Polo Quarterly - Winter 2017

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The magazine for Players, Patrons and Polo Enthusiasts • WINTER 2017 £5

2017 Snow Polo preview World Cup St Moritz, and the best of the rest

Playing away (Whisper) Polo isn’t the only game in town

British Polo at a crossroads Could the UK visa freeze be just the tip of the iceberg?


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EDITORIAL The magazine for Players, Patrons and Polo Enthusiasts

New year, new challenges


was a teeny bit envious of my friends

on her first outing. As she trotted along happily he was in

who got to dash over to Argentina for the

a muck sweat, cantering sideways on the road, foaming,

season, but with small children it’s not a

head in the air, feet scrabbling for grip. Hunting is only

realistic proposition for a while. Also, I like

supposed to be risky when taking on a colossal hedge…

the run up to Christmas. It’s exciting, with

I think he might have to stick to polo!

parties galore, and arena polo is actually

As we look into this new year, the visa situation has

really fun and requires very little effort. Fewer horses in

created much chatter on social media, with two very

work, shoes optional, action that’s more intense, and it’s

different sides of human character coming to the fore –

far cheaper. I have friends who now only play arena and

those who seek to lay blame, and those who instead want

no summer polo.

to look forward. It is time to look forward, and see where

unexpected opportunities are hiding.

Plus, I get to go hunting. I took on a 15yo ex chaser as

a hunter, only to discover he hadn’t had a day’s flatwork in his life. I didn’t fancy coming into a fence and not being able to alter his stride, so he’s been handed over to wonder groom Glea to learn. I went hunting instead on my 18yo Argentine pony who’s a bit of a legend - I’ve hunted him locally and also with the VWH and Bicester back in 2011. But this season so far he’s been completely loopy, and was

POLO Quarterly


the worst nanny imaginable to my green 4yo Irish mare

Aurora Eastwood

Editor-in-chief: Aurora Eastwood (aurora@pqinternational.com) Executive editor: Chris Rosamond (chris@pqinternational.com) Advertising sales: Bryony Barraclough (ads@pqinternational.com) Editorial enquiries +44 (0)1962 888569 Advertising enquiries +44 (0)7949 022701 Creative direction: Paul Harpin (www.paulharpin.com) Designer: Jo Evernden (www.joevernden.com) Polo Quarterly International is published by: Blue Pony Media, South Wonston Farm, SO21 3HL, UK Follow PQ at: www.facebook.com/pqinternational Thank you: for supporting PQ magazine!

Winter 2017 • PQ



Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the Aston Martin DB9 GT: Urban 13.4 (21.1): Extra-urban 28.8 (9.8): Combined 20.2 (14.0). CO2 emissions 325g/km The mpg/fuel economy figures quoted are sourced from official regulated test results obtained through laboratory testing. They are for comparability purposes only and may not reflect your real driving experience, which may vary depending on factors including road conditions, weather, vehicle load, and driving style. Vehicle shown for illustrational purposes only.



Style it out Making the effort look effortless


TeSTED! Max Charlton rides Hanson

PQ PQ Gallery Polo pictures Every picture tells a story – but some stories are more riveting than others 08

PQ Kit bag Players & Ponies Is it time you smartened up your game? 16 PQ STYLE Never heard of the Arctic Musk Ox? Where have you been! 18

PQ FEATURES PQ PONY TEST Max Charlton samples one of Chris Hyde’s favourite rides 22 UK POLO at A crossroads Our cover story: let the debate begin... 24


VISA CRISIS So can you grow your own grooms? (above)

40 Let iT SNow

As long as it’s warm inside...

UK Grooms & How to find them It’s not going to be easy, or quick! 28 Riding with two hands Polo people who dabble in other horsey pursuits 32 SNOW POLO PREVIEW It’s time to head to the slopes again 40 PQ EATS Mosimann is coming to Guards Club. We couldn’t wait... 48

PQ FEATURES NEW POLO AVENGERS Want to look cool in the country? PQ’s polo-playing supermodels do just that! 56



YUM... Tasty treats are coming to Guards Club

MclAren 570GT The nice man said we could, so we did! 60


VOLKSWAGEN AMAROK You want grunt? We’ve got grunt! 63

Say ‘High’ to Hamish & Lorna!

PQ FEATURES MUD & GUTS Doing the rounds with vet (and PQ New Polo Avenger!) Lorna Broughton 66

ON THE PITCH season highlights Pictures and results from the season’s biggest games in Argentina and elsewhere 62

PQ PROPERTY DES ReS, close to the club? Cowdray and Guards properties 92

PQ tailgate the LAST word goes to... Polo ‘guru’ John Horswell (Almost) 98

Cover image: Tony Ramirez www.imagesofpolo.com


On the pitch The match action starts here

92 PROPERTY Every man’s home is his island...


MVP Ale Muzzio goes airborne Showing off his skills in the final of the Camara de Diputados on Ground Two at Palermo, Ale Muzzio reaches for the ball in full flight. On his way to victory with Alegria, versus El Remanso Photography: Images of Polo


PQ • Winter 2017

Winter 2017 • PQ



Is this an image from a bygone era? This sight of South American grooms bringing horses down to a game last season will be consigned to history unless the Home Office reverse their position on visas Photography: Images of Polo


PQ • Winter 2017

Winter 2017 • PQ



So who will our ponies lean on now? ...as polo grapples with the thorny problem of visa endorsements, the sport faces a recruitment crisis and a race to find and train up new grooms before the season begins Photography: Images of Polo


PQ • Winter 2017

Winter 2017 • PQ



More snow please, we’re British! Arena and snow polo star Chris Hyde leads a phalanx of UK talent heading to Switzerland for the Snow Polo World Cup. See our event preview on page 40 Photography: Images of Polo


PQ • Winter 2017

Winter 2017 • PQ


P Q ki t b a g

Great gear for riding, running and walkies...

Polo players love bracelets, so how about one that also helps wounded or injured service personnel? This unisex plaited leather bracelet from Hiho Silver has a stainless steel clasp so it won’t discolour, and 20% of the proceeds to go Help for Heroes. £20 www.hihosilver.co.uk

The Harry Hall Darley hoodie is cosy brush-backed jersey top that’s been selling like hot cakes. With contrast fleece hooded lining and wrap-around neck. There’s a zipped kangaroo style front pocket, ribbed cuffs and hem and thumb loops. £45 www.harryhall.co.uk

It’s dark, you need to ride horses, and

In the same vein, you probably

maybe even go running yourself. And

don’t want your dog to be run

you don’t want to get hit by a truck

over either, or to lose sight of him

while doing it. Luckily, Harry Hall

while walking in the deep, dark

have the answer with these versatile

woods. Problem solved with the

unisex reflective breeches that also

Woofmasta flash collar, which, well,

double up as joggers. You need never

flashes. It uses LEDs so the battery

change your clothes again! £42

will last for a whopping 40 hours.


From £12 www.masta.co.uk

Fancy Italian pants, reflective breeches and flashing 16

PQ • Winter 2017

What do you ride in? A hoodie? A sweatshirt? Sooo 2016, darling. Try riding in cashmere. Yes, really. This Sophie cashmere jumper from Miasuki is designed to be ridden in, is super comfortable and lightweight. It’s also water repellent. £650 www.miasuki.co.uk

Let’s not forget the most important protagonists in our wonderful game. Ulcers are a huge problem in almost ¾ of horses. Nettex is launching its new, vet approved V.I.P.® supplement range in Spring 2017, Ulsa Shield Supports normal acid levels and soothes the stomach lining. £44.99 which lasts 80 days, costing only £0.56/day. www.nettexequine.com

Need some new whites? Like showing

It’s still cold and dull, so brighten up your outfit with the Timothy Foxx

off your pins? These white riding

Bubblegum Tweed Scarf, in a beautiful soft lightweight Scottish tweed with a

trousers from premium Italian brand

stunning pink and turquoise plaid and is lined with a pretty vintage inspired pink floral

Miasuki are specifically cut to flatter

and white cotton fabric. And, it’s made in the UK. £49.00 www.timothyfoxx.co.uk

your... assets. Italian tailoring does not come cheap though. Nadia equestrian pants. £545 www.miasuki.co.uk

Worrying about your horse at night? Worry no longer. The EquiSense vest is wearable tech that keeps tabs on your horse’s health and well-being - and you can see it all on your smartphone. There is a monthly subscription of around £19.99. The vest is ergonomically designed and will monitor changes to temperature and heart rate - meaning you will be able to detect signs of colic before it’s too late. Due next spring, circa £499 www.equisense.com

in the woods. Was polo ever so exciting? Winter 2017 • PQ


PQ Style

BUNDLE UP Snuggle into this baby Alpaca wool scarf. Hand-made softness and warmth to beat

From the Arctic to the Amazon

the winter weather. £260

Back to the Ice Age Introducing fibres from the rare Arctic Musk Ox to the world of contemporary fashion is the lightweight and comfortable Qiviut Jacket.

Good enough to keep a shaggy survivor from the Ice Age warm, with its removable hood, arctic collar and wind baffles the Qiviut is said to provide unsurpassed insulation for humans too. (And BRING YOUR

nobody could ever say ‘it looked


better on the Ox’!) £975

A classic Military Coat cut coat made from upcycled army blankets which will keep you stylish for many Januaries to come. £230

Keeping warm with the Arctic Musk Ox... 18

PQ • Winter 2017

Madeline B tote A chic and versatile tote with monochrome stripes, hand woven in Guatemala and finished with Italian leather handle and across body strap. £150

AROMATHERAPY This sustainably sourced candle’s luxurious scent will perk up those wintry evenings. £56



Be the main event

Organic Cotton Night Shirt.

with a ring featuring

This beautifully crafted oversized

stunning gold and

nightshirt can easily be styled for

brown gems. £360

the daylight hours. £175

Pack up your troubles Ditch your handbag and get this Alysse bag which doubles as both back-pack and bucket bag. Featuring enamel painted, hand woven ringpull detailing on the strap and a playful bottle-top pop art print lining from upcycled plastic (PET). Alysse is made with sumptuous Amazon leather from farms that protect the rainforest. £395

...and some old army blankets!

