January 2020 Polo Players' Edition

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J A N U A RY 2 0 2 0

The art of polo

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CONTENTS

P L AY E R S’ E D I T I O N

JANUARY 2020

VOL. 23,

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

26 Desert storm

6

Horses and horsepower highlight Arizona event

Association News USPA Bulletin Chairman spotlight

30 In living color by Peter J. Rizzo

Artist depicts gauchos and other horsemen

12 Instructors Forum by Robin Sanchez

36 Rúben Sola by Adam Snow

14 Usefuls

Unexpected death saddens polo community

by Peter J. Rizzo

38 True grit by KC Krueger

16 Equine Athlete

Women’s teams display talent, determination

Polo Cover January 2020.qxp_C

J A N U A RY 2 0 2 0

The art of polo

NO. 5

OUR COVER Esteban Diaz Mathe’s depiction of Adolfo Cambiaso’s Dolfina Cuartetera Courtesy Esteban Diaz Mathe

18 22 24 42 44 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 Tonkawa dominates Houston 10-goal series

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

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

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GWEN D. RIZZO

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

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

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©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.5 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.

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U S PA B U L L E T I N

Intercollegiate Partnerships U.S. Polo Assn., the official brand of the USPA, will again be outfitting competitive college polo players through its nationwide College Partnership Program. Through this partnership, complete game attire—including performance jerseys, equipment gear bags, white pants and polo shirts—will be given to participating USPA college polo teams along with a financial donation. In turn, the players will be wearing official U.S. Polo Assn. clothing while competing in games, running around campus, as well as during guest appearances and media interviews throughout the upcoming collegiate polo season. “As the official brand of the sport of polo in the U.S. it’s important for us to give back to the young players who represent the future of the sport,” explains USPAGL president and CEO, J. Michael Prince. “The opportunity to connect with amazing young talent who represent U.S. Polo Assn. and our core values on and off the playing field is just another way for us to give back to the sport we love and connect authentically with consumers and sports fans around the world.” A total of 28 schools have signed up to be a part of this year’s partnership program, representing 44 collegiate teams with 27 women’s teams and 17 men’s teams. The schools range from East Coast to West Coast, such as Yale and Stanford, and from large public schools to small private ones like Texas A&M and Skidmore. “Being part of the Collegiate Polo Program is great exposure for us as students, as well as for our team and our school as we continue to play and promote the sport this season,” said Sofia Cianchi, a senior at Yale University, studying economics and art history. “We love all the gear from U.S. Polo Assn. because it works very well for our games, and it looks great. Our team really appreciates the sponsorship and encouragement again this year!” Participating Schools Include: California Polytechnic State University Colorado State University Emory University Michigan State University Oklahoma State University Oregon State University Point Loma Nazarene Roger Williams University Skidmore University Stanford University Texas Christian University Texas Tech University University of Guelph 6 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

University of California Santa Barbara University of Connecticut University of Louisville University of Massachusetts University of Michigan University of North Texas Texas A&M University of South Carolina—Aiken University of Virginia University of Wisconsin—Madison Virginia Tech Westmont College Yale University St. Edward’s University Montana State University Carlucho Arellano, USPA executive director of services, says, “Our USPA collegiate programs are a vital part of fostering young polo players. We are proud to have U.S. Polo Assn. providing such great support for our college teams and the intercollegiate competitions through funding, outfitting and exciting digital media campaigns.” Global Brand Ambassador U.S. Polo Assn. is proud to announce polo player Henry Porter as the newest member of its growing roster of global brand ambassadors. The scope of Porter’s role as global brand ambassador is focused on the United Kingdom, broader Europe and the Middle East, where he grew up as a youth and continues to spend much of his time as a professional player. Porter will shine the spotlight on the dynamic crop of young polo players coming up through the ranks by posting regularly on social media about his

Henry Porter


U S PA B U L L E T I N

activities and by fully engaging in media requests for interviews and campaigns. He’ll be outfitted in U.S. Polo Assn. jerseys, apparel and gear both on and off the polo field. Now 20, Porter began riding horses at age 5 and has been playing polo since age 9. He will be competing for Santa Clara in the second annual Gauntlet of Polo. Born in London, England, Porter had his first ever polo lesson in Dubai with Martin Valent, who remains his manager today. He now commutes between homes in Florida and England. “Ever since that first lesson 11 years ago, I fell in love with the sport, and I’m fortunate that my passion has become my career,” said Porter. “I’ve worked hard training for every opportunity I’ve had. One of my most memorable was playing the East Coast Open and winning the trophy,” Porter recalled. With an extremely bright future ahead of him, Porter’s dream is to be a top-rated professional polo player by improving his handicap year over year. He has already competed at some of the largest polo games in the world, winning the high-goal East Coast Open, the FIP World Cup zone final, the Mansion Cup, the Bronze Trophy at Sotogrande, Spain, and the $50,000 National 12-Goal two years in a row. He also reached the final of the Ylvisaker Cup, as well as competed in the illustrious Westchester Cup and the prestigious Gauntlet of Polo tournament held at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. “Having Henry represent U.S. Polo Assn. in some of our most important international markets is a win-win. He is not only a tremendous young athlete who continues to getter better each year but is one of the true gentlemen of the game,” said J. Michael Prince, president & CEO of USPA Global Licensing. “I have watched Henry play in games around the world that have included teaming up with Prince Harry in the King Power Royal Charity Cup, as well as playing at the highest level in the United States at the U.S. Open Polo Championship. We are excited to have him be part of our global ambassador line-up.” Equine Welfare Award Nominations The USPA Equine Welfare Committee has opened nominations for the 2020 Clint Nangle Equine Welfare Award to the USPA membership. Nominees are required to be current USPA members who demonstrate excellence in the field of equine welfare. Without equine athletes, the sport of polo could not exist. Established in 2014, this award aims to highlight an individual who dedicates time and energy to caring for and being an advocate for our equine partners. Nominations close Friday, January 31. Visit uspolo.org to submit an online nomination form.

