade behind. Opposite (l-r): Sam Hopkinson, Tom Morley, Ross Ainsley and Ross George

www.polotimes.co.uk April 2010 25


PTApril 2010 p24-27 NZ YC PJ MB

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Report New Zealand Open

Tommy Wilson in full flight for BNZ. Wilson put the ball between the posts when the scores were equal at full-time, but it crossed the line after the bell and was disallowed

Photographs by Brett O’Callaghan

X his six-goal brother Craig for the final, so

nothing was guaranteed. BNZ had also appeared to grow in strength with a surprise semi-final victory over the muchfavoured Mitavile team – a side featuring Kiwi internationals Cody Forsyth and last-year’s winner John Paul Clarkin. Rodd & Gunn, meanwhile, laboured to their win in the other semi, requiring an extra chukka to beat Stella Artois, which featured Mark Tomlinson. So the final, on 21 February, looked set to be an intriguing showdown. The day began with pre-game entertainment from the Pakuranga Hunt club hounds, a dressage display to music and the traditional Mumm Champagne ladies’ dash. The match provided early excitement as the fit-again Tommy Wilson fired home for BNZ inside the first minute. However, it was Rodd & Gunn that imposed their authority more successfully in the first three chukkas to take a 4-2 lead into half-time. Sam Hopkinson led the scoring with three penalties. Kit Brooks then spearheaded BNZ’s revival after

26 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

half-time, scoring twice in a thrilling fifth chukka as they leapfrogged Rodd & Gunn into a two-goal lead. The last regulation chukka included penaltytwo goals from both the young Englishmen, Hitchman and Morley – the two good friends playing opposite each other for BNZ and Rodd & Gunn respectively. Hitchman’s finish was the only score BNZ managed in the chukka, while Ross Ainsley and Sam Hopkinson added to Rodd & Gunn’s total to equalise at 11-11 as normal time approached. Tommy Wilson briefly thought he had clinched it for BNZ at the death, when he scored just after the final bell had sounded, but – eventually – it was rightly disallowed. Cue an anxious extra chukka. BNZ fluffed a chance, then Rodd & Gunn’s Hopkinson missed a penalty three. Neither side appeared able to take their chances. However, 40 seconds after sending his penalty three wide, Hopkinson atoned with a goal from open play to give them the golden-goal victory and the long-awaited chance to lift the New Zealand Open trophy, 12-11.

“Winning felt especially good after what happened last year” said Rodd & Gunn’s Tom Morley. “We were really well prepared and organised this time and that really made the difference. The horses were fantastic and we had been playing eight-chukka practices since I arrived in New Zealand in early December, so we were confident going into the extra seventh chukka.” F

New Zealand Open; 16-21 February; Auckland Polo Club, Clevedon Result: Rodd & Gunn beat BNZ, 12-11 Principal sponsor: BMW Handicap level: 18 goal Number of team entries: six Chukka scores (Rodd & Gunn): 2-1; 3-1; 4-2; 7-5; 8-10; 11-11; 12-11 Most valuable player: Kit Brooks Final teams: Rodd & Gunn (18): Ross George 1; Ross Ainsley 5; Tom Morley 6; Sam Hopkinson 6 BNZ (17): Kit Brooks 3; Johnny Wade 4; Tommy Wilson 7; Ed Hitchman 3


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10 x 25m oval horsewalker. 6 - 16 polo ponies William Bedell

Horse Weigh速 0044 1547 520169 0044 7774 783247 william@horseweigh.com

www.kraft-horsewalker.com

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www.polotimes.co.uk April 2010 27


PTApril 2010 p28-31 Supa YC MB

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Report Akuma National Universities Arena Polo Championships

or supporters, players and all-round enthusiasm, the SUPA University Arena Championships is hard to beat. Nearly 400 polo-playing students – plus family and friends – gathered at The Hand Equestrian Centre near Bristol for the tournament, played in a brilliant atmosphere of fun and competition. And for those who had travelled furthest – the Scots – came the richest rewards. With student polo’s popularity growing at an incredible rate, it came as no surprise that the number of teams this year – an almighty 107 – surpassed all records in SUPA’s history. Indeed, realising it was unprecedented to gather this many polo players under one roof, Mike Hobday, head of universities at SUPA, made contact with the authorities at Guinness World Records in an effort to create a world record for the largest

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28 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

arena polo tournament in the world. The record is currently being processed: watch this space to find out when it has been passed officially! Such a great number of students meant huge demand for ponies. The task of providing them, fit and arena-ready, fell to a number of dedicated and organised pony providers, including Adrenalin

Most ponies played about two chukkas a day, usually with the same players. Thanks to SUPA guidelines, prices were competitive (around £50 a chukka for beginner and novice sections, £55 for intermediate and combined). New SUPA guidelines with regards to accreditation and insurance for pony hire also set a standard of quality. As Lucy

Some of the hire ponies – which played about two chukkas each a day – came from as far as Scotland Polo, La Mariposa, Vaux Park, Rugby Polo Club, Offchurch Bury Polo Club, Kinross Polo, Green Point Polo, Cool Hooves, Druids Lodge and Heaton-Ellis Polo. Some – belonging to Thom Bell – came from as far as St Andrews in Scotland. A number of students also brought their own.

Wilson from La Mariposa joked: “Let’s face it, when you’re a poor student you want to get the best you can from your student loan!” While the ponies were bedded down at The Hand equestrian centre, with a number in temporary stables set up for the tournament, the


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The weekend in figures Akuma National Universities Arena Polo Championships, 18-21 February The Hand Equestrian Centre

107 teams in 12 sections, making it the largest arena polo tournament in the world

30 different universities represented at all levels

212 chukkas 344 players 144 male players 41 beginners’ teams (players who started this academic year) Open won by Scottish university for first time

160 ponies stabled at majority of students made use of the local lodgings, with most staying at the nearby Warrens self-catered Holiday Village, and others at The Bridge Inn a five minute drive away; perfect for those who had to take care of their own ponies. As at last year’s tournament, insurers Lycetts, co-sponsors of the championships, ensured all players taking part were covered for personal accident as well as the more ubiquitous public liability insurance. The tournament’s new title sponsor, high-tech sports shirt specialists Akuma, helped to brighten up the scene, with plenty of players clad in their vibrant designs, among them the Royal Veterinary College in a dashing lime and purple combination. Proceedings kicked off on day one with the largest section, Beginners, geared to players in their first year of polo. Hobday remarked that the

standard of the section has risen steadily over its few years of existence, showing that the coaching levels, the standard of pony supply and the Roxton Certification of Novice Riders are all paying off. Royal Veterinary College beat Birmingham 3-0. The action stepped up on Friday, with non-stop chukkas from 9.20am until 9.30pm. As Hobday said: “Where else in the world would we be able to continue playing polo until 9.30 at night?” Fortunately students are used to late nights, and everyone was up bright and early on the Saturday for another action-packed day, including very fast-paced chukkas in Upper Intermediate and fierce rivalry between the section’s nine teams. The winners were St Andrews, who fought Bristol A and Regent A in a three-way decider. There was dual success for the Royal Agricultural College, which picked up both the X

The Hand – and all passports checked and correct

Over £70,000 in pony rental

550 at the Official Players’ Party

10 SUPA staff to run event See report at www.supa.org.uk and Roll of Honour

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Report Akuma National Universities Arena Polo Championships

Photographs by Ed Phillips Images

X NFU Mutual Agricultural Challenge Cup in the

Novice section, and the Lower Intermediate Championship. First overall in the Novice section was Loughborough, while Rebecca Griffiths – who was featured in the March issue of Polo Times – of runners-up Warwick was named MVP in the section. As the sun set it was time to get the bouncy castles out, as everyone prepared for the circus-themed “Official Players’ Party”, hosted by Bristol University. Needless to say a few people were nursing sore heads as Sunday’s chukkas began. With some SAPA (Schools Alumni Polo Association) chukkas, plus the excitement of the Open, a day of speedy and exhilarating polo lay ahead. The Open was the biggest crowd-puller of the four days, with rivalry between Edinburgh and Oxford making for a dramatic four chukkas. Both teams were desperate for the trophy, and the standard of play reflected their dedication. Oxford raced to an early lead, with the score 5-2 by halftime. However, Edinburgh hadn’t travelled all the way to Bristol to lose that easily, and they pulled out all the stops in the second half. With the Edinburgh players heeding team-member Dougie Munro’s advice from half time: “We need to gain more control of the play”, Ed Parsons scored goal after goal, bringing them back into the running. It was 5-5 by the end of the third, and after a few

30 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

Clockwise from top: combined section action between Nottingham/Loughborough and RCSI Dublin/Warwick (in white). St Andrews, Upper Intermediate shield winners, with Akuma’s Thomas Aldersley. Ruth Peters of Warwick

near misses and excellent defensive work by both teams, Edinburgh triumphed 7-6. Six-goal arena player Jack Kidd, who presented the MVP award on behalf of sponsor Beach Polo, had given both teams a quick pep-talk before the second half. After observing closely from the sidelines he was quick to praise Parsons, a new arrival on the university polo scene – who was named MVP. Kidd added: “Polo is only going to get bigger as a university sport and that’s great news for English polo.”

The level of play displayed over the course of the tournament was outstanding, and umpires (Jason Dixon and Sean Dayus) remarked how impressed they were with the students’ behaviour, and the respect they showed to officials. For my part, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the SUPA committee for making it all happen. Bring on the summer! F ◗ Camilla Swift played for Edinburgh University

in the Upper Intermediate section ◗ See also Letters, p18-19, and Out & About, p85


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The Singapore Polo Club is one of the oldest sporting and social clubs in Singapore. Founded in 1886 by the officers of the King’s Own Regiment, the 1st Battalion, the Club has a distinguished heritage and remains rich in its traditions of camaraderie and sportsmanship. Today, the Singapore Polo Club remains committed to its original charter – that of providing members with the facilities to enjoy polo – and has evolved to include riding and other sporting and social amenities. It is now recognized as the premier equestrian lifestyle club in Singapore and one of the top facilities of this kind in the region.

We are now looking for a qualified professional to join us as:-

EQUESTRIAN SERVICES MANAGER Pre-requisites

Bachelor’s Degree in Equine Management or equivalent experience/qualifications

• 3 – 5 years experience in stable management • Evidence of either current or previous polo playing experience to 2 handicap. The job responsibility does not entail playing competitive polo.

Proven management and leadership skills in a similar supervisory role, including management of an approved budget, personnel, facility and horses

Responsibilities

Achieving objectives and development plans of the Singapore Polo Club and National Equestrian Park (NEP)

Efficient management of the Polo, Riding and Stable Management departments, including staff training and development

Planning and ensuring the successful completion of tournaments, competitions, games, etc.

Ensuring efficient use of manpower for daily operations

Ensuring the welfare of horses; recognition and evaluation of standard vet conditions; advice on the replacement of horses; and coordination of the horse purchase process


PTApril 2010 p32-33 Schools YC MB

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Report SUPA Schools Arena Nationals

Sun shines on young talent

for Mother’s Day action SUPA’s new Junior Schools section manager Sarah Styler reports from two fun-filled weekends of youthful action at Longdole in Gloucestershire plendid playing conditions blessed both weekends of the Schools Arena Nationals last month, when a crisp but sunny morning welcomed the 10 teams for the SUPA Junior Schools section on 7 March. The sides divided into two leagues and a new combined division produced a compelling set of matches, in which the standard was pleasingly high, even with some players’ fluffies competing valiantly alongside out-and-out polo ponies. It was great to welcome the girls from the Royal High School, Bath, who entered a team for the first time. Division One was convincingly won by Papplewick, whose young captain Charlie Pidgely was awarded the most valuable player prize, a fine pair of knee pads provided by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers. Beaudesert’s “Badgers” lifted the trophy in Division Two. NFU Mutual donated a huge cup for the winners of the combined, a team led by Amelia Edmondson, who demonstrated some impressive play, along with Robbie Dee and Henry Letts. SUPA is working to promote the combined divisions, encouraging any child who attends a non polo-playing school to have the opportunity to play in SUPA tournaments. Numerous individual prizes also gave many of these young players further recognition and encouragement, with Beaudesert’s Patrick de Barros picking up probably the pick of the bunch with a hamper of horse goodies for his best playing pony.

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Players from Beaudesert School. Celebrity alumni include Roddy Williams, the Tomlinsons and Satnam Dhillon

a remarkable achievement to welcome 13 teams in two colour-coded divisions. Every team improved significantly over the three chukkas and learned much from Dan’s midchukka coaching. Rugby B were victorious in

Photograph by Zahra Hanbury

Patrick de Barros won the pick of the prizes – a hamper of horse goodies for his best playing pony Familiar Longdole stalwart Dan Banks, who regularly teaches many of the young players and was the day’s tireless umpire, then oversaw the matches for the SUPA Novice Tournament that was also contested that same day. This section is for players who have all only taken up polo this academic year, and so it was

32 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

the blue division, with Wellington A winning in the red half of the draw. Sixteen schools then entered their best side for the Senior Schools Arena Nationals, sponsored by Roxtons, back at Longdole a week later. Rugby took the honours in the second division and the last match of the day saw an

evenly matched contest between Marlborough and Bloxham competing in a two-chukka final to decide the winners of the first division. The sides were tied going into the final chukka, but it was Bloxham who upped the ante at the decisive moment and secured a two-goal victory. This was a particularly pleasing result for Glynn Henderson, who coached both the winning sides on the day, and Bloxham’s star player Robin Spicer brought smiles to the faces of the spectators, thanking them all for turning out in force on Mother’s Day. F ◗ Money was also raised over both weekends in

honour of injured Stowe schoolboy, Stefan Rogge. Send your own donation for their chosen charity at www.justgiving.com/Chris-Townsend


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Hundreds of legislators with creative expenses And not a pony or a stick to be found among them. What sort of parliament was that?

ATS We’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

www.polotimes.co.uk April 2010 33


PTApril 2010 p34-35 Hick Int YC PJ MB

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Report International Arena Test Match: England vs Scotland

Jonny too good for Scotland’s BraveHyde Leah Ludlow watches six of arena polo’s finest do battle for the Bryan Morrison trophy at Hickstead, culminating in a gripping extra-time finish he All England Polo Club at Hickstead was the venue for a thrilling British showdown on the last weekend in February, when the hosts maintained their winning record in the third annual arena international fixture by the narrowest of margins against a spirited group of very familiar foes representing their northern neighbours. A minute’s silence in memory of the late Jamie Bruce preceded the all-important game amid some impressive pre-match pageantry and an emotional introduction for the two teams to national anthems and ceremonial flag bearers. Bruce died in mid-February following

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had been due to start for the English side, only to be replaced at short notice by Seb Dawnay because of a back injury he sustained in another arena match. England’s discipline, which had let them down early in the game (when they conceded three penalty-one goals), improved after half time and they fought back well. However, they still gave away their fair share of less-severe penalties and Scotland were left to rue some disappointing misses from these opportunities as full-time approached with the scores equal. As teams rode out for an extra fifth chukka, the atmosphere was electric, and spectators watched transfixed as the tension heightened. In the event it was England’s

Photographs by Tony Ramirez

‘Both sides worked together as a team, and that’s what made it such a close game’ – Jamie Le Hardy a short illness at home in South Africa (see page 12 for his obituary). He was a great proponent of the arena game in the country, and South Africa were the inaugural opponents in this fixture in 2008. The game that followed the impeccably observed silence was also a fitting tribute, as both England and Scotland played fast, open polo despite the windy conditions to produce an enthralling and good-natured contest of the kind that Bruce loved to encourage. Both sides put two goals on the board in the opening chukka, in what was to become a familiar pattern of equal scoring that would persist throughout the whole contest. Scotland led at half time, 8-7, with a strong all-round performance by Scottish captain Chris Hyde highlighted in particular by commentator Tarquin Southwell, despite Hyde playing while recovering from a leg injury. Southwell himself

34 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

Jonny Good who put in the decider, giving England a 14-13 victory. Good, who played well throughout, picked up the most valuable player award and his pony, Passion, was named best playing pony and received a navy Polo Times rug. Ever modest, Good said afterwards: “Everyone played well and in the right spirit. Both sides were competitive and were made up of players best suited to arena polo – that’s what made it good and it was the type of fast, open game that we wanted to play.” Scotland captain Chris Hyde did his best to prevent this kind of fluidity from the English attacks, providing solid defence for his side to counter-attack with skilful play from Howard Smith and the lion-share of goals from Jamie Le Hardy. “It was a great exhibition for British polo,” said Hyde, who was philosophical in defeat. Le Hardy echoed his sentiments: “Both sides played really well together, working as a team

in each case, and that’s what made it such a close game.” England’s Jamie Morrison, meanwhile, was delighted, not only to win his second big trophy in as many weeks (see page 36) but to pick up the trophy named after his late father: “That was the icing on the cake,” he said. “We were a bit lucky but, eventually, our good teamwork and gameplan paid dividends.” Earlier in the day, an aggressive 12-goal warm-up game entertained the crowds as they arrived, though the match itself was a stifled, stop-start affair, with balls frequently going out of play and much whistle-blowing. Druids Lodge’s side looked strong early on, with Eden Ormerod and Leon Allen showing impressive stickwork and good finishing to open up a lead in the first two chukkas. However, Jack Kidd continued his good arena form this season in the second half to turn the game on its head in favour of Equibuild. He scored four consecutive goals in another fine and physical personal performance to help them to victory, 18-17. F England vs Scotland for the Brian Morrison Trophy; 27 February; AEPC, Hickstead Result: England beat Scotland, 14-13 Principal sponsor: DeVere Seasonal Ownership Handicap level: 22-23 goal Number of team entries: two Chukka scores (England): 2-2; 7-8; 11-11; 13-13; 14-13 Most valuable player: Jonny Good Best playing pony: Passion, 7-y-o Argentine mare played by Jonny Good and owned by Raffa Singh International teams: England (22): Sebastian Dawnay 7; Johnny Good 8; Jamie Morrison 7 Scotland (23): Howard Smith 6; Jamie Le Hardy 8; Chris Hyde 9


