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F E B R U A RY 2 0 2 0

La Dolfina takes its 13th Argentine Open

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Now in stock or ready for your custom order: the Casablanca NEU Polo Helmet, which meets the new USPA mandated NOCSAE Polo Helmet Standard. Safe, Light & Stylish.

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CONTENTS

P L AY E R S’ E D I T I O N

FEBRUARY 2020

VOL. 23,

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

26 Get schooled

6

Arena clinics provide added value for clubs

NO. 6

Association News USPA Bulletin Teams spotlight

30 La Dolfina Land

Cambiaso & Company dominate in Palermo

12 Instructors Forum by Corky Linfoot

36 Sweet Revenge

14 Usefuls

UAE Overo Z7 wins Argentine Women’s Polo Open

by Torie Front

16 Equine Athlete F E B R U A RY 2 0 2 0

OUR COVER

La Dolfina takes its 13th Argentine Open

Adolfo Cambiaso can’t hide his excitement after winning his 7th consecutive Argentine Open final. By Sergio Llamera

18 22 24 40 42 60 64

by Heather Smith Thomas Polo Scene News, notes, trends & quotes

Polo Development Intercollegiate/Interscholastic Polo in the Pampas Polo around the Globe Yesteryears Calendar

46 Polo Report Audi captures National Twenty Goal

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2 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN SIGNED COLUMNS ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHORS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PUBLISHERS OF THIS MAGAZINE.


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POLO PLAYERS PAMELA FLANNIGAN AND HENRY PORTER

P L AY E R S’ E D I T I O N THE OFFICIAL MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF THE UNITED STATES POLO ASSOCIATION

Editor & Publisher

GWEN D. RIZZO

Contributing Editors

HEATHER SMITH THOMAS, ERNESTO RODRIGUEZ, ALICE GIPPS, CHRIS ASHTON, TOM GOODSPEED

Editorial Board BOB PUETZ, TONY COPPOLA, TOM BIDDLE, DAWN WEBER, AMI SHINITZKY

@USPOLOASSN | USPOLOASSNGLOBAL.COM

Art Director DAVID BEVERAGE Prepress PUBLISHERS PRESS Advertising & Editorial Offices USPA Member Subscription Inquiries (800) 232-8772 OR FAX (888) 341-7410 ldolan@uspolo.org

General Subscription Inquiries 9011 LAKE WORTH RD, LAKE WORTH, FL 33467 (561) 968-5208 gwen@poloplayersedition.com

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E-mail: info@poloplayersedition.com

©Copyright 2020 by United States Polo Association.. No part of this issue may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process without written permission of the publisher. Paul Brown illustrations are ©2018 and are reprinted by permission of Paul Brown Studios, Inc., P.O. Box 925, Hedgesville, WV 25427. Subscription rates: $45/one year, $78/two years. Other countries (air mail), $78 drawn on U.S. bank/one year, $144 drawn on U.S. bank/two years. (GST:134989508). Subscription problems call (561) 968-5208. VOL. 23, No.6 POLO Players’ Edition (ISSN #1096-2255) is published monthly by Rizzo Management Corp. for U.S. Polo Association, 9011 Lake Worth RD, Lake Worth, FL 33467. Periodicals postage paid at West Palm Beach, FL and additional mailing offices. (USPS: 079-770). POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Polo Players’ Edition, 9011 Lake Worth RD, Lake Worth, FL 33467. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement No. 40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Imex Global, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2.

4 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N


U S PA B U L L E T I N

Helmet Mandate The USPA would like to share the following information regarding the upcoming changes to the USPA Helmet Requirements (Outdoor Rule 4 and Arena Rule 3). Beginning June 1, 2020, players participating in USPA events and club events, which include any USPA national, circuit or sanctioned tournament or league, any intercollegiate/interscholastic or National Youth Tournament Series event, as well as any club-level game, league or tournament, will be required to wear helmets that pass the NOCSAE ND050 Polo Helmet Standard. Over the past several years, the USPA Safety Committee has done extensive research on polo helmet safety and has consulted with experts in the departments of bio engineering, sports safety, and liability. In the fall of 2017, the Safety Committee recommended the board adopt a rule requiring players to wear a helmet that meets the NOCSAE Polo Helmet Standard to help to reduce the possibility of brain injury. The board recently approved the changes to the USPA rules to take effect June 1, 2020, provided more than one helmet that meets the NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) approved polo helmet standard is available to the membership. The board will continue to monitor the availability of helmets that meet the NOCSAE standard. Please review the following information and feel free to reach out to USPA Membership and Handicap Director Lindsay Dolan at ldolan@uspolo.org or Safety Committee Chairman Dr. Thor Norregaard at norregaardt@health.missouri.edu with any questions. • NOCSAE is an independent and nonprofit standards development body that has certification standards for football, baseball, lacrosse, hockey, soccer and many other sports. It is also the only organization that has a certification standard that is specific to the sport of polo. In addition, participants in the SEI certification program must hold a valid license agreement with NOCSAE. • In order to receive SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) Certification for ND050 Polo Helmets, manufacturers must pass physical testing of their product, have an on-site audit of their manufacturing facility, have an approved recall procedure, and must maintain $2 million product liability insurance. • The Virginia Tech Helmet lab conducted a review of standards for evaluating helmet performance. In doing so, they compared the following standards: NOCSAE ND050, PAS 015:2001 with BSI Kitemark, VG1 01.040-2014 with BSI Kitemark, 6 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

(BS) EN 1384:2017 with CE mark, AS/NZS 3838: 2006, ASTM F1163, and Snell E2001. Following its review, the Virginia Tech Helmet lab recommended the NOCSAE ND050 standard above all of the others. To review the findings, please see the following link: https://www.uspolo.org/assets/pdf/VirginiaTech-Polo-Standards.pdf As of Dec. 31, 2019, the Casablanca NEU helmet is the only helmet that passes both the NOCSAE Polo Standard and the standard required by the Hurlingham Polo Association. As additional helmets that pass the NOCSAE Polo Standard become available, they will be added to the list of approved helmets. The new polo helmet mandate (2020 USPA Outdoor Rule 4 and USPA Arena Rule 3) does not take effect until June 1, 2020. However, helmet manufacturers need to have time to produce enough helmets for all USPA members. If all USPA members wait until May to order their NOCSAE helmets, the manufacturers will not have adequate time to produce them. Armis and Instinct do not currently produce any helmets that pass the NOCSAE ND050 standard. The USPA conducted preliminary testing in 2017, and at that time there were no helmets that passed the NOCSAE ND050 Standard. In order to obtain this certification, manufacturers will need to develop new helmets or revise current helmet designs to meet the standard. The USPA Rules Committee is working to finalize the wording for the NOCSAE Helmet Rule. Note, however, that these helmets will only be required for players and umpires. The helmets will not be required for grooms or handlers pursuant to USPA Outdoor Rule 4 and USPA Arena Rule 3. Manufacturers may offer discounts to USPA members, youth players, and for bulk orders. Please contact the manufacturers directly for additional information. The USPA is not directly affiliated with any helmet manufacturer and manufacturers have the ability to set their own pricing and may offer discounts. Generic riding helmets, which may pass other standards such as the ASTM F1163 equestrian standard, undergo a different testing protocol and must be replaced after a single impact. Notably, the NOCSAE ND050 testing is designed specifically for the sport of polo and accounts for multiple impacts, which occur from the rider falling, being struck with a mallet or ball or coming in contact with another player. It is also important to note that MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) technology is not required for the NOCSAE ND050 standard.


U S PA B U L L E T I N

• Eye protection, such as a facemask must be deemed as an “authorized accessory” by the helmet manufacturer. If the facemask is an “authorized accessory” then it does not void the certification. However, if the end user applies a facemask that is not the helmet manufacturer’s “authorized accessory,” then the NOCSAE/SEI Certification would be void. Global Polo Network TV A new TV format over the internet, Global Polo Network TV launched in early January with daily livestreamed games, a brand-new weekly polo news show, weekly highlight shows, and other polo content (Video On Demand) regarding the sport, global news, lifestyle, short films, broadcasts and archived games. Tune in for livestreamed games of over 20 USPA tournaments and all Gauntlet of Polo games. Visit uspolo.org for all livestreamed tournaments and game schedules. All active USPA members are granted free access to the network website as a membership benefit. All you have to do is register at globalpolo.com. Globalpolo.com will provide content in 1080 HD, cover 70-plus Gauntlet games, abbreviated game recaps, and access through multiple applications, such as Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon. National President’s Cup Beginning in 2020, Regional President’s Cup tournaments held nationwide will once again serve as a qualifying tournament for the National President’s Cup. Encouraging participation at the 4- to 8-goal level, the return of this tournament format will bring together teams representing USPA member clubs around the country and restore the relationship between the two trophies. The National President’s Cup has an illustrious 50year history. Formally known as the Eight Goal InterCircuit, it was first played in 1969. The inaugural Eight Goal Inter-Circuit was held at Brandywine Polo Club in Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania, with teams traveling from the Northeastern, Southeastern, Northwestern and Midstate circuits, vying to win the coveted trophy. In 1974, the Eight Goal Inter-Circuit was renamed the National President’s Cup and since then the tournament has been played at member clubs nationwide. The Regional President’s Cup was established in 1998 as a national 4- to 8-goal tournament, which could be applied for by any USPA member club. In 2005, the Regional President’s Cup developed into preliminary rounds for teams to qualify to compete in the National President’s Cup, which was played in conjunction with the U.S. Open Polo Championship

at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. IPC remained the home of the National President’s Cup from 2005-2011 and once again in 2013. The tournament was then awarded to Sarasota Polo Club in Sarasota, Florida, for one year and eventually landed at Grand Champions Polo Club (Wellington, Florida) where it remained until 2018. This past year, the prestigious 4- to 8-goal national tournament was relocated from Grand Champions Polo Club to New Bridge Polo Club in Aiken, South Carolina, and seven competitive teams battled to claim the National President’s Cup. Derry Heir dominated the New Bridge Polo & Country Club 8-goal season and won both the Regional President’s Cup and the coveted National President’s Cup with an undefeated record. The 2020 National President’s Cup will once again be held at New Bridge Polo & Country Club at the height of the competitive fall 8-goal season. Regional President’s Cup qualifying rounds will be played throughout the year nationwide and winning teams in any regional event will be given priority to enter the prestigious National President’s Cup. There are many opportunities for teams to qualify as several clubs throughout the country will host a Regional President’s Cup in 2020, including Empire Polo Club (Indio, California), Port Mayaca Polo Club (Okeechobee, Florida), Willow Bend Polo Club (Little Elm, Texas), Tinicum Park Polo Club (Erwinna, Pennsylvania), Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club (Carpinteria, California), New Bridge Polo & Country Club (Aiken, South Carolina) and Houston Polo Club (Houston, Texas), with more expected to be added. Any USPA member club may apply to host a 2020 Regional President’s Cup, however a minimum of four teams are required. Regional President’s Cup events will be played with six chukkers at the 4- to 8goal handicap level. The National President’s Cup shall give priority entry to first and second place Regional President’s Cup teams of the same year. If you are interested in hosting a Regional President’s Cup in 2020 please complete the national application found on uspolo.org and submit to tournaments@uspolo.org at your earliest convenience. If you have any questions regarding tournaments please contact tournament coordinator, Kaila Dowd at (800) 232-8772. • Published by the United States Polo Association Offices at 9011 Lake Worth Rd., Lake Worth, Florida 33467 • (800) 232-USPA Chairman: Stewart Armstrong President: Tony Coppola Secretary: Charles Smith Treasurer: Steven Rudolph Chief Executive Officer: Robert Puetz

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 7


U S PA B U L L E T I N

KAYLEE WROE

Go to uspolo.org to see the I/I tournament schedule.

National Youth Tournament Series The National Youth Tournament Series officially begins March 1. USPA members in good standing born 1/1/2001 and after with a minimum of a -1 goal handicap are eligible to play. For more information, please contact your local outdoor club or visit the uspolo.org website.

I/I Deadlines & Reminders A quick reminder that all I/I teams must secure a string of horses for tournament play. Tournaments will be played from early February to mid-April. Intercollegiate qualifying games and academic paperwork are due Jan. 31. Interscholastic qualifying games are due Jan. 8. Make sure to update your USPA player membership for 2020 before participating in any games.

I/I Tournament Schedule The intercollegiate/interscholastic tournament schedule for 2020 is posted on the I/I Program pages on uspolo.org. Click on the respective program for a full list of tournaments near you.

8 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

Interscholastic Varsity Letters If you are an interscholastic player who competed in the I/I tournament season this year along with completing 100 hours in the saddle, participated in four I/I games, and are in good academic standing, you are eligible for an Interscholastic Varsity Letter! For more information on the program and application please go to the Interscholastic Program page on uspolo.org. Please contact Pam Mudra, pmudra@uspolo.org, if you have any questions regarding the PDI program.

I/I Fundraising The Start-Up & Enhancement program is in place to provide reimbursable grants to clubs participating in the I/I program. The I/I fundraising application is open to all intercollegiate and interscholastic teams looking to hold a fundraiser to support their I/I team. If you are interested in applying for a reimbursement grant of up to $1,000 in 2020 please visit the I/I webpage on uspolo.org for more details. For more information on the I/I Start-Up & Enhancement program please contact I/I Program Coordinator Ali Davidge at adavidge@uspolo.org. •


U S PA B U L L E T I N

Gauntlet of Polo Local Wellington teams join the battle their style and competitiveness, Dutta Corp selected the Obregon brothers and has focused on strengthening their system by building the team’s connection and preparation. Spending the months leading up to the season in Argentina, playing practices and 22- to 24-goal polo, Dutta Corp has been proactively training and playing together three days a week with the Gauntlet in mind.

Patagones’ Tomas Garcia del Rio

DAVID LOMINSKA/POLOGRAPHICS.COM

A

nticipating the return of the highly-successful Gauntlet of Polo, which yielded a Gauntlet Champion (Pilot) in its inaugural year, two Wellington-based teams have joined the field of 14 for the first time, both on personal quests to fulfill their aspirations in the ultimate competition. Operating at peak performance during the 2019 season, Dutta Corp established its dominance to win the Herbie Pennell, Joe Barry and Ylvisaker Cups in a nearly perfect 20-goal tournament sweep. Seeking to raise their game by taking on a new challenge in the 22-goal, Timmy Dutta and Lucas Diaz Alberdi will be competing alongside new teammates Facundo and Mariano Obregon, hoping to replicate their previous success. Also making the step up from 20-goal competition is first-time Gauntlet participant Patagones, featuring returning players Santiago Toccalino and Tomas Garcia del Rio with the addition of Gonzalo Avendaño and Geronimo Obregon. Motivated by a lifelong dream and a friendly bet to play in the U.S. Open Polo Championship, Avendaño’s decision to form a 22-goal team marks the execution of a plan deferred and the promise of steep competition. Just missing the deadline to enter Dutta Corp in the 2019 Gauntlet of Polo, Tim Dutta was happy to see his son, Timmy Dutta, and Lucas Diaz Alberdi both have the opportunity to gain exposure in the inaugural competition as substitutes for SD Farms and Park Place, respectively. “Playing in the U.S. Open Polo Championship with SD farms was an honor and a great introduction to that level of competition,” Timmy Dutta said. “Now I want more, so we put this team together and we’re coming to win.” Playing together for five years, the brotherly relationship between Timmy and Lucas is at the core of Dutta Corp’s chemistry, which is evident both on and off the field. “They grew up together and spend three months together every year in Argentina. They even used to live at Alejandro ‘Piki’ Diaz Alberdi’s house, which is Lucas’ father and our team coach,” Tim Dutta revealed. “The team eats together, stick and balls together, trains together and has fun together. As a team, we must be able to tell each other our thoughts.” Searching for a couple players who would fit

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 9


U S PA B U L L E T I N

“Lucas Diaz Alberdi is playing in the Argentine Open with La Aguada and the Obregons are playing the Cámara de Diputados Cup,” Tim Dutta said. “Mainly what Piki teaches the boys is field awareness, so when you have that and the horses are of good quality and fit, it makes for a good team.” Playing practices and spending time together at Alberdi’s Pilar farm, La Mancha, and La Cañada in Buenos Aires, the young team is going up against seasoned veterans of the sport. Entering his sixth season playing polo, Timmy Dutta identified the Gauntlet as the next stepping stone to continue growing in his career. “For Dutta Corp it was the most logical decision to move up with the bigger fish,” Timmy Dutta said. “We succeeded in the 20-goal tournaments and we knew we had a chance with the organization we have built to be competitive at the 22-goal level. Stepping up our game as an organization shows we are growing rapidly and we are ready to take on the challenge.” Taking on not only the grueling challenge of the ultimate test, but also a personal challenge of his own, Patagones’ team owner Gonzalo Avendaño’s journey is a true testament to the power of hard work and a resilient spirit.