Woman of the Year The USPA Women’s Committee recognized the many female influences throughout the “Sport of Kings” and sought a way to annually recognize one woman within the sport. Both the Polo Training Foundation and the USPA Intercollegiate/Interscholastic programs award Female Player of the Year awards. This award, however, is not just for players. Members of the USPA Women’s Committee feel polo is not only about the players but those who support and help grow the sport. The committee members nominate women they feel serve as role models— women whose selflessness, passion and drive have contributed to the sport for the greater good of the polo community. The United States Polo Association Woman of the Year significantly advances the mission of the USPA, as well as the Women’s Committee—to encourage and increase the participation of women in all aspects of the USPA, to improve the standard of women’s polo throughout the United States and to facilitate the communication and networking of women in polo all over the world. The USPA Women’s Committee is opening up nominations for the 2020 Woman of the Year Award to the entire membership. Nominations close Friday, January 31. Visit uspolo.org to submit an online nomination form. •

Submit nominations for the Equine Welfare Award now.

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

Please contact Pam Mudra, pmudra@uspolo.org, if you have any questions regarding the PDI program.

National Youth Tournament Series Sign up to host a NYTS qualifier tournament in 2020! USPA outdoor clubs in good standing are invited to host a NYTS qualifier event in the upcoming season. NYTS qualifiers encourage youth participation and are a great way to include youth players from clubs in the surrounding region. For more information on hosting or participating in a NYTS qualifier, please contact NYTS@uspolo.org.

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.

I/I Fundraising Boston’s Elizabeth Owens competes in an interscholastic tournament.

Polo Development Initiative The Polo Development Initiative grant program is designed to facilitate the sustainability of polo by empowering clubs and polo schools with grant-based reimbursable awards. The success of the sport depends on the success of its clubs. The USPA 2020 PDI application guidelines and PDI application form will be available online at the uspolo.org website. All applications must be submitted online. The applications deadline is Jan. 31.

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

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

Stewart Armstrong Guiding the association into the future

R

aising the C.V. Whitney Cup twice in the 1980s, Stewart Armstrong joined the ranks in the inaugural Gauntlet of Polo on the Aspen team, demonstrating his skill and support prior to assuming the role of chairman in October 2019. A third-generation player and formidable 7-goaler at the height of his career, Armstrong has participated in grass and arena tournaments both nationwide and internationally in Argentina, England, Guatemala, Pakistan and Mexico. Taking great pride in selecting and riding an exceptional string of horses, Armstrong began breeding polo ponies in his 20s, and over three decades later, has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience in the breeding industry for both polo and horseracing. Previously serving the USPA membership as secretary since 2017, Armstrong is a dedicated advocate for polo, serving on multiple USPA committees, the board of directors of the National Museum of Polo, as well as the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the South Texan studied finance at the University of Texas in Austin, traveling 80 miles on the weekends to play polo in San Antonio. Meeting his wife Catharine Coble (C.C.) during college, the couple now resides in San Antonio and spend summers in Aspen, Colorado. They have three children (Coble, Mia and Larkin) and six grandchildren. Receiving the Hugo Dalmar Trophy in 1984, Armstrong continues to embody the characteristics of sportsmanship both on the field and in service to the USPA. Sitting down with Armstrong at the beginning of his term, he discussed the value of establishing trust, and his vision for the longterm benefit of the association this year.

Why did you decide you wanted to take over as the new chairman of the USPA? When Chip Campbell informed me that he intended to step down, he asked if I would be willing to serve and I agreed because I love the game of polo. Like so many of us, I have received a tremendous amount of value from the relationships which I’ve built throughout my time in the sport. Polo is a wonderful part of my life and I’m happy to help improve it in any way that I can and spend energy on the membership’s behalf.

What qualities or experiences from your past make you most suited for the position of chairman? I have served as the chairman of Kleberg Bank since 1990 and started with them in 1979. Also, my extended family owns an agricultural corporation, which has legacy assets that my cousins and I share. Many years ago, we formed a board of governors to manage the family’s usage of these assets and I have chaired that committee for the past 20 years or so. It’s a large family with roughly 50 members and between 70-80 children. Both of those experiences have given me the confidence that I can manage sensitive issues in an organization where people know and care about each other, and I can also manage a very structured environment. The USPA has federal oversight with a lot of rules and policies involved and that requires people’s trust. I’ve learned from my experience Stewart Armstrong with the bank that maintaining your customers’ trust is necessary and absolutely required. The USPA is dealing with a lot of resources that need to be considered and managed.