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Clockwise from above: (l-r) Sebastian Dawnay, Jonny Good and Jamie Morrison; Good in action; Passion, pictured with Good’s groom, Agustin Centurion. “She has a hell of an engine and an amazing turn of speed, although she usually plays on grass,” says Good of the seven-year-old, who belongs to Raffa Singh. Below: Chris Hyde in control for Scotland

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PTApril 2010 p36-37 AGC YC PJ MB

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Report The Westbury Arena Gold Cup

Cold Smoke crank up the temperature With record entries, including two all-pro teams, arena’s top tournament produced memorable action and a thrilling finale, says Michael Amoore espite a difficult winter for many British players and clubs because of record low temperatures and snowfall, this year’s Arena Gold Cup broke records of its own, welcoming more team entries than ever and perhaps the best 15-goal arena polo ever seen at Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club. Eight teams entered and were seeded into two leagues of four. The draw created plenty of intrigue, with one all-professional side in each league; namely, Corona-Roundshaw (supported by Corona beers and David Lewis) and Castle Forbes (supported by Andrew French). Also separated on

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Photographs by Gillian Hughes

Jamie Morrison in action in the final, with Chris Hyde and Max Charlton in pursuit

36 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

different sides of the draw were the tournament’s two nine-goalers, Chris Hyde and Nacho Gonzalez. As predicted, Hyde and Gonzalez helped propel their respective teams, Ocho Rios and Snow Pirates, through the group stages to the semifinals. All the indications pointed to an appetising showdown in the final and, sure enough, Hyde produced one his best performances of an already excellent season as Ocho Rios put six-goalers Pete Webb and Howard Smith to the sword with a remarkable winning margin of 25-15 over Paul Castle’s The Goose in the first semi-final. However, the nine-goalers were denied the confrontation that they and others had

expected when Jamie Morrison and Roddy Williams led Michael Bickford’s Cold Smoke to a surprise victory over Ben Pincus’s league one winners Snow Pirates in the second semifinal, 19-17. Gonzalez scored 16 of Snow Pirates’ 17 goals, while Morrison put in 12, the action producing high drama in a highscoring tournament. Both of the games on finals day, Saturday 20 February, were played out in glorious sunshine, as the first signs of spring tentatively sprung in the British countryside. Last year’s Gold Cup winners Tchogan lost out in the subsidiary final to one of the all-professional


PTApril 2010 p36-37 AGC YC PJ MB

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The underdogs Cold Smoke (l-r), British pros Jamie Morrison and Roddy Williams, plus American patron Michael Bickford. The team is sponsored by a US ski business

sides, as Corona-Roundshaw toppled Heiko Voelker’s boys, despite seven goals from their highest-rated player, Sebastian Dawnay. Chris Hyde’s remarkable semi-final performance made Ocho Rios the favourites in the final that followed. However, in front of packed grandstands and polo faces from across the polo community, it was the underdogs Cold Smoke that overturned a strong start from Hyde and scooped the title. When Hyde scored six goals in the first chukka, and Cold Smoke’s Jamie Morrison uncharacteristically missed two 15-yard penalties

Cometh the hour, cometh the man: Cold Smoke was in the ascendancy and Jamie Morrison put the game beyond doubt with a last-chukka hattrick as they ground out a 17-15 victory. “We were probably the underdogs before the game,” Morrison explained afterwards. “But we won I think because we performed so well as a team. We’d surprised a few people by getting through the semis so just went out to enjoy the final and get the most out of the day. “Perhaps that’s what helped us click. We were fortunate that we had one of the best playing patrons of the moment [in Michael

‘We were fortunate to have one of the best playing patrons of the moment on the team’ – Jamie Morrison awarded by umpires Tim Bown and Simon McLaren-Tosh, the signs looked ominous. Many wondered whether Ocho Rios might produce another scoreline that looked more like a rugby score than a polo one. But Morrison wasn’t done yet. Cold Smoke managed to keep Hyde on a tighter leash from the second chukka onwards and gradually fought their way back into the game. It was 13-13 going into the final chukka and supporters were becoming more and more vocal and excitable as the tension grew towards the climax of the tournament.

Bickford] and he put together a side where it just felt like the combinations were right. It was a great team performance.” Patron Michael Bickford [an American now based in London] agreed: “For a completely new team that had never played together before, I thought we produced some awesome polo,” he said. “We improved progressively as the tournament went on and our focus in the final was key to our success. “It’s a great result for our sponsors, CS Irwin, too. CS Irwin is a private ski mountain in Colorado and is new to sponsoring polo in the

UK. But, so far, their investment has paid off – Cold Smoke has now won a 15-goal at Cowdray Park last summer and the Arena Gold Cup. Not bad!” The players collected their prizes from Westbury Hotel owner Azad Cola and then enjoyed a lavish lunch provided by his hotel with some 150 VIPs before taking their celebrations on to London nightclub, Amika. F

Arena Gold Cup; 9-20 February; Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club Result: Cold Smoke beat Ocho Rios, 17-15 Principal sponsor: Westbury Hotel, Mayfair Additional sponsors: UberPolo, Corona, Alfa Romeo Handicap level: 15-goal Chukka scores (Cold Smoke): 3-6; 9-10; 13-13; 17-15 Most valuable player: Jamie Morrison Best playing pony: Twiggy, owned and played by Jamie Morrison Final teams Cold Smoke (15): Michael Bickford 2; Roddy Williams 6; Jamie Morrison 7 Ocho Rios (15): Simon Holley 1; Max Charlton 5; Chris Hyde 9 Subsidiary finalists for the Silver Cup Corona-Roundshaw (14): Tomas Gavina 4; Pedro De Lamare 4; Adolfo Casabal 6 Tchogan (15): Heiko Voelker 2; Sebastian Dawnay 7; Tim Bown 6

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PTApril 2010 p38-39 Paki YC PJ MB

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Report Pakistan

Hot competition gives way

to carnivals and cricket In the last of our monthly updates from Lahore, Clare Sheikh profiles a pair of popular, generous brothers who are hoping to play in the UK this summer ahore's season reached its high point last month with the conclusion of the National Open Championships. My husband, Ayyaz Sheikh’s, side were fortunate to win a colourful final against the popular Sufi brothers, Haris and Amir. Of the 100-plus permanent and temporary members at Lahore Polo Club, the Sufi brothers have by far the largest string of ponies – around 30 Argentine criollos, thorougbreds and top class Pakistani stock. Despite defeat this year, they are regular victors in the Open, usually alongside the country’s highest-rated player, five-goaler Hissam Al Hyder, who will already be familiar to readers of this column and to those who may have come across him playing in the UK with John Horswell. The Sufi brothers also typically import Argentine professionals for the biggest high-goal tournaments, this year recruiting Gaston Moore to

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The Sufi brothers have the largest string by far – around 30 criollos, TBs and local horses join them, some 10 years after he first came to Pakistan. He and the other foreign pros in town for the season can expect luxury treatment, and are normally put up at one of Lahore’s prestigious hotels such as the Pearl Continental or the Gymkhana Club, which still retains the flavour of its British colonial origins. The brothers almost always play together, with Amir usually performing the heroics in front of goal as Haris occupies a quieter, more versatile, defensive role. Both gained their advantages in life as part of their work for the family chemical business, but despite work demands, they make time to play two or three times mid-week. In their constant bid to improve their strings they spend time in Argentina to look for new horses. Their set-up in Lahore includes some of the club’s most beautiful livery boxes for their ponies,

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Grooms at Lahore, and (left) Amir Sufi feels the heat

a number of grooms and riders and a full-time polo manager. However, their expenditure on polo isn’t confined only to improving their own chances on the field – they have been generous patrons of the club for years and the new grounds

this season owe their existence to the funding of the brothers. This summer, they are said to be researching the possibility of playing a season in the UK, to enable them to play new opponents in a fresh environment. The distances between clubs in Pakistan means teams rarely play anywhere other than at home, given the challenges of transporting the horses. As the Lahore season winds down, the Pakistani heat is beginning its steady climb towards the 46 degrees it will reach in July, and the horses are being turned out to family farms outside the city. However, the club’s excellent restaurant, the Polo Lounge, continues to do a roaring trade, even if for most spectators and bookies thoughts are now turning towards cricket and the carnival atmosphere of summer. Only up in the Himalayan and Karakorum outreaches of Shandur and Gilgit does polo continue through summer, albeit in its most ferocious format. F ◗ To read more about Lahore Polo Club, visit www.lahorepoloclub.com


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Reports At home and abroad Dubai

Brits blossom among the palms Leah Ludlow watches the newly launched Threadneedle Gold Cup, where more than half a dozen British pros entered the fray and Nacho Gonzalez triumphed in the scintillating final showdown he essence of Dubai was epitomised at the inaugural Threadneedle success of the winning Mahra team. “We were a well-organised team, we Gold Cup on Friday 12 March, where Rashid Al Habtoor’s Mahra team, had fast guys in front and we didn’t panic when our opponents came out featuring British pro Nacho Gonzalez, beat Gulf Wings/Sumaya 5-4 in hard,” said Gonzalez, referring to the three-goal lead that Gulf the last chukka of a tight final encounter. Wings/Sumaya opened up in the first chukka. The combination of blazing sun, funky music, tropical palm trees, luxury That incredible start owed much to the skill and endeavour of Mathias Vial, cars and an impressive and diverse turnout for the match ensured the final who later won the La Martina most valuable player award, presented by Sheikh of the week-long 10-12-goal tournament was a glamorous day at the Dubai Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture. Polo and Equestrian Club that few will forget. The Mahra side recovered from Vial’s early “Polo here isn’t yet on the same level as it assault with quick replies from Manuel Plaza de “The tournament was is in England,” explains tournament manager Ayala and Nacho Gonzalez, before the welldesigned to place Dubai polo matched sides went on to keep each other at bay Timur Tezisler. “This tournament was designed on the international map” to place Dubai on the international map for for a time, both displaying determination and polo, and we hope people realised the effort excellent horsemanship. The close scoreline – tournament manager Timur Tezisler we went to, such as flying out HPA umpires created a tense atmosphere on the ground and the [Julian Appleby and Peter Wright] for the week to ensure the best players clearly felt the pressure in the third chukka, when neither side could possible standards.” land their shots or penalties. English representation was plentiful among the six teams. The all-Brit However, Mahra looked marginally better mounted as the game went on, First Group – Dave Shepherd, Chris Hyde, Tim Morris-Lowe and Jonny Good eventually triumphing at the death. It made for a thrilling conclusion to what – encountered bad luck and injury (Hyde’s muscle strain gave him trouble, Chris Hyde described as a “great game” and has already inspired organisers and Nacho had to step in for one game), while Habtoor Polo – with Ed to formulate bigger plans for next year. Morris-Lowe and Ryan Pemble – won the subsidiary final. But top honours “We want to have 10 teams next time,” said Tezisler. “And we plan to run went to England’s Nacho Gonzalez, who was a real driving force in the the tournament over three weeks with a Silver as well as a Gold Cup.”

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Ascot Park

A fine display of ladylike sportsmanship LUCY FIELD’S TEAM TONIC scooped the biggest prize of the weekend at the National Women’s Arena Championships this February, holding off a valiant Sophie Heaton-Ellis-led Four Quarters side in the 3-4-goal final, to win 9-8. Ascot Park was the venue as usual, and the club welcomed arena players of all abilities from right across the British Isles, battling for titles across three handicap sections. Excellent performances from Team Team Tonic (in red), winners of the 3-4-goal, and runners-up Four Quarters with Mia RandallCoath and Pippa Gillard of the IWPA

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Tonic and Four Quarters on the Saturday left Pink Power and Moon Tyger to fight it out in Sunday’s UberPolo 3-4-goal subsidiary final, where it was 8-8 at the end of four chukkas. The two sides decided to share the spoils rather than take the game into a golden-goal extra chukka or a penalty shootout. Andros Minx won the Stickhedz 2-goal division, beating Roca Rosa 7-4, despite having two relative novices on their side in the shape of 0-goalers Jo

Patmore and Hazel Jones. Both sides finished ahead of Purple Patch and JBT Shuffle, who contested the subsidiary, with Purple Patch running out the easy victors, 13-8. There was another diplomatic draw in the 1-goal division, where Mia Randall-Coath’s Andros Gold tied with Andros Blue for the Andros Challenge trophy, 9-9. Andros Blue’s Kat Flynn, playing in her first tournament, was awarded the prize for the most valuable player.

Foxhills 3-4-goal finalists Team Tonic (4): Catherine Isted 1; Lucy Field 0; Sarah Wiseman 3 Four Quarters (4): Sophie Heaton-Ellis 2; Lisa Forster 2; Romilla Arber/Jackie Kleimunt 0 MVP: Sophie Heaton-Ellis BPP: Canina, owned and played by Sarah Wiseman


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Clockwise from left: Nacho Gonzalez; action from the subsidiary final between Habtoor Polo (in red/white) and Zedan Polo; the winning team Mahra of (l-r) Manuel Plaza de Ayala, Rashid Al Habtoor, Mario Gomez and Nacho Gonzalez, with Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum

Argentina

How Emlor beat the locals at Suárez Nevertheless, the local press also praised the British visitors, who held off the heroes of Coronel Suárez club, where the tournament was played. In one of the early rounds, Emlor’s opponents side featured three of the members of the 1987 Argentine Open-winning team, and the British-led side remained upbeaten all the way through to the final. However, on the big day they were the underdogs, facing a much-fancied El Amanacer side with plenty of local support. Sure enough – they trailed throughout, and were one behind at the start of the final chukka. Having equalised, they then won the game right on the final bell with a 30-yard penalty that sparked jubilation amongst the 20-strong crowd of fans from the UK and the team’s base for the duration of the tournament, La Esperanza Polo Club. Emlor stalwart Nacho Gonzalez will rejoin the side in place of one of the Argentines in time for the 15-goal Victor Ludorum series in the UK this summer, and Spencer will form a 22-goal side for a Queen’s Cup campaign alongside Gonzalez, Pittaluga and John Paul Clarkin.

Photograph by Spencer McCarthy

ENGLAND’S EDEN ORMEROD AND Clinton McCarthy were at the heart of a successful campaign in Argentina this spring, when Emlor beat former Argentine Open winners and some of South America’s best up-and-coming players on route to lifting the 16-goal Juan Carlos Harriott trophy. Usually led by Spencer McCarthy, Emlor is a well-known side on the European medium-goal circuit, having enjoyed triumphs in the Royal Windsor, 15-goal Victor Ludorum and Warwickshire Cup in England and the Deauville Gold Cup in France. However, this is the first significant victory further afield for Emlor, led this time by Spencer’s older brother, Clinton. As well as Eden Ormerod, Clinton McCarthy recruited José Rivas and Joaquin Pittaluga – and it was Pittaluga that was widely acknowledged in the Argentine press as the most outstanding player of the tournament. The young Argentine recently went from six to seven goals after victory in the Cámera de Diputados in December with Piaget Pilará and demonstrated why to great effect.

Emlor in Argentina – underdogs, winners and local heroes (l-r): Clinton McCarthy, José Rivas, Joaquin Pittaluga and Eden Ormerod

Finalists Emlor (16): Clinton McCarthy 0; Eden Ormerod 3; Joaquín Pittaluga 7; José Rivas 6 El Amanecer (16): Javier Pasman 1; Eulogio Olariaga 2; Santiago Gaztambide 7; Erasmo Goti 6 Chukka scores (Emlor): 2-3; 5-5; 6-8; 8-10; 11-12; 13-12 X

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Reports At home and abroad South Africa

Great tour ensures many more X WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT, writes Leppy

DVD analysis of each youngster’s swing, stick-andball sessions on some of Selby’s top young ponies, lessons and discussions on animal physiotherapy and welfare to help recognise problems, and videoanalysised instructional chukkas with four-and fivegoal professionals, including South Africa international Tom de Bruin. With this course fully booked and demand already high for 2011, Viv Haigh and her team are planning two courses for next spring, one in the February half term and another during the Easter holidays. Contact vivienhaigh@hotmail.com or 01235 831500 for more information. Tourists

(below)

Theo Banner, Laurence Busch Hansen, Max DoddNoble, Hannah FitzPatrick, George and Henry Letts, James Lindsay, Harry Parker, India Wallington, Orlando and Theo Wethered, Nick Winterton

Photograph by Jonathan Doig

Richmond-Watson, that an idea formed by Abby Tren, Viv Haigh and the then-President of South African polo Charles Holley at a dinner party in Wantage some 10 years ago would have launched a polo project that is still going strong today? The idea was to organise intensive polo training courses to South Africa for British school children before the start of the summer season. Viv Haigh got the project off the ground and has sat at the helm as the courses have swollen over the last decade, now accommodating as many as a dozen kids at a time for tuition by six-goaler Selby Williamson and Gavin Chaplin in the idyllic setting of Jurassic Park Polo Club, within sight of the Drakensburg Mountains in South Africa. The most recent group went this February half term, when training involved improving balance whilst riding for polo with schooling techniques,

Half-term happiness: British children in South Africa, where pony welfare as well as swing analysis was on the agenda

Hickstead

Brothers in arms scoop the spoils THE ALL ENGLAND POLO Club at Hickstead bid farewell to the club’s official arena polo season last month with a 4-6-goal tournament in bright sunshine on 6-7 March, sponsored by fencing specialists, McVeigh Parker. Following two tight semi-finals on the Saturday, Watersfield and The Reds advanced to the final with almost identical winning scorelines over Novate and SOS respectively. Both sides then fought for their lives in a superb final on Sunday, with Watersfield only sealing it in the final chukka, though they did it in emphatic fashion. All three of their players – Mark Burgon and brothers Toby and Duncan Hotston –got on the scoresheet in the decisive last minutes, propelling themselves to the McVeigh Parker Trophy with a 12-9 victory.