All available from the Ethical Collection Boutique, London www.ethicalcollection.com, apart from Alysse bag from www.bottletop.org and Musk Ox jacket from www.qiviutandco.com

Winter 2017 • PQ




OFFER Do you share PQ’s passion for polo? Read the original and still the best-loved polo magazine for: • Best original content • Interviews and analysis • Top sporting action • Fabulous photography • The polo lifestyle Subscribe now and show your true polo colours! Visit our online shop at www.poloquarterlymagazine.com

Subscription Prices Four issues

UK AdDRESSES price £28 EuropeAn ADDRESSES price £38 Rest of the World price £58

Reserve your copies of Polo Quarterly now at www.poloquarterlymagazine.com Winter 2017 • PQ


Photography Matt Darwin


Hanson, belonging to Chris Hyde (below), has been a stalwart in his string for over 10 years. Max (in the saddle) found out why

For being such a good sport, Hanson wins a fab set of Thermoregulation Boots worth ÂŁ96 from our friends at www.thehusk.co.uk


Hanson: Vital Statistics 15.2hh 18yo NZ TB Gelding

Max Charlton tries out a top arena star Arena 10 goaler Chris Hyde hands Max the reins to Hanson


With snow and arena polo on our minds this winter, we thought it would be fun to find out what a really top arena pony feels like. And what better pony to choose than one belonging to the world’s highest rated arena player, 10 goaler Chris ‘The Prof’ Hyde? Chris suggested Hanson, his seasoned performer with over a decade’s service. This time PQ’s pony testing professional was 7 goaler Max Charlton (9 in the arena, natch), who took the reins from previous incumbent George Meyrick. The latter preferred galloping around in India over getting chilblains in an English arena. Strange boy...

Chris on Hanson: “I bought him in NZ as a 4 yo and he came over here as a 5 yo. He was a homebred from Patrick Macaldowie. He has played everything from 6 goal to 22 goal and has never missed a season in 12 years. I think he has had such a good innings. I will probably retire him from grass polo now and he can just do area and snow polo as I don’t want to break

him! He is not the fastest, not the most agile, but he gives 110%, never puts a foot wrong, he’s so easy to look after and he never goes lame.”

Max on HANSON: “He’s seriously strong in the hand but as soon as you ask any questions he’s as good as any horse I’ve played. He’s really good in the short plays, he stops and turns exactly as you’d expect. You have all the power all the time - you don’t need to wait for him to get up to speed. He can turn on himself, that’s how Chris can make it to all those plays. He’s exactly what I thought he’d be like, a really good and powerful arena pony.” Conformation: “Compact and powerful looking” Mouth: “He’s strong but he still listens and does everything” 0-60: “He’s really grunty! The power is always there” Sides: “Wow, he turns really quickly. I’d say that was his best feature”

PQ Verdict:

A Ferrari FF. Rapid, surefooted and surprisingly practical.

Winter 2017 • PQ


Is UK polo at a critical crossroads? Visa restrictions for foreign talent, and fewer home-grown players. PQ’s editor-in-chief asks ‘where does polo go from here?’ Words Aurora Eastwood Photography Tony Ramirez


PQ • Winter 2017

P Q A na ly s i s

New rules for overseas players and grooms On Jan 4th the Home Office confirmed its new rules for the seasonal visas granted to polo players and specialist grooms from overseas, and reaffirmed its ‘temporary ban’ on allowing the HPA to endorse sponsored visas. In doing so, the Home Office ignored HPA protestations about the critical threat to the UK’s game, and so our sport’s governing body is seeking a judicial review of the arguments. As PQ closed for press, the HPA was applying for judicial review and interim relief forcing the Home Office to revert to the status quo pending constructive discussion on a way forward. At least the lawyers are guaranteed a result...

Is it time for an HPA rethink on the grassroots?


umbers in decline, fewer patrons at the top level, fewer high goal teams, HPA membership on a downward trajectory. And that’s before the Home Office dealt the hammer blow on visas for overseas grooms and players, which seems guaranteed to add to the sport’s troubles - in the short term at least. With the Home Office crackdown on sponsor licences unresolved, there can be no peace of mind for polo players and patrons who’ve been relying on the experience and expertise of overseas grooms to keep their ponies safe and polo fit. You don’t need PQ to tell you why it’s a considerable problem for many clubs and patrons, with a sense prevalent across the UK game that many UK players at the grassroots will simply drop out without immediate and affordable access to skilled grooms. Those who can afford it - and the rich overseas patrons who prop up the UK’s high goal tournaments – may very well relocate their polo overseas to France or Spain. Such a scenario can only be detrimental to UK polo in the short term, and the sport is rightly up in arms about the Home Office’s lack of comprehension. If a sensible and sensitive transitional period can be agreed between the HPA and the Home Office, there’s perhaps a chance to stave off some of the damage to our sport. After all, there’s already a school of thought that says UK polo could and should already be working harder to develop homegrown talent. But we are where we are, and any Home Office moves on visas must be pragmatic and not ideological, or UK polo may indeed struggle to recover from the potential debacle we’re facing. Yet if – as so many believe – polo can only survive with its annual influx of overseas talent, isn’t that symptomatic of a deeper problem that’s rooted in the numbers our sport attracts? The spread of the game and its players resembles a giant pyramid, with a very wide base and an incredibly narrow tip. Of the 2,800-ish members of the HPA, the vast

Effect of Home Office 2017 ruling (pending review outcome) • Only 5+ goal overseas players allowed UK temporary visas - the ‘international elite’ • Only 5+ goal overseas pros will be allowed to bring temporary overseas grooms • No overseas grooms allowed visas to work with UK patrons/players How the changes will hit polo: • The majority of players and patrons cannot realistically devote resources to recruit, and then train, new UK grooms to an acceptable safe standard • Polo Clubs and tournaments will suffer as more UK players are forced out of the sport, and the foreign patrons who help to sustain polo are forced to focus their efforts elsewhere • Knock-on effect on UK jobs and businesses in the equine world There may be possible longer term advantages: • UK 2, 3 and 4 goal pros may be offered more chances to play and improve • British/EU grooms will be offered more work • British based schools and liveries can develop opportunities to ‘pilot’ and train

Winter 2017 • PQ


In the UK grassroots polo faces pressures (Pic. Gillian Hughes) majority of players are -1 goal or below, with an increasingly ‘squeezed middle’ playing medium goal, and a dwindling band of super rich (or super talented) playing high goal. Is it right then, that so much of polo’s governance is tied up with goings on right at the top of the sport? After all, aside from the identity crisis that polo is currently suffering (is it an elite, champagne-swilling spectacle, or a ‘real’ sport with grassroots appeal?), it’s evident there are not enough patrons coming through to support the pro-am model in the longer term.

So what to do? Continue to focus on getting more patrons into medium and high goal? Well yes, it needs to happen, but the approach is seemingly yielding diminishing returns. So what about increasing the focus at the lower levels, and the more affordable end of polo? Growing the sport from the bottom up was the approach taken by British Eventing when it faced a similar predicament. Previously, it was only possible to start eventing at novice level (1m10). Realising this was quite a step up from unaffiliated competition, and that there was revenue potential from competition at lower levels, pre-novice eventing (1m) was introduced. This was followed more recently by 90cm competitions, and now even 80cm. Is this ‘dumbing down’ the sport? Or an important strategic move to make the sport more affordable and to increase participation? There was much opposition to the move, certainly at 80cm, from professionals in the sport. Even the Badminton grassroots series faced stern criticism


PQ • Winter 2017

from riders who competed at ‘proper’ Badminton, who claimed it undermined their own achievements. However the proof is in the pudding. BE membership has risen consistently from 5,655 when it was only possible to compete in Novice and above days, to 8,257 when Pre Novice (now called BE100) was introduced in 1990, to 14,756 when BE80 classes became fully established in 2014. The sport is thriving at the top level too, because although three-quarters of BE membership is grassroots riders, the big numbers mean revenue and funding is there for the higher levels. Meanwhile the grassroots riders learn from the more experienced, as they are at the same events on young horses. Everybody wins. “It’s certainly worth a debate” says Olly Hughes of the HPA when we chatted about growing the game at the lower levels. “There is potential for the Association of Polo Schools and Pony Hirers (APSPH) to work more closely together and try to grow membership.” It seems pretty clear though, that not too much thought has (so far) been directed towards the opportunities. We’re not asking for a root and branch upheaval at the HPA, as in spite of occasionally vocal criticism, the organisation does good work and its efforts on a range of initiatives should be applauded. However, we think it would be worthwhile for UK polo to bite the bullet and look at the issue of new entrants to polo and the grassroots fun factor, and perhaps to explore some alternative paths.

P Q A na ly s i s

A critical path to growth

British Eventing supports the lowest levels of their sport...