What is your equestrian background and how did you become involved in polo? My father was a rancher and he played polo, earning a 6-goal handicap in his prime. My paternal grandfather also got his start in polo as a rancher, and to augment his income he participated in the Remount Service, a government-paid initiative to breed qualified horses for the cavalry. My grandfather had a breeding program with a couple hundred horses he trained and he sold the ones he could to the military—the military guaranteed a price for geldings who didn’t have any white markings. All the leftover horses that did not qualify for the military purchase program were converted into polo ponies. My grandfather was also one of the founders of the San Antonio Polo Club [San Antonio, Texas]. He 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

Armstrong competed in the inaugural Gauntlet of Polo with his Aspen team.

built a stable in San Antonio and he used it to bring horses up from the ranch and sell them as polo ponies to supplement his income as well. My older brother, Charlie, and another brother who passed also played polo. I started with a foot mallet, then on a bicycle and then on horseback at age 11. I played my first tournament game when I was 13 at Cowdray Park Polo Club [in England] in 1969. We won so I played my second match against Prince Charles and we lost. In the summers during high school I played on ranch fields in South Texas with family friends. On occasion I played in Brackenridge Park in San Antonio, Texas.

What are the most important initiatives you have identified as incoming chairman? Chip [Campbell] did a great job of instilling trust back into the association and that was something I tried to help him build as secretary. He worked very hard to show that he was trustworthy before he was made chairman and continued to do so once in office. Trust will be a primary tenet of my administration and any administration that comes 10 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

For Armstrong, a top horse is relaxed, light across the neck and has a lot of speed.

after me needs to have that in place as well. I intend to manage affairs in a manner which allows people to be well informed and confident that decisions are being made for the right reasons. There are three benefits, which have been fundamental to the association since it was founded. Players join the association to get a handicap, to play under a common set of rules and for the opportunity to participate in long-standing tournaments, which carry a great deal of prestige. I think there is some confusion regarding what members receive with their annual membership fee. My message is that we need to deploy our resources into strategies that make polo better for everyone. This encompasses playing members who are competing, spectators and apparel customers. My belief is that if we can make polo better for those groups of people then we will have done our part to make the polo community as healthy and vibrant as we can.

What are your broader goals for the association? A longterm goal I have is to discuss with the board how and under what conditions the USPA could


U S PA B U L L E T I N

make polo better for everyone by owning its own polo fields. It is a delicate, controversial subject and it’s not the time to invest in that yet, but I think there will be a time in the near future when that strategy needs to be defined, fine-tuned and accepted by the board of governors. I don’t intend to do anything about this subject without building a consensus behind it first because that’s the only way to manage this association. I intend to try my best to confidently and comfortably build consensus around ideas and bring people on board at their own speed. It is not something that needs to be rushed, but rather a question we need to answer as an association.

Do you see yourself playing high goal again in the future? The Aspen opportunity was really unique because of Polito Pieres, and I agreed to play in the 2019 Gauntlet of Polo because of his involvement with the team. I don’t want to play in high goal just to play, I’ve played at that level over the years and I know what it takes to put together a competitive team that I believe can win. Playing with Aspen was just one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences and it just happened to fall into my lap. I jumped on it and I really enjoyed it.

How do you plan to make progress on the horse registry proposed by Campbell? What I’ve discerned in looking into a horse registry for polo is that unless there are restrictions placed on tournaments, which are limited to only registered horses, then the value of a registry is not very high. In the horseracing industry, in order to compete you are required to have a registered entry, so it justifies the fees associated with registering a Thoroughbred. However, if polo tournaments are not restricted to only registered horses then there is no real financial justification for spending the money to keep track of a horse’s pedigree. In 2006, Sunny Hale started the American Polo Horse Association to recognize polo ponies in America, which is now being perpetuated by Melissa Ganzi. Currently there is not a compelling reason to register your polo horse and I think that’s one of the difficulties that anyone who tries to move the registry forward will face. Instead, we could create a catalog of the best horses competing in the United States and track them for a few years to see if the catalog would be worthy of converting into a registry, depending on how polo evolves. We are planning to catalog horses that play at the highest level beginning with the Florida winter season so that we can keep track of who they are and

how they were bred. Hopefully this will create some value for people who are breeding polo horses. It may add value to them as they are trying to make their horse breeding businesses profitable. The catalog will also help create credibility for those initiatives.

Armstrong takes great pride in selecting and riding exceptional horses. He is shown here with wife, C.C., far left.

What are the qualities that make a high-caliber horse? My qualifications are a little different than the modern polo player. If you ask a 10-goaler what they want in a high-goal horse they’ll likely say a horse that has a burst of speed. They want to be able to check down, make the opponent check down and then burst by and still have possession of the ball. One of the primary elements top players look for is that burst of speed from a standstill or slow gait. However, I do not play that way because I like to stay moving. My thought is that by moving and anticipating, I create momentum. For me, a top polo horse is one that is relaxed and very light across the neck, that will rate, [is] very comfortable and with a lot of speed. The rest is just teaching the horse to trust me, the bridle I put on and the cues I give; that way he can become an incredible partner that reads my body language.