Visiting the United States for the first time when he was 16-years-old, the Argentine-native and secondgeneration polo player moved to Florida a decade later where his three sons (Santiago, Benjamin, Joaquin) were born. Quitting polo for 20 years to work in investment banking, private banking, and derivatives sales, attend college and raise his family, Avendaño returned to polo in his 40s. Following a serious polo accident three years ago, Avendaño suffered the return of preexisting arrhythmia, which again forced him to stop playing polo. “It took a year for my heart rate to return to normal and another year to lose the weight I had gained,” Avendaño revealed. “Last November I decided to make a big effort to get back into shape because I felt I could still play competitively.” Playing at the 26-goal level in 2018, Avendaño realized he could still compete at a high level and, with the encouragement of his sons, decided the time was right to pursue the U.S. Open Polo Championship, fulfilling a longstanding bet with his brother-in-law from 2004. Similar to Dutta Corp, hometown rival Patagones also made early preparations for the Gauntlet by playing 20- and 24-goal polo in Argentina beginning in September 2019.

DAVID LOMINSKA/POLOGRAPHICS.COM

Dutta Corps’ Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Patagones’ Thomas Garcia del Rio battle in last year’s 20-goal.

10 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N


U S PA B U L L E T I N

“Santiago Toccalino is playing in the Argentine Open with Las Monjitas so we can only play practices with him. We will also play practices with Geronimo Obregon, but not until the last month of the season,” Avendaño said. “We are already training with Tomas Garcia del Rio and everything that we do is focused on the 22-goal season in Wellington.” Playing 22- to 24-goal practices three times per week and sometimes four times a week if there are games, Patagones is taking full advantage of the time to iron out any kinks in its system early. Reuniting again with Santiago Toccalino and Tomas Garcia del Rio after playing the 26-goal together last season, Gonzalo prioritizes building a team with people who he likes. “I chose my team for the Gauntlet because I feel comfortable with them and we enjoy being together,” Avendaño said. “We are all positive on the field and even though we make mistakes, we never stop, and think ahead to the next play. I always build our teams the same way, looking first at the person, then the player second.” Although still adjusting to the rigors of high-goal competition, Avendaño is putting in the effort to set Patagones up for success, determined to not allow his injury to keep him from enjoying the sport he loves.

Both teams are pulsating with adrenaline as the opportunity to make history begins. Going up against the formidable duo of Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres, Timmy Dutta is ready to take what he has learned from his former teammates and implement that strategy in the Gauntlet. “Playing with [Pilot] in the 2018 Iglehart Cup was an honor and I’m grateful to have been given the chance, but now we have to go and try to beat them,” Timmy Dutta said. Also proud to compete for the U.S. Open Polo Championship, although later in life than he had intended, Gonzalo Avendaño is shipping his best seven horses from his Patagones breeding operation in Argentina, bringing the team’s total horsepower to more than 100 head for the season. Holding nothing back, Dutta Corp and Patagones are poised to deliver a strong 22-goal season as they vie for the Gauntlet and their own personal triumph. Watch these Wellington teams along with the returning 12 as they compete for the C.V. Whitney Cup, the first tournament of the Gauntlet beginning on Feb. 1. The USPA Polo Network will livestream all games of the Gauntlet and tickets are available on uspolo.org. •

DAVID LOMINSKA/POLOGRAPHICS.COM

Dutta Corps’ Timmy Dutta races to goal with Patagones’ Joaquin Aveñdano in hot pursuit.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 11


INSTRUCTORS FORUM

In the zone Area coverage by the No. 1 and No. 4

SHELLEY HEATLEY

by Corky Linfoot

The No. 1 makes sure nobody on his team is in front of him and he will look for areas to receive passes.

When we talk about being in the zone, we are talking about area coverage. Zone play is about having a propensity to be in a specific area for a greater degree of time than any other area of the field. The ideal zone play takes place for the No. 1 and No. 4. Because of the interchange between the No. 2 and 3, playing zones is not realistic for these players. The ideology of zone play is to guarantee a player does not find himself in a situation where he is out of position and trying to make up and gather ground in order to find the area he is supposed to be covering. Throw-ins At back, the No. 4 guarantees defensive coverage, meaning the first man on the opposing team, regardless of the number on his back, does not break out in front of him, getting between him and the goal. The No. 4 will usually line up parallel to the No. 3 on his team. Depending on the strength of the opposing team, the No. 4 might be slightly bent into the throw-in, parallel to it or bent out, faced toward his own goal and ready to defend it. He will not look for the ball unless it is right in front of him. He won’t attack unless he knows 150% that he can come up with the ball and will create an advantageous

12 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

circumstance for his team. Otherwise, he will cover the first man out of the line-up and eliminate any opportunities that might be presented to that player. As the play develops, the No. 4 will only be involved in offense to the degree that he can fulfill his obligation of covering his zone as a back. When on offense, he guarantees that no matter what happens, no opponents will get between him and his goal unless it is a broken play. For example, imagine the No. 4 takes his man out of the play and releases a shot to his teammates downfield to his left. Not only do his teammates not finish a play, they give the ball up to an attacking player on the opposing team who then goes to goal unguarded, and this attacking player becomes the No. 1 on the opposing team. This is not the zone No. 4’s responsibility. The No. 1 is essentially a mirror image of the No. 4. He is always to be in an area to receive passes from his three teammates. The only difference between a zone 4 and a zone 1 is that a zone 4 can play in front of or behind the defending No. 4. Under prime conditions, the No. 1 will position himself as soon as possible on the offensive side of the opposing back so that he is closer to his goal than the opponent. In most cases, there will be a delay because the No. 1s will try to negate each other. If the opposing No. 4 is playing 170 yards from the No. 3, it is not going to be helpful for the No. 1 to try to play zone at 175 yards because the chance of his No. 3 reaching him with a pass is pretty slim. The No. 4 can fulfill his obligation without ever touching the ball. A really good No. 4 stops the opposing player, creates an offensive opportunity from a dead defensive play and then becomes part of the offense. A No. 1 can’t just stop the No. 4. He has to be able to finish plays. That doesn’t mean he has to score goals to be effective. One of the greatest games in which I was ever involved was a Sunshine League match at Royal Palm Polo in Florida. Memo Gracida scored nine goals behind me inside the 30-yard line, and I never scored a single goal. We were playing against Antonio Herrera and Geoffrey Kent. Geoffrey Kent was trying to play a zone out. Memo would send the ball to me behind Geoffrey and in front of Herrera. I ran the ball behind Geoffrey and Herrera would come in to


INSTRUCTORS FORUM

SERGIO LLAMERA

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cover me. I would leave the ball to take Herrera and Memo would come in and score the goal. Joe Barry once told me if you correlate success with your amount of scoring, then your attitude is wrong.

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Knock-ins Knock-ins are a little different only in the sense that the designated No. 4 isn’t going to be taking the knock-ins, in most cases. He will be in a position to receive a knock-in, but he understands he is to release the ball as soon as possible and get back as quickly as he can to his zone. If the No. 3 takes the knock-in and is picked up by an opposing player, the No. 4 will find an opening to receive a pass, then will send the ball up to a teammate and get back to his zone coverage. The No. 3 may be the last player on the field while taking the knock-in but he is not responsible for playing back. If the No. 4 doesn’t receive the ball, he should cover the zone behind the No 3. The No. 3 knows, that no matter what takes place, he has zone coverage behind him. The No. 1 guarantees that nobody on his team is in front of him on the knock-in and that he is influencing the opposing No. 4 to think defensively. More than likely, the No. 1 will be working at an angle across the field to try to create space so that he can receive a pass from his teammates. Corky Linfoot is a former 7-goal player. He won two U.S. Open and four Pacific Coast Open titles as well as numerous tournaments abroad. He served as coach of the Canadian team in FIP in Australia and the Casa Blanca polo team in California for nine years. He has brought many people into the game of polo since the 1970s and, along with wife Kathy, continues to teach polo clinics for the past 40 years. •

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(800)903-NANO (6266) Tel: (561) 793-4911 Fax: (561) 793-4714 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 13


USEFULS

Class of 2020 Student’s project jumpstarts club polo school

What do you get when a new polo groom is going for her Girl Scout Gold Award? You get a crossgenerational polo school! Alicia Bennett started grooming this past spring during warm-up season. Throughout the summer she groomed for several of the polo players in both the Cincinnati and Columbus Polo Clubs. While exercise riding one day, Bennett indicated she was going for her Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts. The award involves completing a service project that reaches beyond the Girl Scout organization. Bennett’s plan was to start a high school polo club in Cincinnati, and so the work began. She publicized the program at local schools and equestrian programs, and through the Cincinnati Polo Club Facebook and web pages. The hunt was on for indoor arenas to host the club as well. And contact was made with some other clubs in the Mid-States Circuit that might have a high school team available for some scrimmages. Some components of a successful polo school

14 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

already existed in Cincinnati. USPA certified polo instructor Kit Collins lives in the area and is an active member in the Cincinnati Polo Club. Collins owns Dreamer, the only mechanical horse in a moveable hitting cage in North America. Through his business, Virtual Polo, Collins is able to use video to help players learn and improve their polo swing. Collins agreed to be the instructor so Bennet began to search out a venue and horses. V&V Farms, where Cincinnati Polo Club President Victoria (Torie) Front and husband Vince Front live, has the club’s practice field and is currently hosting Dreamer. Vince and Torie agreed to let the fledgling club use their facility and their five horses, and Kit has a horse of his own, so six polo ponies were now available to help teach the game. As often happens, plans start out in one direction and then head in another. Bennett got busy with life and abandoned grooming and her plans for the high school polo team, but her inital efforts to find new students was beginning to pay off. And it wasn’t just


USEFULS

DANNY’S TACK SHOP

695.

$ younger players, adults were interested in getting involved too. Some came through grooming, some had played a bit before, others had come through a Cincinnati Polo Club-sponsored Learn to Play Polo clinic, while still others heard about polo from Collins or just came to a match and found polo. Jana Krkoskova said that after hearing about polo from Collins, she looked it up on YouTube and declared that she would only be able to play polo in her dreams! However, after attending a polo clinic, and getting that first magical hit of the ball, Krkoskova was hooked. She is looking forward to learning more about the rules and participating in both the drill sessions and scrimmage sessions so that she will be able to hit the ball consistently and get on the field this summer. Jack Rubenstein, a cardiologist originally from Mexico City, decided to get into polo after he planned out his mid-life crisis. Rubenstein joked, “Since having an affair or buying a racecar were out of the question, I decided to play polo!” He says he enjoys learning the game with its varied group of members and hopes to be able to play some polo this year and not look ridiculous in the process. Bill Ruehr attended his first polo match about 30 years ago, when he went to see Tag Liebel play. After watching the Polo for Babies charity event in Cincinnati in 2018, Bill decided to jump into the game and attended a Learn to Play Polo Clinic. “I like the structure and the chance to join with others for lessons and scrimmages,” Ruehr said. Rebecca Clark loves riding and is always looking to try new equestrian pursuits. She had never seen polo before attending the club’s clinic this past summer. Once she tried polo, she thought she needed to keep doing it. “More importantly, the people that I’ve met through the club are the nicest, most down-to-earth, and generous people. It’s a great community,” she said. In the year

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(continued on page 57) POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 15


E Q U I N E AT H L E T E

In motion Helping the horse with imperfect conformation By Heather Smith Thomas

MOST horses don’t have ideal foot and leg conformation and it is amazing how well some horses perform in spite of less-than-perfect angles and structure. With good trimming and shoeing, we can help a horse by minimizing the stresses on the feet/legs caused by imperfect angles.

SHELLEY HEATLEY

Keep feet balanced “Looking at the mechanics of a bowlegged horse that toes in, that horse has an excessive amount of weight on the outside of the foot,” says Mitch Taylor, Kentucky Horseshoeing School. “The outside growth is compromised and wears more. The inside is not loaded as much so it grows longer, accentuating the negative effects of uneven growth patterns,” says Taylor. The farrier must address and minimize this problem. “With the feet toed in, the outside of the foot will start to get straighter and the outside heels will actually roll under, if allowed to be overgrown. There’s a lot of tension on the inside flare of the foot and a lot

Regular trimming and shoeing is important, and even more so for horses with less-thanperfect conformation.

16 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

of compression on the outside that’s rolling under. You must trim more off the inside than the outside, just to make it balanced,” he explains. If the legs and feet are pointing inward, the limb tends to paddle outward as the horse moves. If they point out, the feet tend to wing inward. “This becomes accelerated if the foot grows long. This can produce an even greater degree of conformation fault that causes that foot to be more and more unbalanced as it grows between trimmings,” says Taylor. It always takes more effort to break over the longer foot. If the foot is out of balance, the extra effort and force causes the foot to take a more accentuated abnormal flight—going even farther to the inside or the outside. The more the foot deviates inward during the swing phase, the more risk for interference. Some horses interfere more readily when moving at a slow gait, but when traveling faster their legs may not come as close together. It all depends on the horse. Some don’t fit the generalities and you have to figure out how to help that particular horse travel straighter. Whenever a horse is interfering, Taylor recommends looking for subtle lameness in other limbs that might be causing that horse to change the timing or position of the limb to get away from the pain. Remember that upright feet have a different conformation than more angled or underslung feet, and are different in the way they hit the ground and load. “A horse that has a lot of heel has a different gait when you take some of that heel off—these horses tend to land more comfortably after you get the foot and coffin bone at a better plane,” explains Taylor. Limb length disparities There are many factors that may cause one leg to be slightly shorter or longer than the opposite leg. Perfect symmetry is rare. “It’s difficult to shoe some of these horses as a perfectly matched pair. You generally need to assess one limb at a time, and an important factor is reading the hoof capsule—bars, coronary band, wall separations, sole plane, white line and frog (ground contact),” says Taylor. “To me, sometimes the hoof/pastern axis is not as important as other factors-, regarding how the foot is


E Q U I N E AT H L E T E

Some horses interfere more readily when moving at a slow gate, and their legs may not come as close together when traveling faster.

interacting with the ground—that might be more crucial than a straight (unbroken) hoof/pastern axis,” he says. For instance, a back problem or shoulder abnormality can contribute to discrepancies in limb length and stride length, making one foot more upright. Taken to extreme, one front leg may develop a club foot. Equine athletes are judged on many different criteria, and these will often determine how individual horses are shod. “For most sport horses, assuming they are sound, I trim and shoe each foot according to that foot/limb’s conformational proportions and balance points, and not worry so much about making the feet a matched pair. Comfort and a free-moving horse are the top priorities. Events like flat racing, polo, rodeo, eventing and jumping are examples. Other disciplines may require a more symmetrical gait to do well in competition. For instance, gaited breeds, western pleasure and hunt seat horses need to have the same knee and hock action on both sides, with equal stride lengths,” explains Taylor. Individuals with mismatched pairs of limbs and feet that compete in those events often have a different arc of flight or stride length, and might need help from a farrier in fine-tuning the gaits. It’s important that farriers don’t over-trim feet to make up for these limb/foot differences, however. “What I can’t correct with the trim, I correct with the mechanics of my shoe. In situations like this, I feel that shoe stock dimension, weight and placement can help square up legs and feet that are not matched pairs or that have faulty conformation. Often I use vertical markers on the side view of a

foot, to reference the points of breakover and heel position between feet. Any variance of certain measurements between pairs of feet can usually be equalized by using different shoe stock dimensions or lengths, and rim pads if necessary,” he says. Aiding the gait Steve Norman, a Kentucky farrier, says shoe style will vary depending on the horse and his work, but you still need to support the foot according to the horse’s conformation. “Horses rarely toe in on the hind feet, but are still putting a lot of pressure on their heels, especially at a young age. They toe out and put more pressure on the inside quarter, but as they get older they are often wearing the outside heel—to the point where you have to support the back part of the foot to reduce the trauma,” he says. “On hunter-jumpers a lot of farriers are fitting the outside heels very full or even adding trailers to support that outside heel and/or help the horse travel straighter, giving maximum support to horses that tend to have a conformational breakdown. You can often get by without doing this, but helping a horse travel straighter and with more support will generally aid his performance or speed.” If you can reduce any wasted motion or eliminate an interference problem, the horse will do better. A horse that hits himself may crack or break a bone in the opposite limb, or just become sore enough that he won’t perform at his best. You want to make sure the limbs move straight enough that the horse will never hit himself (continued on page 58) POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 17