New Zealand

Ladies hole up in Hololio WHILE MANY OF THE WORLD’S best players took part in the International Test Match and New Zealand Open on the country’s North Island in February, a group of keen polo-playing girls were anxious not to be left behind, writes Karen Kranenburg. The Women’s Open was born, and welcomed four teams for the inaugural staging of the tournament at renovated private club Hololio Farm – a leading venue for ladies’ polo as well as men’s since the mid-1990s, an hourand-a-half’s drive from Auckland. Organisers brought together a combination of experienced professionals from the UK and New Zealand and novice players, some of whom had never played in a tournament before. Ecoya beat Hololio Turf 5-2 in the final, with England’s Lottie Lamacraft producing a strong

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performance to win her side the first title, and taking a ball in the face in the process – she needed a trip to hospital to stitch up a spilt lip from a nasty blow moments from the end of the last chukka. Elsewhere in the tournament, it was Lottie’s fellow countrywoman Hazel Jackson, from the New Forest, who was the stand-out performer. She showed plenty of promise, captaining the Jackson Russell team with some determined and effective performances for an up-andcoming player, taking on opposing teams almost single-handedly and with absolutely no fear. Nina Clarkin, who had originally been due to take part, played in the full-scale New Zealand Open, a target that many of the ladies from the Women’s Open will now be inspired to aim for.

Ecoya, with British player Lottie Lamacraft’s husband taking his wife’s place in the line-up while she went off for stitches

Finalists Ecoya (-4): Casey Mallany -1; Anna McCormick -2; Addie Hutchinson -2; Kirsty Hawkins Hololio Turf (-4): Missy Brown 1; Lottie Lamacraft -2; Charlie Sellar -2; Rae Poole -1


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Feature Polo artists

Captured on

canvas Martha Terry asks six leading British artists why they are passionate about painting polo – and how they immortalise such speedy, chaotic action

Jacqueline Stanhope THOUGH SHE HAS PAINTED such top racehorses as Sea The Stars and Kauto Star, Durham-based Jacqueline Stanhope (above) only recently turned her brush to polo. So in demand was she as a racing artist that she had no time to add strings to her formidable bow – until, “over-worked and under-inspired”, she “took off on a whim to Toulston Polo Club”. “So began a love affair,” says Jacqueline. “I just absorbed the beauty of it – horses tethered under trees speckled by sunshine, gorgeous scenery, a rainbow of pony colours, the human interaction. For a city girl, it was quite magical.” With 30 years of equestrian art behind her, Jacqueline knew she could do justice to what she describes as “the most perfect sport to paint”. She loves painting loosely and quickly, and will sketch an impression in oil wash of the pony lines in minutes. Conversely, for formal commissions she can spend a month in her studio, using photos to help her capture a dramatic high-goal moment with the depth, texture and colour of oil paint. Here, Jacqueline plays televised polo matches to help her focus and check details. Given her popularity in racing, Jacqueline’s work is bound to proliferate within the polo fraternity. “With human and equine athletes, polo represents the ultimate subject matter,” says Jacqueline, who held her first polo-themed exhibition last year at Guards on Cartier Day. “There are an infinite number of compositions to be painted, and I always look forward to my next piece with real excitement.”

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“I absorbed the beauty of it – horses tethered under trees speckled by sunshine, a rainbow of pony colours, the human interaction” – Jacqueline Stanhope


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Flora Blackett FLORA BLACKETT’S FIRST aspirations were to ride rather than paint horses. But when she broke her hip at the age of 16 and decimated her eventing dreams, she picked up a paintbrush for the first time. “It took breaking my hip to turn me into an artist,” says Flora, 31, whose father played polo for Britain when he was in the army. “But that background has helped me understand horses’ movement. I’m constantly reliving their gaits in my head and once I get it right, I think you can see the horse galloping out of the page.” Flora takes “thousands of photos” at a match and spends hours selecting the perfect shot for a commission. She is classically trained under Charles Cecil in Florence, but has already stamped her own flair on this traditional style. Although she uses oils, her trademark is charcoal with a splash of watercolour, which gives a classical but contemporary effect. “I first used charcoal with watercolour in some bullfighting studies a couple of years ago, and it has proved very popular,” explains Flora. “Oil can be heavy, whereas charcoal is ideal for movement because you can smudge it, and it’s dusty in its own right which helps create the idea of movement below the hooves. It works brilliantly for polo as I can add the team colours, which immediately personalises a picture.” The result? Classical, vibrant and very, very cool. A single player (32inch by 23inch) currently starts at a grand, but don’t bet on that price sticking around as this chic style gains popularity.

“I’m constantly reliving gaits in my head and once I get it right, I think you can see the horse galloping out of the page” – Flora Blackett

Amanda Deadman POLO IS NEW TO Amanda Deadman but – like so many before her – she is hooked, despite only having played with “a broomstick and a football”. “It’s an opportunity that has just presented itself, but I’m becoming increasingly passionate about polo,” says Amanda, who is currently more famous for depicting aviation and enormous confectionery. “I’ve been doing polo only since I moved to Kirtlington two years ago and the inspiration is amazing. I tend to concentrate majorly on one subject and then become well-known within that field. Right now my passion is polo.” For Amanda, who is also a photographer, her camera is a vital tool within her eclectic repertoire. “Photography and photoshop are like another brush to me,” she says. “And I’ll use whatever medium I feel inspired by – one day I’ll do a huge sweet in oil on canvas, the next day a watercolour of polo.” While most animal artists strive for realism, Amanda has visions of developing a freer style using huge canvases and bold brushstrokes. “Polo is the right subject for me to branch out,” she says. “It’s the essence of the spectacle – colours, movement, atmosphere and the lifeforce of horses and riders. The biggest challenge is capturing the movement – horses going in straight lines are easy to depict, but these horses turn on a sixpence and interact with each other.” Amanda’s vivid pictures may not yet be hanging in polo players’ houses, but with three watercolours proposed for a Royal Society of Equestrian Artists exhibition later this year, it’s surely just a matter of time.

“The challenge is capturing movement – horses going in straight lines are easy to depict, but these horses turn on a sixpence and interact” – Amanda Deadman

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Feature Polo artists

Kate Scurfield X POLO TIMES CARTOONIST Kate Scurfield has always loved

making people laugh. She is best known for equestrian cartoons and caricatures, but also does “serious pictures” in portraits and posters. “I’ve done cartoons since my schooldays because they made people laugh,” she says. “Apparently the test of a cartoonist is to be able to draw a fish riding a bicycle – I think I can do that.” Kate first tackled the humorous side of polo six years ago, when Guards Polo Club commissioned her to do caricatures of umpires and patrons for a yearbook, their Christmas card and, more recently, table mats for their restaurant. Kate works from photos and life – although she admits that face-to-face caricaturing at Badminton horse trials was “the scariest thing I’ve ever done”. She finds the pony lines particularly ripe for inspiration for caricatures [see the March issue of Polo Times, page 16]. “I love marrying people to the horses and the scenes,” Kate says. “I wish there were more hours in the day for me to study the characters behind the sport.” Although cartoons are seen as the lightweights of the art world, their conception is extremely technical. Kate trained as a building surveyor and applies her technical background to her drawing, building on a lot of research. “Horses are incredibly technical to draw – you can imagine it when you sit on them,” she says. “I re-educate myself repeatedly by drawing the skeletons and muscles – you’d be hard pressed to do decent cartoons without understanding anatomy.”

Photographs by James Mullan

“I wish there were more hours in the day for me to study the characters behind the sport” – Kate Scurfield

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Susie Whitcombe SUSIE WHITCOMBE (right) is different to typical polo artists. Most are compelled by the dynamism, the speed and sheer thrill of the game. But for Susie, the attraction lies in the aesthetic pleasure of a country pursuit in a beautiful setting. “I don’t set out specifically to paint polo, but any aspect of life in a landscape,” says Susie, who first started on polo when she travelled to Australia after leaving school in the 1970s. “I love people and animals in a landscape and polo fits that – for instance, polo on the lake at St Moritz is a fabulous spectacle, or the wonderful characters in a string of ponies behind the scenes.” Susie prefers to paint from life, even when that involves holing up in a makeshift studio in her Land Rover during a storm. “I do refer to photos – they are a good aid – but I never paint from them,” says Susie. “It takes the life out of it. Animals do move, but that’s the joy of it. If you want to be very specific, then you might as well get a photo.” Susie’s quest for beautiful scenes has taken her all over the world with a travel-box of oils, though she laughs, “I’ll paint with mud and feathers if there’s nothing else”. It has been a lifelong vocation. “I was one of those ghastly schoolgirls who just gazed out of the window drawing horses, and I’m still doing it!” she says. “Old school-friends call me and say: ‘that picture you exchanged for a curly-wurly – how much is it worth now?’”

Katie Tunn KATIE TUNN’S PRODIGIOUS TALENT was spotted early. She exhibited at the Royal County of Berkshire clubhouse when she was still at school. “I used to spend my time in the common room with a canvas on my knee while everyone else was in lunch,” says Katie, 24. Perhaps unlike most little girls who grow up painting ponies, Katie was not horsey – until she watched a polo match eight years ago. “Polo got me,” she says. “I was immediately hooked by how muscular the ponies were, and I knew it would be a brilliant subject to paint. I love the idea of a scrum, where all the muscles are interacting dynamically.” Katie uses a mix of approaches to prepare for commissions. “I like sketches, but for the big paintings I use photos as the horses move so quickly and you have to work like lightning to capture that movement and thrill factor,” says Katie, who is currently working on some still portraits of players with their ponies from life. “I feel I’m cheating when I use photos, but if you get a good shot and handle it right, you can put life back in.” Katie, who is also a military portrait artist, does around 10 polo commissions a year in pencil and acrylics. She’s clearly in demand, but admits she finds D-day for presenting the finished commission extremely nerve-wracking. “I’m like a child, I just want people to like the picture,” she says. “Even though I make a mock-up of the composition and colours, and email updates, I get very nervous. It gives me the greatest satisfaction when the client is happy.”

“I was one of those ghastly schoolgirls who gazed out of the window drawing horses – and I’m still doing it!” – Susie Whitcombe

“I like sketches but you have to work like lightening to capture that movement and thrill factor” – Katie Tunn

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Feature Farriery

James Mullan catches up with well-known and well-travelled English farrier Karn Herbert, and finds out how shoeing for polo differs from other equine disciplines and just how important the game is to the trade t’s 7.30am on Saturday 30 January and, while most guests at the St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow are still tucked up in bed with a hangover or enjoying a hotel breakfast, English farrier Karn Herbert is hard at work. As I and a fellow reporter cross the threshold into the tournament’s new state-of-the-art £500,000 temporary stables, the greeting we receive from the posse of English grooms is almost as warm as the air-conditioning tubes pumping out hot air. More than 90 ponies – most of which are transported to the Alps from the UK – are accommodated during the tournament in two vast stable blocks, with an army of grooms, vets, farriers and even an equine physiotherapist on hand to make sure they are in optimum playing condition throughout. Karn, on duty in St Moritz for his third year, is responsible for shoeing almost all these ponies for the snow-on-ice surface. “We’re kept pretty busy,” he explains, “although the conditions this year are the most favourable yet. The ponies have been pretty comfortable and most shoes have held up well.” To many, it’s a curious profession. Notoriously back-breaking, seasonal and even downright risky: just how do people get into it? “I always had ponies as a kid, playing in Pony Club and so on and, when it came to leaving school, it was just something I fancied,” Karn

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A bare hoof and the special shoe, studs and moulded plastic combo that is used on snow. Opposite: Karn Herbert

explains. “I began an apprenticeship in 1993, qualified in 1997 and I’ve never looked back. Fortunately, growing up around the Reading area, I was aware of polo from an early age and knew there would be plenty of work in it. That has proved to be the case and now, particularly in summer, polo is a very large part of my work.” Karn is still based in Berkshire, near Henleyon-Thames. He shoes horses from other disciplines, such as show jumping, racing and dressage, but diverts most of his attention to UK summer polo from the moment the ponies come in from grass in March through to when the action winds down in September. “All in all I’m probably responsible for 200 polo ponies during the season,” says Karn, whose clients include the Schwarzenbach family’s Black Bears side. “In winter, there’s still plenty of work, with horses needing shoeing across other

disciplines and for the arena – but how much you can do as a farrier is limited by daylight hours. You can’t do much after about 4pm, which makes polo even more important to me when the days are longer. The horses need frequent regular shoeing and there’s so much work, it’s crazy. Some weeks I begin at 6am and work until 7pm, solidly, six or seven days a week!” Karn sees the polo ponies he shoes at least once every four weeks. “Most competition horses in eventing, racing, dressage and the like last five weeks and everyday hacking horses usually go six weeks quite happily. But the nature of polo – it’s speed and the constant stopping and turning – requires that the horses’ feet are in top form. “You have to keep on top of it in order to ensure that their feet don’t get too long or unbalanced. If they are not perfect, then it is X far easier to sustain a tendon or ligament


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Feature Farriery

Finding insurance as a farrier

Ready for action: “Snow is very grippy, and with eight studs on each pony it is really safe,” says Karn Herbert

Photographs by James Mullan

X injury from unexpected resistance or leverage

from the ground.” Ponies being prepared for grass polo are usually shod with a single stud hole at the outside back of the hind shoe as close to the heel as possible, to provide them with extra purchase when turning. Apart from a plastic snow pad, snow polo doesn’t require anything dramatically different. “The shoe we use for snow is an everyday polo shoe, but with double stud holes and a ‘snow pad’ on each foot, between the shoe and the pony’s hoof,” Karn explains. “The studs are basically the same as in outdoor polo, and it surprises most people when I tell them that I think they work better on snow than they do at home on grass. “Though it’s billed as polo on a frozen lake, the surface is around 15cm of compacted snow on top and so, in reality, it’s very grippy. With eight studs on each pony, it sounds crazy, but I think it’s really, really safe. “The snow pad – which is a plasticky, rubbery material – sits inside the shoe and prevents snow binding to the freezing foot. The faster the horse moves, the better the snow pads work. They shoot all the loose powder out of the back of the hooves and, when conditions are as excellent as they were this year, there is little resistance on the shoes from the snow.” The snow pad is something of an unusual invention among farriery gadgets, as non-remedial devices are rare across all equine disciplines.

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However, the shoes themselves, between disciplines, in terms of the type of metal, and its width and thickness, do differ according to the work for which they are required. The faster horse sports need a skinnier piece of metal to minimise resistance from the ground, whereas slower disciplines need a wider and often thicker shoe to give the horse maximum contact. Mild steel is normally used for polo, because of its strength in withstanding the constant demands in terms of stopping and turning. Studs are used in several disciplines, though they are not used for indoor competitions or in arena polo, where there’s

Mild steel is used for polo, because of its strength during stopping and turning the risk they could puncture the membrane that sits below the surface. According to Karn, however, the business of farriery remains broadly the same with every kind of horse. It’s all about fitting the right shoe as efficiently and painlessly as possible, while managing to stay out of harm’s way. “So far, touch wood, I’ve not had too many serious kicks,” says Karn. “There was one nasty blow to my knee caps once but, generally, I’ve been lucky.” F

A FAVOURITE PIECE of wisdom that often gets touted when discussing farriery is the seemingly-unchecked assertion that “it’s harder to get insured as a farrier than it is as a skydiver”. But is that actually true? John Howe, of Leicester-based financial services and insurance firm Eastlake & Beachell, says: “Well, if you went to a general online insurer for self-employed liability insurance, you’d very likely struggle to find a lower premium as a farrier than for some seemingly more extreme professions. “Very few insurers make provisions for farriers, as the requirements are so different from those of ordinary tradesmen. There is the potential for risk to the horse, and the farrier’s tools, as well as to the policyholder himself. These risks are not covered by normal public liability insurance. “However, specialists do exist, such as ourselves. We launched a specific package offering cover to farriers and blacksmiths back in 1991. We felt there was a need for better cover than that which was at the time available directly through the National Association of Farriers. “It has proved very successful, offering cover for injury to self, the horse (specifically the horse’s feet) and to the farrier’s tools throughout the UK. We currently have something like 1,800 policies on our books, though this number includes blacksmiths as well. “Typically, basic cover starts at £273.50 plus tax, not including the additional cover for tools, so these days insuring yourself as a farrier isn’t as difficult as many people would believe.”


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The knowledge Playing Around – Lacey Green Working our way round the UK’s clubs with our intrepid improver Carlie Trotter (–2)

Camaraderie, cheering and ollowing the aroma of lamb asado at the end of last summer, I made my way to Lacey Green Polo Club, one of the newest and fastest-growing in the Home Counties. During my visit, a balmy September weekend, eight home teams were battling for the Bucks Trophy, in a relaxed, intimate and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Like the music that evening, the controlled calm of the pony lines was recognisably

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Photographs by Carlie Trotter

Late-summer action at Lacey Green, a friendly hub for Londoners of various nationalities

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Argentine. On the field, with ex-Woolmers Park’s Nacho Ballesteros (4) and club founder and chairman Mariano Darritchon (4) in charge, novices benefited from instruction at every turn. Players shouted tactics in English, French and Spanish, the cheering reaching fever pitch when one of Mariano’s big hits left him waving a headless stick. The popular Argentine – also of La Mariposa in Buenos Aires province – set up the club in 2007 after several years instructing at nearby West Wycombe. The club, which has three fields and “Argentine-style” grass livery for more than 100 horses, caters for an expanding crowd of mainly London-based members – 91 at the last count. In the campaign to help players progress quickly every match was being captured on video for later analysis. I rode out confidently for team Mont Selas on comfy mare Philomena, after groom Fernando Gomez enthused: “What is special here is that every pony is good quality”. For 2010 the club will have more than 60 hire ponies. My pony stood up to David Koch’s fierce ride-offs, who far out-played his first-season ranking, but hearing Nacho Ballesteros on our tail was enough pressure for me to hit wide. Scoring from 90 degrees, Gaston Carrozzo (2) allowed us a respectable 4-11/2 defeat to Chellomedia-Buzzards.