What would you like the membership to know as you take office? I take the assignment of chairman very seriously and view it as an incredible opportunity. I’m extremely confident that I have the perspective and understanding of polo to address whatever we as an association agree needs to be accomplished. I intend to pull everybody together and get them to work together and contribute. I can inspire, instill trust and help people see things from a new perspective so that we can all work together in a positive way. • POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 11


INSTRUCTORS FORUM

Wall to wall Learn to avoid the whistle in arena polo by Robin Sanchez • photos by David Murrell

You’ve heard the expression, “If you’re not fouling, you’re not trying.” I won’t necessarily disagree with that, but there are fouls that are easily

wrapped, but the name on the tag was not yours. If you don’t know where it came from, you don’t know where the ROW is and chances are, if there are other players in the vicinity, you will foul. Again, it goes back to having a broader range of vision. Don’t reach Another foul that commonly occurs, primarily along the wall, is reaching. When Golden Retriever brain takes over, players are tempted to take a swipe at any ball within mallet length no matter who is in the way. Reaching is when a player reaches in front of or underneath another player’s horse to get the ball. Remember, even if you have been carrying the ball, once the ball gets away from you or you have been engaged in a ride-off and the opposing mount has the ball underneath it, it is no longer yours.

Expand your vision so you are aware of your teammates’ and opponents’ positions as well as the Right of Way.

avoided with some knowledge and patience. Avoiding the whistle can help you avoid costing your team a converted penalty shot, or worse, a game. I’m going to cover fouls that I commonly see when umpiring in the arena. Expand your vision Let’s talk about “game vision” for a moment. You would never drive staring at the bumper of the vehicle in front of you, so why do so many players get fixated on the ball? An easy way to avoid many costly fouls is to merely expand your vision. Instead of fixating on the ball, or the bumper in front of you, look up and see what is happening in traffic ahead and in the lane next to you. Don’t forget to check your rearview mirrors once in a while too. Looking around and opening your field of vision will not only cut down on the fouls but improve your strategy and play in general. When you learn to look up and assess the situation, you will be more aware of your teammates’ location, the Right of Way (ROW) and the position of your opponents. One foul that I see often is players taking a swing at a ball without knowing where the ball came from. The ball may have shown up near your mallet gift

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Turning over the back shot Turning over the back shot is not just a potential foul, it is poor strategy. Players tend to pull their horse toward the side they are executing a back shot from, turning over their mallet and crossing the ROW every time. On a good day you merely foul, on

Keep straight after making a back shot, only turning after confirming your team has control of the ball.


INSTRUCTORS FORUM

NANO’S POLO MALLETS

Resist the urge to reach for the ball after it gets away from you or you have been ridden off.

a bad day you get T-boned and eat dirt. When a player backs the ball, it is a defensive play. That player is likely the only player between the goal he is defending and the ball. After backing, ride straight forward and look over your shoulder. If your teammates have control of the ball, only then turn and follow. If the other team has possession, then stay up in defense. Turning when the opponent has possession gives the opponent a free pathway to goal. Rebound off the wall Another play unique to arena polo is when the ball rebounds off the wall. Remember, the rebound angle is the new line and a new ROW. I see so many players that want to stay parallel to the wall when the rebound is nearly perpendicular to the wall. Learn to read rebounds. It is like Geometry class, shooting pool or racquetball—read the angles and then adjust your horse to the new angle to establish yourself on the ROW. Learning this simple technique will not only prevent you from fouling, it will probably get you a penalty shot in your favor. Reading the angles will inevitably elevate your arena play and ultimately your handicap.

When a ball bounces off the wall, the rebound angle is the new line and establishes a new Right of Way. Learn to read rebound angles.

Robin Sanchez is a professional umpire with USPA Umpires LLC. She taught polo lessons and clinics for over 20 years, including organizing and coaching PTF Florida Junior Polo in the 2000s and Brushy Creek Polo Ranch in Texas where hundreds of players had the opportunity to learn and play. She umpires, teaches umpire and player clinics and starts horses into polo. •

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USEFULS

Head games USPA set to require NOCSAE-approved helmets By Peter J. Rizzo

Since 2018, the USPA has included in its outdoor rules that as of June 1, 2020, protective helmets would be required for all players, and that all helmets must be NOCSAE approved. This requirement for a helmet to be worn meeting the NOCSAE polo standard has been the subject of much discussion and detailed analysis, and involved various helmet manufacturers, polo players, officials representing a number of national polo governing bodies and work and effort of the USPA Safety Committee. Let’s begin with USPA Outdoor Rule 4 and associated Interpretations (see sidebar), which will require USPA players to wear protective helmets that meet the NOCSAE safety standard. (USPA Arena Rule 3(a)2 will be similarly revised.) The bold print is new language for 2020, approved in principle by the USPA board of governors at the 2019 Annual Member Meeting and approved in final form by the board of governors on Dec. 19, 2019. NOCSAE stands for the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Its mission is to commission research on and, where feasible, establish standards for protective athletic equipment. The organization provides helmet safety standards for the sport of polo and several other major sports. Over decades of testing, NOCSAE developed a specific safety standard for manufactured polo helmets. Meeting NOCSAE’s safety standard will determine if a polo helmet satisfies the requirements of Rule 4.a. In the past, while helmets were required attire to play a polo game, there was not much specificity as to which type of helmet to use. Since 1876, when the sport was first played in the United States, protective headgear included cloth caps, cork-lined, canvas covered helmets and eventually a wide range of more modern materials that included hard plastic shells and interior padding. However, throughout most of the history of helmet construction and use, very little testing was done to the various types of polo helmets until the 1960s and 70s when a wide variety of sports organizations began to seek helmets that met some sort of safety standard. That changed on Jan. 15, 1979, after publication of “Standard Method of Impact Test and 14 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