We don’t claim to have all the answers, and indeed we may not have any of them. But here’s our stab at some initiatives that could help to revitalise the grassroots game: • More HPA energy and attention should be focused on grassroots polo • HPA membership should be available to individuals • Cheaper membership for players playing below 6 goal tournaments • Encouragement for all players, even those who can only afford one pony (shared chukkas) • We’d like to see an HPA sanctioned national low goal arena league • Junior and adult categories, with the focus on affordable fun, simultaneously providing a first rung on the ladder for talented players • Backed by an HPA training programme, targeted to handicap, and with top coaches • Encourage top player involvement in HPA coaching initiatives • Capped entry fees. (Who wants to pay the £1200 entry fee for a ladies tournament, or £1500 for low goal arena polo? Compare this to the fee for entering Badminton Horse Trials, at less than £500…) • Help for low goal clubs with funding to improve grounds • An HPA outreach programme to help clubs attract new players and supporters Well, that’s our recipe for building a brighter future for UK polo, but what do PQ readers think? We’re asking that question on the PQ Facebook page, and look forward to an interesting – and hopefully friendly – debate!

...as well as blue-chip events including Badminton (Pic. Adam Fanthorpe)

Winter 2017 • PQ


Is training new UK grooms for polo a viable option? As the visa debacle threatens the supply of overseas talent, what can we do?


e’ve heard lively comment from both ends of this argument, with some decrying the lack of seasonal labour, the lack of essential experience, and even a poor work ethic among potential UK grooms. Others - a more limited number it seems – have been using UK grooms for years, and say ‘what’s the problem?’ Either way, we thought it timely to explore the possibilities for damage limitation. After all, in the light of the Home Office intervention you’d have to be mad to not make alternative plans to keep your ponies at the top of their game. Right?

When you can’t hire experience, look for character Contrary to popular belief, there is a pool of talent out there. The key is to find the right people first, and then to help equip them with the necessary skills. So yes, it’s going to take some time, and employers have to be more proactive. Offering the appropriate salary and benefits is simply the start: • Decent salary (at least National Minimum Wage!) • Decent accommodation - no caravans or leaky, damp mobile homes. • Adhere to employment law - paid holiday, pension contributions, PAYE and so on. • Offer perks! Consider allowing the groom to stick and ball or play, to bring their own horse, or compete in the winter.

The seasonal ‘problem’ Believe it or not, not all grooms want to work with horses year round. Some want to go abroad for the winter, perhaps to work in polo somewhere hot. Or help to run a ski chalet. Or go back to university. Or work in Tesco. You just don’t know until you ask. For those who do want a permanent job, maybe you need a year round groom anyway, in which case it’s a moot point. If you haven’t previously had year round help, perhaps buddy up with polo friends to offer a year round job checking the resting ponies in the winter. Or diversify your operation and start making young horses in the winter. Or take up hunting or arena polo and have horses in work all year round. Think of all the fun you can have!

G r o w y o u r o wn G RO o m s

Where to find them Advertise. Facebook can be useful but there are many other portals. The British Grooms Association, Yard and Groom, Career Grooms, Equine Colleges and so on. Word of mouth can be invaluable, too.

Training your new hires On the job training is the way to go. There is financial support from government, as you get grants for taking on apprentices through a training provider (e.g. Haddon Training or Sparsholt Equine College). Polo isn’t rocket science but it is specialised. With patience and care, all the skills can be taught. If you don’t have the time or experience to teach the grooms yourself, don’t panic. Ask an experienced polo yard to take them for a week or two to teach them the basics of the sport, as assuming they are already competent grooms, it’s just the polo specific stuff they lack. You could even ask a friend to periodically check-in on them at the yard while you are at work.

Grooming for polo vs. other sports • P olo ponies neck rein and aren’t ridden into a contact. • Sets - hunting grooms, for example, will have done lots of riding and leading but generally one horse on the lead, not four or five. • Fast work - polo ponies needs bouts of short, sharp fast work. Anyone from a racing background will find this easy. Dressage, not so much! • Schooling polo ponies is nothing like any other discipline, apart from something like reining. There is lots of circling, stopping and reining back, turning into a fence etc. It takes a bit of practice but is picked up quickly - eventing grooms often learn to school quickly as they are used to riding in a half seat. • The tack. Good grief, the tack! As Jilly Cooper once said, polo ponies look like bondage victims. But once someone has got to grips with the 2km of leather that has to be wrapped around the pony, it’s all good.

The benefits of previous grooming experience... Eventing Benefits: Generally a very high standard of turnout and used to very early starts Similarities with polo: Fit horses, half seat, galloping Change: Discourage taking up too much of a contact

How do you replace this lot in just a few weeks?

In conclusion We’re not kidding anyone. Training the 800 or so polo-ready grooms the UK needs each season isn’t going to happen in a couple of weeks, or even a couple of years. The Home Office needs to understand that fact, and act accordingly with suitable transitional arrangements if it’s determined to pursue its current course. But whatever happens, it’s surely true that developing a more extensive UK talent pool will benefit the sport in the longer term - in spite of the difficult days ahead.

Two sides of the argument “I’ve only ever had English grooms and never had a problem finding good people to work for me,” says arena and snow polo star Chris Hyde. “I pay well, offer accommodation, and help with fuel and transport costs, but it helps that mine is a year round job due to the arena season and snow polo.” “As a club we’ve tried to hire seasonal UK grooms, and it just doesn’t work,” says Ham Polo Club chairman Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers. “You can’t get away from the fact that looking after eight ponies for four different owners, and making sure they’re safe and ready to be played at the right moment, requires years of experience. The Argentines have grown up doing it.”

Racing Benefits: Used to riding lots of different horses, generally brave riders and good at yard work Similarities with polo: Thoroughbreds, fit, half seat, galloping Change: Racehorses are taught to quicken when a contact is taken. Encourage a loose rein. Hunting Benefits: High standards, symbiosis with the two seasons Similarities with polo: Fit horses, riding and leading Change: Encourage the leading of many ponies at once! Dressage Benefits: Again high standards, generally excellent riders, great basic flatwork techniques Similarities with polo: Balance and suppleness, horses that can get hot Change: A very upright posture, riding into a contact, a lot of application of the leg Showjumping Benefits: Used to getting horses tacked up quickly, very good at doing studs! Similarities with polo: Half seat, fit horses, lots of travelling around in lorries Change: Again, riding into a contact

Winter 2017 • PQ


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Riding with two hands

Words: Aurora Eastwood

...yes, some polo players can multi-task!


or many, polo is an all-encompassing lifestyle that doesn’t permit much time for other equine sports, but a few players manage to find the time for mutiple mounted pursuits. There are also players who came to polo from other disciplines, and others who have left polo to pursue another equestrian avenue. In all cases, there are transferable skills and knowledge learnt from one sport, that can often be applied to another. We’ve rounded up a bunch of multi-disciplinarians to find out what their various experiences have taught them:


PQ • Winter 2017

P Q p l ay s away

Tamara Fox taking part in an Open team chase

Tamara Fox,

leading lady player (2 goals), is as brave off the polo field as on it, regularly taking part in that most bonkers of equine activities - team chasing. “It’s great fun - anything on horses is great fun – but it’s also very good for my riding,” she says. “It’s good to learn to ride with two hands, and to ride horses that need a contact. I have to adapt my posture too - I go team chasing quite upright, so I don’t go out the front door too easily, but when I play polo I like to get really low and close to the ball.” Tamara also finds that applying other disciplines to polo can really help. “Most polo ponies benefit from a bit of dressage for balance and suppleness, and sometimes

another sport altogether can be a better fit for them. I had a pony who used to cart me across two grounds at Beaufort - he was playing in a double bridle with three reins and I still couldn’t stop him! “One day he injured himself in the field and as part of his rehab we popped a fence on him - he absolutely flew it. To cut a long story short, he became my best hunter for many years - jumping a six foot hedge with a six foot ditch behind out hunting one day still sticks in my mind!” Tamara’s mother, Rosie Vestey, is also a familiar face out team chasing and hunting - and also played polo for a few seasons.

It’s good to learn to ride with two hands, and to ride horses that need a contact. Rosie Vestey (Tamara’s mother) is also fearless across country

Winter 2017 • PQ


P Q p l ay s away

Alan Kent, former 6 goaler (currently

Alan Kent eventing at Tweseldown as a teen

Robyn Evans,

a 0 goaler who plays in Hampshire, also showjumps. “I find that doing both has really helped my core strength and balance - and learning to control pace using just your seat.” How does she fit it all in? “I jump during the week and play polo at weekends, so do I miss out on the busier shows that are at the weekends. It’s very busy, and there’s a lot of travelling!”


PQ • Winter 2017

2) and a well known character with considerable experience (read decades!) in polo, used to event, point to point and showjump in his youth. “I did all of those from my teenage years upwards and won a few point to points as well,” he tells us. “I did a bit of polo in the Pony Club, and then at Millfield, but that was it. Polo was even more elitist then than it is now! It was a few years later when I got a call to join Eric Moller’s organisation for the high goal that I thought I would make a career out of it!” As to what he learnt from other horse sports, Alan reminds us that “a horse is a horse”. “Everyone thinks that polo is so different but in reality it isn’t. A leg aid is the same no matter what. If you want to turn right you put your left leg on. That’s the same for a showjumper, a polo pony or an eventer. The only major difference is of course that we (polo players) only ride with one hand. However I think my experience in eventing and so on has helped me with understanding the younger horses.”

Max Routledge in his high goal polo days

Max Routledge, former high goal player, ex 5 goals, managed to combine showjumping with high goal. “The high goal season is actually quite short, so it worked out OK. I rode the polo ponies every morning and the jumpers in the afternoon. On game days one of my girls rode the jumpers.” What skills or tips did he gain from each sport? “Combining the two kept me fresh mentally,” he says. “I always really looked forward to playing as it wasn’t something I did every day. I also learnt from polo not to keep my jumpers too fat, and from jumping to allow the ponies to eat hay. My ponies always had hay 24/7, as

racehorses do. This idea of withdrawing hay from ponies before they play is old fashioned and is pointless (hear hear, Ed). None of my horses have ever worn a muzzle!” Sadly however, Max has left polo in order to concentrate on showjumping. The reason? Finances. “In my last season I played high goal as well as 8, 12 and 15 goal, and I also went to Spain. I was renting stables, had 14 ponies and three grooms, and I ended the season not having made any money. I really don’t know how people do it. I want to make some money so had to leave polo. I hope to come back to it one day - I have two really nice young horses!”