When children and mini-mallets had been scooped up we moved to the club’s base, Manor Farm, for the evening. With more members buying into the club, founder member Nico Samaran (-1) attributed Lacey Green’s popularity to its friendly, family-orientated atmosphere, and packed calendar. Several people have joined after holidaying at La Mariposa, Mariano Darritchon’s farm in Argentina, and now keep their ponies under La Mariposa philosophy at Manor Farm. Having demolished a scrumptious asado, we took to the dance floor to show off some quartetto rhythm, with varying levels of success. When things turned philosophical and Marcus Lawler (-2) declared he had “come home” after years at other clubs, it was time to retire. On Sunday, Mont Selas faced a formidable foe in Mar Del Plata, but my team-mates Rodney Hunt (-2) and David Acres (-1) recovered their swings to great effect. Nacho Cerboni (2) and Phil Sellers (0) were a troublesome duo, and the last chukka saw sterling teamwork on both sides, but on the final bell we rejoiced in a 7-6 win. It is safe to say that competition at Lacey Green will be even fiercer this summer. Whether its most illustrious members – 10-goal Gonzalo and Facundo Pieres – join the fray remains to be seen but having them on the register is surely a brilliant boost to this Buckinghamshire hub. F


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the quartetto Soundbites from the sidelines Mariano Darritchon Club chairman “I’ve set up five clubs in my life, and my clients are my friends. We are organised; we don’t look it but we are – that’s key. If we need more ponies that is my problem, the players can relax. I’m looking to bring in other coaches for clinics this year because people need to keep their instruction fresh to learn quickly, to have that ‘click’ moment. I also want to bring in English pros.”

Nicolas Samaran Founding member “We are lucky to have three fields, and the family that owns the land is great. We didn’t embark on this great adventure for just a couple of years, but for the long term, so it’s exciting. Everyone knows exactly when they are due to play each week, and we play a lot. Beginners are not just numbers here: we want them to improve. And the club is friendly: polo is also about before and after a match.”

Jairo Rojas Player turned promoter “The club now has the ‘wow effect’: there is no such thing as a boring weekend and the grounds are excellent. I brought my neighbours to watch: they thought they’d feel uncomfortable, but they loved it. Lacey Green is gentlemanly competitive, players have camaraderie and a commitment to getting better. If you’ve two million spare go to a super-smart club; if not, come here.”

Lacey Green vital statistics Playing members 91 Non-playing members 30 Facilities Three full-size boarded fields, practice ground, pony shower, marquee bar, loos. Fortnightly tournaments May to September. Philosophy To provide a high level of polo for beginners and improvers in a friendly, well-run environment. Running the show After four UK seasons polo entrepreneur Mariano Darritchon oversees a busy club schedule, playing 120 matches himself last summer, as chairman and professional. Instructor Gaston Carrozzo manages pony welfare and can be found scribbling chukka lists at all hours. Safety regulation and a well-stocked bar were paramount for 2009 club manager Alexandra Hardham, while Lucy Wilson keeps players improving at Ash Farm during the arena season. Location Next to an equestrian centre in the Chiltern Hills, 10 minutes from junction 4 of the M40 and less than an hour from London. Crowd Largely from London, incorporating everyone from media professionals to army officers. A high foreigner count: families on the sidelines are affectionately named “the French mafia” – reflecting the sizeable Gallic contingent – and Aussie and Dutch accents are heard too. Resident pros are Mariano Darritchon (4), Nacho Ballesteros (4), Gaston Carrozzo (2), Nacho Cerboni (2), and Tobias Pejokvic (1). Livery Grass livery eight minutes’ drive away is £125 p/week including exercise, grooming, hard feed, tack cleaning, and chukka transport. The stick and ball field at the farm, which is home to over 100 horses, can be used for chukkas in bad weather. Member Kirsty Buchan says: “It‘s expensive but worth it, and compared to other places the service is exceptional”. In 2010 there are plans for grazing adjacent to the club grounds to be made available. Full membership £1,000 (reduced to £500 p/a thereafter) Contact Lacey Green Polo Club, Lacey Green, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 0PG; 07946 360569; www.laceygreenpoloclub.com

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The knowledge Duty vet Mark Emerson MRCVS is a two-goal, fifth-generation polo player and an ambulatory equine vet

How to prevent your pony crying wolf ‘Wolf teeth’, found in less than half of all horses, can interfere with the bit’s action and cause discomfort, especially if sharp or loose. These peg-like protrusions often need taking out hen people first hear the term “wolf teeth” it is not surprising that they assume it refers to large fanglike canine teeth. Male horses (and 25 to 30 per cent of females) do indeed have such canines, just behind the incisors towards the front of the mouth, and these are often mistaken for wolf teeth by the unacquainted. Behind these canines, sometimes colloquially referred to as “tushes”, is a gap. On the lower jaw, this gap is known as the “bars of the mouth”, where the mouthpiece of a correctly fitted bit should sit. When the reins are pulled, pressure is applied to the bars of the mouth through the bit and the bit is also drawn against the first cheek teeth. Less than half of all horses have small peg-like teeth fixed in the gum just in front of the first proper cheek teeth – and these are wolf teeth. They are almost always found in the upper jaw only, often one on each side, and can theoretically interfere with the action of the bit, cause discomfort and so compromise a polo pony’s responsiveness. Rarely, they are found in the lower jaw. Wolf teeth are technically the first premolars but in horses they have become evolutionary remnants and no longer serve any purpose. Most wolf teeth are similar in size to children’s milk teeth (although they vary considerably) and, unlike all the other teeth, wolf teeth do not have long roots. Strictly speaking, the roots of most teeth in horses are actually buried crowns that erupt through the gum as the biting surface wears away over the years. Wolf teeth that have not emerged through the gum are known as blind wolf teeth, and can arguably cause more discomfort than large firmly fixed

Photographs by Mark Emerson

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Local anaesthetic about to be injected into the gum of a sedated horse prior to removing a wolf tooth

protruding wolf teeth, as the soft tissue of the gum is pinched between them and the bit. Loose, sharp or displaced wolf teeth are also likely to cause discomfort to the horse when fitted with a bit.

Why take wolf teeth out? Older horses with wolf teeth that have played for years without any apparent problem are unlikely to need their wolf teeth removing unless the wolf teeth start to become loose following trauma. In general, horses with wolf teeth that do not respond well to the bit, shake their heads when bitted or react painfully to pressure from the bit are good candidates for wolf teeth removal. Removing the wolf teeth may not necessarily fix the problem but at least it allows a possible cause to be eliminated. There is a reasonable argument for removing wolf teeth in younger polo ponies to prevent them from ever causing

a problem and also for allowing unhindered access to the first proper cheek teeth immediately behind the wolf teeth so that they can be bit-seated (rounded off with a rasp to accommodate the bit better). Most polo vets will therefore advocate their removal.

Who can remove them? As the law in the UK currently stands, removing wolf teeth is deemed an act of veterinary surgery and, as such, can only be carried out by veterinary surgeons. Moves are underway to try to change the law to allow suitably qualified equine dental technicians (EDTs) to be allowed to remove wolf teeth legally. However, in order to carry out the procedure safely and to adhere to expected welfare standards, horses having their wolf teeth removed by EDTs will still require intravenous sedation, pain relief and local anaesthetic. Only vets are allowed


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Clockwise from left: Arrow points to relatively large wolf tooth at the front of a row of upper cheek teeth; side view of a horse skull with arrow pointing to a wolf tooth; successful removal of a wolf tooth. Inset: Wolf teeth can vary considerably in size

to carry and administer these drugs to horses, so direct veterinary involvement will still be required.

What is the procedure? With the right equipment, wolf teeth removal can be a relatively simple and

As mentioned, intravenous sedation is strongly advised, particularly as very sharp dental elevators are used that could easily slice into the nearby palatal artery if the horse were to move suddenly. Local anaesthetic is often injected into the surrounding gum and

Some displaced wolf teeth or those with deeper roots can be challenging to remove quick procedure. However, some displaced wolf teeth or those with deeper roots can be challenging to remove and many a vet has spent far longer than planned trying to remove a stubborn wolf tooth without breaking it.

additional pain relief is generally administered with the sedation. The dental elevators are used to cut around the tooth where it attaches to the gum and, if there is any substantial root, to prise it out of its bony socket. Forceps

can also be used to loosen the tooth and eventually remove it. Occasionally wolf teeth can snap during the removal process, leaving some of the root embedded within the gum. There is varying opinion as to whether this causes a significant problem. In many cases, if a small fragment remains firmly attached deep within the gum and the gum heals over the top, it is probably unlikely to cause any problems. Loose or superficial fragments will undoubtedly cause a problem and every effort should be made to ensure these are removed. Many vets would recommend not putting a bit in a horse’s mouth for a week or two after wolf tooth removal to allow the bruising to subside and for the gum to heal. This is certainly necessary when large wolf teeth are removed. However, I have found from personal experience that there is often no problem in bitting a horse within a few days of removing small upper wolf teeth. The bit, after all, sits on the lower jaw and if an annoying loose wolf tooth has been removed you can tell the difference almost straight away. F ◗ 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: mark@emersonequine.com

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Your game The knowledge Vital riding and playing tips from Jamie Peel, three-goal pro and 2008 Gold Cup winner

How to build a happy pro-patron relationship s a young player you never really appreciate the importance of your relationship with the patrons for whom you play. You tend to make your deal with the main player or the manager of the team and, once that is finalised, all you think about is playing well. I was lucky during my time with Dubai and Loro Piana in that both patrons made me feel relaxed and very much part of the set-up. However, other players’ experiences tell me this is not always the case. In high-goal a young pro can be very removed from their patron. For some, a cursory “good morning” or a quick chat at games and practices will be the most communication they have. For the young pro, everything depends on how you are playing and on your relationship with team-members. When you feel removed from the better players on your side, it’s often hard to know where you stand, which can make life difficult. “Am I in or out?” is a question that constantly rattles around your head. You have to play every game as though your life depends on it. You play for the others, blocking and riding off like a lunatic and praying you don't make too many mistakes. If the others trust you then you are OK but if they don't, you are out! Although the senior pros don’t pay your salary, it is often them rather than the patron who make

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‘Am I in or out?’ is a question that constantly rattles around your head the decisions. This is tough and the learning curve is steep, but being around 10-goalers is a fantastic experience. Learn from them, keep talking to them and absorb their knowledge. In low- and medium-goal, life is very different. You are more likely to be mounted on your own ponies and this will give you more security. As a low-handicap player, you are still likely to make your deal with the team’s main pro but you will become more involved with the patron. Whether sharing a drink after the game, having a team meal or even the rare treat of a phone call, you will get to know each other better and start to understand what the patron expects of you rather

Patron Alfio Marchini (right), who made our columnist feel relaxed and part of the set-up. Left: Juan Martin Nero

than just what the other players are looking for. When you enter negotiations with a patron at the start of a season, be patient. Some patrons like to work on a tournament or per-game basis but others put a programme together for the season. The latter will be of greater benefit to both, because you will be able to work a deal that will give the pro greater security and the patron better value for money. This is important, as it gives you the opportunity to build a better relationship – one that will be more likely to continue for more than just one season. All the most successful players have experienced long spells with one or more patrons. World number one Cambiaso, to take a particularly strong example, has been with Ali Albwardy for around a decade and it is this consistency that has brought them so much success. Patrons can open many doors for a professional on and off the field. Trying to get really well mounted is a constant struggle for every player but as a young pro it can seem a million miles away. A strong working relationship with a patron can help to bridge this gap and set you on your way to a successful career. F ◗ Next month, Jamie will look at the patron’s perspective. Have your say from either side of the fence by writing to letters@polotimes.co.uk

Ask Jamie

Do you have any advice on how to overcome a particular nemesis? For instance, if there’s a player you always find you argue with, how do you stop yourself boiling over? From James Beim

This is a slightly baffling inquiry from my good friend Banana Man – aka Beimy, the England number one – but I presume he writes with England’s recent poor run of results against the southern hemisphere in mind...? Perhaps a couple more sessions with the team psychologist would help! Do you have a question for Jamie Peel? You can ask him about any aspect of the game, from riding and schooling to hitting and tactics, and he will answer your questions on this page. Write to jamesmullan@polotimes.co.uk

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PTApril 2010 p58-59 Pony power YC PJ MB

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The knowledge Pony power

Beatle British pro Lanto Sheridan (right) tells Brett O’Callaghan about the best playing pony from the NZ vs GB test match

Vital statistics

Photograph by Brett O’Callaghan

Name: Beatle Height: 15.2hh Age: 5 years old Sex: Mare Colour: Bay Origin: Home bred at Kihikihi, New Zealand Sire: Hangi Dam: Venita

What is Beatle’s breeding? She has been bred and schooled by her owner, former New Zealand international six-goaler Stephen Kay, whose professional playing career was cut short by serious injury in 1982. He is now one of the main driving forces behind Kihikihi Polo Club on New Zealand’s North Island. Beatle is by his top stallion Hangi, and out of Venita, a mare he played alongside her mother, Vanessa – bred by Stephen’s father Tony. Tony Kay also played and bred from Vanessa’s mother and grandmother, making Beatle a fifth-generation polo pony. What are her main strengths? I have played her for two seasons, while I’ve been based at Kihikihi, and found her extremely able and agile for her size. She has a beautiful, quiet, easy temperament, so much so that she was played in a 20-goal tournament as a four-year-old. She seems able to give you more, the more you ask of her, which is probably why Mark Tomlinson was able to use her to such good effect in the England vs New Zealand Test Match this year [see report, March issue of Polo Times]. He played her in the second chukka, providing him with a good platform early on [England led 5-2 at half time], and she won best playing pony. He also played her full sister Mary. Does Beatle have a weakness? She isn’t the fastest pony but still seems able to get

you to the most important plays, so I have never found her modest speed a real weakness. Could she be used as a two-chukka pony? Definitely. She can handle two chukkas no problem, and has done so regularly since she was three. I’m hopeful that she will go on to win many more prizes. What sort of work regime is she put through during the season? She is ridden up the Korakonui Hill, where we work all of the ponies, most days, but she also gets used in the school, as she is so easy that even a young player taking tuition can ride her with no problems. We just play her in a gag and running reins. And is she easy to look after? Yes, she’s brilliant. She doesn’t have any special dietary requirements, is fantastic with other ponies and never causes any problems around the yard. She just minds her own business! When Stephen was first breaking her in, he would use her around the farm, mustering the sheep and herding the cattle, so she’s still very quiet and comfortable around other animals and humans. She would make a perfect pet. Is she likely to be for sale in the near future? I doubt it, as I’m sure Stephen will want to continue the bloodline into the sixth generation. However, at some point, I expect she might be available. F

Page sponsored by Baileys Horse Feeds - experts in polo nutrition Tel: +44 (0)1371 850247 www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk 58 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk


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Feeding The knowledge Lorna Jowett, specialist equine nutritionist, gives expert advice on all things edible

What should I feed to prevent my pony tying up? TYING UP (AZOTURIA) can be a real problem at this time of year, as work is increased for the first chukkas of the season. When looking at feedrelated reasons for tying up, they are generally caused by too much starch/cereals in the diet. They are increased according to the workload but the diet is unbalanced, because of a lack of vitamins and minerals to support this extra work. Either that, or the horse is dehydrated. Unfortunately, when a horse has tied up the chances of it reoccurring are quite high and therefore management is of the essence. So what and how should you feed? • Remove oats from the diet, which are high in starch and will exacerbate the problem. • Use cubes rather than a In conjunction with a Tip of the month balanced diet, freely mix (in other words a available water is A balanced diet will ensure healthy feet, conditioning cube important to keep your not just in summer but winter too. Problems pony from tying up rather than arise when ponies are turned out in winter without conditioning mix). hard feed, when good quality protein, vitamins and • Use oils as an minerals will have been lacking. Then the feet can energy source become soft and brittle, and the shoes become prone rather than to falling off – so don’t always blame your farrier cereals – there is when he struggles to put shoes on ponies early on! more than twice When the diet is nutritionally balanced, the need as much energy in for further supplementation is not necessary. oil than in an Over-supplementing can be just equivalent weight as detrimental. of cereals. • Ensure the diet is balanced Una dieta balanceada according to the workload – make resultará en cascos fuertes, no solo en sure you feed according to the el verano sino también en el invierno. A manufacturer’s recommendations principio de cada temporada los herreros suelen and that you are not under tener que lidiar con vasos blandos y frágiles que feeding. han crecido durante el invierno, cuando la mayoría • Consider adding balancers into de los caballos de polo no reciben una dieta the cubes/mix to ensure that all balanceada, haciendo que las herraduras se salgan nutrients are received. con facilidad. Así que no le eches la culpa a tu • Use electrolytes when a pony is herrero! En cambio dales una dieta balanceada working hard and sweating. durante todo el año y los suplementos • Water should never be withheld. no serán necesarios. Su exceso en Allow access at all times – before ocasiones puede ser and after polo. contra producente. • Offer plenty of forage. F

y en español... El ENVARAMIENTO (azotaría) es muy común a principio de la temporada cuando se incrementa el nivel de exigencia a cara de los primeros chaquers. Los casos de envaramiento relacionados con la dieta suelen ser causados por una cantidad excesiva de almidón/cereal en la dieta en relación con el nivel de actividad. También puede originarse por una dieta desbalanceada por falta de vitaminas y minerales. Una tercera causa menos común es por deshidratación. Desafortunadamente, una vez que un caballo sufre un episodio de envaramiento las posibilidades de recurrencia se incrementan. Cómo deberías alimentar entonces a tus caballos después del envaramiento? • Sacales la avena de la dieta ya que contiene un alto nivel de almidón e incrementará el riesgo de que vuelva a ocurrir. • Usá alimento balanceado en forma de cubos y no mix: “conditioning cubes” por ejemplo en lugar de “conditioning mix”. • Usá aceites como fuente de energía en lugar de cereales. Proveen 2 ? veces mas calorías que el peso equivalente en cereal. • Asegurate de dar una dieta balanceada en relación con el nivel de actividad y de seguir las cantidades recomendadas por el fabricante para evitar la desnutrición. • Considerá agregar “balanceadores” a una dieta a base de cubos o mix para asegurarte que reciban todos los nutrientes. • Usá sales minerales cuando transpiren y el trabajo sea fuerte. • Nunca restrinjas la cantidad de agua. Permitiles acceso libre en todo momento, aún antes y después de jugar. • Ofreceles forraje en abundancia. F