Performance Requirements for Polo Helmets,” prepared by Dr. Voight R. Hodgson at Wayne State research—the first in a series of comprehensive tests to study the effects when a polo helmet is impacted. This seminal study led to the development by NOCSAE of a polo-specific safety standard that would include not only the effects of a fall from a horse, but also the effects of a blow to the helmet by a polo ball or a mallet. In the early part of the 21st century and as recently as the past few years, thanks to the seemingly tireless efforts of the USPA Safety Committee led by long-tenured committee chairman Dr. Thor Norregaard, almost all marketed helmets were tested to the NOCSAE standard and the results have been discussed and carefully analyzed to determine if there would be enough interest by helmet manufacturers to produce sufficient supplies of polo helmets that meet NOCSAE safety standards. It turns out that there are a number of helmet manufacturers in the process of producing polo helmets to meet the NOCSAE polo helmet safety standards. At press time, two manufacturers have received official notification from NOCSAE that their helmets meet the NOCSAE polo helmet standard: Casablanca (based in Argentina) and Charles Owen (based in England). The estimated prices for the helmets will be in the $500-600 range, with additional fees for personalized customization features. Helmet retailers offering helmets that meet the NOCSAE standard can be identified by going online to the various helmet manufacturers’ websites. Further notices will be published as additional helmet manufacturers receive notification from NOCSAE that their polo helmets meet its safety standards. There has been much discussion about whether helmets with facemasks will satisfy the NOCSAE standard, and the USPA is now in a position to offer some clarity on that topic. The executive director of NOCSAE has confirmed in writing to the USPA that whether or not a facemask passes the NOCSAE eye protection standard, the manufacturer of a NOCSAE-approved helmet can designate a facemask as an “authorized accessory” and add it to its NOCSAE-approved helmet without voiding the


USEFULS

RULE 4- EQUIPMENT a. No player may participate in any USPA Event or Club Event in anything other than a proper uniform, including a protective helmet with a chin strap, which must be worn in the appropriate manner specified by the manufacturer of the helmet. No member of a team organization may mount a horse before, during or after a USPA Event anywhere within the safety zone, end zone or playing field unless equipped with a protective helmet with a chin strap, which must be worn in the appropriate manner specified by the manufacturer of the helmet. Players are strongly encouraged to wear eye protection at all times during play. Eye protection is mandatory for all players under the age of eighteen. Effective June 1, 2020, the protective helmet required by this rule for players must be certified to meet the NOCSAE ND050 Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Polo Helmets. The protective helmet required by this rule for members of a team organization is not required to be certified to meet the NOCSAE ND050 Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Polo Helmets. (Note: If the USPA Board of Governors determines prior to March 1, 2020 that such NOCSAE-certified helmets are

not available for purchase from at least two manufacturers in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of the USPA membership, it will inform the membership of that determination and will advise the membership of the date subsequent to June 1, 2020 on which the NOCSAE certification requirement for helmets under this rule will take effect.) 4. EQUIPMENT a... INTERPRETATIONS: The protective helmet that is required beginning on June 1, 2020 by Rule 4a for players in USPA Events and Club Events (i.e., a helmet certified to meet the NOCSAE ND050 Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Polo Helmets) is recommended, but not required, for players and team organization members in all other mounted polo activities. Any player found by the Umpire(s) to be in violation of Rule 4a shall be removed immediately from the game by the Umpire(s). Play shall be resumed with a delay of game penalty on the removed player’s team, the severity of which shall be determined by the Umpire(s) in his, her, or their discretion.

helmet’s NOCSAE certification. Both Casablanca and Charles Owen have confirmed they each will designate as an “authorized accessory” any facemask they add to their NOCSAEapproved helmets. This means that if USPA members have a NOCSAE-approved helmet from Casablanca or Charles Owen and install manufacturer-approved facemasks, the helmets will continue to meet NOCSAE standards and comply with the USPA’s NOCSAE helmet requirement. On the other hand, if USPA members install facemasks themselves or have

The removed player may return to the game when he or she is in compliance with Rule 4a, or a substitution may be made if the substitute is in compliance with the rule. All substitution rules shall apply. If, within 24 hours after a game, the Umpire(s), a Referee, or the Host Tournament Committee is presented with conclusive physical evidence (including, but not limited to, photographic or video evidence) that a player has violated Rule 4a during the game, and the violation was not detected during the game, the penalty is forfeiture. Unlike many other penalties which the Umpire(s) may elect not to exact, this penalty must be exacted. The provision of Rule 4a applying to “member[s] of a team organization” will be strictly enforced in all USPA Events. The first violation will result in a penalty being given to the team or teams violating the provision. Any subsequent violation will result in a penalty being given to the team violating the provision and a yellow flag being given to the player who is playing the mount ridden by the team organization member responsible for that violation. If that player cannot be immediately identified, a yellow flag will be given to that team’s Captain.

someone other than the manufacturer install them, there is no assurance that the helmet will remain NOCSAE-approved. “The Safety Committee is very grateful for the thoughtful input it has received from multiple sources. It is gratifying that our members and leadership realize the need to protect our bodies and particularly the brain. Without a well-functioning brain, our ability to play and enjoy polo is impaired in addition to our overall quality of life,” said Dr. Norregaard. • 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

Build a body Imperfect structure hinders athletic ability By Heather Smith Thomas