POLO SCENE

N E W S • NO T E S • T R E N D S • Q U O T E S

GREATHEAD REWARD Mare tops Thoroughbred Subhead Makeover’s polo division

BUCK SCHOTT is no stranger to the Thoroughbred Makeover nor the off-the-track Thoroughbred;

LINDSAY DOLAN

he won the polo division in 2016 and placed second in 2017, and he and his father Trey start several off-track prospects annually for their polo program. The Thoroughbred Makeover & National Symposium, held in Lexington, Kentucky, from Oct. 25, 2019, offered three days of competition to hundreds of off-the-track Thoroughbreds, each with 10 months or less of training, in 10 different disciplines, vying for a share of $135,000 in prize money. A winner is selected in each discipline and at the end, an overall winner is crowned Thoroughbred Makeover Champion. This year’s Makeover Champion was Fallon Taylor’s barrel racer Cowboy Swagger. Educational seminars and panel discussions dedicated to the care, training and marketing of OTTBs are also offered. Trainers are responsible for acquiring their own eligible horses and may opt to list their horse for sale via the Makeover Marketplace. Professionals, amateurs, juniors and teams are eligible to be trainers. A total of 673 trainers, representing 44 states and four Canadian provinces, were accepted for the 2019 Makeover. Of the 482 horses originally entered, 359 competed. The show hunters division had the largest number of horses competing with 154. Polo had the lowest with 14. Schott lead the polo division with Great Reward, a 2015 mare by Candy Ride out of the Include mare Daring Reality. “She’s been great to work with,” Schott, of Versailles, Kentucky said. “She had a little bit of aggressive behavior at first, but now she fits into our program 100% and she’s getting pretty friendly. She’s going to be a successful polo horse—she’s the ideal body type and she looks the part. She’s also very sensitive, athletic and responsive, and she’s a quick learner.” Great Reward was bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm and sold for $110,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale. On the track for owner Joseph V. Shields Jr., she made two starts and earned $730, trained by Jimmy Jerkins, who coincidentally is a former 2-goal polo player. Courtney Asdourian came in second in the division with Ouija and Harry Caldwell came in third with Silken Lady. Other polo trainers included Jim Deal with Write Your Story; River Mountain Farm with Flatliner; Paul Knapp with Girl’s Dance Party; Willow Brook Polo Farms with Lady Driven; Kimberly Durling with Gables Girl; Michael Groubert with Lady Violet M; Justin Powers with Pleasant Truth; Polo Power with Penry; Neil Agate with Fireheart; and Frank Stubblefield with Flathead River. The 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover is scheduled for Oct. 7-10 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Buck Schott and Great Reward won the polo division of the Thoroughbred Makeover.

18 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N


POLO SCENE

NUMBERS ARE IN Polo event helps raise funds for medical education

THE FINAL NUMBERS are in for the annual Shannon Hill Cup, held on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, at Shannon Hill Polo Club in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. The cup is held every year to honor supporters of the Cardiac Education and Research Fund established years ago to grant scholarships for the continuing medical education of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory staff of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey. The annual Shannon Hill Cup was hosted by NBIMC’s Najam Wasty, a cardiologist, polo player and Shannon Hill Polo Club delegate. A total of over $70,000 was raised for the fiscal year 2019 and Wasty said it will go a long way in promoting performance improvement and patient safety at the heart hospital. It was a crisp fall-like afternoon with bountiful mild sunshine and clear blue skies. Well over 200 guests were in attendance under a regal white tent, enjoying good food, libations and a friendly polo match between IMF (Derek Lee, Dani Wasty, Zain Khakwani, Billy Paterniti) and High Ground Polo (Joe Meyer, Fausto Trino, Steve Garfield, Peter Secor). IMF narrowly prevailed 8-7. Mr Frank Giantomasi, president of the NBIMC board of directors, and Darrell Terry, CEO of the heart hospital, presented the trophies to both teams. Joe Meyer generously lauded the noble cause and the fundraising efforts of Dr. Wasty. Dr. Wasty pronounced, “All in all it was a fun evening for a good cause as has been the polo tradition for millennia.”

IMF’s Derek Lee receives a well-placed pass, while High Ground’s Joe Meyer moves in to challenge.

FINDING SHELTER Club opens indoor facility for winter play.

NEWPORT POLO recently opened its new indoor professional equestrian facility for enjoying polo all winter long. Located off I-195 along the Rhode Island/Massachusetts state line, it is 20 miles north of its current Portsmouth facility. The arena includes a 36-stall barn attached to a 260 x 100-foot indoor riding arena. Newport Polo will host intercollegiate home games for both Brown and Roger Williams Universities’ mens and women’s polo teams and the Newport Girls interscholastic team, as well as weekly practices for the teams. Additionally, the Newport Polo Club will hold weekly practices and monthly tournaments. Polo and riding lessons for beginners will continue at the facility through March before operations return to the outdoor training facility in Portsmouth. Minnie Keating will oversee operations at the indoor facility.

Newport Polo’s new indoor facility is large enough for polo and has an attached barn with 36-stalls.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 19


POLO SCENE

SNOW MUCH FUN Richard Mille defends Snow Polo title Snow Polo Championship, Dec. 20 at Aspen, Colorado’s Rio Grande Park. In front of a sold-out VIP tent, defending champion Richard Mille (Louis Jarrige, Edouard Pan, Pablo Mac Donough) held off two-time champion U.S. Polo Assn. (Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Juancito Bollini) in the final seconds for a thrilling 7-6 victory. Frenchman Louis Jarrige, turning in one of finest career performances, was named Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high four goals and playing well defensively. Delicioso, a 15-year-old bay gelding played by Mac Donough, was the Polo Today Best Playing Pony. Barata, played by Ganzi, was the American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony. Ganzi was also awarded the Play of the Game. “It feels great to win it two years in a row,” Mac Donough said. “We are so happy to win again. It was a tough game and the field of teams this year was better than last year. I can’t say enough about this great event.” “This was really amazing,” Edouard Pan said. “This is my first time playing in Aspen. The field was amazing. It was a really good game and it feels good to leave here with a win.” In the fourth and final chukker with the game tied at 5-5, Jarrige scored back-to-back goals within two minutes to give Richard Mille a 75 lead with 3:05 remaining. The first goal he scored on a great neck shot off a back shot pass from Mac Donough. His Spectators pack the second goal was on a sold-out VIP tent. breakaway after he picked up a loose ball. Ganzi converted his third 15-yard penalty of the game with 2:26 left to cut the lead to 7-6. Against a strong man defense by Richard Mille, U.S. Polo Assn. tried to mount an offensive attack. With 1:30 left, Jarrige saved a potential Roldan goal. U.S. Polo Assn. players, despite hitting it out of bounds three times, had two quick scoring opportunities but missed both. Roldan looked to be on his way to scoring the tying goal when Jarrige stopped his shot in the final seconds. Ganzi quickly backed the loose ball into the goal but the bell signifying the end of the game had run one second earlier and it was no goal, which was confirmed by umpire review. It was tough, it could have gone either way in the end,” Ganzi said. “The ball didn’t really bounce our way. It is what it is, that’s polo.” —Sharon Robb NICK TININENKO

NICK TININENKO

NICK TININENKO

IN AN EMOTIONALLY-CHARGED FINAL, Richard Mille defended its title in the St. Regis World

Top: Richard Mille’s Edouard Pan, Pablo Mac Donough and MVP Louis Jarrige. Above: Grant Ganzi drags the ball while under pressure.

20 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N


POLO SCENE

SMART START Clinic attendees get leg up on season

E

LDORADO POLO CLUB in Indio, California, hosted its annual Linfoot Polo Clinic in December. As a season starter, this clinic has helped many players get their winter polo off to a great start. Attendees Tanya Paneno, Ron Gustaveson, Nico Nierenberg, Nick Marinz, Steve Pollack and Lee Robinson came from clubs across the West to improve their riding and hitting skills, as well as gain new insights into strategy, horse care and other aspects of the game. The clinic is taught by the husband and wife team of Corky and Kathy Linfoot, who have been teaching clinics for 35 years. Corky is a former 7-goal player and Kathy has been teaching riding lessons since she was 14. Together they share over 100 years of equine experience. “We had a small but enthusiastic group who wanted to take advantage of a very comprehensive two days of polo information,” said Corky Linfoot. “We adapt our clinics to the desires of the students, concentrating on those areas of polo they most wish to improve.” Over the two days, players participated in chalk talks to develop strategies and were given drills to improve their riding and swings. The Linfoots also covered choosing horses, conformation and league and tournament play, and fielded numerous questions. “The Linfoot Clinic was informative with a wealth of knowledge shared during group discussions and put into practice on the field. The best part about the clinic was being held accountable for the errors I made while being required to explain my mistakes. This method will help my retention of the instruction thus enabling me to apply it to the field. The Linfoot Clinic is a must-attend by all aspiring polo players. I hope to return in the years to come!” said Gustaveson. The Linfoots have offered this clinic in the desert for years, and travel to other areas to teach clinics on a limited basis. For more information go to linfootpolo.com.

Ten-goal Adolfo Cambiaso has won seven Argentine Open Championships all riding in Luxe Edition Texas Polo Saddles

Participants in the Linfoot Clinic at Eldorado Polo Club practice on the field what they learned in group discussions. They also did drills to help their riding and swings.

What are you waiting for?

DALLAS www.Texaspolo.com 214 - 720 - 0233 (continued on page 56) POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 21


P O L O D E V E L O P M E N T, L L C

Arena remodel Community comes together to improve club By Hayley Heatley

We are reminded of Brandywine Polo Club’s significance in the history of polo on the East Coast, as it prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary this year. Like many clubs across the nation, Brandywine experienced periods of both triumph and tribulations, including the devastating fire in 1966 that took the lives of 18 horses, and a 2013 tornado that tore the roof off the barn that was built after the fire. Through it all, Brandywine has proven to be resilient and is eager to continue growing the club’s legacy with a strategic plan for sustainable growth both on the field and off. This past year, Brandywine Polo Club’s 14-year-old arena footing and side boards received a critical update with matching funds from sponsor partner Malvern Bank and the USPA PDI grant. On the most basic level, the new arena footing allowed for lessons, coaching chukkers and USPA tournament games to continue as scheduled, no matter what the weather. While the funding got the project off the ground, the heavy lifting came from volunteers with the support of local businesses.

22 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

Rain delays were kept to a minimum with the arena offering a viable solution for safe footing when its claybased grass fields were too wet. Looking back on the past season, the increased arena activity indirectly increased the club’s outdoor polo as students logged more hours in the saddle, thus gaining confidence to move onto grass competition sooner. The funding provided by Malvern Bank and the USPA PDI grant allowed the project to get off the ground, but the heavy lifting came in the form of club volunteers and much appreciated local business support. Stoltzfus Fence, Knox Rental Equipment and numerous club members pitched in over several weekends to complete the arena upgrade that included laser grading, 702 tons of blue stone footing, 2600 pressure treated boards for siding and 400 linear feet of wire mesh. The next phase in Brandywine Polo’s sustainable plan will include installation of arena lights and arena


P O L O D E V E L O P M E N T, L L C

The arena allows the club’s polo school students more time in the saddle.

spectator viewing areas. These additions will open up more hours of playing time and help grow a following around Saturday Night Lights. The goal of the Polo Development Initiative Grant Program is to support thoughtfully presented applications for PDI funding that address specific, club-based, sustainability needs. Grant awards will be made in support of a specific purpose that addresses those needs, including, but not limited to: • Improving the quality of the polo-playing experience • Promoting the sport of polo • Advancing the sustainability and growth of club membership, taking into consideration club capacity and the available polo facilities Capital improvements were eligible for funding for the first time during the 2019 application cycle, opening the doors for clubs to embark on new improvement projects. For more information on the Polo Development Initiative, please visit uspolo.org. •

Above: Polo pro Martin Estrada teaches a student during the OneMagnify Polo Clinic this past summer. Below: When the club’s grass fields are too wet to play, the arena’s 702 tons of bluestone allow the show to go on.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 23


I N T E R C O L L E G I AT E / I N T E R S C H O L A S T I C

Realizing goals DAN KAPLAN

Former I/I player starts club from the ground up

When you pull past the garlic farms and into South Bay Polo Club in Gilroy, California, your first greeting will likely come from a bounding little pug named Bug. Following closely behind will be his owner, intercollegiate alum and South Bay Polo Manager Francesca Finato, smiling from ear to ear and eager to get you on a horse. Though Francesca has grown South Bay Polo into a bustling club, her polo journey started much earlier. Francesca was introduced to polo at a young age. Her great-great-uncle was L.C. Smith, one of Eldorado Polo Club’s founding members, and she grew up next to polo player Wes Linfoot. She has fond memories of Wes riding sets through her parents’ property and being inspired to ride up next to him on her pony. Always ambitious, inquisitive and friendly, she’d pepper Wes with requests to teach her to play polo, but heavy involvement with Pony Club kept her from really giving the sport a go until later on in high school. One fateful day, when Francesca was working after school at the local deli—horses always top of her mind and first topic out the gate—she began chatting with Tracy Connor, a member of the Menlo Polo Club. Impressed, no doubt, by Francesca’s passion for horses and strong Pony Club foundation, he offered her a grooming job. During that time, he taught her everything from tacking to riding those 24 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

same sets she’d always seen Wes on to identifying and treating injuries. Playing as much as she could, it didn’t take much or long to truly get her hooked. When she got to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she knew she wanted to continue with polo and participate in intercollegiate competitions, but unfortunately the team was inactive. Luckily for Francesca, however, Cal Poly Polo founding member and alumnus Megan Judge had bought the program’s tack and horses in the hopes of restarting the program. In a very “Field of Dreams” moment, Megan built a beautiful arena off campus and they-led by Francesca—came in droves. Active once again, Megan coached Francesca and the team through three very competitive intercollegiate seasons. Today, Cal Poly has built upon the solid foundations of that early group to become a West Coast powerhouse program for both interscholastic and intercollegiate play, but during Francesca’s stretch, UC Davis just could not be unseated. Even though Francesca and the Cal Poly team weren’t able to topple the Danika Rice and Lindsay Joseph-led Aggies, participating in I/I opened the door to a host of other polo experiences and created a number of lifelong friendships. Indeed, I/I opened the door to grass polo. Francesca was able to play her very first grass chukkers with former 8-goal player Joel Baker at his


DAN KAPLAN

I N T E R C O L L E G I AT E / I N T E R S C H O L A S T I C

Francesca Finato’s goal was to run a polo club. Today, she is doing just that.

farm in Buellton. Joel and his friends trusted college students to join their green horse chukkers because they knew they’d play with the same discipline and respect on the grass that they’d learned in the arena. Her first time on the grass, Joel told her to go up for a pass and she gamely cantered out about 30 yards. Amused, Joel suggested she may want to “go a bit further” so she did. Again, she stopped and looked back only for him to wink and send her up again. Once she crossed midfield, he delivered a pass right in front of her stirrup, impressing upon her how much accuracy, precision and talent professional players possess along with the discipline required to attain it. Inspired by her experiences in I/I and the various industry professionals she’d encountered, Francesca knew that one day she wanted to pursue a career in polo full time. Like many I/I players, after graduation Francesca accepted an entry-level job working in the purchasing department of a local home builder and polo had to take a backseat for a few years, but she never lost sight of her dream. During that stretch, she’d meet up with her friend Brian Englund and they’d talk about their goals—she to run a polo club, he to become a restauranteur. When opportunity came knocking in the form of working for Erik Wright, Francesca made the jump. She worked for Wrightway Polo in Menlo and Indio

for two years, learning everything possible about managing horses and clubs. From there she took the leap and started out on her own in 2012, with the help of Tim Westin and Santos Arriola. The first season, players were only charged chukker fees and tournament fees. The second season, with a full schedule intact, the club was off and running with eight paying members. The club nearly doubled in size the following year, and now runs with a consistent 20-member roster. Her club naturally grew to include an I/I contingent—both interscholastic and middle school—during the winter season, while the fields and members take off. This allows the school horses to be kept in work, and helps to offset the costs, while also introducing the sport to the next generation. Francesca’s goal for her program is to have an impact, not only on the sport but on the individuals. She thrives on the growth her players have both on and off the field, introducing them to leadline, through middle school, high school and onto college. Though still a very young program, several of Francesca’s players have graduated and gone on to play polo in college, including Hannah Smith (U Texas), Amy Lang (U Wisconsin), Anya Moturi (USC) and Toby Watters (Edinburgh). The success of these students further exemplifies the growth and impact her club has on the next generation. • POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 25


Get schooled Arena clinics provide added value for clubs

While Oklahoma State’s clinic was rained out, students had a rules review and strategy session in the classroom.