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The knowledge Travel – Flying H Ranch, Wyoming

WHERE THE LOCALS CHASE COWS AS WELL AS BALLS Lindsay Warner discovers why leading US and overseas players have fallen in love with Coca-Cola magnate Skey Johnston’s pristine polo ranch in Wyoming, where the British introduced the game in the 1890s

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With four newly constructed barns capable of housing 128 horses, paddocks, two practice fields and four tournament fields, the Flying H attracts players looking for high-quality polo facilities in the midst of a small and welcoming community. The fields, now coming into their sixth season, were receiving rave reviews last year, thanks to a sand pit Johnston had constructed on the property. It's a polo player's

Skey, his wife Gil and their late son Skeeter were first attracted to north-eastern Wyoming by the beautiful countryside and its potential for polo breeding dream to have a limitless supply of sand to keep a field in tip-top shape – and the weather doesn't hurt either, as the club posted five years of polo without a single cancellation due to rain. That's not a bad record. But while the facilities, fields and picturesque backdrop have all contributed in attracting top players from around the world to play high-goal at Flying H, its real draw is its community of locals. “Welcome to Big Horn, population 217,” reads a signpost at the edge of town, which consists of a mercantile serving a superb lunch, a bed & breakfast, the Bozeman Trail Museum and the Bradford Brinton Memorial and Museum, dedicated to fine western art. Founded in 1881 to serve travellers en route to the

Montana goldfields, the late 19th-century wooden buildings still give the town the air of an old western town. The Last Chance Bar – fondly spoken of by its oldest and most loyal patrons – further contributes to the feeling of being lost in time, but still throws open its doors to outsiders. The same could be said for Big Horn locals. Skey Johnston himself – a former chief executive of Coca-Cola Industries – was regarded warily when he first settled on the ranch, but now is just as much a local as the Wallops, the Montcreiffes and the Walshes, whose British émigré ancestors were credited with bringing polo to Big Horn in the 1890s. Having implemented new land preservation measures and started a polo club, these days Johnston is likely to be found pottering around the ranch with his dog at his heels, checking everything is running smoothly for his visitors. He seems to like nothing better than inviting friends new and old in for 8am breakfast, when ranch conditions, polo schedules and horse breeding is discussed with gusto over eggs and coffee. His hospitality is mirrored in the local community. Too often, a seasonal influx of polo players is seen as an annoyance to be tolerated by locals during summer. In Big Horn, however, the polo community never leaves – it just grows bigger from June to August, when visiting players at the Flying H join the locally based teams already practising at the Big Horn Polo Club next door. Established in the 1980s, the Big Horn Polo Club has long served the needs of the local X polo community with plentiful polo and an

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All photographs by Lindsay Warner

ugged mountains tower above the playing fields in Big Horn, Wyoming, where polo players wear cowboy hats and the prescription for making a good polo pony includes careful breeding, hearty range grasses, and plenty of cattle work. Cattle work? According to Martin MacCarty, ranch manager at the Flying H Ranch in Big Horn, chasing cows is one of the best ways to season a green horse or to keep a playing pony fit and agile. Green-horse chukkas on the practice field prove him right – as do a few mornings spent moving cows with MacCarty from the highlands to lower fields. Sure-footed and nimble, Flying H's green horses practically skip down hills while flushing cattle out of the woods, which must be good practice for full-speed galloping on the flat. But it's also easy to see that they love it. The same could be said for the human inhabitants at the Flying H, as the sunny skies and western lifestyle seem to agree favourably with the patrons and high-goal players who make the 2,800-acre working ranch their destination for summer polo. Originally attracted to northeastern Wyoming by the beautiful countryside and its potential to be used as a polo breeding centre, Skey Johnston, his wife Gil and their late son Skeeter bought the ranch in 1985. In 2005 they opened the Flying H Polo Club, which has drawn top American players such as Owen Rinehart, Tommy Biddle and Steve Dalton, and foreign-born players such as Miguel Novillo Astrada, Julio Arellano and Hector Galindo.

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The knowledge Travel – Flying H Ranch, Wyoming

Flying H essentials Playing polo: The main season runs from July to August; tournaments are hosted every week for 10- to 18-goal polo. Two-person patron/professional teams must be a minimum of five goals or a maximum of seven. £670 per week for each patron/pro combination. Stabling £250 per month per horse. Other activities: Hiking in the Big Horn mountains, golf, tennis, sport shooting, Sheridan WYO Rodeo July 9-18, 2010. Other activities include a visit to Eatons' Ranch, a 7,000-acre dude ranch considered the first guest ranch in America (www.eatonsranch.com) and guided fishing trips offered by Paul Wallop at the Canyon Ranch Guide Shack in Big Horn (www.theguideshack.com). Wallop, whose great-grandfather was one of Big Horn's original polo-playing pioneers, offers customised exploratory fishing trips from June to September, and guided driven shoots and turkey hunts from October to March. Ring +1 307 674 6239 or pabs@canyonranchbighorn.com Contact: Flying H Polo Club, PO Box 247, Big Horn, WY 82833 USA. Polo manager Jimmy Newman: +1 877 674 9448/+1 307 6749447; info@flyinghpolo.com Getting there: United Airlines flies from London to Sheridan, WY from £468 Accommodation: Stay at The Powder Horn (161 Highway 335, Sheridan, Wyoming 82801), a world-class golf community with a 27-hole golf course, pool, tennis courts, fitness cent43 and trout fishing. Seasonal rentals available; contact Judy Ford at +1 307 674-9545 or +1 800 329-0598

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Flying H has four match and two practice grounds. There’s a limitless supply of sand to keep the surface in top condition, and in five years rain has not once stopped play. Below: Gillian Johnston with her youngsters

X active social calendar. “The two clubs do

everything together,” said Jimmy Newman, polo manager at the Flying H (and, during the Florida season, at International Polo Club Palm Beach). “Big Horn plays Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; Flying H plays Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. We have high-goal, they have everything else; they have a clubhouse, we don't, so we share. We're certainly not competing against one another.” Some players are members at both clubs, promoting good relationships between them – and more importantly, providing the opportunity to play six days a week. And not only does a local polo community ensure good relations between resident and travelling players, but it also ensures a year-round boost to the local economy and infrastructure. The Johnstons have had another very tangible effect on the horse community in Big Horn, as Johnston's dream of creating a successful polo breeding centre has been realised by his daughter, Gillian. From a modest beginning starting with Skey's retired polo string, Gillian has built up the breeding programme to include embryo transfers and

multiple studs to get the shorter, stockier horses she prefers. Sitting on a fence looking into the yearling paddock, Gillian – a one-goaler and highly competitive player in her own right – rattles off the names and breeding of all 20 horses crowding around her, then points to a group of broodmares two fields over and proceeds to do the same. Gillian's first crop of homebred embryo transfer youngsters will be ready to start playing soon. Although advancements in embryo transfer have drastically changed the way breeding programmes are conducted in Big Horn, Gillian is continuing a horsebreeding legacy that traces back to the US Cavalry’s admiration of the tough horses ridden by the Plains Indians in the 1700. She’s also poised to start making it even harder for US-based players to justify going anyplace else for the summer. While the Santa Barbara Polo Club might have more players and the Bridgehampton Polo Club might have a trendier location, Big Horn still holds its own in the realm of summer polo. After all, not many clubs can boast of horses that will chase cows just as quickly as they will chase polo balls. F


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The knowledge Travel Travel news in brief ◗ TWO ENGLISH PROS with longstanding

Australian connections have joined forces this winter to launch a polo venture on Victoria’s surf coast, near Melbourne. Sam Gairdner (4) and Corin Gibbs (3) have pioneered Surf Coast Polo, offering daily tuition and competitive polo as well as access to some of the world’s most infamous surf. Gairdner (pictured) and Gibbs run neighbouring farms overlooking the Great Ocean Road, 70 minutes from Melbourne, and what started as a way to keep up relationships with English patrons has now expanded to laidback beach-to-polo holidays for international players and gap year students. Guests to Surf Coast Polo currently play on two stick-and-ball fields, with a full-size ground due to be seeded this year. They also play competitive polo three times a week at Melbourne’s Werribee Park polo complex, currently competing in fixtures and tournaments as high as 12-goal level. Between them, the duo have 83 ponies available for guests of all standards, thanks in part to Gairdner’s long association with the game in the area, having managed the Victorian Polo School for seven years. They also hope to improve their horse lists now that the recently introduced tax on Argentine transport promises to increase trade with Australia. “Flying ponies to and from here is now only about £500 more expensive,” explained Corin’s wife, Amber. “And the polo in Australia is great. The season constantly moves around, so this season we have had players from Perth and Sydney stay with us. We’ve also had visitors from Singapore and Dubai.” Find out how you can stay there too, at www.surfcoastpolo.com ◗ AS POLO TIMES WENT to press, the Swiss

alpine resort of St Moritz was gearing up for a new glitzy event on its already impressive winter calendar. The snow polo capital of the world was preparing to host the inaugural St Moritz Award ceremony on Saturday 27 March, an event to honour international celebrities who use the privileges they enjoy through their personal fame for the good of others. Focusing particularly on those whose work makes an outstanding contribution in the area of charity and humanitarian aid, the 2010 award will be presented to Mrs Kerry Kennedy and the AC Milan Foundation. Held at the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, a popular base for the polo crowd during the annual St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow each January, guests are expected to include former Italian World Cup winning football captain and sometime model, Paolo Maldini (pictured), who played for AC Milan until last year. 66 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

My travels with John Bunn

President of the All England Polo Club, Hickstead What travel plans do you have in the pipeline? I’ve just returned from an Asian tour, where I played in an all-British 15-goal team in Mumbai, India, with Jack Kidd, Jamie Morrison and Henry Brett on 20 March. Next we’re off to Barbados for 12 days of polo this spring, playing as a Hickstead team. Jack and I will form a touring side with either Timmy Bown or Jamie Morrison and a patron for the fourth year in succession. I normally go to Barbados twice a year, either side of the main business of the season at Hickstead, but one trip is usually just for a holiday. When I’m there, as I was last in November, I stay with Jack at his family home, Holders House – his father is my godfather. Barbados feels like home as soon as I arrive and it’s a fantastic place to relax.

active. I can't sit around and do nothing. Probably my favourite trip was when I made use of my private pilot’s licence and flew around the United States, stopping at places I liked the look of – such as the golf course at Scottsdale in Phoenix – and moving on as I wanted. I used to enjoy doing the dangerous landing at the altiport in Courchevel too, but I don't fly fixed wing anymore, just helicopters. I don’t fly so much these days but one thing I’d love to do when I get out to Argentina is rent a helicopter and fly to matches. It would really open up the possibilities out there! Ever been in holiday hell? Argentina is my holiday hell actually – every time I book to go, I break something! In 2007 I broke my shoulder in a nasty fall before I was due to go, and then at the end of 2008 I broke my leg in the first chukka of the winter season. I will make it there one day – it'll just have to be a last-minute thing. Other than that, the only other place that has seemed pretty hellish is Torremolinos. That had more to do with what went on at my friend's stag do than the place itself – but that’s all I’ll say about it!

Where did you go last year? I went to Klosters in Switzerland because of my involvement there with the snow polo, and I love to ski. A long time ago I was a ski instructor in Courchevel for a season, when I was fortunate enough to regularly hit the slopes with ski legend Glen Plake, who has been in loads of ski films doing crazy stunts. He took Skiing is one of John’s passions; in former days he me down some really What are the travel worked as an instructor in the French Alps extreme runs and essentials that go turned me into in your suitcase? something of an off-piste demon. These days, Books. It's the only time I get to read. On though, I’m much more careful and the extreme holiday I read three books before speaking stuff is a no-no. to anybody. Hopefully I’ll have time to read I didn’t play in Klosters this January but went Dan Brown’s latest when I’m in Barbados. as a supporter. Sadly, the British side that I had I’ve had it a while but not had any free time. to pull out of got beaten but the weekend was I love all thrillers so Wilbur Smith is a still great fun. I had been hoping to make it out favourite too. to South Africa at the end of last year but my My holiday listening ranges from music by travel plans took a bit of a back seat when my Lily Allen to Dire Straits, and even to James father died. However, I’m desperate to get over Blunt – oh God, don't print that – I mean there soon, or to go to Thailand. James Morrison. When I’m in holiday mode I crave Thai food. I also love good wine. And Which has been your most enjoyable vodka. But preferably not together. non-polo trip? My favourite holiday is one where I can be really ◗ Interview by Carlie Trotter


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The knowledge Property

Agents recommend presenting facilities in pristine condition – as have the owners of this equestrian estate, South Lodge, 15 miles from Leadenham Polo Club (Strutt & Parker, £2.7m)

Why won’t my polo pad sell? Poached paddocks, potholed drives, scruffy mobile homes and anxious owners on site are no-nos if you want to shift your property swiftly, finds Caroline Stern here are currently more people seeking established polo properties than properties available,” declares Robert Fanshawe of Knight Frank’s equestrian department. So why won’t yours sell? The gospel according to the experts is as follows: a saleable polo property needs the right attributes, improved wherever possible, correct marketing and beautiful presentation. “There’s no question that proximity to polo clubs, motorways and London make a property valuable, but even high-goal patrons can’t move motorways, although I’m sure some are certain they can!” says Fanshawe. “Over-riding factors are good polo grounds and grazing, not too wet and room to over-winter horses. Soil, topography and buildings can be improved, but planning consent is always an issue.” Use a good agent: “To expand the circle of potential buyers, limit time wasters and achieve the best price. In polo, agents are scorned as people think they can trade property like they trade horses. But in the last four months, we’ve sold two polo properties and have another two under offer, for a combined price of £15m-plus.” Seller beware? “Don’t be there [at viewings]

‘T

or show that you are desperate! Show measured indifference. Reiterate that the property is only available at the set price,” Fanshawe advises. Presentation? “A property in good order with gates hanging up, weeds removed, fencing repaired, dry ground, drive without hundreds of potholes, will appeal. First impressions count – a couple of tonnes of new gravel does wonders for tired surfaces at this time of year!”

Polo buyers want properties ‘oven-ready’, and are prepared to pay more for it” – William Duckworth-Chad, Savills William Duckworth-Chad of Savills concurs. “There is a dearth of polo properties at the moment. Polo buyers want them ‘oven-ready’ and perfect, not a project – but are prepared to pay more for something that’s ready to go.” He advocates: “Keep everything manicured and maintained for a good first impression – great-looking property sells swiftly. The yard should be working, with horses and people around. Photography should include action shots and uncluttered rooms. Use the right agent – many polo buyers are foreign and bigger agents

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 mark.charter@bllaw.co.uk; or write to Mark Charter, Partner, Real Estate, Blake Lapthorn, New Kings Court, Tollgate, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 3LG

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have bigger and more international networks than local or specialist equestrian agencies.” Strutt & Parker’s James Laing has a different emphasis: “If you are thinking of selling, first spend six months regularising your property planning-wise or a buyer will take advantage and get it off you more cheaply. Remove the illegal accommodation most polo yards have! A scruffy mobile home parked behind a smart

pavilion detracts value – add value instead, by actively getting planning consents for permanent staff accommodation.” Laing adds: “Don’t winter horses on property you want to sell in spring – fields where horses have wintered look disgraceful. Keep paddocks around your polo yard for summer only. Always tarmac the lorry area, gravel just gets pushed aside by big boxes. Another obvious thing to do is splash some white paint around – when your grooms turn up in March, get them to do it before the horses come in!” F


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The knowledge Motoring special – what to drive

Ever fancied an estate in the country, without having to take a 100-year lease? James Wildman and James Mullan put three prime examples to the test PICKING THE RIGHT MOTOR for polo isn’t as easy at it sounds. The modern-day player is typically as much a family man as he is a saddle-stained heart-throb. And it’s not just guys. Both men and women today regularly balance their lives in the saddle with the demands of busy, high-flying careers and active social and family lives. They yearn for vehicles with

Photographs by James Wildman and James Mullan

The Audi A4 Avant: a great combination of power and class

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flair, style and horsepower, yet with enough room to get a stick bag in the boot and their kids and mates in the back. So, in the first of our glossy motoring features, we examine three estate options that are designed to offer space and practicality as well as class, comfort and an enjoyable driving experience. Read on to find out how they fared…


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Audi A4 Avant If there was ever an estate car built with polo in mind, I truly believe this is it. There, I said it. It’s sensational, and I thought it was best to get that off my chest right away. The example I drove is the top-of-therange Audi A4 S-Line and, with its three-litre, six-cylinder diesel engine (complete with auto tip-tronic gearbox) its power matches its understated class and fantastic practicality. It’s a polo player’s dream. But, of course, you knew that already. Audi is one of the England team’s biggest ongoing sponsors, and the four-wheel drive estate model in grey – in one form or another – is a familiar sight at clubs up and down the country, so there’s probably little danger you haven’t spotted one. The fit and finish are faultless, there is plenty of room for the whole family or indeed five adults, with a few pieces of luggage or some polo paraphernalia. My test car, laden with my wife Jo, our two young children and assorted pushchairs and belongings, had no problem negotiating sodden and bumpy tracks and grass last

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summer en route to various polo fixtures. The traction feels superb, and if the boot is chockablock with gear, dogs or relatives, you can still see what you are doing when you reverse, thanks to a useful parking camera. That additional view, combined with great visibility throughout and parking sensors, means you should have no trouble getting into a tight space at Waitrose. And I know that will be a great relief.

an excellent sat-nav, Ipod connection and bluetooth telephone system, all of which are designed to work together seamlessly.

Could do better… The styling no longer turns heads, especially as there are so many of these around, particularly at polo. But they’re handsome enough, and there’s a good reason they are so generic, so perhaps you’re on safe, if not uncharted, territory.