CONFORMATION is a term that refers to the horse’s body structures and how they are put together—body proportions and angles, leg angles and straightness or imbalance in limbs and feet. All of these factors play a role in how the horse moves, how its feet push off and strike the ground, how hooves wear and grow, and whether the horse will suffer limb interference while traveling. It is best to select a horse with the least conformational faults that might hinder its performance—especially for a rigorous sport like polo. No horse is perfect, however, so we generally try to choose a good one and then help it out with good foot care. Observing the horse standing and in motion, and assessing its action and conformation, is important in determining how its feet should be trimmed and shod, to enable it to travel most efficiently and stay sound—with the least stress on any limb structures. Even if its conformation is a detriment to its action, good trimming and shoeing can help most horses perform to their optimum potential. Ideally, leg action should be free-flowing, with feet and legs moving forward in relatively straight lines. No horse travels perfectly straight, but any exaggerated deviations will cause problems. A horse with crooked legs and crooked foot flight puts more strain on bones, joints, tendons and ligaments and is less likely to stay sound with hard work. When working at speed, it is also likely to strike itself (especially when shod, since weight added to the feet accentuates any deviation in foot flight) and may injure its legs. A horse with well-formed feet and legs tends to handle the stresses of athletic activity with less risk for injury and is less apt to develop arthritic joints. Before trimming or shoeing a horse, the farrier should carefully evaluate feet and leg conformation, both at rest (standing squarely) and in motion. He may want you to walk and trot the horse straight away and straight back. An experienced horseman can tell a lot about how the horse handles its feet just by “reading” feet and shoes (observing wear points), but some clues about how the horse moves become more obvious when you observe his leg and body angles and also watch his limbs in motion. Steve Norman, a Kentucky farrier who shoes a lot of racehorses, says there are basically three main 16 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

types of leg structure: toed out, toed in, and “normal” (with the feet moving in relatively straight lines). “Any time you see a horse with less than straight legs and feet, the foot flight will be altered,” says Norman. “The two basic toe-out structures are deviational (lower legs splaying outward from the knees—which may be knock-kneed—or from the fetlock joints) and rotational (the whole leg is rotated). In the second instance, the horse’s elbows are turned inward and the whole leg is turned outward,” explains Norman. If toes are turned outward due to a deviational conformation, the foot flight will curve inward. There will also be distortions in the hoof capsule due to uneven weight bearing. “Deviational conformation puts a lot of pressure on the inside quarters, which can create a sheared heel effect. Rotational conformation won’t put quite as much additional concussion on the inside of the foot. If that foot is trimmed and balanced, both heels could possibly land at the same time and there won’t be as much stress on just one heel,” he says. The horse with toed-out conformation will have a rolled-in heel and straight wall on the inside, and a flared or more angled wall on the outside. The hoof capsule is pushed outward. “This creates a foot distortion that necessitates support on the inside corner when shod. The farrier may also need to eliminate a flare on the outside. Supporting the inside is especially important on a deviational conformation because that heel will tend to roll under,” explains Norman. With a toed-in horse, the effects are usually just the opposite. The horse breaks over to the outside of the foot and wears the outside more. “You need to support the lateral side (outside) of the foot each time it’s shod, to reduce pressure and concussion. A horse with this conformational defect will generally land off balance. There may be some differences in how you deal with this, depending on whether the horse has a short pastern or long pastern. You might have to give more hoof support to a Thoroughbred than you would to a Quarter Horse because of the difference in pastern length and foot angle,” he says. Mitch Taylor (Director of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School) says conformation and movement—


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

Static balance involves the way a horse is put together, the way it stands and the way it loads its limbs, bones, joints and hoof capsule while standing.

and how these are addressed when trimming or shoeing—must also be looked at in terms of the horse’s age. A foal has important considerations that will be different from the mature animal whose bones are no longer growing. Some corrections can be made in a foal, even through yearling age, that are easier to accomplish when bones are growing fast, and cannot be accomplished after bones have stopped growing. Hoof balance “The way I look at conformation, I break it into two areas—static balance and dynamic balance (during movement),” says Taylor. “Static balance involves the way a horse is put together, the way he stands, and the way he loads his limbs, bones, joints and hoof capsule while standing. There are two forces to keep in mind. There’s a ground force—opposing force of the ground against the foot and leg which balances/cancels out forces coming down the leg (the horse’s weight). The other force is described by a term used in mechanical engineering: the phenomenon of creep. You see this in wood structures that support weight (compression) or resist pulling forces (tension) over time. When something is under chronic compression, tension or torque, it will eventually yield and move,” says Taylor. “The hoof capsule is an example. Toe grabs or calks affect the horse’s static balance by causing the foot to load different than it was trimmed. The toe is elevated as the horse stands (such as in a stall most of the day) thus overloading the heels—putting excessive compression on the heels—and slinging the sole

off the ground more.” This puts excessive tension on the laminae at the toe, and compression on the sole. “This static imbalance can have two unhealthy results. First, it compromises blood supply to the heel area and slows heel growth. Second, it lifts the toe and sole off the ground, putting more tension on the front of the hoof wall leading to dished toes, stretched white lines and flat soles, over time,” says Taylor. “The hoof capsule has three biomechanical characteristics. It is constantly growing, it is elastic, and it changes shape according to the weight it must bear. With good conformation, limbs are proportional (without undo stress on any one part).” As you look down the leg from a front or rear view, you want the joints to be directly under one another. If the horse has proportionately straight legs, then the hoof capsules are also loaded proportionately for good balance.” Static balance The horse’s foot is an amazing example of biological engineering. Equine feet are rarely symmetrical. It’s more common to have a straighter wall on the medial side (inside) and a slightly more angled wall on the lateral side (outside of the foot). “Not only are there differences between inside and outside wall of the foot, but front feet are not shaped the same as hind feet,” says Taylor. Horses bear weight differently on fronts and hinds. (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