It’s not just British players though... Matias Amaya, 5 goal

A global first: Argentine leaps hedge! (Hoofprints Photography)

Argentine professional, has now also gone team chasing. It’s an unusual activity for an Argentine - but he is married to Emily Johnson and lives in the UK, which goes some way towards explaining it. “I haven’t really learnt how to ride ‘English’ so I just hold the reins in two hands and try to follow Emily’s instructions when she puts me on a jumping horse,” he says. “I am trying to learn to slip the reins when the horse needs to stretch over a jump, which I find impossible as you would never let your reins go in polo! I need a few more team chases under my belt I think, before getting that one sorted. “I think my balance from polo has helped me survive out hunting and team chasing so far... but it certainly has taught me that polo is definitely a lot less dangerous than I thought!”

Winter 2017 • PQ


Max Charlton after completing a flying change

But what happens if you have never ridden anything but a polo pony?


I have much more respect for dressage riders now. I thought it would be easy but I felt like I’d never ridden before!


PQ • Winter 2017

ell, 7 goaler Max Charlton, the current great hope of English polo, went to see Laura Tomlinson MBE for a dressage lesson, courtesy of Land Rover. Yes, Laura the Olympic Gold medallist. Well, he had to start somewhere, we suppose… Initially, Max looked rather at sea as Kristjan, Laura’s 17.2hh warmblood, trotted around with his nose in the air, most perplexed at the strange pilot he had on top, who held the reins in a funny way and didn’t take up a contact. However within minutes, as Laura explained what to do and how to do it, Max was doing controlled flying changes and leg yielding, and came close to a canter pirouette. He loved the experience and also found it humbling. “I have much more respect for dressage riders now. I thought it would be easy but I felt like I’d never ridden before at first! In polo, almost all your weight is in your stirrups and you ride fairly short. In dressage, almost no weight is in your stirrups and you ride really long. I can really feel my inner thigh muscles now - I don’t think I’ve ever consciously used them before!” But inner thigh muscles apart, what did Max see as the biggest difference? “Well, in polo you never think about the horse when you play, any of the time. In dressage you only think about the horse, 100% of the time. Also in canter my first reaction is to let the reins go and take my leg off to let the horse find a steady rhythm. With this horse, to find a rhythm, I had to take up a contact and keep my leg on. It’s all the opposite!” Did Max think it would benefit his polo if he were to have dressage lessons? “Definitely. You feel the horse more - I can’t see how it wouldn’t help your riding.”

P Q p l ay s away

Land Rover ambassadors Max Charlton with Laura Tomlinson MBE and Kristjan (Jake Eastham Photography)

Been there, done that...

The next best thing to a polo pony?

PQ editor Aurora knows first hand how different the various disciplines are, having tried most of them herself. Here’s her personal take: Dressage: I’ve never enjoyed trotting in circles, but at the higher levels (as with most things) this sport is amazing. I rode a Grand Prix Lusitano stallion recently, and was amazed at the similarities with a polo pony. I even did a piaffe within five minutes of getting on him. He was forward, light in the hand, extremely quick and responsive and incredibly well schooled. Would I do dressage on a horse like this? Yes. Would I do it if I had to start at the bottom? No... Showjumping: I can’t see a stride. I can tell when I’ve missed, but only once it’s too late to do anything about it. So this discipline is probably best avoided for me! Eventing: See above. On both counts. It involves circles AND jumping… Hunter Trials: YES! Eventing without the circles or jumps that fall down. Very fun. You get to go fast and generally that helps with the whole stride thing. Usually. Unless the fences get too big. Hunting: Also yes. I’ve only ever hunted polo ponies though, who can jump, but not great big hedges. I’ve now got an ex chaser so I don’t have an excuse any more….. Flat Racing: OMG. Best. Thing. EVER. There is nothing like the buzz, nothing. Not even driving a racing car comes close. However I don’t have a racehorse and don’t fancy trying to get under 10 stone as I really, really like chocolate digestives. Polo it is then! Lucky, that….

Winter 2017 • PQ



+44 (0)203 397 4999



P Q at S t M o r i t z

Winter sports stars set to sparkle

at World Cup St. Moritz 27-28-29 January


PQ • Winter 2017

The only high goal tournament on the white stuff should be a post-Christmas cracker!


t’s that time of year again, for fabulously furry ponies and even more furry coats, bits and bling, sunglasses and snow, polo balls and snowballs... yes, the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz with Deutsche Bank Wealth Management is upon us again Four teams battle it out once more – Cartier, Maserati, Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, and Perrier-Jouët, with British player and snow polo maestro Chris Hyde playing for Cartier, alongside fellow Brit Charlie Wooldridge. They will hope to retain the title for Rommy Gianni. From across the pond the USA’s Melissa Ganzi is bring over Argentines Tincho Merlos and Juan Bollini for Badrutt’s Palace, Maserati sees a family trio from Malaysia in the form of the Beh family, a real first to have three members of the same family playing in this - and all amateurs at that - and finally Perrier Jouët will have the support of the home crowd, being mostly Swiss!

It’s not just about the polo. The spectacular setting is like none other, and this tournament has history - 32 years, in fact. Spectators and players alike have the most fantastic weekend enjoying the best that St Moritz has to offer, including the amazing hotels, the skiing, late night tobogganing, the Cresta Run and more. There will be a new innovation this year in the form of the “Chukker Club”. For 50 CHF, spectators can enjoy the comfort of a warm blanket, a glass of Perrier-Jouët champagne and a canapé, taking a seat on the Chukker Club stand. Tickets for the Chukker Club, VIP tickets for the tournament as well as the “Moritz-Baku Night” (the latter thanks to the involvement of Azerbaijan) are available at www.snowpolo-stmoritz.com. This really is the most iconic snow polo event in the world, in the most beautiful location. If you can, make this a trip you make in your lifetime. You won’t be disappointed!

Team Cartier 1 Rommy Gianni +1 ITA 2 Charlie Wooldridge +2 ENG 3 Chris Hyde +6 ENG 4 Dario Musso +7 ARG

Team Badrutt’s Palace Hotel 1 Melissa Ganzi 0 USA 2 Agustin ‘Tincho’ Merlos +9 ARG 3 Juan Bollini +5 ARG 4 Tito Gaudenzi +2 SUI

Team Maserati 1 James Beh +1 MAS 2 Joevy Beh +4 MAS 3 Garvy Beh +4 MAS 4 Felipe Viana +6 URU

Team Perrier-Jouët 1 Luca Meier +1 SUI 2 Fabio Meier +1 SUI 3 Lucas Labat +6 ARG 4 Adrian Laplacette jr. +6 ARG Fabian Bolanterio +3 ARG (Reserve)

Umpires Oliver Ellis Head Umpire GBR Tim Keyte Umpire GBR Marcelo Garrahan Umpire ARG

P Q s nows b e st

Taking your ponies out on the slopes Wintry pearls of wisdom from a trio of snow polo veterans


f you’ve ever thought about having a crack at snow polo (and if you’ve spectated at St Moritz or elsewhere, you’ll definitely fancy a go!) the chances are you’ll start off playing someone else’s ponies. Which makes sense when you’re playing for kicks and giggles, but for anyone serious about competing at this spectacular winter sport’s highest level, then taking your own ponies will doubtless be part of the game-plan. But how do the ponies get to the snowy slopes? What’s different about the preparation? Do you take your good grass ponies or your good arena ponies? There’s a fair amount to think about… luckily we know a few people who’ve been there and done it!


PQ • Winter 2017

Logistics The ponies travel by road. The closer resorts, such as Megeve, can be done in a day. Further away, such as Kitzbuhel and St Moritz, the ponies spend the night in boxes en route, so it takes two. Gigi, a legendary character in polo with decades of experience, now has a horse transport firm and has been taking ponies to the Alps since the early 90’s. “Horses are not allowed to spend more than 20 hours on the lorry, so we overnight them on the border with Switzerland. “Typically we (there are always two drivers - Ed) leave early on Monday morning, stable the horses that night, then arrive late on the Tuesday. They then play a practice on the Thursday and then the tournament starts the next day” The Swiss are strict about what can be driven into the country. “The engine has to be at least Euro V,” says Gigi “and obviously snow chains are compulsory. I have never got stuck going up or down the pass, but I have got scared!” What’s different about the preparation? Well, nothing really. The ponies have to be fit, obviously, and clipped, or they will look bedraggled and get cold when they sweat. The only significant difference are the shoes. The ponies wear normal shoes but with a special snow pad

underneath, which flicks the snow out each time after the horse’s foot hits the ground. Otherwise the snow would ball up in their feet with potentially fatal consequences - they could fracture a leg. There is a benefit to this mid-winter sojourn for the ponies, finds 9 goal arena player and multiple winner of the St Moritz World Cup, Chris Hyde. “They come back in for the season in much better shape than the ponies who had six months off. They have better feet, more muscle and therefore get fit more quickly and with less bother.” What kind of ponies do you take? Well, that depends on where you go. St Moritz is a huge playing area, so you usually need good grass horses. Most of the other venues have smaller pitches, so you take good arena ponies. If you want to win though, take your own. “Be organised and take your own horses. I have played Kitzbühel three times and won three times, because I took my own ponies and just burnt past people playing on hirelings,” says snow polo veteran Jonny Good. “I take a mix of good grass ponies and good arena ponies to St Moritz,” says Chris Hyde. “It’s a really important tournament to be well mounted for. The patrons are spending a lot of money so you have to take your best horses.”