Last year, several clubs and programs received invaluable support for improving their members’ polo skills. These programs were able to take advantage of arena clinics made available through the Arena Committee with additional support from Polo Training Foundation. Chairman of the USPA Arena Committee Dan Coleman explained, “Clinics have been an easy way for the association to bring value to both beginners and experienced players alike. The Arena Committee was a strong supporter of the Polo Development Initiative program when it was existent and is proud to continue support for arena clubs and players. [Committee members] believe the future of polo at all levels is in the arena and we work hard year after year to share wealth of knowledge with players of all levels.” Texas Tech Polo Club hosted a clinic in October

26 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

2019. Arena Committee member Robin Sanchez traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to work with both varsity players and club members. Over 20 players participated in classroom sessions about rules and strategy as well as mounted sessions on hitting, riding and strategy with drills and scrimmage. There was also the opportunity for players to get on “Rusty,” the hitting cage horse, for some one-on-one with Sanchez with video review. Lakeside Polo Club in Lakeside, California, also took advantage of the arena clinic program with an early Fall clinic taught by Sanchez. Nicole Bankhead owns and manages Lakeside and coaches I/I teams. “Clinics have been essential to our club growth and player improvement at Lakeside. They are also a great opportunity for clubs that may not have a resident pro. It’s especially important to solidify new players and members and give them a broader view


Jared Sheldon helps a student with her swing during a clinic at Lakeside Polo Club in California.

of the sport. Clinics also create excitement and variety, which encourages more participation. Everyone wins when the level of play and participation increases,� Bankhead explained. The Poway Polo Club in Poway, California, also benefited from an arena clinic. The Shane Rice Arena polo clinic was a three-day event with 18 participants, including both kids and adults. The clinic commenced with Friday evening chukkers where Rice evaluated the play to determine the areas to address with the participants in the clinic. The Saturday portion began with a strategy session before moving on to hitting instruction and afternoon coaching chukkers. The final day of the event consisted of competitive chukkers where all of the participants put what they learned into action. Each participant seemed to come away with something different. Seventeen-year-old Zachary

Students benefitted from video swing analysis on Rusty at Texas Tech.

Students enjoy a scrimmage during a clinic at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 27


Over 20 students, both varsity and club members, participated in the clinic at Texas Tech.

Jared Sheldon, far left, with clinic participants at Lakeside Polo Club in California

Cobb said, “You have to hit a million balls before it becomes muscle memory.” Zachary’s 13-year-old brother Lukas said, “I learned that it is all in the wrist.” Emily Andre learned a lot about the mechanics of the swing and how to be more accurate with the hits she takes. All-in-all it was a great event thanks to Rice. St Edward’s University and UT Polo play at the same location at Two Wishes Ranch in the Austin, Texas, area and had the opportunity to work with Sanchez under the newly-added arena lights installed with the help of a USPA PDI grant. Caroline Woodman of the UT Polo team organized and participated in the instruction with Sanchez. “Receiving hands-on, professional instruction made a huge difference for our players. We learned multiple new drills that targeted the techniques that we need to improve, as these continue to help us far beyond the clinic itself. Plus, it was a really fun

28 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

experience that integrated our players more into the polo community,” Woodman said. Lakeside Polo Club held a second arena clinic in late December with 7-goal Jared Sheldon through support from Polo Training Foundation. Daniel Jones attended the clinic. “I was immediately impressed with Jared’s friendly nature and the way he presented himself to the clinic participants. He began with very basic riding fundamentals, which I really appreciated. He watched each rider in their warm-ups and gave specific individual pointers for riders at every level. “Jared has a way of giving constructive advice without being condescending or coming across as critical. He also concentrated on the connection between the horse and rider, giving tips on how to correctly communicate with your horse. I found this to be particularly helpful,” Jones said. “As the morning progressed, Jared moved from riding


The Poway clinic had both kids and adults for three days of instruction.

The clinic at Poway started with chukkers so Shane Rice could evaluate the players.

instruction into polo skills. The techniques he presented were broken down into easy-to-understand steps, and I’ll definitely be working on incorporating the advice he gave us into my polo game.” An additional arena clinic at Oklahoma State was

rained out of the outdoor arena but had a rules review and strategy covered in the classroom. If your club is interested in hosting an arena clinic in 2020, please reach out to Arena Committee staff person Kaila Dowd at kdowd@uspolo.org. •

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 29


La Dolfina Land

Adolfo Cambiaso outpaces Nico Pieres in the Argentine Open final.

Cambiaso & Company dominate in Palermo Photos by Sergio Llamera

30 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N


The superstitious may consider 13 unlucky, but for La Dolfina, the 2019 126th Argentine Open was its 13th title, its seventh consecutive, after overcoming Ellerstina, 16-12, in eight chukkers of regulation time. It was the end of a long Triple Crown season, which included the Tortugas, Hurlingham and Argentine Opens. Eight teams between 30 and 40 goals competed in the first two legs, while two more teams—winners of their zones in a qualifying tournament—joined the fray for the Argentine Open. With few exceptions, for the last decade, the finals of each leg of the Triple Crown have pitted La Dolfina against Ellerstina. A 40-goal Ellerstina team took the 2010 Triple Crown with brothers Facundo and Gonzalo Pieres, Pablo Mac Donough and Juan Martin Nero. Cambiaso convinced Mac Donough and Nero, along with Pelon Stirling, to join his team the following year. The combination seemed to work as the new La Dolfina squad won two out of three titles. Within two years, the combination was working like a well-oiled machine and won the Triple Crown three years running. Ellerstina, made up of brothers Facundo, Gonzalo and Nico Pieres along with brother-in-law Mariano Aguerre, for the most part couldn’t seem to stop the La Dolfina train, settling for runner-up time and again. In 2015, the team adjusted the lineup by replacing Aguerre with cousin Polito Pieres. La Dolfina still took the Triple Crown that year, and since then Ellerstina hasn’t gotten any closer to an Argentine Open victory. Since 2016, Ellerstina managed to take the Hurlingham Open title three years in a row, serving as a spoiler to La Dolfina’s Triple Crown runs. while La Dolfina won the Tortugas and Open titles. This year wasn’t much different. Opening day of the 79th Tortugas Open tournament, Oct. 8, was cut short by heavy rain, giving a peak preview of what was to come. Several other preliminary dates were rained out, some matches were partially played in the rain and the semifinals were postponed for 10 days because of the weather. When Mother Nature relented, the first semifinal match had La Dolfina roll over Cría Yatay, 20-4, with ease. The next match, between Ellerstina and Las Monjitas, was much more exciting. Las Monjitas led for most of the game, doubling up Ellerstina, 105, at the halfway mark. Ellerstina began to catch up, matching Las Monjitas in the fifth, and outscoring it

4-0 in the sixth before leveling the scoring in the seventh and forcing an extra chukker. Polito Pieres scored the golden goal to send Ellerstina to the final, scheduled for two days later. Unfortunately, a wet field postponed the final on Oct. 23 at the 4:45 mark of the first chukker when Pelon Stirling slipped and fell. La Dolfina was ahead 2-0. With the field unsafe and the Hurlingham Open scheduled to start, the remainder of the final was postponed until mid-November. At the same time, the qualifying tournament for the remaining spots in the Argentine Open had seven teams between 28-29 goals playing off from Oct. 22Nov. 7. The teams were divided into two zones, with the winner of each zone moving on to the Argentine Open. La Irenita defeated La Cañada, 12-6, and La Dolfina III, 12-10, to win Zone 1, while La Natividad defeated La Esquina, 11-7, Los Machitos, 13-7, and La Irenita II, 13-9, to win Zone 2. The Hurlingham Open, managed for the second year by the Argentine Polo Association in cooperation with the Hurlingham Club, began on Oct. 25. La Dolfina and Las Monjitas topped Zone B and played off for a spot in the final. La Dolfina controlled the first half, amassing a six-goal lead thanks to deadly accurate foul shooting by Juan Martin Nero. Las Monjitas regrouped, outscoring La Dolfina, 5-1, to come within two goals, 13-11. In a game riddled with fouls, Sapo Caset was also accurate with his foul shooting, converting nine but missed two crucial fouls late in the game. La Dolfina held on for the 17-14 win to advance. Zone A was defined in a match between Ellerstina and LD Polo Ranch, which had to win by four goals to advance to the final. Ellerstina lead the entire game to reach a 14-7 victory. On Nov. 9, Ellerstina, hoping for its fourth consecutive Hurlingham title, met La Dolfina. It was clear from the first chukker, La Dolfina was hungry for the win. It doubled up the score in the first seven minutes, 4-2, and kept the pressure on. Leading 8-5 at the half, La Dolfina maintained a three-goal difference for the remainder of the match to win, 16-13. Hurlingham Club President Fernando Kelly and AAP President Eduardo Novillo Astrada presented the trophies. The Javier Novillo Astrada MVP Award went to Juan Martin Nero; the Fair Play Award went to Gonzalo Pieres Jr.; The Daniel Kearny Best Playing Pony went to Adolfo Cambiaso’s Más Claudia; the AAP Best Horse in the final went to

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 31


Pelon Stirling stays one step ahead of Gonzalo Pieres in the Argentine Open final.

Dolfina Cuartetera B04 Clone, played by Nero; and the AACCP Best Registered Product went to Facundo Pieres’ Open Candy Kiss. The teams met a week later, on Nov. 15 to complete the final of the Tortugas Open, picking up where they left off in the first chukker with La Dolfina ahead. It seemed like the results would be similar to the Hurlingham final after La Dolfina held the lead for the first six chukkers, but Ellerstina dug deep and outscored La Dolfina 3-1 in the sixth to come within one, thanks to the leadership of Gonzalo Pieres Jr. The team went on to scored two in the final chukker, including the game winner with less than a minute on the clock, while holding La Dolfina scoreless to take the win and deny La Dolfina its seventh consecutive title and a chance at a fourth Triple Crown. Tortugas Country Club President Francisco Dorignac presented the trophies. MVP honors went to Nicolás Pieres; Facundo Pieres was high-scorer with six goals; AAP Best Horse was Pablo Mac Donough’s Irenita Acertada; and the AACCP Award for Best Registered Product was Nicolás Pieres’ Open Biznieta. The teams changed their focus to the Argentine Open, with the games beginning the next day. The ten teams (with the addition of the two qualifier winners) were divided into two zones.

32 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

Despite a morning drizzle, the games got off as scheduled with La Ensenada Meta taking on La Irenita, that was making its debut. La Ensenada got the advantage, 14-7. Later La Dolfina Polo Ranch defeated La Aguada El Dok 17-9. The next day, La Natividad, fresh from the classification tournament, shook up La Albertina Abu Dhabi, 13-7, in a fast open game. Victorino Ruiz filled in for an injured Agustín Merlos for the losers. La Natividad’s Camilo Castagnola, 16, made his Argentine Open debut. The next match had Las Monjitas beat Cría Yatay Uphold, 17-9. Caset was high-scorer with eight goals. Days later, La Dolfina Sancor Seguros got the best of La Irenita, 19-7 while La Dolfina Polo Ranch beat La Ensenada Meta, 16-7. A confident La Natividad didn’t have an easy time against Ellerstina Johor, falling 15-8, while La Albertina Abu Dhabi lost its second match, this time to Las Monjitas, 16-9. La Irenita picked up its first win over La Aguada, 16-11, while La Dolfina Sancor Seguros crushed La Ensenada Meta, 18-8. La Natividad celebrated a second win, this time over Cría Yatay Uphold, 14-10, before Ellerstina edged La Albertina Abu Dhabi, 13-11. La Dolfina Polo Ranch beat La Irenita, 16-6, and La Dolfina Sancor Seguros defeated La Aguada, 18-6.


December began with Las Monjitas completing zone playoffs with a 3-0 record after edging a surprisingly tough Natividad (2-2), 11-9. Ellerstina also arrived undefeated after eliminating Cría Yatay Uphold, 14-9. The 10 teams were ranked after receiving 150 points for each Argentine Open game win. If three or more teams are tied, its goes to who beat who. If the tied teams didn’t play each other, the team with the most goals places higher. The two lowest-ranked teams are out. The eighth-place team plays the winner of the Copa Cámara de Diputados for the last remaining Triple Crown spot. The teams that top the classification zones will join the eight Triple Crown teams in the 2020 Argentine Open. On Dec. 6, Zone A’s La Aguada El Dok beat La Ensenada Meta, 17-10, to secure its spot in this year’s Triple Crown. Eighth place La Ensenada’s spot was unsure for this year until it defeated the winner of the Copa Cámara de Diputados. With 0-3 records, Zone B’s Cría Yatay played La Albertina Abu Dhabi. La Albertina prevailed, 17-14, to maintain a spot in the Triple Crown. Last place Cría Yatay and ninth place La Irenita will have to earn their way back into the Argentine Open by winning their zones in the classification tournament.

Meanwhile, on Dec. 7, La Dolfina Sancor Seguros, celebrating its 100th Triple Crown game with its current line-up, topped La Dolfina Polo Ranch, 15-6, to earn its 19th (12-6 record) final appearance since its founding in 2000. For the other spot, Las Monjitas played off against Ellerstina in a replay of last year’s zone definition. This time, Ellerstina got revenge in a tightly contested 11-10 match, to earn its place. It will be the team’s 12th (3-8 record) Argentine Open final appearance. The Argentine Open final kept spectators on the edge of their seats, but not necessarily for the play. Less-than-ideal field conditions saw numerous slips and falls, including a scary fall that took Juan Martin Nero out of the game. Pablo Mac Donough struck first with 5:38 on the clock. Cambiaso uncharacteristically missed three shots on goal, looking at the cane of his mallet on the third miss. With 34 seconds left in the chukker, Stirling’s horse propped to avoid the goal post as Stirling was reaching back, unseating him. He remounted and as play continued, La Dolfina was awarded a Penalty 4, which Cambiaso sent wide. Less than a minute into the second, Stirling fell when his horse slipped behind, doing everything it could to stay on its feet, but unseating Stirling. A

The packed stadium at Palermo witnessed several falls on a subpar field during the Argentine Open final.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 33


Played Entire Triple Crown Penalty 2 by Facundo put Ellerstina on the board at the 4:34 mark. Cambiaso found his swing and followed with one of his own. Another Penalty 2 off Facundo’s mallet went wide, and Polito missed a field goal. Cambiaso split the uprights with a Penalty 3, then scored on a pass from Mac Donough out of the ensuing throw-in to end the chukker, 4-2. Ellerstina had its chances to take the lead in the third but could not connect. Cambiaso scored, but

La Dolfina Sancor Seguros:

40

Adolfo Cambiaso David Stirling Pablo Mac Donough Juan Martín Nero

10 10 10 10

Ellerstina Johor:

39

Pablo Pieres Gonzalo Pieres Jr. Nicolás Pieres Facundo Pieres

10 9 10 10

La Aguada:

32

Lucas Díaz Alberdi Alfredo Bigatti Alejandro Novillo Astrada Ignacio Novillo Astrada

La Albertina Abu Dhabi:

7 8 8 9

32

Agustín Merlos Francisco Elizalde Ignacio Toccalino Alfredo Cappella Barabucci

8 8 8 8

Las Monjitas:

38

Facundo Sola Hilario Ulloa Guillermo Caset Santiago Toccalino

9 10 10 9

La Dolfina Polo Ranch:

32

Guillermo Terrera Juan Britos Jr. Diego Cavanagh Alejo Taranco

La Ensenada Meta:

8 8 8 8

30

Facundo Fernández Llorente Juan Martín Zavaleta Juan M. Zubía Jerónimo del Carril

Cría Yatay:

7 8 8 7

32

Valerio Zubiaurre Cristian Laprida Joaquín Pittaluga Ignacio Laprida Juan Martin Nero takes a few minutes after a scary fall. He tried to keep playing despite having broken his leg.