CLUBHEAD REUNION Players get together Subhead to celebrate former club

THE WEST HILLS POLO CLUB in Huntington, Long Island, New York, established by Joe Rizzo, was the place where hundreds of players got their start. After Rizzo retired, the club property changed hands a few times before being purchased by veterinarian Greg Beroza in 1990. Beroza established the Long Island Equine Medical Center at the site, but kept a boarding stalls and the polo arena intact until recently when the property was sold for development. Millwood Polo Club in Citra, Florida, paid tribute to the West Hills Polo Club on Nov. 30 with polo chukkers and a celebration with a small group of players who once played at West Hills.

Players, mostly ranging in age from 60-90, competed in chukkers. Far right: Participants shared memories and a meal after the match.

Four teams enjoyed chukkers in Millwood’s Buddy Combs Arena.

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

Millwood is unique as it only caters to adult players. Retired polo players and those who always dreamed of playing polo now have a place to call their own. Four teams competed in the reunion chukkers at Millbrook’s Buddy Combs Arena, with most of the players ranging in age from 60-90. After the last chukker was played, participants celebrated in a large tent, sharing a feast fit for royalty, laughter and memories of West Hills.


POLO SCENE

GOING TO THE DOGS Club introduces new polo mascot

THE SARASOTA POLO CLUB in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, has a new club mascot this season. In collaboration with Southeastern Guide Dogs, the club introduced Mason Chukker, a 9-month-old yellow Labrador Retriever and bundle of energy, who is in training to be a future guide or service dog. Mason Chukker will make periodic appearances at Sunday polo throughout the season while he learns basic manners, obedience and social skills. Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida, trains guide dogs for those with vision loss as well as service dogs for veterans with PTSD or other disabilities. Mason Chukker was bred at Southeastern Guide Dogs to do great things. He is currently being raised by a volunteer and when he is about 2 years old, he will return to Southeastern Guide Dogs Palmetto campus to complete formal training at Canine University. On rare occasions that dogs prove not ideally-suited for guide or service dog work, they are adopted out as pets. The Sarasota Polo Club is proud to share a part of Mason Chukker’s journey with its fans as he grows into a well-rounded sportsman and eventually becomes a lifechanging superhero. Fans are encouraged to seek out Mason Chukker throughout the season and ask for his trading card and his “paw-to-graph.” The club is also stocking Mason Chukker stuffed animals in its gift shop, with proceeds benefitting Southeastern Guide Dogs. To learn more about the organization, go to guidedogs.org.

Mason Chukker is learning to be calm, even around horses.

Mason Chukker will be greeting fans at the Sarasota Polo Club throughout the season.

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


POLO SCENE

MAKING A SPLASH Players celebrate end of summer at beach

MANY PEOPLE celebrate the end of summer with one last trip to the beach. Members of the

D.JEAN VERGARA

Tinicum Park Polo Club in Erwinna, Pennsylvania, not only decided to join in on the fun, they brought along their polo ponies! On Oct. 5, members of the club played a match on the beach at Long Beach Island in New Jersey. Club member and Long Beach Island summer resident Jim Koslovski cooked up the idea for the match, and working with the town and club, helped make it happen. The Beach Polo Classic was the first time a polo match was played on the Jersey shore. It was held the first day of the island’s traditional Chowderfest weekend, and was front-page news in local and statewide papers. Proceeds from the estimated 2,000 attendees benefitted David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation, a local non profit that provides financial assistance, wellness services and hope to New Jersey families affected by a cancer diagnosis. Traveling in a caravan, players and horses converged on the seaside community transformed for the day of polo. Sand-swept roads were lined with cheering crowds and traffic was redirected to make way for horses and riders parading from the parking area to the beachfront arena. As players rode up a path over the dunes, the arena—a white rectangular patch of sand bordered by a colorful crowd–came into view, with the ocean, stretching to the horizon, serving as a backdrop. Players included Cheryl Arnold, Jose Cervantes, Victoria Halliday, Gary Hulton, Ann Oniskey, Barclay Knapp, Audrey VanLuvanee and Koslovski, along with youth members Daniel Arnold, Brook Burk, Abdula Chaudhry and Owen Halliday. Carol Stahl and Joe Ganter provided the commentary and club manager Hesham El-Gharby and member Carol Hails lended a hand. Two years ago while sitting on the beach, Koslovski thought the wave-riding, fun-in-the-sun beachgoers would enjoy a polo match, but it still seemed like a hair-brained idea. Long Beach Island Mayor Joseph Mancini and El-Gharby embraced the idea and it soon became a priority project for township officials and the club’s board members. Planning took 18 months, the foremost challenge to create an acceptable playing surface. As a protected area, options were limited but the township graciously provided heavy equipment to roll the arena between chukkers. It was such a hit, the event will now be an annual event.

Jim Koslovski, who organized the event, also played in the match.

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


POLO SCENE

OH BABY Newest social member enjoys first season

N

OLAN ANDREW CONTRINO is the newest and youngest social member at Tinicum Park Polo Club in Erwinna, Pennsylvania. Born April 19, 2019, Nolan enjoyed his first summer of polo under the club’s GPE solar tent with parents Andrew and Veronique Contrino, both of whom are social members. His mom also plays polo and looks forward to playing with Nolan one day. In the meantime, he’ll be enjoying watching from the sidelines.