Winter 2017 • PQ


P Q o n t h e pi s t e

Where to go to watch Snow Polo Here’s our pick of the 2017 snow polo season highlights


hristmas was really fun, and so was New Year’s Eve (hopefully!), but it all now feels like a very distant memory. There’s a loooong three months until the weather in Europe is a little less… well, miserable! However, snow and mountains make everything better, so why not enjoy the spectacle of ponies playing chukkas in the snow, and maybe tackle a few slopes yourself while you’re at it?

Where: Kitzbühel What: 15th Licorum Bank Snow Polo World Cup Why: Kitzbühel is a serious skiing destination, so there’s plenty to do apart from the polo. The parties are pretty epic too! How: Fly to Innsbruck. Only 95 km by car. Easy! When: 12-15th January www.kitzbuehelpolo.com

Where: St Moritz What: 33rd Snow Polo World Cup Why: It’s still the daddy of snow polo. Sponsored by Cartier, this is the tournament everyone wants to win. The setting isn’t too shabby either, what with the frozen lake and stunning peaks beyond. You’d better like fur...and bling. How: Fly to Zurich or Milan (both around 3 hours) and rent a car. Or get the train - slower, but beautiful. When: 27th-29th January www.snowpolo-stmoritz.com

Where: Megeve What: Megeve Polo Masters Why: It’s over four days, so more bang for your buck - plus there are displays, ladies polo and kids polo games as well. And Megeve offers some excellent skiing. Its also very pretty, with a medieval (and car-free) centre in a very sunny part of the valley. How: Fly to Geneva, only 70km (about an hour) When: 19th to 22nd January www.polo-master.com


PQ • Winter 2017

Where: Bad Gastein What: PIPA Ladies Polo Tour Why: Ladies only - makes a change from the other (predominantly male) tournaments. And its a spa town, so you can soothe those skiing aches and polo bruises in the evening. And you fly to Salzburg, which is worth a visit in itself. How: Fly to Salzburg and either drive (1hr 20) or get a train (1hr 30) When: 16th-19th February www.adastraadventures.com Where: Tremblant What: Snow Polo Tremblant International Why: It’s a change from Europe! Canada is stunning and this purpose built resort has a French feel to it and quiet slopes. It can get very, very cold though, so use it as an excuse to buy wildly expensive Canada Goose kit! How: Fly to Montreal (90 mins) When: 3rd-4th March www.snowpolotremblant.com


GRANDSTAND snowpolo-stmoritz.com ticketcorner.ch +41(0)79 953 51 31 info@snowpolo-stmoritz.com


27-28-29 JANUARY 2017 on the frozen lake of St. Moritz



P Q t r av e l

Taking a break at The Kings Head Hotel A reign of little terrors fails to ruin PQ’s weekend away in Cirencester

Pampering yourself won’t leave you feeling sheepish...

Subtle design touches create super ambience

But we didn’t get a go in the bath...


he Kings Head in Cirencester sponsored the Ladies International last summer, which seemed reason enough to sample the offerings of this very beautiful hotel. PQ plus two small children. Nothing if not a challenge for a pair of adults, the hotel staff and the children, who decided to test everything (including patience) to the limit. Still, a lot of polo players have small children in tow, and apparently it’s frowned on to leave them safely in a loose box with a plentiful supply of horse nuts... Conveniently situated in the centre of Cirencester, a mere hop, skip and flying change from Cirencester Park Polo Club, The Kings Head is a beautiful old building, slap on the High Street. It has been tastefully decorated and our room was beautifully furnished. The bed was vast, the sofa at the foot of the bed also, but the piece de resistance was definitely the huge, deep, copper bath. The children had a go and loved it, shrieking and splashing about it. The adults did not get to have a go in the bath. That is the lot of the parent… Dinner time. We planned to put the children to bed at 7, wait for them to go to sleep, and go down to dinner at 8.30, avec baby monitor. The children had an alternative plan, which comprised much giggling and no sleeping. The clock ticked. 8.30pm came. Children wide awake. We decided to use technology to our advantage and set up a FaceTime call using the WIFI. Cue dinner accompanied by the tinny sounds of small voices coming through an iphone speaker, and occasionally a small, huge face right up against the camera. Despite this, we actually had a rather civilised dinner, with delicious fare and an excellent house red - the latter consumed liberally in anticipation of a broken night’s sleep. The following morning, following very little sleep due to more giggling, we proceeded to have an incredibly messy but very satisfying breakfast. We then decided to divide and conquer - I went shopping in Cirencester’s wide range of independent shops, and Matt went for a massage. He professed the Kings Head’s subterranean spa to be a serene delight, with sheepskin throws and soft music. He was calm. Happy. Relaxed. I however, having endured shopping with a three year old and a baby, was the exact opposite. Would we stay in the hotel again? Definitely. It’s lovely and so perfectly situated. Would we take the kids? Maybe... www.kingshead-hotel.co.uk Winter 2017 • PQ


It’s easy to be happy when the food’s this good

A taster of the Mosimann’s magic One of the world’s best known names in fine dining is heading to Guards Polo Club


ews of Mosimann’s imminent takeover of club catering is great news for the members at Guards Polo Club. PQ will be angling for a lunch invite with Guards chief exec Neil Hobday at the earliest opportunity, naturally! Meanwhile, we couldn’t wait until springtime to remind ourselves of the mouthwatering experiences heading to Smith’s Lawn, so instead we hailed a cab to Mosimann’s West Halkin Street HQ poste-haste. Opening in 1988 as a Private Members’ Dining Club, Mosimann’s is preparing for its 30th anniversary with a continuously growing membership, yet the classics of Chef Anton Mosimann OBE are still highly in demand and remain on the daily menu. In the words of Loyd Grossmann: ‘The history of food in Britain divides neatly into two periods – before Mosimann and after Mosimann’. The comment refers to the Mosimann school of Cuisine Naturelle, with its emphasis on using natural ingredients, avoiding fat and alcohol. Mosimann diners often cannot choose between the famous classics and recent exquisite additions to the menu,


PQ • Winter 2017

and fortunately the chef anticipates our quandary with tasters of all Mosimann’s ‘must-haves’ throughout our meal – including celebrated Wild Mushroom Risotto, Crab Cakes, and Anton’s Bread and Butter Pudding. The lightness of the food and intensity of flavours means it’s no surprise Mosimann’s holds the Royal Warrant of appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales for Catering Services. Indeed, in 2011, the chef was chosen to prepare the sumptuous dinner for 300 at the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The Mosimann’s ethos is that ‘nothing comes solely by chance’, and it’s evident that Mosimann’s long-established dining Club hasn’t rested on its laurels - their Party Service has already represented the brand at five Olympic Games, the Milan EXPO and the World Cup. Much closer to home, Mosimann’s membership manager Martin Teras told PQ that the team is really looking forward to the Guards Polo Club kitchen being revamped with the Mosimann’s ‘Passion for Excellence’. Not half as much as the regular band of lunchers that Guards already attracts, we’re prepared to wager! www.mosimann.com

P Q Ea t s

Outside Mosimann’s in London’s West Halkin Street

the chef anticipates our quandary with a menu of ‘must haves’...

Scallops, passion fruit souffle and a dessert selection

Winter 2017 • PQ


P Q fa s h i o n Lorna wears The Riding Coat by A-MM-E, £531 from www.a-mm-e.com/shop with Poppy leather leggings from Aspiga.com (£295) and boots from FairfaxandFavor.com (£185). Ally Bee pure alpaca scarf, £125 from ethicalcollection.com. Hat, stylist’s own.

Hamish wears Laksen Balfour trousers, £199 and Laksen field sports jacket, £359, both from farlows.co.uk and Chelsea boots (£195) from Fairfax & Favor, as above.


Winter 2017 • PQ

New Polo Avengers! Photography Antony Fraser Stylist Giovanna Steele


hen a pair of polo’s most photogenic players agreed to ham it up for an exclusive PQ fashion shoot, it didn’t take long to settle on ’60s cult TV show The Avengers for creative inspiration. The delightful Lorna Broughton and dashing Hamish Gardner play the starring roles, with stylist Giovanna Steele masterminding the

look from behind the scenes. The Morgan Motor Company of Malvern supplied our heroes’ suitably glamorous retro-ride, in the shape of their wonderfully evocative Roadster model. Our ‘director of photography’ Antony Fraser framed pictures to perfection. The original Avengers pulled off country chic with aplomb, and so do our latter-day protagonists. Funky British county clothing meets funky British polo players – so let’s hear it for The New Polo Avengers! Winter 2017 • PQ


P Q fa s h i o n Lorna wears Toscana sheepskin gilet, £375 from Aspiga.com, Esencia Alpaca jumper, £140, from ethicalcollection.com, Sahel Kadija suede bag, £300 also from Ethical Collection, Dubarry honeysuckle jeans, £89, from Farlows and Fairfax & Favor Chelsea boots (as before).


Winter 2017 • PQ

Hamish wears Khaki natural fur lined parka (£650) from South West Ten (www.southwestten.com), Esencia Alpaca jumper, £140, from ethicalcollection.com and Laksen Balfour trousers with Fairfax & Favour Chelsea boots (as before).

Winter 2017 • PQ


P Q fa s h i o n

Lorna wears Melford cashmere jacket, £245, from Hicks & Brown (www. hicksandbrown.com), Fairfax & Favor Regina heeled boots, £345.