Gonzalo Pieres responded in kind. Seconds later he just missed at the other end. Polito had two misses but the third time was the charm, keeping Ellerstina in the game, 5-3. Facundo converted a Penalty 2 early in the fourth, but Mac Donough followed by bouncing a ball on the end of his stick and into the goal. La Dolfina kept the ball in front of the Ellerstina goal. Gonzalo Pieres’ clearing shot bounced off Stirling’s horse’s leg and into the goal. Cambiaso scored another, then escorted Mac Donough’s difficult angle shot along the back line into the goal with a second to spare. The half ended with La Dolfina comfortably ahead, 9-4.

34 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

8 8 8 8

Played Argentine Open only La Irenita: Juan Ruiz Guiñazú Juan Jauretche Clemente Zavaleta Diego Araya

La Natividad: Camilo Castagnola Matias Torres Zavaleta. Bartolomé Castagnola Ignatius Du Plessis

28 8 6 7 7

28 6 7 7 8


La Dolfina’s Rodrigo Andrade, Juan Martin Nero, Pablo Mac Donough, Pelon Stirling and Adolfo Cambiaso

La Dolfina kept up the pressure in the fifth, with three goals to Ellerstina’s two. Ellerstina made up some ground in the sixth with three unanswered goals, while La Dolfina had some bad luck with a Cambiaso miss, a Penalty 3 attempt by Nero that Gonzalo Pieres saved and a Mac Donough shot that crossed the line just after the bell. Still, Ellerstina trailed 12-9. The teams traded goals in the seventh but when Nero had a serious fall a little more than two minutes into the chukker, it seemed to shake everyone. Despite getting rolled on by his horse, he gamely tried to continue playing after a short break but was visibly in pain and had to stop two minutes later, dismounting and limping away. The team’s substitute, Rodrigo Andrade was field side with a few of his own horses at the ready. He mounted up for Nero and played well, even adding a pair of goals to the team’s tally. Stirling had his third mishap when his horse slipped behind, and fighting to stay on its feet, ran into Gonzalo Pieres’ horse, knocking it off its feet. Mac Donough later became unseated after getting hit in the side by a horse’s head. Despite the bumps, La Dolfina continued its dominance, outscoring Ellerstina 3-2 in the final chukker to win, 16-12. Facundo Pieres was high-scorer with eight goals, but was not playing at the top of his game. For the winners, Cambiaso led with six goals, followed by Mac Donough with five. Mac Donough won the Gonzalo

Heguy MVP award, while Cambiaso took the Javier Novillo Astrada trophy for high-scorer of the tournament with 39 goals. Playing several clones, Cambiaso also was named Best Mounted Player of the final and Best Mounted Player of the tournament. The Fair Play award went to Polito Pieres and the Rubén Sola Revelation Award went to up-and-coming brothers Bartolomé and Camilo Castagnola. For the horses, Dolfina B06 Cuartetera (clone) took home the Lady Susan Townley Cup for Best Horse of the Final. The AACCP Best Registered Horse went to Más Claudia, this time played by Pelón Stirling, and the American Polo Horse Association award, presented by Grant Ganzi and Juan Bollini, went to Cambiaso’s Dolfina B09 Cuartetera (clone). A tough-as-nails Nero joined his teammates on the podium for the trophy presentation, even smiling and celebrating. It was later revealed that he had broken his fibula and required surgery. He is in a walking boot until it is fully healed. After the tournament, musical teams began. Polito Pieres will leave Ellerstina in favor of La Natividad with the Castagnola brothers and Ignatius Du Plessis. The addition of Polito and handicap changes (each brother went up by two and Du Plessis went up one) put La Natividad from 27 goals to 36 for 2020. Polito Pieres’ spot on Ellerstina will be filled by 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa. It is unclear who will fill Ulloa’s spot on Las Monjitas. • POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 35


Sweet revenge

El Overo Z7 UAE wins Argentine Women’s Polo Open Photos by Sergio Llamera

Hours before the grand finale of the 126th Argentine Polo Open HSBC was defined in Palermo on Dec 14, the third Argentine Women’s Polo Open was defined on Field 2. This year, six teams between 16 and 30 goals (women’s handicaps) competed. Players came from Argentina, the United States, England, Holland and Nigeria. While it was two more teams then last year’s four, only one American, Dawn Jones, was in the lineups compared to three last year. 36 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

In the final, Overo Z7 UAE took great revenge, defeating the two-time defending champion La Dolfina Brava, 10-5. Both teams had a line-up change from the previous two years: La Dolfina had 7-goal Milagros Sánchez instead of 10-goal Nina Clarkin, while El Overo Z7 UAE had 4-goal Millie Hine instead of 7-goal Sarah Wiseman. The changes kept the teams’ handicaps separated by just a goal for the tournament played on the flat. El Overo Z7 UAE’s Lía Salvo, who was raised from


Milagros Sánchez reaches out to hook Hazel Jackson-Gaona in the final.

El Overo Z7 UAE:

30

Clara Cassino Millie Hine Hazel Jackson-Gaona Lia Salvo

7 4 10 9

La Dolfina Brava:

29

Mia Cambiaso Milagros Fernández Araujo Milagros Sánchez Candelaria Fernández

LDPR Amanara: María Bellande Sol López Llames Paola Martinez María Laura Giménez

9 to 10 after this year’s performance, was the best player of the tournament and best scorer of the tournament for the third consecutive year (24 in 2019). It was the first title for Salvo, Clara Cassino and Hazel Jackson in three Open finals and a triumphant debut for Hine. Meanwhile, Mía Cambiaso and sisters Milagros and Candelaria Fernández Araujo had to settle for runners-up after taking titles the last two years, while Sánchez was denied in her debut in the highest-rated women’s event in the world. Trophies were presented by La Ensenada Polo Club’s Ernesto Gutiérrez, along with Verónica Guerrero, head of the Women’s Polo Subcommittee of the AAP, and President of the AAP Eduardo Novillo Astrada Jr. Among the individual awards, Lía Salvo was distinguished as MVP of the final, the trophy presented by Carlos Menéndez Behety, advisor to the

7 7 7 8

25 6 5 8 6

Santa María de Lobos Fred Segal Polo Gear: Dawn Jones Emma Tomlinson Tamara Fox Sarah Wiseman

25 6 5 7 7

La Ensenada Access Bank: 22 Uneku Atawodi-Edun Fátima Balzano Mía Novillo Astrada Inés Lalor alt. Delfina Balzano 5

La Victoria Plus Art: Stephanie Haverhals Sofía Sciutto Maitena Marré Sofía Lorenzo

4 6 6 6

16 4 4 4 4

AAP, while Clara Cassino, who will go from 7 to 8, received the Fair Play award from Dr. Rafael Cúneo Libarona, advisor and head of the Subcommission on Discipline. The AACCP award and the Ministry of Agribusiness for the Best Registered Player Product went to Principito Jaimita, played by Mía Cambiaso. The award was presented by Santiago Ballester, president of AACCP. Finally, the AAP prize for the best horse in the final went to Morena, played by Clara Cassino. The blanket was presented by Federico Virasoro, AAP Councilor. The tournament got underway with a team presentation on Sunday, Dec. 1 following an Argentine Open match at Palermo. The presentation included AAP Vice President Delfín Uranga and Guerrero, along with one participant from each team: Hazel Jackson (El Overo Z7 UAE), Milagros Fernández Araujo (La Dolfina Brava), Paola Martínez (LDPR Amanara), Dawn Jones (Santa María de Lobos Fred Segal Polo Gear), Uneku Atawodi-Edun (La Ensenada Access Bank) and Sofía Lorenzo (La Victoria Plus Art). The games began on Dec. 2, on the fields of La Ensenada Polo Club in Open Door, some 41 miles west of Buenos Aires. The matches were played as eight four-minute chukkers. The first matches saw La Dolfina Brava beat La Ensenada Access Bank, 9-3, while El Overo Z7 UAE crushed La Victoria Plus Art, 16-1. The second day had LDPR Amanara edge La POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 37


Lia Salvo was Best Player of the tournament and was raised to 10 goals.

Millie Hine moves in to defend Candelaria Fernรกndez Araujo.

38 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N


Ensenada Access Bank, 5-3, while Santa María de Lobos Fred Segal Polo Gear picked up its first win after downing La Victoria Plus Art, 9-4. The last day of qualifying matches saw La Dolfina Brava stop LDPR Amanara, 8-2, with half the goals coming off the mallet of Sánchez, while El Overo Z7 UAE got the best of Santa María de Lobos Fred Segal Polo Gear, 12-3, thanks to a strong performance from Salvo. With 2-0 records, La Dolfina Brava and El Overo Z7 UAE earned spots in the semifinals. The remaining teams played off for the other two spots. Santa María de Lobos worked hard to edge La Ensenada Access Bank, 7-6, in extra time thanks to a golden goal from Sarah Wiseman. In the other match, LDPR Amanara had an easier time over Victoria Plus Art with a 9-3 victory. The semifinal matches were lopsided affairs with a strong La Dolfina Brava shutting out Santa María de Lobos for the first three chukkers, while collecting four goals. Santa María finally got on the board in the fourth with a goal that was matched by La Dolfina. Santa María was silenced in the fifth, but stole the show in the sixth with three unanswered goals, giving the team some hope. Neither team could reach the goal in the seventh, but La Dolfina secured the victory with a trio of goals in the final chukker to end, 10-4. El Overo had an even easier time over LDPR Amanara, preventing it from reaching the goal for the first five chukkers. Paola Martinez put LDPR on the board with the only goal of the sixth. El Overo

shot back with two unanswered goals in the seventh. Both teams tallied in the final chukker but the damage was done and El Overo advanced to the final. A women’s-only handicap system was established in Argentina in March 2010. In addition to Salvo and Cassino whose handicaps were raised, Millie Hine will go from 4 to 5, as will La Victoria’s Maite Marre and Sofía Lorenzo. American’s Courtney Asdourian, Clarissa Echezarreta and Paige McCabe will drop from 6 to 5. •

Top: Clara Cassino, Millie Hine, Hazel Jackson-Gaona and Lia Salvo. Above: Clara Cassino will go from 7 to 8.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 39


P O L O I N T H E PA M PA S

,

Silver opportunity Sol de Agosto Alegría takes Cámara de Diputados Photos by Sergio Llamera

Sol de Agosto Alegría topped a 16-team lineup to capture the title in the Copa Cámara de Diputados on Dec. 12. Five teams had failed to qualify for the 126th Argentine Open, while 11 teams came from the XV Copa Municipalidad del Pilar. The teams were divided into four brackets, playing off over three weekends. The winners of each bracket advanced to the semifinals. Games began on Nov. 20 at the Argentine Polo Association’s fields in Pilar and by the first week in December, La Esquina, Chapa Uno, Sol de Agosto Alegría and Los Machitos had emerged as semifinalists, all with 3-0 records. La Esquina handed Chapa Uno its first loss on Dec. Sol de Agosto Alegría’s Rufino Bensadón holds off La Esquina’s Bautista Bayugar in the final of the Cámara de Diputados.

40 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

7 in the first semifinal. The next day, Sol de Agosto Alegría edged Los Machitos, 10-9. La Esquina (Pascual Sainz de Vicuña, Juan García Grossi, Lucas James, Bautista Bayugar) was set to face Sol de Agosto Alegría (Rufino Bensadón, Francisco Bensadón, Francisco de Narváez, Frederick Mannix Jr.) in the final. The teams stayed level, 1-1, after the first seven minutes before Sol de Agosto doubled up the score, 42, in the second chukker. La Esquina matched Sol de Agosto’s two goals in the third and both were scoreless in the fourth, for a 6-4 score. La Esquina owned the fifth, with Bayugar scoring three unanswered goals to take the lead, 7-6. Sol de Agosto tied the score in the sixth but La Esquina got the


P O L O I N T H E PA M PA S

Paco de Narváez and Pancho Bensadón congratulate Rufino Bensadón after he scored the golden goal in overtime of the Camara de Diputados final.

advantage in the seventh. With under a minute left, just when it seemed La Esquina would take the win, Paco de Narváez knotted the score to send it into overtime. A costly mistake by La Esquina just 1:40 in the extra chukker gave young Rufino Bensadón an opportunity from the 30-yard line, which he seized on to win the match. Awards were presented by Argentine Polo Association president Eduardo Novillo Astrada and vice president Delfin Uranga, along with AACCP president Santiago Ballester. Open Sexy, played by Lucas James and owned by Ellerstina SA, was Best Playing Pony. Not only had Sol de Agosto won the title, but it earned a chance to challenge the eighth place team in this year’s Argentine Open. Sol de Agosto, 27 goals, would take on the 30-goal La Ensenada Meta (Facundo Fernández Llorente, Juan Zavaleta, Juan Zubía, Jerónimo del Carril) for a spot in next year’s Hurlingham and Argentine Open competitions. The match was held in Pilar on Dec. 16. A motivated Sol de Agosto jumped out to a 5-4 lead

after the first 14 minutes, but La Ensenada managed to take control to get ahead, 6-5, in the third. It increased its lead to 9-7 then 10-7 in the next two chukkers. Sol de Agosto worked hard to close the gap in the sixth, scoring an unanswered goal. If anyone was having doubts about La Ensenada, they quickly melted away as the team took control of the final chukker with four goals in a row to take a convincing 14-8 win. La Ensenada will join the other seven teams that have already earned their place in next fall’s Triple Crown, including La Dolfina, Ellerstina, LD Polo Ranch, Las Monjitas, La Natividad, La Albertina and La Aguada. • Sol de Agosto Alegría’s Frederick Mannix Jr., Paco de Narváez, Pancho Bensadon and Rufino Bensadon won the Cámara de Diputados but was unable to unseat La Ensenada for a spot in the Triple Crown.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 41


POLO AROUND THE GLOBE

Sotogrande, Spain Local players enjoy the area’s top fields in off season Photos courtesy Iberian Polo Tour

Rosbif’s Andrew Nalor’s Inga was Best Playing Pony.

The 4th Iberian Polo Tour consisted of three events over the first three weekends in December in Sotogrande, Spain. The tour was organized by 5-goal pro Pelayo Berazadi to provide polo outside the area’s traditional summer season on the area’s topquality polo fields. Located in San Roque, Cádiz, Spain, Sotogrande is nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sierra Almenara mountains. Average temperatures in December range from 53 to 63 degrees. The first tournament included four teams, from 5 to 8 goals, vying for the Sotoestates Cup at the Santa María Polo Club.

42 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

On the first day, Esperanza/Red Charm (C. Fonquerne-Frank, Jose M. de la Infiesta, R. Torreguitar, E. Grahn) downed Rosbif (Andrew Naylor, Dennis Connolly, Jamie Le Hardy, T. Small), 6-4, while PX (Xerxes González Quijano, Dimitri Deynkeo, Christian Chaves, Pelayo Berazadi) edged Polo Valley (A. Dabell, A. Gariador, S. McCraith, M. Amieva), 8-7. In the second round played the following day, PX edged Esperanza/Red Charm, 7-6, while Rosbif beat Polo Valley, 6-4½. This set up the final for Sunday between the undefeated PX and Rosbif. PX maintained its momentum, defeating Rosbif, 7-4.