Full marks for… For a diesel, it’s fast – very fast. It delivers power without any apparent effort, yet maintains a combined fuel consumption of 39 mpg. The auto gearbox with paddle shifters on the steering wheel is fun, although after the first half-hour I relaxed back into automatic mode. The huge sunroof is a must, and well worth the additional £1,100, as is the integrated communications system. At £2,000, it includes

Ideal for… The most desirable car of this selection and, while not a young man’s or “boy-racer” drive, it’s still a really sporty one. This is probably the most appealing option for someone who likes a fast drive but is starting to value reliability. I’ll be passing my recommendations on to Glen Gilmore and Andrew Hine.

The damage On-the-road prices start from £22,500 (though they go up quickly – this model was £36,830). JW X

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The knowledge Motoring special – what to drive

Style and substance: the retro steering wheel of the Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon

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Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon X I have to admit I wasn’t expecting a great deal

when I was asked to review a diesel Alfa Romeo estate. It hardly sounded like the racey twoseater Alfas used in films such as The Day of the Jackal, and tales of Alfa’s quirkiness and reliability issues are legendary. However, these days, now I have a young family in tow, such things are less appealing, especially without the sex appeal of a soft-top to numb the pain. In the event, after a week with the 159 Sportwagon I was converted. It has all the flair of the historic mark and none – well, not many – of the traditional problems. It’s wonderful to look at, and in red I found it capable of setting the heart racing just standing still. The interior is typically Italian, with leather sports seats and stylish individual dials rather than a panel (although sunlight rendered these almost unreadable at times; see “Could do better”). The big illuminated starter button is the first thing you see as you sit behind the retro-style steering wheel, which is

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pleasingly classical compared with the chunky design that most manufacturers use to accommodate their airbags. Weaving along sweeping Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire roads en route to Beaufort Polo Club, I had to remind myself I was really at the wheel of a front-wheel drive diesel. It’s great fun to pilot, and sounds and feels like the sports cars I’m used to rather than an estate. The interior noise resonates more like the flat six of a Porsche than an oil-burner. On arrival, the Alfa certainly turns heads, though polo folk will be disappointed to learn that neither the front nor the back of the car offers much of a comfortable perch from which to watch the action. However, the boot fits in a surprising amount of polo and family garb, despite being the smallest in this test.

And surprisingly, there are still very few of these about – you won’t see dozens of others at polo.

Could do better… Considering Alfa’s history the fit and finish are excellent, but some details didn’t quite pass muster. Two items of trim broke during the week I had the car and more annoyingly, the reflections on the beautiful dials meant that for most of the time I no idea how fast I was driving. My five-year-old daughter also thought there should be more than just one cup-holder.

Ideal for… This is an entry-level estate car but it doesn’t look or drive like one. It’s very sporty and would suit a young player or a player who has recently started a family. I’d suggest Lucy Taylor or Nacho Gonzalez take a test-drive.

Full marks for… It’s stunning appearance. It’s exciting every time you get into it, despite the lack of gadgets and gizmos. It doesn’t matter – you’re driving an Alfa and that makes you cool, even when it’s a estate.

The damage On-the-road prices start from £21,095 (the model we drove was the 2.4 JTD at £25,495). JW X

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The knowledge Motoring special – what to drive X

Mercedes C180 CGI When it comes to answering the middle-aged man’s favourite question – “what do you drive?” – the Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder 1.8-litre C180 CGI Blue Efficiency Estate Sport is certainly a mouthful that will startle your inquisitor. And that is even before you mention the “iridium silver metallic paint with black Liverpool fabric and artico interior”. However, having spent a week with this rather convoluted new friend, I can report that its name is probably its most remarkable feature. In every other respect, it is just another ruthlessly efficient Merc. Well engineered, comfortable and stylish, sure, but unlikely to send waves of excitement coursing through the driver or his passengers, or to turn heads in envy. The Sport version has plenty of gas, and there’s tangible power when you flip the tiptronic paddle gearbox down and put your foot to the floor. It drives smoothly and feels like an expensive motor. For me, though, the features that make this car most alluring can be enjoyed

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when the car is entirely stationary. Its heated bucket seats are about the closest I’ve felt to being wrapped up in the womb since July 1983, and the self-closing boot is the ultimate in lazily enjoyable technology. The wing mirrors fold in and out automatically when you lock and unlock the car, and the automatic lights and wipers can be confidently left entirely to their own devices. At polo, both boot and bonnet offer an excellent, sturdy perch from which to watch on the sidelines. It drives with sure-footed assurance on grass and feels marginally more spacious and family-friendly than its rivals in this article – the decent-sized boot could certainly accommodate an overflowing picnic hamper, as well as the usual sackloads of polo equipment.

Full marks for… It’s comfortable, and quick for its smallish engine, with responsive steering and a good satisfying prowl. It also has excellent visibility all the way round, which – combined with parking sensors at the rear and front corners of the car – makes it child’s play to park, despite its reasonable bulk.

Could do better… It lacks flair, which means the novelty of owning it would wear off almost the moment you left the garage – well, once you’ve worked out how to use the on-board computer, that is. The sat-nav that comes as part of this dashboard computer console is frustratingly uninspiring, too. I’d still rather plug in my TomTom. But it’s a sensible car. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel and that is what will appeal to many people – particularly, I suspect, seasoned Mercedes owners.

Ideal for… This is the most grown-up car of the trio. As such, it’s an appealing option for the more seasoned player – or perhaps a responsible behind-the-scenes man. I’ll be lending my keys to Buff Crisp and Charlie Stistead.

The damage On-the-road prices start from £29,110 (though the extras on the model we drove would make it closer to £32,500). JM X


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Spacious and familyfriendly: the Mercedes C180 CGI Blue Efficiency Estate Sport

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The knowledge Motoring special – what do you drive?

We asked you to tell us the stories behind your beloved motors, and we had replies from as far afield as New Zealand. Here are four of our favourites – complete with tips from vintage vehicle maintenance specialist Anthony Gannon about each model The Landy and the MX5 – Adrian Smith ADRIAN SMITH FIRST watched polo at Klosters in 2005, and then at Aspen. Now a happy summer regular at Edinburgh, his aim is to get to –1 this year. So why Polo Dux? Adrian explains: “The Reigning Dux were formed in 2009 from three new players out of Stewarton Polo Club: Sarah Pritchard, Paul Bryan and me – coached by Karina Bowlby. We’re all entrepreneurs, and we’re training for a full 2010 season in Scotland and the north.” Adrian’s summer car is a blue Mazda MX5 and his winter car a Land Rover Freelander 2. “I bought my Mazda in 2008 as a treat after graduating with my Masters from the University of Edinburgh: it was fun being a student at 45 and I made a better job of it than at 19. It’s really a 1960s MGB underneath, an inline four-cylinder, through a propshaft and rear-wheel drive, but it’s better balanced, totally reliable and much faster. It’s the ultimate retro drive in the raw.” And the Landy? “My Land Rover is a trip back in time to the millennium when I had my first, a fantastic surprise gift from two friends. When Land Rover made a version that does nearly 50 to the gallon, I wanted one. It’s a romantic choice: I spent childhood holidays in the back of a green safari 12-seater. For me, Land Rover equals holiday.” Happiest memory from last summer? “Pulling up at the Edinburgh club on the Gannon says: Dalmahoy Estate in the MX5 with the “Car critics love the roof down (to fit my polo sticks in), to MX5 for its handling, and I play midweek chukkas in the believe it’s the highest-selling sunshine.” convertible. Build quality is He adds: “With animals, games good, and on fine summer days it provides cheap, reliable fun. and cars, and most of all with polo, When it’s put away for winter, it’s about emotion. You never meet the fabric hood should be people who are indifferent about polo conditioned to keep – only obsessed. Polo has made me fit, it supple.” given my competitive nature a release and put me in the way of some wonderful, talented and highly motivated team-mates I’m delighted to have as friends.”

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The racey rarity – Benjamin de Rivaz POLO AND MOTORING run in the family for investment manager Benjamin de Rivaz (0). His grandfather, Ken, played at Woolmers Park from 1953 and his father, Paul, began in 1966, playing at one time with his brother, sister and father. He captained the Cambridge team in which Prince Charles played in 1969. After a 20-year break Paul now plays with Ben and his brother Nick at Ham. Ben took up polo at university and captains the Honourable Artillery Co team. And their wheels? It’s like father, like son. Ben drives a 1971 Trident Venturer with a Ford 3l V6 engine (above). Some 100 were made in Ipswich based on a design by Trevor Fiore, commissioned by TVR. Paul has a 1970 model with a 3.1l Ford Rallysport engine, built for the 1970 World Cup (football) rally to Mexico. Says Ben: “The car was entered by the 17th/21st Lancers and driven by Capts Marriott and Dill. It bore the livery of footballers on a Gannon says: green background, but just “Well, we all know what beforehand worries that green gin does to your stomach… was unlucky meant these it wouldn’t be great as a screen wash! The Trident is reliable and areas were painted white. easy to maintain, with the The car was one of many workings very accessible, even that failed to reach Mexico, if parts are harder to come by though legend has it that now. To safeguard these resourceful officers filled the cars’ value, look after windscreen washer containers them well!” with duty-free gin!” In rally circles, Paul’s car is known as “The flying Picasso”.


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The Clarkin Caddy – Chele Clarkin NEW ZEALAND PLAYERS and visitors may recognise this fabulous 1980 Cadillac Seville – a longstanding member of the Clarkin family. Here’s the story, from Chele Clarkin, mother of John-Paul and wife of the late Paul Clarkin. “Paul and I worked for the Sultan of Oman and when we left we were given farewell gifts. The Cadillac was one! On our return to NZ it was a bit of an eyesore to the locals but our only mode of transport for years and we had fun times. Once, we removed the back seat to take the children’s pets to pet day at school – a calf, a goat and a pony! “At the opening of our new property, Mystery Creek Polo, Jeff McVean (friend, neighbour and Olympic show jumper) jumped Paul’s horse Sir Goofy over the car. This was Paul’s idea as he thought we needed ‘something’ to entertain the crowd between games. Paul practised with Goofy and Jeff just drove in, jumped on and Gannon says: jumped the car. Matt (our “These cars last well in youngest son) drove the car and was all sorts of environments – still sitting in it when Jeff jumped it. and the suspension is forgiving: “The NZ team did a drive-by before fine for the farm. They were very the test match against Argentina last advanced for their time, with year, and the car also played its part at air-con etc, but it’s hard to keep dust from the switches – it’s Paul’s NZ farewell (top). John-Paul has like a spaceship inside! now inherited the car (and its expenses). Most were in beige It’s a little spooky seeing him drive it (as or pastels” he looks and behaves a lot like his father at times), but there’s plenty of fun in the old girl yet!”

The rosy rocket – Marc-Elie Bernard MARC-ELIE BERNARD, who took up polo three years ago, plays at Chantilly, Morsang and Polo Club de Plaisance, as well as occasionally abroad – such as Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic and Estancia Don Manuel in Canuelas. So why is a 1986 Ferrari 328 Marc-Elie’s vehicle of choice? “It's both a classic car, yet not an antique, and modern; one of the last Ferrari models before the era when they Gannon says: started getting mixed with show-off “The 80s was an iconic cars,” he says. “It's an identifiable era for Ferrari, when you style, ‘dated’, and, although not the saw them on posters but rarely exact model, linked to the Magnum, in reality. Though build quality PI series (Magnum drives a 308). was quite poor, paint thin and “In France, where ‘flashy’ cars are easy to damage and electrics unreliable, the engine note often frowned upon, the 328 gets is distinctive: you amicable rather than envious stares or know you’re in comments. And it's also a way, upon a Ferrari!” arriving on the polo field, to start playing with the opponents' nerves by raising the stakes... “I bought it in 2004, when I could finally afford to turn a childhood dream into a reality. In all honesty, it's a big toy – and you should see the smile on my face when I turn the ignition on!” F ◗ Contact Anthony Gannon for help with your motor on 07775 770672

or via his dedicated detaling website, at www.detailstudio.co.uk

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The knowledge Film review – The Polo Kid

Santiago Torres, the subject of the docu-style film, in action recently and a few years ago (right)

A life less extraordinary Beyond the misleading hype, there’s merit and poignancy in a documentary about a US teenage player, says Herbert Spencer he online advertising and packaging for The Polo Kid makes it look like a typical Hollywood DVD for home entertainment, complete with extensive production credits, self-praise and stars in the graphics. As it turns out, the main thing this disc has in common with mainstream movie DVDs is the hype surrounding it, some of which is misleading, if not downright inaccurate. The “world’s first feature-length film about polo” trumpeted Horse & Hound in its reviews section. When I challenged this, my contact there said this claim came from the director of The Polo Kid. Well, they’re both wrong – by more than half a century. In 1952, polo-playing Walt Disney’s studios released a full-length feature film, Stormy the Thoroughbred, about an underrated ex-racehorse that became a champion polo pony. What’s more, in 1925, Hollywood produced a comedy entitled The Polo Kid. So shouldn’t this touted DVD be called The Polo Kid II? Then there’s the producer’s claim that the subject of this DVD, Santiago Torres, is “a 13year-old boy from an ordinary background” who “became a polo star”. Hardly an “ordinary background”, but rather that of a California

Photographs by Lynn Bremner

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family making a living from polo. Santi’s father Miguel was a seasoned Argentine pro, married to a one-goal American lady player, Kellie, and Miguel Jr, Santi’s brother, is a four-goal pro. I met Santi back in 2005 when, as an 11year-old schoolboy, handicap 0, he substituted for an injured patron in the USPA Gold Cup in

Santi has played highgoal professionally, but a four-goaler of any age, however talented, can hardly be called a ‘star’ Aiken and became the youngest player ever to compete in a 26-goal tournament. He already rode like a pro and since then has played highgoal polo professionally for teams in New York and Florida, now matching brother Miguel’s four-goal handicap. But a four-goaler of any age, however talented, can hardly be called a “polo star”. All the hype aside, The Polo Kid is not without merit, following Santi from the US to Mexico and Argentina with some appealing

footage, and interviews with such big names as Adolfo Cambiaso and Mariano Aguerre. The best bits are when the camera focuses on the youngster, showing him as a rather uncommunicative teenager trying the patience of the USA team coach, Roberto Gonzalez Gracida. There are also poignant scenes of Santi’s obviously ill father following his son’s progress from the sidelines; Miguel Sr died of cancer during the filming. Overall, perhaps, the production values of The Polo Kid fall short of what we have come to expect from the best of polo videos. But it is worthy of being a part of any polo enthusiast’s visual library. F

PT RATING: ★★★ ◗ The Polo Kid (Little

Star Films, running time approx 62min), is available to buy online at www.polokid.com. It is filmed, produced, written and directed by Nathaniel McCullagh.


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The knowledge Eating out – PJ’s Bar and Grill, London

A reason to linger in Chelsea As PJ’s Bar and Grill turns 20, Georgie May books a table for lunch, and finds that Brian Stein’s culinary Chelsea institution, its walls decorated with polo memorabilia, provides a sociable and relaxing spot for an honest, tasty meal itting quietly on London’s Fulham Road, a stroll from South Kensington underground, PJ’s Bar and Grill occupies a prime location. This is the flagship enterprise of Brian Stein, a former playing patron, and it is where his love of polo meets his passion for food and entertaining. PJ’s, which turns 20 this year, is just one of Stein’s roll-call of London businesses, which include the nightclub Sticky Fingers and the restaurant group Maxwell’s, which made his name as a restaurateur. But it is only at PJ’s where Stein’s favourite game is in evidence, starting with the name – turn to page 5 for a thorough explanation! On crossing the threshold, my eye is drawn not to polo paraphernalia but to a huge smooth wooden propeller from a WWI bomber, which hangs high above the bar of the two-storey, galleried space, making itself useful as a fan. The walls, however, are adorned with polo photos, posters and mementos from past times. The atmosphere strikes a balance between formal and relaxed – like some polo clubs. During my visit – a Monday lunchtime – the bar is crowded with regulars. I clock suited gentlemen talking business, fur-clad women catching up over lunch, couples and families, plus medical types from the local Royal Marsden Hospital. There’s even a man in white jeans perched at the bar.

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We sit downstairs by the window in a corner of the horse-shoe shaped restaurant, which seats up to 100 for lunch or dinner (PJ’s also serves brunch at weekends). We enjoy a gin and tonic while examining the menu – unexpectedly a mere laminated sheet, although what is written on it mattered more. Stein knew what he was aiming for when he opened PJ’s, following the success of his first “bar and grill” restaurant, Maxwell’s, which opened in Hampstead in the 1970s. At PJ’s, Londoners can expect good, honest food, from burgers to sea bass. The range includes traditional favourites such as beer-

onion rings and salad. My taglierini of scallops, crab and tiger prawns takes me by surprise with its sharp lemon and chilli taste, and though it’s delicious, I can’t manage the full portion. I notice the table next door, too, has hearty platefuls; Stein has certainly succeeded in creating an up-market restaurant without the one-mouthful portions. Although dessert choices are few, I struggle to decide. I pick strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake, but it has run out. After my wranglings this is disappointing, but we go halves on a chocolate fondant dessert and apple/berry crumble: both are heavenly.

Stein has succeeded in creating an upmarket restaurant without the one-mouthful portions battered fish and chips as well as a tempting selection from the grill. To start I opt for classic moules marinieres while my more adventurous companion chooses tuna tartar with avocado salsa and shredded spring onion, as recommended by our very attentive waiter. The mussels are large, fresh and juicy and the sauce goes down a treat with fresh bread - brought to us as quickly as we devour it. The raw tuna dish, complemented by the salsa, meets with the thumbs-up, too. The wine list is short, making our choice easy: we go for a bottle of French red, chiefly for the benefit of my companion’s 10oz rib-eye steak from the grill, which arrives with chips,

The fact that we linger almost three hours, before rolling out into the hustle and bustle of Chelsea, tells us PJ’s is a spot we will relish returning to. Happily, there’s an opportunity looming: PJ’s Polo Party in May, where polo folk from far and wide gather to catch up over drinks at the start of the summer. F

PT RATING: ★★★★★ ◗ Our three-course meal for two, including

a bottle of red (Cotes du Rhone ‘St Esprit’ Delas Freres), two gin and tonics and coffees, cost £119.08. ◗ PJs Bar and Grill (52, Fulham Road, London,

SW3 6HH; 020 7581 0025; www.pjsbarandgrill. co.uk) is open for lunch and dinner Mon-Fri noon-midnight and for brunch, lunch and dinner on Sat-Sun 10am-midnight.