Winter 2017 • PQ

Hamish wears Farlows quilted paddock jacket, £174.95 www.farlows.co.uk

Winter 2017 • PQ


P Q fa s h i o n

Stay tuned for more adventures in cool country casualS...

Hamish wears Laksen jacket and

Lorna wears Farlows shooting cape,

trousers as before from Farlows, with

£499 from farlows.co.uk, leather trousers

Fairfax & Favor Chelsea boots.

from Aspiga and Regina heeled boots from Fairfax & Favor. Polo hat by Charles Owen (charlesowen.co.uk) from £120 Champagne: Pol Roger.


Winter 2017 • PQ

Winter 2017 • PQ


E X P E R I E N C E T H E E X C E P T I O N A L® P R I N C E S S YA C H T S . C O M

Princess 40M – M/Y ANKA

P Q Ca r s


but a little less furious Pretty, practical and highly potent… could the 570GT be McLaren’s best road car yet? Words Chris Rosamond, Photography Julian Mackie


ruce McLaren the racing driver and engineer wasn’t into polo, but if he’d taken an interest you can be sure we wouldn’t still be playing with bamboo sticks while perched atop the same heavy leather saddles in use since 1875. No, there’d be carbon-fibre everywhere, and team strategists on the high goal polo ‘pit wall’ using telemetry to process pony performance data. We might even have the urgent crackle of radio comms relayed over the PA at Guards Club: “Listen up Adolfo… Rainbow Dash is set to power down in 30secs, but the crew are bringing Twilight Sparkle up to optimal temp… pony change now, now, NOW!” Interesting that such musings should have time to surface while behind the wheel of a McLaren road car. Products from the McLaren Technical Centre have – until now, at least – demanded a higher degree of focus from their drivers, at least if they are to be used as Bruce might have intended.


PQ • Winter 2017

Macca facts Model: 570GT Price: (From) £154k Engine: 3.8 V8 twin turbo Power: 562bhp Torque: 600Nm Top Speed: 204mph 0-62mph: 3.4secs

The 570GT’s cabin is comfortably appointed.

200 mile-an-hour hatchback, anyone?

The new 570GT model is an acknowledgement that you needn’t share the founder’s zeal for absolute performance to enjoy McLaren motoring. In fact the 570GT, as well as being arguably the prettiest model in the line-up and certainly the most practical, is plausibly the most enjoyable McLaren for everyday road use. (Although don’t waste time trying to explain that to the ‘poster on the bedroom wall’ brigade of supercar fans.) You feel the difference as soon as you step over the wide door sill into the 570GT’s cabin, as thanks to the 570GT’s standard panoramic glass roof and new rear glass window (which offers ‘hatchback’ access to the additional 220-litre luggage deck behind the seats), there’s an unusually airy feel. There’s electric adjustment in all directions for the seats, but the switches are on the side of the chairs and close up against the central tunnel, so awfully hard to get to grips with. You’ll probably want to ‘set and forget’ them, and concentrate on the positives, like fiddling with the dual-

zone climate control or the levels on the 12-speaker 1280W Bowers & Wilkins sound system. Or more notably, to delight in the way the 570GT drives. The car shares its 562bhp turbocharged 3.8-litre V8 with the more hard-core 570S, as well as a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, so of course it’s easily quick enough in straight lines or corners to bring on fits of the giggles. But for this ‘Grand Touring’ model, the springs stiffness has been reduced by 10 and 15% front and rear, while the steering’s sensitivity to sudden inputs has been lessened too. There’s extra sound-deadening and a quieter exhaust, and the combination of superlative body control, newly compliant suspension and sheer unadulterated pace makes the 570GT an ideal companion for a cobweb-loosening B-road blast, or those longer haul trips where comfort is key to which car you take. It’s arguably McLaren’s most grown-up supercar, and ironically almost the cheapest. You might just love it! Winter 2017 • PQ


P Q Ca r s

Hay-up in a pick-up! VW’s new Amarok wheels out the big guns Words Chris Rosamond, Photography Matt Darwin


hunky double-cab 4x4 enthusiasts may already have cast an appreciative eye over VW’s classy-looking Amarok. Then recoiled in dismay on learning the old model’s under-bonnet arsenal packed only a measly 2.0-litre turbodiesel. Because, as VW has finally acknowledged, size does matter. Especially in the rufty-tufty world of the premium pick-up truck where – formerly, at least – would-be Amarok owners might just as well have flounced up to the stable yard in a flowery dress. The latest Amarok double-cab has a torquey 3.0-litre V6 TDI motor installed at the business end. That’s not just ‘bigger’, but ‘biggest’. After years of being picked-on, the Amarok is suddenly the only V6 in a class of (mostly) fourcylinder weaklings. The new engine is a variant of the unit deployed in the Audi A6 and A7, and in the launch edition Amarok Aventura guise we tested it churns out 224hp with an extra 20hp available when you floor it thanks to ‘overboost’. There’s also a walloping 500Nm of torque (the stuff more commonly referred to as ‘grunt’), and it’s that which makes piloting this towering two-ton behemoth such a hoot. Combined with a super-smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox, the Amarok will knock-off 0-62mph in eight seconds dead. Students of the VW marque may remember the original Golf GTi doing it in nine. As befits a powertrain derived from the upmarket end of Audi’s range, the new Amarok does its thing with a level of refinement that’s possibly unexpected. Engine noise is unobtrusive while cruising, and even the pleasing bellow under hard acceleration is sufficiently subdued, never onerous. The build quality and design of the interior is up to VW passenger car standards, and with a spec that includes

touchscreen nav and climate control you’re unlikely to want for luxury unless you’re an adult relegated to the back seats. There’s less legroom there than some rivals, but kids (even big ones) will love it. The other fly in the ointment for anyone thinking the big VW would make practical family transport, is a leafsprung ride which makes progress a little too choppy on our pot-holed B road network. On main roads and motorways you’ll have little to complain about, and of course it’s the price you pay for a set-up built to handle a one-ton Euro pallet in the pick-up bed. Off-road, the electronics controlling the 4Motion set-up mean the Amarok will go happily wherever you’re likely to point it. The best bit though, is the great big V6 badge on the tailgate. After all, size does matter…

There’s no substitute for cubic inches...

VW Amarok facts Model: Aventura Price: £39,381 Engine: 3.0 V6 TDI

TOP SPEED: 119mph 0-62mph: 8.0 secs MPG: 36.2

Winter 2017 • PQ






Mud and guts: a day with equine vet Lorna Broughton I

f you’ve checked out PQ’s fabulous fashion pages, then this is a face you’ll already be familiar with. But the glamorous model who gamely took on the role of New Polo Avenger (pages 50-57) will be more recognisable to some in the equine community dressed in jeans and muddy boots. We tracked her down at work at the stables, to find out a little more about how Lorna Broughton fits polo into her hectic and all-consuming career as a vet.


How did you first get into horses? “Horses are in my blood. My father’s side of the family all play so I had no chance of not catching the bug! My grandparents had a farm on the New Forest where we bred polo ponies so I was riding before I could walk and I grew up riding our youngsters and exercising polo ponies over the forest. I groomed for my father for years when I was younger so it was only right that I made him regret it when I got addicted to the sport myself! He’s given up playing now due to injury but my aunts and my uncle still play. When I inherited my grandfather’s favourite pony Firefly and moved him to Bristol with me my polo took off properly. I’d like to say I play a lot now but the truth is I just about manage to squeeze it in around work.”


Why did you decide to become a vet? “My grandfather was Jack Broughton who was a well known equine vet in the New Forest, he was the one who started me playing polo and he was also the reason I became a vet. He was a huge character on the polo scene and I idolised him. I used to follow him around carrying his vet bag and I think my first words were ‘I want to be a vet’ - if not ‘I want a pony’ - but no one expected that I really would do it! Sadly he died when I was still at university but he was so proud when I got into Bristol vet school knowing that I’d carry on his veterinary dynasty. He made sure he kept all his best kit for me, and I think I can claim to be the only person in history whose inheritance was one polo pony, two humane killers and a pair of emasculators! One of my last memories of him was performing a lameness investigation on one of his ponies at the farm, sitting at the end of his driveway directing me on the correct technique for flexion tests from his wheelchair. ”

but the feeling of satisfaction you get from that 10% that wouldn’t have made it without you is irreplaceable!”


What do you love most about polo? “The adrenaline rush, I always had a need for speed on horseback, so polo was an obvious choice of sport for me!” What’s the most challenging part? “It’s easy to romanticise the job but it is a very challenging career. They never show vets on TV with bags under their eyes, or on the verge of tears because they have been working for 14 hours straight and have to tell an owner their beloved pet needs to be put down. They talk a lot now about ‘compassion fatigue’, and you can’t help but invest your own emotions in your patients and when you’ve had a string of sad cases it can be exhausting.”


Have you had particularly tough moments? “Hundreds, only this morning I had an early call from one of my favourite clients to see her old homebred mare with colic. She has recently lost her husband and now her best friend of 22 years had terminal colic. You always manage to keep it together at the time but I did have to stop in a layby afterwards to let it all out before I could continue my day. It can be tough, but the day I stop caring is the day I quit the job.”


Do you think both polo and vet work have taken your life in an unexpected direction? “Coming from a family of polo playing vets only to become a polo playing vet might seem a bit predictable! Both paths have taken me on adventures though. My career took me to Southeast Asia to work with elephants in the middle of the Laos jungle, and polo has taken me all over the world. I’ve played chukkas in Pakistan and ridden Manipur ponies in India, so I’m lucky that both have given me such fantastic opportunities.”