POLO AROUND THE GLOBE

Xerxes Gonzรกlez Quijano, Dimitri Deynkeo, Christian Chaves and Pelayo Berazadi won the Sotoestates Cup, the first leg of the Iberian Polo Tour.

Polo Valley and Red Charm battle in the consolation. Red Charm prevailed.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 43


POLO AROUND THE GLOBE

Inclement weather cut the tour down to the first two dates.

Rosendo Torreguitar takes off in the final of the Copa Casa Fagliano.

44 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

Rosbif’s Dennis Connolly was named MVP and Andrew Nalor’s Inga was Best Playing Pony. In the consolation Andalusian Championship, Esperanza/ Red Charm beat Polo Valley, 7½-5. After the matches, the teams gathered for afterpolo cocktails provided by Midas & Co. and watched the final of the Argentine Open on a large screen TV. The following week, The Casa Fagliano Cup was played at the Ayala Polo Club. Five teams competed in the event but it was Panarea (Edmund Eggins, Aristide Faggionato, Rosendo Torreguitar, Henry Brett) that settled at the top, downing Rosbif, 9-4, in the final. Henry Brett was named MVP and his Iboti was Best Playing Pony. Claire Frank received the Diego Gallego Fair Play Award. Prior to the final, Real Club de Pineda, Audaz/Red Charm and PX/Smiths played off in a round-robin consolation. PX/Smiths topped both Audaz/Red Charm and Real Club de Pineda for the win, while Real Club edged Audaz/Red Charm. The following week, inclement weather forced the Monasterio Finca Cup to be cancelled. •


POLO AROUND THE GLOBE

Panarea’s Edmund Eggins, Aristide Faggionato, Rosendo Torreguitar and Henry Brett won the Copa Casa Fagliano.

Spectators enjoyed the polo action in beautiful weather at the Ayala Polo Club.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 45


POLO REPORT DISPATCHES FROM THE WORLD OF POLO FLORIDA

CHUKKERTV FOR GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

AUDI CAPTURES NATIONAL TWENTY GOAL

Sebucan’s Santos Bollini slaps a hook on Audi’s Nic Roldan in the final of the USPA National Twenty Goal at Grand Champions Polo Club.

I

n one of the most remarkable comebacks in club history, Audi won the USPA National Twenty Goal tournament, Nov. 27, at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Florida. Six teams competed in the event. Down 7-1 early in the final’s third chukker, Audi (Marc Ganzi, Sugar Erskine, Nic Roldan, Brandon Phillips) rallied for a hard-fought 1110 victory over Sebucan (Santos Bollini, Jason Crowder, Kris Kampsen, Tommy Biddle).

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It was the fourth National 20-Goal title for Audi in tournament history. Audi finished the tournament undefeated at 3-0. Sebucan had a 1-1 record. Nic Roldan was named MVP after scoring a game-high six goals and sparking his team’s comeback. It was Roldan’s fifth National 20-Goal title. “You just watched a really good, tough game, probably the toughest game of the season,” Roldan said. Sebucan dominated Audi the first

two chukkers, jumping out to a 5-0 shut out. Audi didn’t score its first goal until the 2:36 mark in the second chukker on Phillips’ Penalty 3 conversion. The teams tied 1-1 in the second chukker with Sebucan still leading, 6-1. Audi regained its composure in the third chukker with a 3-1 advantage behind two goals by Roldan and one by Phillips to trail 7-4 at the half. Audi scored four unanswered points in the third chukker and early


Audi’s Sugar Erskine, Marc Ganzi, Brandon Phillips and Nic Roldan won the USPA National Twenty Goal.

in the fourth before Sebucan was able to score on Kampsen’s 40-yard penalty conversion. Another 3-1 fourth chukker, with two penalty conversions from Phillips and a goal from Erskine, and Audi was right back in the game, trailing 8-7. “We came out with a plan that didn’t work and they absolutely capitalized on it,” Roldan said. “We just couldn’t get anything done and then we changed it up and it helped. We inched back and forth, chukker by chukker. “We changed it up by putting Marc in the back and put Sugar in the front,” Roldan said. “It helped out a lot by putting pressure on them. That change helped a lot and we started scoring goals.” Audi scored another four unanswered goals in the fourth and fifth chukkers and for the first time shared the lead, 8-8, on Roldan’s tap-in goal with 1:23 left in the fifth. Audi continued to control the momentum in the sixth chukker. Roldan scored back-to-back goals for a 10-8 lead. Biddle’s 40-yard penalty conversion cut the lead to one with 4:35 left. A minute later, Kampsen converted a 60-yard penalty shot to tie the game 10-10 at 3:03. With 2:11 left, Sebucan had an opportunity with a penalty shot but Audi stopped it just short of the goal.

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Sugar Erskine, Horacio Heguy, Kris Kampsen, Tommy Biddle, Jason Crowder, Ale Poma, Carlitos Gracida, Juan Bollini and Carmen Marin after the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial

Roldan came back to score with 1:44 remaining despite a good defensive effort from Kampsen. Crowder won the next throw-in but Erskine came up with a clutch steal and penalty against Sebucan ended the game. Team patron Pablo Pulido, who had family commitments, was replaced by 20-year-old Santos (Tato) Bollini in the lineup. Gemma, a 7-year-old mare, played by Ganzi in the sixth chukker, bred by six-time Argentine Open winner Horatio Heguy and owned by Halo Polo/Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony. In the semifinals, Sebucan advanced into the final with an 11-10 win over Aspen Valley (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Horacio Heguy, Jeff Blake). Audi advanced with a 14-10 win over France (Louis Jarrige, Julien Reynes, Edouard Pan, Pierre Henri Ngoumou). The club also hosted the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial. In the emotionally-charged match, Grand Champions (Ale Poma, Jason Crowder, Kris Kampsen, Tommy Biddle) defeated DePaula/Aspen Valley Polo Club (Carlitos Gracida, Sugar Erskine, Horacio Heguy, Juan Bollini), 6-4, in the opening game of a doubleheader that also featured the season-ending International Cup. The sixth annual game honored

the legacy of the Hall of Famer and one of the sport’s greats, who died tragically in February 2014 at age 53. Gracida, one of the sport’s most beloved players, started playing when he was 5, reached 10 goals at age 25 and held the highest possible rating for 15 years. He won the U. S. Open nine times and the British Open 10 times. He was said to be Queen Elizabeth’s favorite player. He coached Princes William and Harry and played alongside them several times. After Saturday’s game, Carlitos Gracida, 28, his oldest son, received the Lifetime MVP award. “Every year it becomes more important to me,” Gracida said. “I am grateful for everybody that comes and makes it happen. For me, it’s an opportunity to play with my friends and with people like Horacio Heguy, who I grew up watching play and watching his tapes. No one will forget my dad. It’s nice that polo brought us all together.” Teammates and opponents were all touched in some way by Carlos Gracida in their polo careers. Poma led Grand Champions with a game-high three goals and was selected MVP. Crowder, Kampsen and Biddle each had one goal. For DePaula/Aspen Valley Polo Club, Gracida led with two goals. Erskine and Heguy each had one goal.

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GCPC-USA’s Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan, Grant Ganzi and Marc Ganzi won the International Cup over France.

Sangria, a 6-year-old chestnut mare, played in the fourth chukker and bred by Heguy, was Grand Champions Best Playing Pony. Later, that afternoon, the club held the 8th International Cup in a fivechukker match between GCPC-USA and France. In a wild finish, GCPC-USA won an unprecedented eighth consecutive International Cup. GCPC-USA (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Juancito Bollini) held off the upset-minded France (Louis Jarrige, Julien Reynes, Edouard Pan, Pierre Henri Ngoumou), 9-8, despite being outscored, 6-2, in the final two chukkers. Roldan, who scored a game-high five goals, was selected MVP. The Grand Champions Best Playing Pony was TortaNegra, an 11-year-old dark bay mare played by Juancito Bollini and the APHA Best Playing Pony was Darling, a 15-year-old Thoroughbred mare played by Ngoumou. France caught GCPC-USA off guard coming out aggressively and winning the throw-ins in the opening chukker, jumping out to a quick 2-1 lead. GCPC-USA regained its composure in the second and third chukkers to take a 7-2 halftime lead, shutting out France, 3-0 in each chukker. France Rallied to outscore GCPC-

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CHUKKERTV FOR GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

R E P O R T CHUKKERTV FOR GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

P O L O

Newport’s Gene Goldstein, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan and Grant Ganzi won the inaugural Wellington Open.

USA, 3-1, in the fourth and fifth chukkers but defensive plays by Roldan and Grant Ganzi ended scoring drives in the final seconds. The GCPC-USA team was coached by Argentine Open six-time winner and former 10-goaler Horacio Heguy. Since 2012, GCPC-USA has defeated England, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay, Brazil and Azerbaijan for the coveted Cup. Earlier, Newport (Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan, Grant Ganzi) defeated Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Pablo Spinacci, Horacio Heguy, Juan Bollini), 9-8, in the inaugural Wellington Open. Roldan was MVP, while Spinacci’s Silva, a 6year-old mare, was Best Playing Pony. In the Wellington Open final, the game was close from start to finish. Newport took a 2-1 lead in the opening chukker with goals from Goldstein and Roldan. Flexjet came back with a 2-1 second chukker with goals from Spinacci and Ganzi for a 3-3 tie. The teams played a scoreless third period. In the second half, Newport outscored Flexjet, 6-5, and led throughout the half. Newport shut out Flexjet, 2-0, in the fourth chukker followed by a 2-2 tie. In the sixth, Goldstein scored with 1:13 left for a 9-7 lead. Spinacci scored in the final seconds to close the gap to one. —Sharon Robb

STABLE DOOR WINS IGLEHART CUP Stable Door Polo came from behind to capture the 18-goal Iglehart Cup at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida, on Jan. 5. The previous week, the season opener annual Herbie Pennell Memorial was rained out. Three teams competed in the tournament, with Palm Beach Equine (Gonzalo Ferrari, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Gringo Colombres, Scott Swerdlin) receiving a bye to the final. Stable Door (Keko Magrini/Henry Porter, Santino Magrini, Matias Magrini, Robert Orthwein) and Patagones (Joaquin Avendano, Benjamin Avendano, Tomas Garcia del Rio, Santiago Wulff) played off for the other final spot on Jan. 3. In that game, Stable Door narrowly led 7-6 at the half. It increased the lead to two for the next two periods. Patagones tied the match in the last period, but Keko Magrini scored in the final minutes to secure the win and a spot in the final. Stable Door, with Henry Porter taking over for Keko Magrini, got on the board with a Penalty 3 conversion followed by a Penalty 1. Alberdi scored for Palm Beach Equine to end the first with Stable Door ahead, 2-1. Porter scored early in the second and the teams traded penalties, putting Stable Door ahead, 4-2. Palm Beach Equine took control in


the third, shutting out Stable Door while Ferrari, Alberdi and Colombres combined for four goals to take a 6-4 lead at the half. In a foul-riddled match, the teams traded penalty conversions in the fourth and Colombres added a field goal to stretch PB Equine’s lead to three, 8-5. But the team ran out of bullets, as father and son, Matias and Santino Magrini combined for three unanswered goals to tie the score, 8-8. PB Equine was silenced in the sixth while the father and son duo added two more goals to take the 10-8 win. Matias Magrini was MVP and his Elenor, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred mare, was Best Playing Pony. The same three teams played off for the Joe Barry Cup the following week. This time, Stable Door received a bye to the final, while Patagones and Palm Beach Equine played off for the second final spot. Mateo Vallejos took over for Patagones’ Joaquin Avendaño in the preliminary match. After trailing for four chukkers, Palm Beach Equine came back in the last chukker to win the match and advance to the final, 8-7. Ferrari was high-scorer with five goals, including three penalty conversions. In the final, Alberdi struck first, but Santino Magrini and Orthwein scored to give Stable Door the lead. Ferrari tallied two in the second added to one

Sharon Barry presents trophies to Palm Beach Equine’s Gonzalo Ferrari, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Gringo Colombres and Scott Swerdlin.

from Colombres but a Penalty 4 conversion from Santino and a Penalty 1 for Stable Door leveled the score at 4-all. PB Equine scored the next three goals but a goal from Matias Magrini kept Stable Door in the game, 7-5, at the half. The teams matched goals in the last half, allowing Palm Beach Equine to maintain the two-goal difference, 11-9, for the win. Colombres was named MVP and his horse Coquito was Best Playing Pony. Patagones played the subsidiary Bobby Barry against Santa Clara (Alejandro Poma, Nico Escobar, Toro Ruiz, Luis Escobar). Santa Clara began with a

two-goal handicap, but Patagones wasted no time in overcoming it and then some with four goals in a row. The teams swapped goals in the second. Santa Clara controlled the third with Nico Escobar sinking a field goal and a Penalty 4 added to a goal from Ruiz to take a 6-5 lead at the half. Patagones rallied in the fourth to take the lead. Santa Clara fought back but Patagones got the 9-8 edge. The teams traded goals in the fifth before Patagones charged ahead in the sixth with two goals while silencing Santa Clara for the 13-10 win. Tomas Garcia del Rio led the scoring the five goals. ALEX PACHECO

Stable Door’s Robert Orthwein, Henry Porter, Santino Magrini and Matias Magrini won the Iglehart Cup at International Polo Club.

ALEX PACHECO

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ALEX PACHECO

P O L O

Stable Door’s Henry Porter catches PB Equine’s Gonzalo Ferrari in the Iglehart final.

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R E P O R T JIM BREMNER/POLOBARN

P O L O

Horseware Polo’s Hugo Lloret, Trevor Niznik, Tom McGuiness and Barry Finnegan won the SAO Memorial Family Cup.

HORSEWARE PREVAILS IN SAO MEM FAMILY CUP Horseware Polo won the Steven A. Orthwein Memorial Family Cup at the Port Mayaca Polo Club in Okeechobee, Florida, on Jan. 2. Horseware Polo (Barry Finnegan, Tom McGuiness, Hugo Lloret, Trevor Niznik) topped St. Louis Polo (Finn Secunda, Max Secunda, Robert Orthwein, Chase Butler), 10-4, to take the

Family Cup for the second year in a row. St. Louis Polo came out swinging, putting the first goal on the board. Horseware Polo quickly answered, with MVP Barry Finnegan putting two of his team’s goals on the board in the first half, keeping Horseware ahead, 5-3. St. Louis came within two goals at one point. Horseware ended the fourth ahead, 7-4, and held St. Louis scoreless for the remainder of the game, winning with a final score of 10-4.

Horseware Polo’s Trevor Niznik

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Evergreen’s Carlos Galindo, Nick Cifuni, Tom Sprung and Carlitos Galindo won the 8-goal Coachella Cup.

Hugo Lloret’s Trampita was Best Playing Pony. CALIFORNIA

EVERGREEN TAKES 8-G COACHELLA CUP Evergreen came away the winner in Empire Polo Club’s (Indio, California) first 8 goal of the season on Jan. 5. Evergreen (Tom Sprung, Carlos Galindo, Carlitos Galindo, Nick Cifuni) faced Cotterel (Jenny Benardoni, Gaby Sacullo, Santi VonWernich, Francisco Benardoni) in the final. Cotterel got off to a good start with goals by Francisco and Jenny Benardoni in the first period, while Evergreen was silenced. Cifuni put Evergreen on the board in the second with the only goal of the period. Sacullo tallied the only goal of the third to end the half with Cotterel ahead, 3-1. Evergreen shot back in the fourth with a trio of goals from father and son, Carlos and Carlitos Galindo, and Cifuni to take a short-lived lead. VonWernich leveled the score at 4-all with a Penalty 3 conversion. Cifuni and Sacullo traded Penalty 3 conversions in the fifth to stay even, 5-5. The last period belonged to Carlitos Galindo has he scored a hat trick, including a pair of 60-yarders, to


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JIM BREMNER/POLOBARN.COM

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Zahedi Chogan’s Meghan Gracida, Dayelle Fargey, Francisco Guinazu and Sy Zahedi won the 4-goal Stagecoach final.

do, California, left spectators on the edge of their seats when Straight Shooters (Ashley Owen, Davey Kral, Jasmine Lu) and the Silverado Sharks (Heather Perkins, Mark Osburn, Allie Bushong) went into a penalty shootout to determine the champion. Little separating the two teams, it was Silverado Sharks that emerged the victor, capturing a sensational 15-14 win in what proved to be an exceptional weekend of polo with players traveling from as far as Texas to compete. The game began at a lightning JIM BREMNER/POLOBARN.COM

take a convincing 8-5 lead. Cotterel was unable to reach the goal and Evergreen took the win. The same afternoon, Zahedi Chogan downed Empire in the final of the 4goal Stagecoach Cup. Empire (Rob Scapa, Russell Stimmel, Rob Payne III, David Chun/Robert McGinley) struck first with two opengoal penalties by Payne. Zahedi Chogan (Meghan Gracida, Francisco Guinazu, Dayelle Fargey, Sy Zahedi) bounced back in the second with three in a row by Guinazu, added to a half-goal handicap. Stimmel found the target to keep it close, 3½-3. Payne’s goal early in the third put Empire briefly on top, but a pair of goals by Fargey gave the lead back to Zahedi Chogan, 5½-4. Zahedi Chogan stopped Empire’s drives in the fourth while Guinazu sunk a Penalty 2 and Fargey scored from the field to amass a 3½-goal lead heading into the last period. Stimmel scored early to cut the deficit but Guinazu and Zahedi combined for three goals to ensure the victory, 9½-5.