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The knowledge Dates for the diary

What’s on in April

Club

Principal fixtures at home and abroad UK highlights

Other dates for the diary

Main events Wicklow, Ireland – SUPA Tri-Nations (England, Ireland and Scotland, Open): 1-30 April Wicklow, Ireland – USA (Yale) vs Ireland: 2-4 April Cirencester Park – Ciren 0-40 Goal Tournament (0-40 goal): 24 April-9 May

Overseas USA Palm Beach Polo Club, Florida – US Open Polo Championships (26-goal): 25 March-18 April Grand Champions Polo Club, Florida – Gay Polo League: 1-4 April Argentina Palermo, Buenos Aires – Four Nations Tournament (28-goal): 17-25 April La Aguada, Open Door – La Aguada Polo Club Open (30-goal): 26 April-2 May Australia Windsor Polo Club – Morton Cup (12, 4, 2 and 0-goal): 1-4 April Sydney Polo Club – 6, 2 and 0-goal: 24-25 April Barbados Holders, Waterhall – Ladies Tour (Open): 3-11 April Lion Castle, Clifton – Mexico Tournament (Open): 18-25 April Thailand Thai Polo and Equestrian Club – First Chukka Cup (–2-0 goal): 3-4 April

Doncaster Bloodstock Sales – Lincoln Handicap Sales (horses in and out of training): 7 April Tattersalls, Newmarket – Craven Breeze Up Sale (two-year-olds in training): 13-15 April Brightwells, Ascot – Ascot Spring Bloodstock Sale (flat and national hunt in and out of training): 20 April Burley Lodge, Berkshire – Mucho Polo Ponies Ready-to-Play Auction: 25 April Tattersalls, Newmarket – Guineas Breeze Up Sale (two-year-olds in training): 29-30 April

Polo on TV Highlights on Horse & Country TV (Sky 280) 1 April, 7pm – Cowdray Park Gold Cup, 2009 6 April, 7pm – Coronation Cup, Guards, 2009 7 April, 7pm – Sotogrande Gold Cup, 2009 8 April, 7pm – Tortugas semi-finals (Arg), 2009 13 April, 7pm – Beach polo, Sandbanks, 2009 14 April, 7pm – Tortugas final (Arg), 2009 15 April, 7pm – Polo in the Park, London, 2009 20 April, 7pm – Westchester Cup (Florida), 2009 21 April, 7pm – CV Whitney (Florida), 2009 22 April, 7pm – Polo Masters, Hurtwood, 2009 28 April, 7pm – Queen’s Cup, Guards, 2009 29 April, 7pm – Cowdray Park Gold Cup, 2009

Correction In our March issue, Polo Times incorrectly stated the details of the Patey polo helmet, featured in “nine of the best polo helmets” on page 80. Patey polo helmets are not PAS015 approved and cost £190 (£220 for leather). The cost is the same for made-to-measure. To find out more, visit www.pateyhats.com or call 01285 841250.

Low 8 Goal Beaufort The Badminton Cup

28 April-9 May

Low 4 Goal Kirtlington The May Cup Druids Lodge Spring Cup

27 April-3 May 24-25 April

Vale of York Prestige Plate Tidworth Rabbit Cup Kirtlington Spring Tournament Vale of York Crown Hotel Mid Week

24-25 April 24-25 April 27 April-3 May 28 April

Combined Services

Low 2 Goal Kirtlington The Chukka Cup Tidworth Rabbit Cup 24-25 April

20-25 April

Tidworth Adm Kumar Cup

Low Below 0 Goal

Cirencester Cirencester 0-40

Vale of York Selby Game Fair Challenge

24 April

Open 24 April-9 May

2-5 April

Arena end of season handicap changes The following changes were agreed at the HPA meeting on Friday 12 March 2010. They are effective from 1 May 2010

Moving to seven Le Hardy, Jamie: 8 to 7 Ormerod, Eden: 6 to 7 Moving to six Pemble, Ryan: (6) to 6 Smith, Howard: (6) to 6 Webb, Peter: (6) to 6 Moving to four Muriel, Danny: (4) to 4 Moving to three Beitner, Nick: 2 to 3 Richardson, Jack: (2) to 3

Wooldridge, Charlie: (2) to 3 Moving to two Al Habtoor, Tariq: (1) to 2 Cooper, James: 1 to 2 Duff, Thady: 1 to 2 Spicer, Robin: (1) to 2 Moving to one: Beitner, Mandie: 0 to 1 Boers, Emma Jayne: 0 to 1 Chebotarev, Dimitri: 0 to 1 Courage, Edward: 0 to 1 Edmondson, Toby: 0 to 1

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Field, Lucy: 0 to 1 Ford, Malcolm: 0 to 1 Holmes, Emma: 0 to 1 Hudson, James: 0 to 1 Hutchinson, Jessica: 0 to 1 Igoe, Paul: 0 to 1 Mander, Lucia: 0 to 1 McRae, Justin: 0 to 1 Parry-Jones, Tom: 0 to 1 Pearce-May, Tim: 0 to 1 O’Flaherty, Guillermo: 2 to 1 Riordan, Ben: 0 to 1

Sics, Joel: 0 to 1 Sosa, Frederico: (0) to 1 Stacy, Max: 0 to 1 Sweeney, Georgia: 0 to 1 Umpire grade changes Moving to umpire grade B Allen, Leon: from C to B Moving to umpire grade C Stephenson, James: from n/a to C

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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Out and about Jaeger-LeCoultre Snow Polo Cup, Spain Sierra Nevada, Granada – 13-14 March

Title-sponsors win big in first running of new winter fixture Santa Maria Polo Club, better known for its summer season in August down on the coast in Sotogrande, staged its first ever snow polo tournament in the Sierra Nevada on 13-14 March. “This is all part of our plans to widen the scope of our tournament fixtures so as to give our sponsors more variety,” said Santi Torreguitar, manager of the club. Jack Kidd, playing alongside Richard Fagan and Hernan Pieres for sponsor Jaeger-LeCoultre, comprehensively saw off the challenge of Casablanca in the final, defeating them 9-41/2, while Santa Maria narrowly beat Peninsula 7-6 in the subsidiary final.

Brits abroad: Alan and Fiona Kent with George Meyrick

Despite less than perfect playing conditions, particularly in the fog on the opening day, the tournament welcomed an encouraging number of spectators for the two days of competitive action.

England’s James and Gill Peat

James Peat in full flow

Winners, Jaeger-LeCoultre (l-r): Jack Kidd, Richard Fagan and Hernan Pieres celebrate with the cup after a splendid victory

Photographs by Tony Ramirez

Sheila Roberts

Left: Nikki Vieira Rodrigues enjoys a bottle of bubbly Above: Kendy Fagan

Left: Ana Alvite, events coordinator for Santa Maria Polo Club also celebrated her birthday during the tournament Good-humoured umpire Daniel Boudou 84 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

Above: the dramatic setting of the ground at Sierra Nevada


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Polo Times at the SUPA Universities Champs Hand Equestrian Centre, 18-21 February

A record-breaking weekend The Akuma SUPA Championships took the Hand Equestrian Centre, Bristol, by storm in February, as 344 players earned themselves a place in the Guinness Book of Records as part of the largest arena polo tournament in the world. A massive circus-themed party, run by Bristol University, celebrated this achievement on the Saturday night with some 550 guests. A colourful Polo Times stand also took pride of place over the weekend, manned by those members of the team deemed responsible enough to be allowed out of the office unaccompanied. As well as cheering encouragement, presenting various prizes and drawing a raffle for 24 bottles of La Chamiza wine, one member of the Polo Times staff even got in on the action in the arena itself.

Successful players Jo Jawad, Jill Oxenham and Rebecca Griffiths from Warwick University celebrate with Akuma’s Richard Morrall

With fledgling patron Ed Cotton missing a player delayed in traffic, advertising manager Tom House was plucked from behind our trade stand and stuck straight on the back of a horse. His first competitive chukka was not a successful one, as they lost 3-1 and Cotton took a tumble, but at least House clung on to the end.

Viktor Petersson, Ploy Bhinsaeng, George Shelton, Constantijn Huymen and David Coenca from Regent’s College in London

Charlene Goudkuil from Oxford Brookes won a PT jacket

Charlene Goudkuil presents Tom House from Polo Times with a well-earned trophy after he stepped in to play at short notice

Lycetts SAPA side Howard’s Heroes (l-r): Katie Smith, Charlie Harper, Sarah Johnson, Oliver James

Novice winners, Loughborough (in white, l-r: Ed Bragg, Amy Young, Iain Brougham) with Georgie May and Rebecca Griffiths

Clare Doughty picked up 24 bottles of La Chamiza wine with a tasty victory in the Polo Times raffle

Akuma’s Richard Morrall and Thomas Aldersley flank players from Greenwich, Roy Vet Coll and Imperial, winners in the Combined division www.polotimes.co.uk April 2010 85


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Out and about Cortina Audi Gold Cup, Misurina lake, Italy 21-27 February

From blizzard to blazing sun The 21st birthday of the Cortina Winter Polo Audi Gold Cup welcomed five four-man teams to the frozen Misurina Lake in the picturesque Dolomite mountains. There they battled it out in every kind of winter weather imaginable during the week-long tournament. Defending champions Audi reached the final once again, and the Saturday was greeted with perfect conditions for the showpiece game of the week. The sunshine and gentle breeze were in stark contrast to severe snowstorms the day before and organisers must have been greatly relieved as they opened their curtains first thing on the morning of finals day.

Team Hotel de la Poste (Cristian Bernal, Alessandro Pastorini, Lucas Labat and Gonzalo Bernal) trimphantly lift the Gold Cup

However, it wasn’t to be Audi’s perfect day again this year, as Alessandro Pastorini’s Hotel de la Poste team took a narrow victory on the Italian’s home territory, 6-51/2, and seasoned Audi patron Rommy Gianni was denied the chance to lift a second consecutive Gold Cup.

Eight-goal Brazilian, Rico Mansur, could hardly have felt further from home as heavy snow swept in Maria Lia Garraghan and a friend

Tatu Gomez Romero gives chase to Francisco Menendez on a clear, crisp day during the championships

Oscar Carona takes a breather

Photographs by Tony Ramirez

Audi patron Rommy Gianni

Cortina’s organisers Claudio Giorgiutti (left) and Maurizio Zuliani (right) with umpire Federico Martelli

The ponies could hardly wait to get into action on the lake in order to warm up 86 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

Lucas Labat in action

Julius Baer’s female player Alegra Nasi interviewed other players for Lux TV between her own games


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Champagne Pommery Polo Ball in aid of MDIRF, All England Polo Club, Hickstead – 13 March

Chukka Chas and winsome Wiseman celebrate Having been treated to a nail-biting season-finale of the Champagne Pommery Champagne Challenge Series earlier in the day, come the evening of Saturday 13 March, players, spectators and their guests alike were all in the mood to party. For the first time, the All England Polo Club and one of Britain's premier equestrian charities, the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund, joined forces to bring Hickstead's legendary post-polo parties to a wider audience.

Warren Scott and Emily Webb enjoy the evening’s festivities with a pal

Guests enjoyed a Champagne Pommery reception, followed by a sumptuous four-course meal from Hickstead's resident restaurateurs, Brighton's Due South (recently voted Best Seaside Restaurant in Britain), culminating in an entertaining and energetic boogie to local rock'n'roll band In Yer Face. The club's coveted award for the most outstanding contribution to the sport over the winter season was this year awarded to female pro Sarah Wiseman, and local businessman Chas Taylor took home the accolade of 'Chukka Champion' having played more chukkas than any other player. A very successful raffle and auction raised thousands for the MDIRF cause and, with the club having rescheduled Sunday's chukkas on the basis of past experience, the revelry went on late into the night. Charlie and Carolyn Scott

Edward Tomlinson

Sarah and James Booth

Kieran Connelly, Chantelle Bleasdale and Rob Starr Fiona Reilly huddles with David Morley

Photographs by Daisy Honeybunn at Raccoon Event Photography

Vicky Corny and Kate Lowe

Above: Sarah Wiseman and Nicki Cross Left: Harry French, Ben Sim, Alex Grant and Daniel Rawlins

Tony Robinson enjoys a beer with his guests www.polotimes.co.uk April 2010 87


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Out and about Westbury Arena Gold Cup afterparty, 20 February Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club

Champers for the champs, with more booze and babes to boot Arena Gold Cup hero Jamie Morrison picked the ideal weekend to bring a large posse of his friends to the Berkshire. His vivacious entourage witnessed a thrilling finale to the club’s biggest-ever 15goal tournament (see pages 36-37) and then they joined Morrison on the winning Cold Smoke side’s table for generous lashings of Dom Perignon, courtesy of exuberant American patron, Michael Bickford. “It’s so good to come all the way over from the US and get such a brilliant victory,” proclaimed Bickford at the post-match presentations. “You live in London!” quipped a quick-witted member of the crowd.

Julie Thomas, Lou Thomas, Verity Atkins and Sarah Gonzalez

Title sponsors The Westbury hosted 150 selected guests for lunch, and they were joined by a further 150 revellers for the evening entertainment, a lavish afterparty hosted by swanky London club, Amika. Regular Berkshire disco-diva Cat Christie led some eye-popping bopping and despite a remarkable pair of eight-inch heels she was still going strong with many others when the party wound down at 3am.

RCBPC’s events guru Tasha Sandles with Jamie Morrison

Tizzy and James Carr unwind with pals at the Amika-hosted party

David Lewis, non-playing patron for Corona-Roundshaw, who picked up the Silver Cup

Photographs by Gillian Hughes

Cat Christie and Zoe Wiliams

Jamie Le Hardy and winning patron, Michael Bickford 88 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

Cold Smoke celebrate with a group hug

Berkshire’s Louisa Crofton


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Out and about University League finals for the Exeter Cup 12 March, Druids Lodge Polo Club

Friends against friends in speedy, sociable showdown The renovated Druids Lodge arena has been the venue for a university league featuring nine teams from five universities since September. Sides from Exeter, Southampton, Bristol, the University of West of England (UWE) and the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester (RAC) fought it out over seven months of competition, culminating in a sunkissed and sociable finals day last month. Fittingly, it was the two universities with the strongest squads that dominated the two showpiece days, though it was perhaps unfortunate that both Exeter and the RAC faced familiar-looking opponents. Two Exeter sides battled it out for third place in the day’s earlier game, and then it was RAC versus RAC in the final, providing plenty of ammunition for lots of banter and support from friends, families and fellow students on the sidelines.

Above: Two sets of students from the RAC contested the Exeter Cup Below: Players and supporters make the most of the winter sun

A particularly enthusiastic scorer

Nicole Bruins passes verdict

Photographs by James Stephenson

Exeter Cup winners, Nick Johnson, Kieran Markham and Chris Whiteman from the Royal Agricultural College

Fast-paced polo kept photographers on their toes as the game whizzed by

90 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

Above: MVP Chris Whiteman takes a shot at goal Left: Alice Etchells is all smiles after the final


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The US high-goal season so far International Polo Club Palm Beach

Full steam ahead in Florida Florida’s high-goal season was shaping up to be a riveting one as Polo Times went to press this month. Up to 10 teams were in the fray for the three 26-goal tournaments held annually at International Polo Club Palm Beach at Wellington, with past champions Crab Orchard, featuring Adolfo Cambiaso, back this spring after a year of absence in 2009. This team, also fielding patron George Rawlings and the lethal combination of Hilario Ulloa and Julio Arellano, scooped the seasonopener – the CV Whitney Cup – beating the Novillo Astradadominated Valiente side. The USPA Piaget Gold Cup got underway in early March, and the four teams due to play the semi-finals were Crab Orchard; Las Monjitas – featuring three Novillo Astradas; Hawks – with Fred and Julian Mannix, plus Mariano Aguerre and Pancho Bensadon; and Lechuza Caracas – who demonstrated that they had successfully replenished their pony strings after last year’s tragedy by beating Crab Orchard 11-7 in the third round. The USPA Piaget Gold Cup final was scheduled for 21 March.

Gail Scalesse with Brandon and Erica Phillips

For full team lists and results from these tournaments and the US Open (25 March-18 April) visit www.polotimes.co.uk.

Erica Stringer and Andrea Covre Cambiaso marked his return to this year’s Palm Beach 26-goal season with victory in the CV Whitney Cup for Crab Orchard

Nico Roldan (see pages 16-17) and Hollywood actress Amber Valletta

Six-goal model, Nacho Figueras

Kara Wiren, Gleicy Santos, Michael Miarecki, Isabelle Fontes and Craig Pirtle share a drink after a Piaget Gold Cup game

Elisabeth and Adam Munder

Photographs by LILA PHOTO/www.lilaphotos.com

The 26-goal USPA Piaget Gold Cup was as well attended as ever

Kelly Klein, Amber Valletta, Derek Britt and Welsh export, Shamin Abas

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Club information MOTORING

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.

PONIES

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: rob@longdolepolo.com Longdole Polo Club, Birdlip, Gloucestershire, GL4 8LH

You could be advertising your club fixtures here Call Tom on 01993 886 885

92 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk


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Classifieds DESTINATIONS

LIVERY AND CHUKKAS

PROPERTY

EMPLOYMENT

Advertising equine employment to thousands of local and international job seekers. www.equusconnect.com.au INSURANCE

PHOTOGRAPHY

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Classifieds GROUND MAINTENANCE

ART

From photorealistic drawings to stylised paintings, commissions of polo people and ponies mixing modern and the traditional.