What do you love most about being a vet? “It’s a fantastic lifestyle, on the road and meeting so many interesting people, also the feeling of fulfilment you get as a vet is like nothing else, the knowledge that you have really made a difference, not only to the horse but to the owner. It sounds corny but it’s the thing I have to remind myself of most when I’m having a bad day. They say that 90% of the cases you see would have got better by themselves (albeit more slowly!)


PQ • Winter 2017

Lorna in fine fettle on the polo field

it can be tough but the day i stop day i quit the job

Photography Matt Darwin

caring is the

O N T H E P I TC H Cambiaso demonstrates a textbook offside forehand


PQ • Winter 2017

Photography Matias Callejo

d e ja v u L a D o l f i na 1 8 vs

E l l e r s t i na 1 2

The Tortugas Open offers no surprises... A predictable two horse race, as La Dolfina beat Ellerstina in the Triple Crown opener


o far, so predictable. The same two teams in the final of this six-team tournament, also the opener for the Triple Crown. La Dolfina win (again). Not that we at Polo Quarterly begrudge the spectacle of sheer talent at this level, and that of Cambiaso at the top of his game (and THE game) in his 40th decade, obviously! Still, it would be nice to see another team shake things up a bit. Wouldn’t it?

La Dolfina take the podium once more

Final score: La Dolfina 18 Ellerstina 12 BPP: Cuartetera Clone 6, owned and played by Adolfo Cambiaso La Dolfina: 1 Adolfo Cambiaso (10), 2 Pelon Stirling (10), 3 Pablo MacDonough (10), 4 Juan Martin Nero (10) Total 40 Ellerstina: 1 Facundo Pieres (10), 2 Gonzalito Pieres (10), 3 Polito Pieres (10), 4 Nico Pieres (9) Total 39

Winter 2017 • PQ



Pelon and Facundo fighting for the ball

Elation for Ellerstina as they regain the trophy


PQ • Winter 2017


L a D o l f i na 9 Photography: Matias Callejo

E l l e r s t i na 1 0

Ellerstina upset La Dolfina at the Hurlingham Open Ellerstina’s plucky last minute winning goal denies despondent La Dolfina ‘the triple’


h. An upset! Sort of. After several delays due to rain, the final eventually took place. Although, yes, it was the same two teams again, Ellerstina pulled it out of the bag this time, to tremendous jubilation and joy. Finally, La Dolfina will not win the triple this year - having won it every year since 2013. The final was unusually low scoring for a match at this level, and the game much more even than some with many chukkas level. In the end, Ellerstina just snatched victory in extra time. The semi finals almost upset the apple cart, with Alegria putting on an edge-of-the-seat performance to get within two goal of Ellerstina in the semi final, and La Dolfina

didn’t have the easiest time against El Paraiso either, with just three goals in it.

Final score: Ellerstina 10 La Dolfina 9 MVP: Gonzalito Pieres BPP: Anay Sur La Peluda (Juan Martin Nero) La Dolfina: 1 Adolfo Cambiaso (10), 2 Pelon Stirling (10), 3 Pablo MacDonough (10), 4 Juan Martin Nero (10) Total 40 Ellerstina: 1 Facundo Pieres (10), 2 Gonzalito Pieres (10), 3 Polito Pieres (10), 4 Nico Pieres (9) Total 39

Winter 2017 • PQ


H u r l i n g h a m Op e n

Not everyone is so impressed with the Ellerstina win

Pablo MacDonough embracing new technology in Husk thermo-regulating boots!


PQ • Winter 2017

BPP prize goes to Juan Martin Nero’s Anay Sur La Peluda

New York - Porto Montenegro




PQ • Winter 2017

Photography Images of polo

L a D o l f i n a 1 6 v s E lle r s t i n a 1 2

123rd Argentine Open is a classic re-run La Dolfina emerge victorious, in spite of an early Ellerstina lead


ight teams. A new structure to prevent ‘pointless’ games. One walkover semifinal between La Dolfina and Cria Yatay (27-4), but one that saw a standing ovation to Cria Yatay who played with passion and honour and were gracious in the face of such a heavy defeat. To have reached the semi-final at all, a huge achievement. One close(ish) semi final between Ellerstina and Alegria (again, a repeat of the Hurlingham Semi!). La Dolfina were desperate to win, this, their 12th Open final in a row, Ellerstina equally desperate to break their run of being runners up. The great Milo Fernandez Araujo (ex 10 goals, ex winner of the Argentine Open) is the La Dolfina coach, and he was confident that his team would win the final. And win they did. Ellerstina didn’t make it easy for them though, keeping alive both their own hopes and those of their fans. At half time they were leading, 7-6. At the end of the 6th they were even, 11-11. However in chukkas 7 and 8 La Dolfina pulled away, scoring five to Ellerstina’s one.

Fin al score: La Dolfina 16 Ellerstina 12 Gonzalo Heguy MVP Award: Pelon Stirling Lady Susan Townley BPP Award: Zippi (Perlon Stirling) Gonzalo Tanoira Award to the best mounted player of the tournament: Pelon Stirling Fomento Equino Award to the best mounted player of the final: Juan Martín Nero Best Polo Argentino Bred, presented by the Argentine Polo Pony Breeders Association: Vasca Harrods (Juan Martin Nero) Javier Novillo Astrada Award to the top scorer of the tournament: Adolfo Cambiaso (40 goals) La Dolfina Sancor Seguros: 1 Adolfo Cambiaso (10), 2 Pelon Stirling (10), 3 Pablo MacDonough (10), 4 Juan Martin Nero (10) Total 40 Ellerstina Johor: 1 Facundo Pieres (10), 2 Gonzalito Pieres (10), 3 Polito Pieres (10), 4 Nico Pieres (9) Total 39

Winter 2017 • PQ


Argentine Open

Adolfo Cambiaso at full chat

Maria Vasquez, Adolfo’s wife

Tension on both sides before the throw-in

Two teams both winners

One-time PQ editor - ‘The Major’

Another classic final from the world’s best teams. Yet only one gets to lift the historic trophy Nico Pieres takes a neck shot

Polito versus Adolfo (Pic. Matias Callejo)


PQ • Winter 2017

Juan Martin Nero

Is there a more iconic setting? (Pic. Matias Callejo)

Ponies in perfect synchronicity (Pic. Matias Callejo)

La Dolfina and Ellerstina are old friends on the podium Winter 2017 • PQ



Yes, this picture is so good we’ve used it twice...

Ale g r i a 1 3


E l Re m a n s o 1 1

Alegria wins the Camara de Diputados Close, fast, intense, fiercely contested… and fully deserving of its supporting status for The Open


he most hotly contested tournament outside the triple crown, the Camara, as it is affectionately known, is regarded as an excellent showcase of talent. Both up-andcoming, and established players who take part to help their less experienced teammates. Peppered with ex ten goalers and future ten goalers, the 16 teams have not had an easy time of it, with a very wet spring causing endless delays. Ultimately however, El Remanso and Alegria respectively beat La Indiana and La Dolfina to reach the final. Both teams featured foreign players - alongside (of course) the Argentines – including South Africa’s finest current polo export Nachi Du Plessis, Chilean stalwart Jaime Huidobro, British player and passionate breeder Charlie Hanbury, and Canadian amateur Julian Mannix. Quite the mix! And it was quite the game. Close, fast, intense - with


PQ • Winter 2017

Ale Muzzio deservedly winning MVP after his amazing and hard working performance. Played on ground 2 at Palermo before the final of the Open, the players got the showcase that befitted the importance of this tournament.

Final score: Alegria 13 El Remanso 11 MVP: Alejandro Muzzio BPP: AAP prize: Marta (Fran Elizalde) BPP: AACCP prize: Open Buchon (Jamie Huidobro) Alegria: 1 Julian Mannix (4), 2 Francisco Elizalde (7), 3 Ale Muzzio (8), 4 Jaime Garcia Huidobro (7) Total 26 El Remanso: 1 Charlie Hanbury (5), 2 Francisco Bensadon (8), 3 Marcos di Paola (8), 4 Nachi Du Plessis (8) Total 29

Photography: Images of Polo

t h r i ll i n g f i n a L

A perfect snapshot of how closely the final was fought

‘The Major’ and Matt Perry

Nachi Du Plessis with Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers

Major Christopher Hanbury Winter 2017 • PQ



England International at the Winter Polo Festival Goals and Christmas gifts galore at Westcroft’s seasonal arena spectacular Pictures: Gillian Hughes

England and ROW at the prizegiving ceremony


PQ • Winter 2017



rena polo - great fun to play, very cold to watch. Richard Blake Thomas and Charlotte Sweeney at Westcroft embraced the cold, organising a Christmassythemed event with a mini Christmas market selling all kinds of edible and/or Christmas goodies - even Father Christmas turned up! Let’s not forget the polo. Various tournaments ran for

the duration, from the HPA national club championships at 5-8 goal level, culminating on the final weekend with the England international on the Saturday and the Bolebrook Bowl 15 goal on the Sunday. Chris Hyde enjoyed the double, winning for England on Saturday and for Bolebrook, alongside son Jack, on Sunday. This was a brilliant initiative for arena polo, with parties and a great social side to the polo. More of the same please!