Silverado Sharks’ Heather Perkins, Mark Osburn and Allie Bushong won the National Arena Amateur Cup.

quick pace with a 10-goal first chukker that resulted in Silverado Sharks holding a slim 6-4 lead. Receiving contributions from all three players, the Silverado Sharks were led by three goals from Heather Perkins, while Straight Shooters’ Ashley Owen responded with three goals of her own. The balance on the field was evident with all six players finding the scoresheet within the first two chukkers. A clean match, the whistle was rarely used in the first half, leaving the two teams to battle it out in open play. Mark Osburn and Jasmine Silverado Sharks’ Allie Bushong battles Straight Shooters’ Jasmine Lu.

SILVERADO SHARKS WIN ARENA AMATEUR CUP The National Arena Amateur Cup at Orange County Polo Club in Silvera-

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Nacho Estrada with SMU White’s Lindsay Bellack, Grace Grotnik and Adriana Arguello, winners of the Women’s Arena Challenge.

Lu highlighted the second chukker by scoring three goals each for their respective teams, while Straight Shooters edged closer on Owen’s fourth goal of the game to narrowly trail, 9-8, at halftime. Consecutive goals from Osburn to begin the second half pushed Silverado Sharks into a three-goal lead for the fourth time in the game. Straight Shooters were unwilling to let their opponent pull away however, responding each time with a run of their own. Owen brought her team all the way back into an 11-all tie behind her fifth and sixth goals of the game in the third. Osburn returned the lead to Silverado Sharks to begin the fourth chukker, but a crucial stretch of the game changed the momentum in an instant. Three unanswered goals from Straight Shooters—one each from Owen, Kral and Lu—gave them their first lead since the first chukker, leaving Silverado Sharks facing a two-goal deficit with time running out. The high-pressure situation resulted in fouls on both sides. Osburn brought the game within one, but it was Allie Bushong who converted the penalty to tie the game, 14-all, sending it into a penalty shootout. Stepping up again, Bushong scored the deciding penalty, which gave Silverado Sharks the dramatic 15-14 victory in a memorable final.

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OSU’s Matille Drury, Alison Thomas, Samantha Leach and Brooke Grindinger won the Great Plains Women’s Arena Challenge over SMU JV and St. Edwards at the Fall Fandango in Texas.

“The facilities are immaculate, every detail was taken into consideration and it has been an incredible club to play really great polo,” Owen said after capturing MVP honors, while the Sportsmanship Award went to 15-year-old Jasmine Lu. Heather Perkins’ second chukker pony, Cake, owned by Shelley Geller, took home the Best Playing Pony blanket to cap off the weekend. A nineyear-old off-the-track Thoroughbred mare, Cake was purchased from Karen Reese. “She is very fast and powerful with a great bump,” said Perkins. “She got her name because she loves to eat cake, donuts, you name it!” laughed Perkins. Other competitors complimented the well-run event, including Off the Wall’s Nicole Bankhead. “What an incredible experience and opportunity to participate in the National Arena Amateur Cup,” she said. “It was fun getting to know and play with different players throughout the U.S. and it was also a unique opportunity to be placed on teams. It challenged me to learn to play a different position and grow my personal game.” “This was my first time playing polo in California. My husband and I stayed in Laguna Beach and commuted 30 minutes to get to the Orange County Polo Club, which was a beautiful, stateof-the-art facility. The polo was as good

as the company and the club was very warm and welcoming,” said Owen. Mark Osburn echoed those sentiments. “Over all, the experience and the facility was awesome. The people were nice, George Dill’s horses were really good, and staying in Laguna Beach was also great! There were plenty of good eats and I had a wonderful weekend with my lovely bride!”

SMU WHITE ACES ARENA CHALLENGE SMU White squeaked out a victory in the last seconds to win the Women’s Arena Challenge at the East Texas Polo Club at Legends Horse Ranch. it was the final event in the Mid-Continent Women’s Polo Series. Three teams played in the roundrobin event: SMU Blue (Robin Sanchez, Lily Foregger, Sofia Garvin), SMU White (Grace Grotnik, Lindsay Bellack, Adriana Arguello) and Legends (Meghan Rahlfs, Katie Anderson, Kim Buttram). The players included SMU varsity and JV women players and some former intercollegiate players that have come back into the sport. Player Kim Buttram explained, “I had an extensive riding history when I was younger. I tried anything and everything I could growing up—dressage, bar-


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Sophia Neis, Margaurite Buchman, Grace Grotnik, Amelia Fisher, Megan Rahlfs, Raeghan Eckert and Lindsay Bellack at the Fall Fandango. SMU Varsity defeated both Texas Tech and OSU.

rels, hunter/jumpers, exercise rider for a racehorse trainer. I wouldn’t have been exposed to polo if it hadn’t been for the intercollegiate program. I discovered the polo team at the University of Oklahoma and was immediately hooked and spent every minute I could at the barn. After I was done with school, work and then kids prevented me from riding as much as I wanted, and I drifted away from it. “I have always missed polo and was thrilled to find Legends Horse Ranch. Nacho (Estrada) has been fantastic and so patient helping me get back into it after 20-plus years,” she said. “It has been way more challenging than I thought to just get my riding skills back. It used to be completely second nature and come so easily. I have practiced for a few months and had the opportunity to play in a women’s tournament, which was so much fun. While I’m not anywhere close to being at the level I was in college, I’m looking forward to working on it and really excited about playing in some of the local leagues. One of these days it will all come back to me, I just may need more Advil now.” The teams were closely matched and needed every minute of regulation time to determine the winner. Grace Grotnik was MVP; Robin Sanchez was Best Sportsman and Megan Rahlf’s Donego was Best Playing Pony.

MANY WINNERS IN TEXAS FALL FANDANGO Fall Fandango Collegiate Arena Extravaganza put another year on the books. The tournament has been in existence since 2007 when it started at Polo Training Foundation-run Brushy Creek Polo Ranch. This year it was held at Legends Horse Ranch in Kaufman, Texas. It provides an opportunity for I/I teams to get in their qualifying games while also training arena umpires and providing events for collegiate club members. “It’s been a two birds—or maybe five birds—with one stone event for years,” says organizer Robin Sanchez. “We combine as many opportunities as we can into one weekend.” For 2019, SMU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Colorado State, Blinn College, UT, St. Edward’s University, and University of Arkansas had players and/or teams in attendance. In addition to qualifying matches, Bradley Biddle of Umpires, LLC held an arena umpire clinic, a Club/JV tournament was played and, new this year, a horsemanship clinic was organized by USPA I/I and taught by Robert Lyn Kee Chow. In the horsemanship clinic, videos of the games were recorded, and Lyn Kee Chow went over footage with the

players, giving advice on how to better work with their equine teammates. He also took individuals and worked on their riding seat in the round pen with a bareback pad. Lyn Kee Chow is currently a professional umpire with the Umpires, LLC, a CPI instructor, a member of various USPA committees, and still plays and trains horses for polo. After college, he played polo professionally, managed clubs, managed barns, gave lessons and trained horses that played in some of the best polo in the United States. “It was good to see enthusiastic firstgeneration players enjoying themselves and open to becoming better horsemen so they can improve themselves through the coming years,” says Lyn Kee Chow. The Club and JV Tournament had two flights and five teams with the A Flight round robin going into a shoot out to decide the winner. The teams were made up of members of SEU, OSU, Texas Tech, UArk, and SMU polo clubs, and wore jerseys representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard in honor of Veteran’s Day. Lexie Harlan, a club member at Texas Tech, was able to participate in both the JV tournament and the horsemanship clinic. “Fall Fandango was an amazing experience for me! Being able to watch and play, as well as attend the horse-

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Fall Fandango included a rules review (above), an umpire clinic and a horsemanship clinic, in addition to the qualifying matches.

manship lessons allowed me to learn so much while I was there. I also enjoyed getting to meet all of the other teams, and I am grateful to all of the people who made this event possible and took the time to work with all of us,” Harlan said. The umpire clinic, sponsored in part by PTF, trained existing certified umpires, new umpires from the region and college players who wanted to improve their skills when they umpired their own university teams, JV or visiting teams. Karl Hilberg, chairman of USPA Armed Forces Committee, has come to Fall Fandango multiple years for the arena umpire training. “I participated in the 2019 Fall Fandango at Legends Ranch in Texas this past November. As an alumnus of this event, I appreciate how the Fall Fandango has grown over the years in its support of I/I polo, umpire development and training, women’s and military polo. To continue to develop like this has required dedication from Robin Sanchez as the coordinator of the event, but also support from the USPA (Umpires, LLC, I/I program, Armed Forces, Arena and Women’s Committees) and the Polo Training Foundation,” Hilberg explained. Tom Goodspeed, coach of SMU, was knee-deep in players at Fall Fandango.

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Karl Hilberg presents trophies to the JV Tournament winners, Air Force’s Kirsten Baldwin, Genna Bono and Melissa Lopez.

(University of Virgina—Charlottesville, Virginia). SOUTHEASTERN

BUSY FALL SEASON AT TRIANGLE AREA

Robert Lyn Kee Chow and Horsemanship award winner Lily Foregger

“Fall Fandango is kind of like the ‘Cheesecake Factory—menu’ of polo—pretty much something that will interest anyone. Legends Ranch is a super venue, hosting everything from that thrilling first competitive experience of our great game to competitive battles between very experienced arena teams,” he said. Throughout Fall Fandango, several USPA circuit events were played, including a Women’s Arena Challenge, and Nimitz and Puller military tournaments. Fall Fandango is part of the USPA Arena Development Series, which also includes Mustang Madness (Central Coast Polo—Los Osos, California), Fields Tournament (Cornell—Ithaca, New York) and Virginia Polo Fall Invitational

The Triangle Area Polo Club in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, had a busy fall season with several tournaments and a new covered arena to celebrate. The season kicked off with the club’s annual Battle of the Blues, pitting alumni, students and employees of Duke University and the University of North Carolina in a battle for the coveted Tobacco Road Cup. Defending champion Duke came out on top again this year with a 13-9 victory. The Harvest Cup, part of the tailgate series and presented by Rocking B Saddle Shop, was next. The Hill’s Jordan Lee, Tammy Havener, Mark Hauser, Nicole Romach and Maud Eno celebrated a win over Hickory Furniture Mart. Maud Eno, Carson Tucker and David Brooks gave Hickory Furniture Mart a win in the USPA Southeast Circuit Arena Amateur Cup on Oct. 4. Carson Tucker was named MVP and Ruger, owned by David and Leslie Brooks, was Best Playing Pony. The annual Halloween-inspired


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Alumni, students and employees of Duke University and the University of North Carolina faced each other in the Battle of the Blues. Duke defended its title with a hard-fought 13-9 victory.

Linda Brooks, center, presents the Harvest Cup to The Hill’s Jordan Lee, Tammy Havener, Mark Hauser, Nicole Romach and Maud Eno.

Ghostly Ghouls’ Carson Tucker, Bella Hamon and Molly Matthews won the Jack-O’-Lantern club tournament.

R E P O R T Jack-O’-Lantern club tournament was won by Ghostly Ghouls Carson Tucker, Bella Hamon and Molly Matthews. Persistent rains arrived in November, but thanks to the club’s new covered arena, the play continued. Turkey Cup teams were limited to two players to accommodate the smaller covered arena’s playing field. Tammy Havener and Maeren Honacher won Flight A, while Bella Hamon and Amy Dunlap took Flight B. Club members were thankful for the PDI grant to help build the covered arena and winter facility. David and Leslie Brooks expressed their sincere thanks to their fantastic club members and students for being part of the Triangle Area Polo Club family. •

Hickory Furniture Mart’s Maud Eno, Carson Tucker and David Brooks won the Southeastern Circuit Arena Amateur Cup.

Flight A’s Tammy Havener and Maeren Honacher and Flight B’s Bella Hamon and Amy Dunlap won the Turkey Cup.

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POLO SCENE (continued from page 21)

SEASON’S BEST Club celebrates with year-end awards

THE TRIANGLE AREA POLO CLUB in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, celebrated another successful season with year-end awards. David Brooks presented the awards to the winners, which were:

Most Improved Player Nicole Romach

Club Tournament HighPoint winner Maud Eno

Clint Nangle Equine Welfare Award winner Amy Dunlap

Club Grand Champion Award winner Carson Tucker.

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Chris Wolf accepts the Horse of the Year award for his horse Heguy


USEFULS

(continued from page 15) ahead, Clark is really looking forward to helping groom, exercise ponies and promote the team, as well as get into practice chukkers whenever she can. Two of the high-school students, Madilyn Chappars and Rowan Painter, have played a bit of polo before. Chappars, an avid equestrian, won the 2018 National Dressage Pony Cup and competed in dressage regionals in Waterloo, Michigan, this past fall. She is also a competitive tennis player, going 183 in varsity singles her freshman year of high school. She joined the Cincinnati Polo Club in 2018 and has participated in several clinics and club matches. Painter played with the Mountain View Polo Club in West Virginia. “I first found polo when I was 10 years old and I first did it just to ride. I was not strong enough to hold the weight of the mallet in the beginning! After a few years, I got better at riding and had more balance and that is when I started swinging a mallet and learning about the game of polo. I was at a lesson and I watched some of the high school team play and it looked like a lot of fun, so I decided I wanted to try it,” she said. After moving to northern Kentucky, Painter attended one of the club’s clinics. He had his first taste of outdoor polo at the practice field at V&V Farms and was amazed! Passing? No walls to play off of? Room to run with your horse? Rowan is looking forward to working on his outdoor game next season. Ella Bottomley was introduced to polo through 4H, when her advisor brought her along to help out as an exercise rider in 2018. She continued riding and then started grooming in 2019. As a senior in high school, Bottomley plans to train with the group until she attends farrier school next fall.