Katie Tunn www.katietunn.com 07903 301 103 BEDDING

Good quality hay/haylage and shavings Competitive prices Nationwide delivery email: philshawhayandstraw@hotmail.com

07917 760 645 01235 816 564 TRANSPORT

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.

email: crispmatthews@hotmail.co.uk

94 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

EQUIPMENT


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Classifieds EQUIPMENT

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: tcraggs.t21@btinternet.com

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Classifieds PONIES ARGENTINE 14.3HH CHESNUT GELDING 11 YEARS OLD Played up to 6 goal last summer and currently fit and playing arena at Rugby. Keen, quick forward going pony, suit good rider. £6000 ono. Contact Tom Roberts 07917 422049

HUGELY TALENTED JORROCKS/ HANDLEY X POLO PONY 13.1hh, Irish sports pony, rising 16 years, brilliant Jorrocks pony, always the star of the team. Very willing and kind. Good looking, placed P(UK) championships. Competed pony club SJ and XC. Excellent to hack, will go ahead or behind, alone or in company. Good to hunt. 100% in traffic. This genuine family pony seeks 5* home. £4,500. Tel: 07733232131 (Cowdray).

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-andcoming pro or lady. Good to box, shoe, load, lead, stick and ball etc. £5500 ono. Contact Harry Tucker on 07816 257532 PERFECT PONY CLUB PONY 15.1hh Argentine pony. Ideal for a pony club family. Hunts well and always placed jumping. Fun for everyone to share. Stable hitting platform, well mannered and easy to play polo on. Photos can be emailed. 15 years. £3,250. 07866 450077 or 07970 188130

FIVE PONIES FOR SALE, SUSSEX EVERYONES FAVOURITE - from 2-goalers to pony club. Versatile 14.2hh grey mare 11yrs . Won BPP at Cowdray 2009. Fast and easy. £5250 ovno. MOTHERS DREAM - roan mare 11yrs, 13.2hh Jorrocks pony. Very friendly and fast. Loves polo but has also hunted and jumps. Sadly outgrown. £3750 ovno. HANDSOME SKEWBALD gelding 6yrs. 14.2hh perfect pony club or beginners pony, very easy and kind. £3750 ovno. PRETTY THOROUGHBRED MARE 13yrs, 15.1hh. Played mostly 0 to 4 goal. Always sound, soft mouth, very comfortable paces. Priced for quick sale £2750 ovno BLACK BEAUTY 15.2hh playing machine. Grass and arena, suit Surtees to Gannon, superior mare, ex-high goal. Fit and sound. £2250 ovno

ARENA PONIES FOR SALE 14 year old bay mare, 15.1hh. Easy, played up to 12 goal arena. £3,000. 14 year old chestnut mare, 15.1hh. Very easy, played arena with teenage girl. £3,000. All ponies are clean and should pass vet. To try at Binfield Heath. For further information please contact Bridget Hancock 07976 242877 PONY CLUB OR NOVICE RIDER PONIES FOR SALE 8 year old chestnut mare, 15.2hh. Played pony club with 13 year old and up to 8 goal with professional player. Honest and easy. £8,000. 7 year old grey mare, 14.3hh. Fantastic child’s pony and also played by good amateur player. £7,000. 11 year old chestnut mare, 15hh. Easy and handy, knows her job, played by professional, amateur and teenage girl. £6,000. All ponies are clean and should pass vet. To try at Binfield Heath. For further information please contact Bridget Hancock 07976 242877

STUNNING 8 YEAR OLD 14.3HH CHESNUT MARE Very fast, safe and easy. Played low and medium goal great little mare. Fit and ready to try. £6,900. Selling to start own business. Call Alex on 07776 188155 (Windsor) THREE TB PONIES FIT AND READY TO TRY 15.1hh five year old chestnut mare very easy, well mannered £4,750. 15.1hh four year old bay mare classy looking, easy £4,500. 16hh, seven year old bay gelding (windsucks) very fast and forward going, real gentleman £3,750. Tel 07800 517869 TWO TB PONIES FIT AND READY TO TRY Bay seven year old mare very easy in every way. Bay six year old gelding, fast and agile, no vices. £6000 each. Call Eric on 07887 538843 PONIES FOR SALE Naeomi: Mare, steel grey, nine years old, 15.1hh £7500 ONO - Stunning, very fast, super athletic, light mouth, suitable for an experienced rider. Played up to 12-goal no problem. Will play higher. Jasper: gelding, chestnut, five years old, 15.2hh £6500 Good all round with great potential. Very easy, smooth, agile and fast. Suitable for any level of rider. An investment purchase. Black: dark bay mare, 11 years old, 15.1hh £4000 ONO - Fast, agile mare, would suit any experienced low-goal player. Suitable for a professional or patron. Telephone 07734 236326

15.1HH CHESTNUT ARGENTINE MARE 15 YEARS OLD Played up to 10 goal with 2 goal pro. Slightly cold girthed. Overstocked, sold from field hence £1,500.00 Tel Stuart Beetles on 07990 823203 EXCELLENT LOW-GOAL PONIES Uruguayan and Argentine ponies for sale/rent. Played PC Langford, Rendell and low-goal. Player gone abroad. Fast, easy in every way. £2,000 & £5,000. Tel 012713 73466 or 07766 700904

11.2 HH 5 YEAR OLD GELDING IN NEED OF A NEW SMALL OWNER who will ride, brush and love him. Current owner lost interest! Loves going to polo, in need of work, bored of being in the paddock. Good home only. £500, tel 07979 494553

TRANSPORT AND MACHINERY

Tel Sussex Polo 01342 714920 GOOD PONIES AVAILABLE TO HIRE OR LEASE Very nice ponies to suit all standards, hire or lease for a chukka a season and anything in between for more information call 07976 279161 or 01258 820495, email jemimasim@aol.com

PROFESSIONAL AND PATRON PONIES FOR SALE 6 year old dun mare, 15.2hh, handy, quick, lot of potential, played up to 12 goal. £12,000. 8 year old bay gelding, 15.1hh, easy, great temperament, played up to 12 goal. £10,000. 9 year old dark bay mare, 15.1hh, nice low goal pony, suit female or good jockey. £5,000. All ponies are clean and should pass vet. To try at Binfield Heath. For further information please contact Bridget Hancock 07976 242877

96 April 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

POIO BOX NUMBER PLATE Perfect plate for a new 2010 lorry. Held on retention cert. Available now. £1750. Tel 01749 860775 HORSEBOX FOR SALE (3-4 PONIES) Man non-HGV, B-Reg, cream body on Man chassis, low mileage 153,000km, well cared for horsebox with living including gas hob, sink and storage space. Regularly serviced, tax and MOT until July 2010. Fantastic runner, fabulous ladies horsebox, same owner since 1996. For sale due to purchase of new horsebox. £4,500. Tel 07770 436 999 WANTED - 10 + HORSE BOX 10 horse (or bigger) rigid box wanted. Must be in good condition. Also have an 8 box to sell - V reg Merc 1217 with Tristar body. Tel 07970 697593 or email aurora.eastwood@btinternet.com.

1989 (F REG) FORD IVECO CARGO 0813, 7.5 TONNE RIGID BODY LORRY Carries four horses with tack storage area behind the cab and two storage boxes below. Taxed and Tested until September 2010. Body by Mustoe Transport with: hard wearing floor and lining; internal lighting; side windows/vents, and 321,529km on the clock. £3500 ono. Tel 07979 500617 (Oxon) 12 TONNE 6 HORSE, MAN 1995 Six speed. very economical drive. Partitioned for six. Rubber floor and ramp sleeper cab so plenty of storage area. MOT till end June 2010, tax end Oct 2010. 2 new batteries. Email wendyboot7@hotmail.com

IVECO 7.5 TONNE HORSE LORRY, CARRIES SIX 1994 M REG IVECO 75, 7.5 tonne non HGV lorry, low mileage. Partitioned for six polo ponies, or generously carries five large horses. £2000 recently spent on total brake over haul and general refurbishment. Brand new service, tax and MOT, drives brilliantly. Very sound floor and ramp, six partitions, and has overhead tack storage. Only selling due to 10 horse lorry needed. First to see will buy. Bargain at £4,995. Please call 07889 093887

MERCEDES (1998) S REG NON-HGV 7.5 TONNE LORRY FOR SALE black 2-axle rigid body, carries six horses, good condition. £7000. Contact Georgie on 01993 886885 or email georgie@polotimes.co.uk

LIVERY 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 h.keay1@btinternet.com or call 07885 075463

PROPERTY CIRENCESTER ACCOMMODATION TWO BEDROOMS APRIL TO AUGUST 2010 Two bedrooms available in three bedroom house, garden, garage, offstreet parking, near all facilities. Rent £300 to £350 pcm. Contact: sue.arquier@btinternet.com

TWO BEDROOM PROPERTY TO LET NEAR ASCOT AND VIRTUALLY NEXT TO RCBPC Immaculately decorated and beautifully presented throughout, this newly built property is available furnished or unfurnished. Located within a private estate with its own private garden. £1500 pcm. Tel: 07710 328 832. Email: monty@spangroup.com SOTOGRANDE Perfectly located two bed apartment, overlooking marina, available for short or long term let. Five mins from Santa Maria Polo Club, 150 yards from beach. Contact Karina on 07974 706045

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

MISCELLANEOUS FANTASTIC POLO REGISTRATIONS Unique opportunity to buy polo number plates. PO10 AUS, £5000. PO10 ARG, £6000. PO10 RCB, PO10 URS, PO10 ZAC, £7500 each. Contact Roy on 07831 334326 or at roybennett25@googlemail.com ARGENTINE POLO OPEN FINALS DVD COLLECTION (1984-2009) A set of 26 DVDs, each DVD containing a recording of each final of the Palermo Open since 1984. Enquiries at argentineopenfinals@yahoo.com or 07956315006


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Advertisers in April 2010 African Horse Safari Association 01578 760222 www.aardvarksafaris.co.uk Akuma Polo 01676 533320 www.akumapolo.com Amanda Deadman Art 07887 742635 www.amandadeadmanart.co.uk Australian Stock Horse 07734 601135 www.australianhorsetraining.co.uk Bailey’s Horse Feeds 01371 850247 www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk Beaufort Polo Club 01666 880510 www.beaufortpoloclub.co.uk Belmont Polo Club 07770 256010 www.belmontpoloclub.com/ Benham Park Polo 01635 253224 www.benhamparkpolo.co.uk Blake Lapthorn 023 8090 8090 www.bllaw.co.uk 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 Cirencester Park Polo Club 01285 653225 www.cirencesterpolo.co.uk Clivenden Stud/ Spanish Mustangs 07860 223684 www.clivendenstud.co.uk Cris Matthews 07885 734282 crispmatthews@hotmail.co.uk Detail 07775 770672 www.detailstudio.co.uk Druids Lodge Polo Club 01722 782597 www.druidspolo.co.uk Eastwood Stud 07970 697593 www.eastwoodstud.com Equibuild 01367 820960 enquiries@equibuild.com Equine Logistics Company 01264 810782 www.equine-logistics-company.com Equus Connect www.equusconnect.com.au Financial Private Clients 01242 820738 www.financialprivateclients.ltd.uk/polo Galaxico Internationale +92 523 555 791 www.galaxicopolo.com Gladiator Sports 020 3371 8428 www.gladiator-sports.com

Ham Polo Club 020 8334 0000 www.Hampoloclub.com Hanslips 01189 713210 www.hanslips.com Haras Cañada Rica +54 114 322 4966 www.haraslarica.com Horseback Africa +27 127 359 909 www.horsebackafrica.com Horse Weigh 01547 520169 www.horseweigh.com Images of Polo 01273 834159 www.imagesofpolo.com Jacqueline Stanhope Fine Art 0191 384 5343 www.jacquelinestanhope-fineart.com Jeremy Curling Fencing 01483 894888 www.jcfc.co.uk Kate’s Art 07887 678421 www.katesart.com Katie Tunn 07903 301103 www.katietunn.com Kestrel Ltd 01256 880488 www.kestrelcontractors.co.uk 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 Martin Collins 01488 71100 www.mceltd.com Martin ffrench Blake 07971 401144 martin_ffrench_blake@hotmail.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 Per Aquum www.peraquum.com Peter Hewett/ Burningfold Polo Club Pony Sales 01483 787483 peter@peterhewett.com Phil Shaw 07917 760645 philshawhayandstraw@hotmail.com Piaget www.piagetpolo.com Polo Permits 01798 869496 www.polopermits.co.uk Polo Plates 07917 802322 chris@poloplates.com

Polo Splice 01730 814991 www.polosplice.co.uk Quality Shoe Repairs 01892 670228 www.qualityshoerepairs.com Ranksboro’ Polo 01572 720046 www.ranksboropolo.co.uk Retraining of Racehorses 01488 648998 www.ror.org.uk Roxtons Sporting 01285 659033 www.roxtonspolo.co.uk Santa Helena, Brazil 01491 682221 www.polosantahelena.com.br SATS (South American Trade Services) 01285 841542 www.satsfaction.com Shahira Industries +92 524 597 606 www.shahiraind.com Singapore Polo Club +65 6854 3999 www.singaporepoloclub.org Spanish Boot Company 0845 3138167 www.thespanishbootcompany.co.uk Sussex Polo Club 01342 714920 www.sussexpolo.co.uk T & S Harker 01325 332649 www.tandsharkerhorseboxes.co.uk Tally Ho Farm 01344 885 373 www.tallyhofarm.co.uk The Audi Polo Awards 020 73844 870 www.thepoloawards.com The Home Office Company 0333 800 5050 www.thehomeofficecompany.co.uk The Shaft Mallet Company 07889 106190 www.shaftpolo.com Tidworth Polo Club 01980 846705 www.tidworthpolo.com Tom Cunningham Farriery Services, 07748 207037 UberPolo 01428 643534 www.uberpolo.com Val de Vie +27 21 863 6120 www.valdevie.co.za Vaux Park Polo Club 01460 240490 www.vauxparkpoloclub.co.uk Waterhall Polo (Apes Hill) 001 246 4329550 www.apeshillclub.com White Horse Bedding 01672 838202 www.whitehorsebedding.co.uk Wildman Design 01993 842582 www.wildmandesign.co.uk Willow Polo 07774 272476 tcraggs.121@btinternet.com Wood Mallets +64 6 85 68119 www.woodmallets.com

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The last word

A Week

in the life of. .

potentially work for one of my clients this summer. Then I meet clothing company Watt to Wear to organise clothing for a new team coming to England this summer. After a busy morning, I head back to HQ to catch up with Amber and my emails. ON WEDNESDAY I ride some of my youngsters. I have a few young horses off the racetrack – I use to go to the sales and buy a lot but nowadays I just buy one or two that I think have the potential as top playing ponies. Having said that, in the afternoon I travel to RCBPC and then to Wiltshire to look at youngsters and add two more to my collection! I’m involved with Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), helping run day clinics, where we advise people how best to turn their ex-racehorse into a successful polo pony. I’M IN AND OUT OF the office again on Thursday. In the morning I discuss immigration policy changes with the UK Border Agency, and later I meet with the polo manager of Burningfold in Dunsfold, Surrey. We discuss their up-coming polo pony sale on 27 May, where breeder Peter Hewett is selling some of his super progeny which myself and my son Tom have played. I then head back to the office to confirm the date with the auctioneer.

WHEN I’M NOT TRAVELLING, my alarm is set for 6.15am, and I get to the office – where my business Polo Permits is based – between 8-8.30, a six-mile drive from home in West Sussex. First thing on Monday, 8 March, I grab a coffee and do the usual admin jobs such as checking my emails and catching up with what’s been going on at the farm – both in the office and on the yard, where we keep 125 horses.

Photograph by Tony Ramirez

CATRIONA BAKER and Amber Knight are my most important employees; Catriona is head-girl on the yard, running the place like clockwork, and Amber has been at Polo Permits for almost 13 years. I speak with Catriona on my way into work and check the horses are OK and whether I need to look at any before they go out on exercise. High-goal team Sumaya keep 60 horses with us, but patron Ahmad Aboughazale brings his own team of grooms to look after them and bring them into work. POLO PERMITS CONTROLS 90 per cent of immigration for teams, players and grooms coming to the UK. As the season draws near, it’s a frantic time for me and my four staff and on Monday I have to deal with any problems that the Home Office, or similar, throw at us. The local pub – Badger’s – is a favourite of mine for a working lunch so Amber and I head there for a bite to eat. In

98 March 2010 www.polotimes.co.uk

David Morley

It’s high season at his immigration business, but Sussex-based David still finds time for a photo-shoot, a morning of pony shopping and some farm chukkas, as Georgie May discovers the afternoon, I go to Chichester to see a planning officer about a client of mine’s new stable block, then to see a lorry. I’m always in and out of the office, not helped by the fact that I have a great interest in property – I have two I am developing, and I also share a buy-to-let portfolio with a great friend – so a chunk of my time goes towards that. I ATTEND A PHOTO-SHOOT on Tuesday for footwear company Tuffa, who are adding polo boots to their range. Then I dart back to the yard to interview two new girls who will

I AM THE HPA’S Polo Pony Welfare Chairman and now and again I have to whizz off to a meeting for that; it’s a voluntary role and I do it because I want to give something back to polo. This evening the HPA is holding a meeting at RCBPC so I spend the day in the office, jumping between immigration stuff and getting ready for the meeting. I finish up in the office, tying up the loose ends before the weekend and head to Berkshire at 4pm. ON SATURDAY, I GO to Simon Arber’s yard to play some chukkas. In winter I played arena polo at AEPC, Hickstead, but since my trip to South Africa – to head up a teaching clinic for the South African Polo Association – in mid-February I now play once a week at Simon’s, as I turned my ponies away before South Africa. Tom joins me as he’s in the UK at the moment; he keeps his horses at Burton Mill on a yard at one end of the farm. My other son William, 20, works for Tom while my daughter Rachael, 26, works with hunters and eventers just down the road from me. After chukkas we have a look at Simon’s superb new clubhouse before heading back to the yard to ride some youngsters. BUSINESS IN GERMANY awaits me on Sunday and I have to catch a flight there at lunchtime. As I will be away until Thursday, I have a meeting with Catriona to run through what will happen with the horses over the next few days, before heading to the airport. F


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Polo Times April 2010

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