Smiles all round after the final of the HPA National 8 goal tournament

HPA National 8 goal Final Score: Tex8an 20 - 7 Las Aguillas Tex8n: 1 Mindi Byrne (1), 2 Juan ‘Chino’ Leiva (3), 3 Nico San Roman (4) Total 8 Las Aguilas: 1 Capi Granchi (0), 2 Michel Granchi (1), 3 Adolfo Casabal (7) Total 8 MVP: Nico San Roman BPP: Carla, played by Adolfo Casabal

England vs Rest of the World Max Charlton turning the ball

Final Score: England 15 - Rest of the World 12 M Gallery England: 1 Ed Morris Lowe (4), 2 Max Charlton (9) 3 Chris Hyde (10) Total 23 Bentley Surrey Rest of the World: 1 Oli Hipwood (7), 2 Adolfo Casabal (7), 3 Jonny Good (8) Total 22 MVP: Jonny Good BPP: Heidi, owned by Raph Singh and played by Max Charlton

Bolebrook Bow l 15 goal Final score: CG Polo 16-13 Regal Warriors CG Polo: 1 Celio Garcera (1), 2 Jack Hyde (3), 3 Chris Hyde (10) Total 14 Regal Warriors: 1 Raph Singh (2), 2 Royston Prisk (4), 3 Max Charlton (9) Total 15

Oli Hipwood and Chris Hyde Winter 2017 • PQ


a r e nata s t i c A pony gently steams after playing a chukka

Spectators and players wrap up for winter There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing

Commentator Jan Erik Frank not feeling the cold!


PQ • Winter 2017

Adolfo Casabal gets ‘stuck in’...

ONE CENTURY IN A DECANTER Each decanter takes 4 generations of cellar masters over 100 years to craft



The Jewel in the Crown of Polo

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Mia Cambiaso on the ball for Argentina

Tamara Fox winning the fair play award

A r g e n t i na 1 3

Claire Brougham shows some emotion during a neck shot

vs England 3

Ladies International at Palermo A reversal of fortune for England’s victorious summertime squad


ngland Ladies took on Argentina in a rematch of the summer’s International, this time on the hallowed Tifton of Palermo’s fields. And this time the tables were neatly reversed: Argentina were on their own ponies, on home ground, and it was the English ladies who were on borrowed ponies, unused to them, the field, and a wooden ball. All very different, and as a result Argentina had their turn on the winners podium. Lia Salvo was the top goal scorer for her team, whereas the English team almost scored one each - Wiseman, Fox and Jackson all scoring.

Fin al score: Argentina 13 England 3 Argentina: 1 Mía Cambiaso (2), 2 María Bellande (7), 3 Lía Salvo (9), 4 Paola Martínez (7) Total 25 England: 1 Hazel Jackson (7), 2 Tamara Fox (7), 3 Sarah Wiseman (7), 4 Claire Brougham (6) Total 27 MVP: Paola Martínez Fair play: Tamara Fox

Winter 2017 • PQ


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Beach Club

Wanted, des res, must be handy for the club‌ A pair of prestigious properties on the doorstep of Cowdray and Guards

Robins Farm has all the facilities you could possibly need - apart from the polo field, but there’s plenty of suitable land

PQ Property


obins Farm at Chiddingfold in Surrey is just 12 miles to Cowdray, but there are three pubs in the village if you can’t be bothered. More importantly, if you need to run a state-of-theart training yard as part of your polo portfolio, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better starting point. Robins Farm gained renown under racehorse trainer Olly Stevens, and has been home to a slew of recent winners including 2013 Royal Ascot victor Extortionist. The farm’s owner Sheikh Fahad Al Thani isn’t looking for an extortionate asking price though, as an original guide price of £3m has just been dropped to £2.5m following a market ‘reassessment’. A bargain? Well you tell us, but facilities include stabling for 43 within three highly-specified American barns, with a further block of 7 stables used as a nursery yard. You also get a pair of horse walkers, a solarium, a soundproofed treadmill, and 11 post and rail turnout paddocks amongst the farm’s 48 acres of grassland – which could include a polo field with a bit of levelling. There’s a five-bedroom house for your trainer/ manager too, but only reception facilities for you as owner. “It’s not easy to find a base for a polo team if the main requirement is proximity to Guards or Cowdray,” says George Windsor Clive of selling agent Windsor Clive International. “In many cases the workmanlike yard needed for a team will only command a workmanlike price, when no accommodation for the patron is available. In these cases the price needs be justifiable by ability to earn money from the operation, and Robins Farm is such a place.”

Windsor Court might arguably be described as a ‘project’

Architecture is an unusual but fascinating mix of styles

Windsor Court sits in 15 of its own well-manicured acres on the edge of Windsor Great Park, and looks to us like an opportunity to spend money – and lots of it. However, like Robins Farm it’s a property that has been for sale for some time and, while £19.9m is hardly a snip, the place first went on the market a couple of years back with a £25m price tag. Windsor Court has been unoccupied for some time, and the residential stable block like the house itself is in dire need of (cough… Ed) a lick of paint, although a date with the bulldozer seems more likely. The current house was built in the early 20th century and features remarkable semi-castellated architecture with a bit of ‘arts and craft’ thrown in. It’s also massive, with 37,000sq ft of floorspace, and a vast façade overlooking the grounds. There’s a 10,000sq ft dower house, a guest lodge and entrance lodge, plus ample garaging with a staff flat. Mature gardens are laid from front to rear, although the ornamental lake may cost you a few stray balls if you’re planning chukkas on the grass. But why would you, when the garden gate opens directly onto Windsor Great Park allowing you to ride directly to Smiths Lawn? Savills Windsor office can tell you more. Winter 2017 • PQ


The Great Gatsby had nothing

The 63 acre estate is linked by a land bridge


PQ • Winter 2017


stonishing to think one could amass a fortune from flogging baking powder, but lack of imagination must be what separates us from the likes of William Ziegler. He’s the 19th Century industrialist who turned Great Island in Darian, Connecticut, into his family’s summer home. Remarkably it’s stayed in the family since 1900. Great Island is a 63-acre promontory that lies less than an hour’s drive from New York City in Long Island Sound, which makes it prime polo territory – especially for a patron with Great Gatsby airs. Sadly, you’ll also need The Diamond As Big As The Ritz to make your fantasy come true. Great Island is currently up for sale at an eye-popping $175m, potentially making it the costliest property ever sold in the US. William’s granddaughter Helen was married to Olympic show jumper William Steinkraus, which explains some of the property’s horsey enhancements made after the spectacular granite stable block was built concurrently with the main house. The stable includes stalls for 20 ponies

PQ Property

Great Island estate in Connecticut’s Long Island Sound is the stuff of polo dreams

on this! beneath an arched Guastavino tile vaulted ceiling (as per NY’s Grand Central Station), while a Grand Prix standard showjumping ring is one of the more modern details, along with an exercise track, dressage ring and private bridleways. Oh, and there’s the polo field which brought us to Great Island in the first place. As for the house, it was constructed in 1902 by (we’re told) 200 stonemasons and has 10 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms, with stunning water views in all directions. The estate, which is connected to the mainland via a land bridge, also has a gatehouse, several smaller houses and an idylliclooking yacht basin and beach cottages. With mature trees and open lawns covering the island, it’s no wonder the place has been described as a ‘magic kingdom’ – it’s even a home to humming birds, which is quite an upgrade on the starlings most of us throw our breadcrumbs for. Frankly, while the price might be problematic for a few PQ readers, we do think Great Island should be snapped up by a polo patron. The place is being marketed by David Ogilvy and Christie’s International, and we couldn’t resist a quick squint at the former’s online mortgage calculator. With a $35m down payment, the $140m balance could be repaid over 30 years at 4.22%. That’s a monthly instalment of just $686,000 – which has got you thinking, right?

A granite stable block was built at the same time as the house

Winter 2017 • PQ



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PQ • Winter 2017



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Winter 2017 • PQ



How goes it, Horswell?


olo Quarterly caught up with former 6 goaler and current polo guru John Horswell on a freezing January morning, mainly to see if a dose of hot Horswellian discourse might help take the edge off the winter chill. John warmed to his subject right on cue! PQ John, where are all the players? JH Life has changed from 20/30 years ago when husbands’ free time was their own. Now, they are expected to ferry their kids around at weekends. They can’t just leave the children with the wife and go off and play polo. A couple of decades ago you could leave the office and play polo a couple of times per week. Now, unless you are master of your own destiny and you own the company like the majority of major patrons, you just can’t do it. PQ And numbers are slowly dwindling… JH Because the product is no good. It starts from the beginning. I went to Spain and had a great revelation whilst teaching 8 to 10 up and coming players on Ground 3 at Iron Bridge. The ‘worst’ ground, but still miles better than anything most players get to use here. The kids were making massive progress in a really short space of time and getting confidence from the fact they knew the ball would not bounce. They weren’t missing it. We should be teaching on better fields.


PQ • Winter 2017

PQ We’d all like better facilities… what else? JH The other problem is that it’s not fun. If you are a patron in a game most of the time you get told to ride off like mad and watch as the pros sweep past and score goals. Why would you buy six ponies, pay their keep, and then be told to go and do your best to hurt yourself in a game? You need to preserve the asset, not ask it to put itself in the path of potential peril! PQ So pros are putting patrons off the game? JH Pros think game to game, they think winning is life or death. That if you don’t win, you don’t get booked again. RUBBISH. That’s because ‘pay per game’ has become the norm. In days gone by you had a patron for a whole season, win or lose. You integrated into their life and became friends. You hit them the ball and they had fun. The satisfaction in polo is from hitting the ball and then hitting it again. Patrons seldom get to hit the ball now, so where’s the fun? PQ Isn’t that just a sign of the times? JH A lot of people started becoming pros who did not know enough about the game or have the interpersonal skills. Progression and the chain of development has been lost, while the jam is spread thinner and thinner. There are a lot more clubs, and everything has become isolated and money driven. PQ Would you like to buy an ad? JH Oh FFS… (OK, we made that one up, Ed.)

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