The “Class of 2020” was officially born on Sept. 22, 2019. A month later, the first six sessions had already taken place and the students were fully committed to the program. The goals for the Class of 2020 are to: • learn (more) about polo • improve the polo swing/hitting ability • improve defensive play (bumping and hooking) • provide hands-on experience for all aspects of polo—pre and post-play included • improve polo equitation/riding ability • have fun Weather permitting, each teaching session lasts about three hours, and includes ground work, a look at the rules and mounted drills and/or scrimmaging. Collins and Torie Front are the instructors, and the participants appreciate the extra time that Collins is willing to give to help someone with their swing, and how simple and understandable Torie strives to make the lessons. Students are confident they will be ready for the 2020 season because Collins, who really understands the swing and game of polo, can make any player better at polo and he has already improved the students’ swings in a short period of time. Once darkness and inclement weather took over, more foot mallet work and chalk-board talk was incorporated into the lessons. The group took December off but was back in training after the new year. Future plans are to put a roof over Dreamer so students can work on their swings all winter long! You never know where the inspiration to create a polo school is going to come from. The club is thrilled with its new players and looks forward to getting them ready for the upcoming summer season, with green chukkers offered at each of its home games. • POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 57


E Q U I N E AT H L E T E

(continued from page 17)

As horses get older they often wear the outside heel to the point you have to support the back part of the foot to reduce trauma.

with the other leg. “It’s amazing how much difference a tiny bit of correction will do. Just millimeters of added support can help that horse travel better or have less wasted motion so he finishes his race better or has enough speed/energy to head or catch that cow or give his best performance on the polo field,” says Norman. “Some people get very elaborate in the shoes, but my favorite quote is from my mentor Jack Reynolds. He said, ‘Keep it simple.’ People would ask him to come look at a problem horse or correct this or that, and they’d already gone through x amount of horseshoers who tried to correct it. Every time, his advice was to uncorrect everything and get it back to as natural and simple as possible. It worked for him, every time,” says Norman. The more elaborate shoe you add to

the foot, the worse you make some problems, aggravating any deviation in foot flight. You have to figure out each horse, and how best to shoe that horse. Some don’t fit the textbook rules. You have to determine, on an individual basis, how much support and protection to give the foot. “You don’t want to give too much or it will alter the foot flight adversely. If you support the inside too much, the horse will interfere,” says Norman. It may take trial and error to find what works best for that particular horse. “There’s a huge barefoot movement today, and some people are stating that shoes are dangerous, detrimental and unhealthy for the foot,” says Taylor. “And they are, if put on irresponsibly and with poor technique. But with proper technique, shoes can be very helpful in correcting a horse or resolving a foot problem.” Foot flight deviations There are no perfect legs; most horses have some degree of deviation in foot flight. These deviations generally don’t become a problem unless they are extreme enough to cause wasted motion and loss of speed or interference. Limb interference occurs

Definition of terms Paddling (dishing)—A horse with feet turned inward picks up the foot off center to the outside rather than squarely at the front or center of the toe. The pigeon-toed horse starts the foot flight crooked, with the leg swinging outward. A horse that paddles will almost never hit himself, but his gait is inefficient. The extra effort of moving the leg outward instead of a straight line will cut down his speed and may cause fatigue on a long workout or race. Winging—A splay-footed horse picks up his feet to the inside, winging them inward. He tends to hit the opposite leg if foot flight comes too close to it. Forging—This term refers to striking a front foot or leg (before or as it is being picked up) with the approaching hind foot on that side. In most cases, the toe of the hind hits the heel of the front foot. Forging may be due to improper shoeing, but is most common in horses with long legs and short backs, or young horses in training. The young horse is often taller at the croup than at the withers, with relatively long hind legs. Also, he may not be coordinated yet while carrying weight. He may not strike himself when running free and barefoot, but the added weight of a rider changes his balance, and if he is shod, the increased swing of the hind foot (a weighted object has more momentum) may be just enough to create contact between front and hind feet. Cross-firing—This problem is most common in pacers traveling at high speed. The term refers to hitting the inside part of the front foot (usually at the quarters) with the diagonal hind foot. Scalping—As it leaves the ground, the toe of the front foot hits the coronary band or front of the pastern of the approaching hind foot. Sometimes the contact and injury is higher, at the front of the fetlock joint or cannon bone. Elbow hitting—The horse strikes his elbow with the shoe of the front foot. This is occasionally seen in horses with long feet and weighted shoes to accentuate their gait (making their leg action higher). Speedy cutting—This term refers to any kind of limb interference at fast gaits. Most contact problems are due to poor leg/foot conformation, but can also occur with improper shoeing that puts the foot off balance and alters its flight.

58 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N


E Q U I N E AT H L E T E

Moving the shoe back can aid breakover, reducing stress on tendons, ligaments and the foot. The farrier should strive to keep the horse’s gate as natural and simple as possible.

when a foot accidentally strikes another leg. The contact may occur anywhere from the coronary band to knee or hock. A horse that only brushes the opposite limb once in awhile may merely break the skin or create a sore on the fetlock joint (or wherever he hits himself), or a series of nicks along the cannon bone. If he hits himself frequently, however, he may damage the bones or cause inflammation that creates a bony lump (or a series of bony nodules) on the cannon bone. At high speed, the horse may crack or break a sesamoid bone (in the fetlock joint) or fracture the inside splint bone on the opposite leg, or suffer some other leg injury because of the way he hits himself. A horse with crooked legs that hits the opposite fetlock joint when walking may strike himself higher up the leg at faster speeds. An unusual case A quick glance at feet and legs doesn’t always give the whole story on how to shoe those feet. In 1971 a 41 year-old mare of mine injured her pastern joint when she pawed at a wooden gate and got her foot wedged between a pole and the diagonal crosspiece. She pulled back and got her foot free, but disrupted the joint between the long and short pastern bones and was so lame I had to take her out of training for a year. The joint healed, but fused with extra calcium buildup. She traveled sound, but the fused

joint changed her way of moving. When shod, she swung that foot inward and hit the opposite fetlock joint, making it bloody and sore. Before her injury she traveled straight. After the joint fused (eliminating all motion in the pastern joint), she stood slightly base wide on that foot and it no longer moved straight. The unusual thing was that she broke over the outside of the toe and then made a twisting motion during foot flight, swinging inward. A farrier and a vet who watched her travel both claimed she was breaking over to the inside (since that’s what a base-wide foot is supposed to do), but having handled her feet from the time she was born (and doing all her trimming and shoeing) I knew that wasn’t true. The breakover wear spot on her shoes was at the outside of the toe. After several unsuccessful attempts to halt her interference, I had my husband create a special shoe for that foot, by cutting the toe of a factory shoe off square and adding a spot of borium on the outside edge of the toe, to hinder breakover in that area and make the foot break over the center of the toe. It worked, and the more the shoe wore, the better it worked, creating a path of least resistance at the center of the toe as that area wore away and the borium did not, accentuating the square-toe effect. I suspect that her fused pastern hindered the normal action of the foot, forcing the off-center breakover. She also had to put extra effort into breakover, which accentuated her foot flight and the twisting motion, bringing that foot too close to the opposite leg. By starting the foot flight straight and with less effort involved in breakover, the foot traveled straighter, missing the other leg. So I shod her that way the rest of her working life, and she never nicked herself at all. •

Photo 1: An out-ofbalance hoof showing where the breakover point should be; Photo 2: Relative angle of hoof wall and the angles of the coffin bone.

2

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 59


Y E S T E RY E A R S

Roaring 20s Polo resumes after the war By Peter J. Rizzo

One hundred years ago, the United States emerged from World War I as an economic and financial superpower, ushering in the Roaring Twenties—a new age of prosperity and cultural change, also known as the Jazz Age. This era witnessed enthusiastic consumer demand for automobiles, airplanes, telephones, movies, radio and modern technology used for a wide variety of household, electrical appliances. Much of the massmarket advertising stoking consumer demand focused on movie and radio stars as well as sports heroes, as city populations rooted for their home

Over 35,000 spectators attended the games at Meadow Brook Polo Club to watch the international matches.

60 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

teams competing within newly-constructed sports stadiums. This included polo stars of the day. The sport gained a particular brand of popularity through a new breed of American heroes—polo players who were at least as popular, and sometimes more so, than the athletic heroes from the fields of football or baseball. The United States emerged from World War I stronger than ever, recapturing from England the Westchester Cup in 1921. In front of over 35,000 spectators attending the iconic Meadow Brook Polo Club, America defended the Cup in 1924 and 1927.


Y E S T E RY E A R S

Louis Stoddard, Tommy Hitchcock Jr., J. Watson Webb and Devereux Milburn defeated England for the Westchester Cup in 1921.

From a February 1927 edition of The Sportsman, J.C. Cooley reported that America had no difficulty at all at winning and the story in 1924 was the same. In 1922, the first year of the National Intercollegiate Cup presented by John R. Townsend, Princeton took the top prize. By 1925, there were eight colleges who were members of the Intercollegiate Polo Association, largely Ivy League schools in the northeastern part of the country. By the end of the decade, schools from Arizona, Oklahoma and Ohio were participating. Polo was an Olympic sport in 1924 and in the Paris Games of that year, Argentina upset USA to capture the Gold Medal. In 1928, USA got some revenge satisfaction by defeating Argentina in the inaugural Cup of America series. The sport of polo usually does well during times of economic prosperity, and the 1920s was no exception, as prices for stabling and horses remained relatively low as the decade began, fueling a growth in the number of clubs and players across the country. The desire for quality ponies was becoming apparent and in 1922, the National Polo Pony Society estimated there would be a need for over 3,000 polo ponies. In selecting polo ponies or automobiles, the savvy, Jazz Age polo player looked for the same qualities: well-made sleekness and speed. Louis Stoddard’s Belle of All was Best Polo Pony in Show in 1921 and 1922. She has been referred to

Tommy Hitchcock Jr.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 61


Y E S T E RY E A R S

Polo player Marion Hollins was also a race car driver, carriage driver and golf champion.

Louis Stoddard’s Belle of All was Best Polo Pony in Show in 1921 and 1922.

as easily queen of Thoroughbred polo ponies ever bred in America. Not only beautiful, she was said to be frightfully fast. Stoddard counted on her for three periods in each of two grueling matches of the 1921 Westchester Cup. She was eventually retired from the sport and bred at Harry Payne Whitney’s stud. In 2009, she was inducted into the National Museum of Polo as a Horses to Remember.

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In 1928, the states with the highest numbers of rated players included Ohio with 132; New York with 108; Illinois with 104; and California with 101. The U.S. Army remained the backbone of America’s polo, sponsoring college teams and indoor polo within the walls of a number of armories housing polo arenas within major metropolitan centers, including New York, New Jersey and Chicago. Also notable, the 1928 National Championships of the Indoor Polo Association drew a record 36 teams. The standard entry fee for most tournaments in the 1920s was $10 per player. Some of the best players during the 1920s included the immortal Foxhall Keene (who was first awarded a 10-goal handicap in 1891, then in 1920); left-hander J. Watson Webb (an insurance company tycoon who played in the 1921, 1924 and 1927 Westchester Cup); Stephen “Laddie” Sanford (who in 1928 paid a then-record price of $22,500 for an Argentine polo pony); the indomitable defensive stalwart Devereux Milburn; Malcolm Stevenson (considered one of the all-time best polo players of pre-World War II era); and last, but certainly not least, Thomas “Tommy” Hitchcock Jr. (a 10-goal player at age 22 who became a leader of a new generation of young, high-goal up-and-comers). Argentina was a developing polo power that was beginning to supply sleek, speedy horses and skilled


Y E S T E RY E A R S

Action in the 1928 Cup of the Americas. USA defeated Argentina.

players to the American polo scene. The legendary author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about Hitchcock, “He had the humility to ask, ‘Do I know anything?’ That puts him in my pantheon of heroes.” Fitzgerald acknowledged that he modeled two characters in his books on Tommy Hitchcock— Tom Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby” (1925) and the Tommy Barban character in “Tender is the Night” (1934). From the very beginning of the Roaring Twenties was the stirring of the Women’s Rights Movement and American women finally gained the right to vote on August 26, 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While the Women’s Polo Association was about a decade away, there were pioneering women, largely sisters and wives of male players, who advanced the cause of women on the polo field. Those intrepid pioneers included Mrs. Dorothy Deming Wheeler in California, Louise Fleischman in Ohio, Mrs. John

Hay Whitney in Pennsylvania, Mrs. Randolph Nichols in Maryland, and the indomitable, eventual Polo Hall of Famer, Mrs. Thomas Hitchcock (the former Louise Mary Eustis). Louis Hitchcock was married to Thomas, one of America’s first 10goalers, and was mother of Tommy Hitchcock. The remarkably multi-talented Marion Hollins was considered the best female polo player of the Flapper Generation (in the 1920s Flappers were fashionable young women intent on enjoying themselves and flouting conventional standards of behavior). Ms. Hollins was also a race car driver, carriage driver and a U.S. amateur golf champion responsible for the design and construction of three historic and world-class golf courses. Ms. Hollins was so accomplished as a polo player that she was invited to play on men’s teams at polo clubs from California to South Carolina. She reportedly was rated 6 goals in the women’s ratings and 2 goals in the men’s ratings. • POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 63


CALENDAR

February / March J A N U A R Y 11 - F E B R U A R Y 2 Ylvisaker Cup (18) IPC, Wellington, FL

F E B RUA RY 15 - 2 9 USPA Governors Cup (0-6) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL

J A N U A R Y 16 - F E B R U A R Y 1 Shady Lady (6) Port Mayaca, Port Mayaca, FL

F E B R U A R Y 17 - 2 2 USPA Women’s Hobe Sound Cup (16) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL

J A N U A R Y 31 - F E B R U A R Y 9 Carlton & Keleen Beal Cup (4) Eldorado, Indio, CA

F E B RUA RY 2 2 - M A RC H 2 2 USPA Gold Cup (22) IPC, Wellington, FL

USPA Reg. President’s Cup (8) Empire, Indio, CA F E B RUA RY 1 - 9 USPA Nat’l Amateur Cup (4) Empire, Indio, CA F E B R U A R Y 1 - 14 USPA Congressional Cup (6) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL F E B RUA RY 1 - 2 3 C.V. Whitney Cup (22) IPC, Wellington, FL F E B RUA RY 5 - 2 9 The Winter Equestrian Cup (4) IPC, Wellington, FL F E B RUA RY 6 - 2 9 USPA Presidents Cup (4-6) Mahogany Cup (10) $50K USPA Butler Handicap (18) Port Mayaca, Port Mayaca, FL F E B RUA RY 6 - M A RC H 1 Discover Palm Beaches Challenge (8) IPC, Wellington, FL F E B RUA RY 7 - 9 Texas Arena League East Texas, Kaufmann, TX F E B R U A R Y 1 2 - 14 Debii $$ Memorial Women’s Empire, Indio, CA F E B R U A R Y 14 - 2 3 USPA Fish Creek Constitution Cup Eldorado, Indio, CA USPA Gen. Patton Tourney (8) Empire, Indio, CA F E B RUA RY 15 - 2 3 USPA Gen. Patton Tourney (4) Empire, Indio, CA

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F E B R U A R Y 1 - A P R I L 19 Gauntlet of Polo IPC, Wellington, FL

F E B RUA RY 2 8 - M A RC H 8 March League (6, 12) USPA 2 Goal Eldorado, Indio, CA F E B RUA RY 2 8 - M A RC H 15 USPA Congressional Cup (8) Empire, Indio, CA F E B RUA RY 2 9 - M A RC H 15 USPA Congressional Cup (4) Empire, Indio, CA M A RC H 1 - 15 USPA Masters Cup (6) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL MARCH 4-28 PBC Sports Commission Cup (4) IPC, Wellington, FL MARCH 5-7 Tabebuia Cup (WCT) Port Mayaca, Port Mayaca, FL MARCH 5-28 The Woodcock (6) Live Oak Challenge (10) USPA Heritage Cup (18) Port Mayaca, Port Mayaca, FL

Watch inaugural Gauntlet of Polo champion Pilot defend its title in the C.V. Whitney, USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. This year, 14 teams will contend for the three tournaments that make up the Gauntlet of Polo, hoping for a chance at the $1 million prize money. The winners of the C.V. Whitney and Gold Cups will take home $125,000, while the U.S. Open winner takes the $250,000 purse. Winning all three earns a $500,000 bonus. M A RC H 15 - 2 9 USPA Gen. S. Brown (4-8) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL MARCH 20 End of Season Bash/Grooms Race Eldorado, Indio, CA

MARCH 5-29 Tackeria Challenge (8) IPC, Wellington, FL

MARCH 20-29 $Champions Cup$ (8) Empire, Indio, CA

M A R C H 1 0 - 21 Women’s U.S. Open Prelims (WCT) Port Mayaca, Port Mayaca, FL

M A R C H 21 - 2 9 $Lions Cup$ (4) Empire, Indio, CA

M A RC H 13 - 2 2 USPA Rossmore Cup Skins (12) Eldorado, Indio, CA

M A R C H 21 - A P R I L 19 U.S. Open Polo Championship (22) IPC, Wellington, FL

M A R C H 14 - 2 2 USPA Governors Cup (6) Amateur Cup (2) Eldorado, Indio, CA

MARCH 28 Hobe Sound NYTS Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL


Profile for United States Polo Association

February 2020 Polo Players' Edition  

February 2020 Polo Players' Edition