Veronique and Nolan Contrino enjoy watching polo from the club’s GPE solar tent.

GET COOKING Player working on polo cookbook

D

AWN WEBER, a polo player living in Palm City, Florida, is revisiting her idea for a polo cookbook. Several years ago, when she was living in California, she began compiling recipes from polo clubs across the country. Life got in the way, and the idea was put on the back burner. The first time around, Weber was enthused to get so many contributions from players all over the country, so she decided to finish the project. Players and clubs are encouraged to send recipes of their club favorites, whether it is a dish regularly served at tournament parties or fieldside. Recipes can be for drinks, appetizers or entrees, and high resolution photos of the dish are helpful. Recipes for your polo ponies’ favorite horse treats are also welcome. A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to Polo Players Support Group and the USPA’s polo pony disaster fund. Don’t let your club be left out! For more information or to send in your best recipes, ideas, themes and photos, contact Dawn by email at dawnwem@earthlink.net.

Dawn Weber is compiling recipes for players and horses.

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

Are you covered? PDI grant helps increase club’s playing days By Hayley Heatley

As the year comes to a close and the temperatures begin to drop, the Polo Development Initiative grant recipients are beginning to feel the positive effects of their capital improvement projects. Capital improvement awards and multi-year projects were included in the scope of PDI funding for the first time in 2019. The initial response from the clubs has been exceptionally positive. The minimum 50% funding match required of clubs assisted in directing the focus of their planning on longterm investment for sustainability and growth. David Brooks, owner of the Triangle Area Polo Club, felt a positive impact the first two weeks his new covered arena was built. From mid-October through mid-November, Triangle Area Polo Club was forced to cancel eight of 16 polo days due to inclement weather. The covered arena opened and within two weeks, 52 rides and lessons were able to take place that would have otherwise been cancelled. The amount of

Participants in the club’s Turkey Cup enjoyed playing in the new arena.

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

revenue collected from those rides equates to almost three months of payments on the new arena build project. Triangle Area Polo Club serves a busy metropolitan area encompassing Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill in North Carolina. The decision to build the new covered arena on a property closer to town came after Brooks realized being 10-15 minutes closer to where his clients worked made a difference in whether they would participate in polo activities during the week. The polo school program offers lessons as well as playing opportunities, giving newcomers to the sport a clear path of progression. The effects of changing weather patterns directly affected Triangle Area Polo Club’s ability to maintain its normal lesson and polo schedule. In 2018, 25% of the season was rained out. Getting clients engaged after four months off in the winter also proved to be a challenge.


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

In the first two weeks of being open, the club had 52 lessons and rides in the new arena.

“People who play polo enjoy being active. If our clients are not playing polo during the winter months they will find a new activity to replace it. Having the covered arena will allow us to keep their momentum and enthusiasm for polo through the winter,” says Brooks. The PDI Grant allowed Brooks and Triangle Area Polo Club to commit to building the new structure immediately as well as secure additional funding for the project. After the arena was built, Brooks realized the indirect effects could also increase the bottom line. With a shortage of indoor arenas available in the area for equestrian activities, Brooks capitalized by hosting a polo clinic for participants of other disciplines. After converting two eventers into polo players, he realized he may have tapped into a new source of polo school students. Current players from clubs in the extended region have expressed an interest in coming to play at the club during the winter. The cost of playing in Florida is unattainable for some, so Brooks began creating a winter option for players to come to his club. He is working with local hotels to create polo packages for players to come for a period of time to play and enjoy some of the area’s local attractions. Plans for the arena continue to develop and include the addition of lights in the near future. •

The PDI Grant allowed Brooks and Triangle Area Polo Club to commit to building the new structure immediately and secure additional funding for the project.

The arena will allow the club to keep members engaged during the winter months.

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

Polo school Middle School Tournaments played around the country

Garrison Forest School Polo Club Owings Mills, Maryland Players from across the Southeast gathered at Garrison Forest School to participate in the tournament. Teams participating included Maryland, Garrison Forest 1, Garrison Forest 2, Work to Ride 1 and Work to Ride 2 All-Stars: Cate Godey, Rory Knox, Josie Smith, Kylie Beard Horsemanship Award: Marc Anthony Harley Sportsmanship Award: Josie Goldstein Best Playing Pony: Polly, owned by Maryland

Maryland’s Aleem Siddiqui, Sierra Blevins and Kylie Beard

Battlefield Park Polo Club Gainesville, Virginia The Maryland team swept the competition to take home the win. Teams participating included Maryland, Battlefield, Maryland 2 and Battlefield 2. All-Stars: Kylie Beard, Rory Knox, Emma Thacker, Aleem Siddiqui Horsemanship Award: Sierra Blevins Sportsmanship Award: Allegra Vercesi Best Playing Pony: Melody, owned by Kelly Wells

Maryland’s Keira Paige, Rory Knox and Yash Chhugani won at Garrison Forest School. Maui White’s Leah Meltzer, Emily Coflin and Jayci Jay Clark

New Bridge Polo Club

Maui Polo Club Makawao, Hawaii Maui White took the win over Maui Black. All-Stars: Emily Coflin, Leah Meltzer, Elizabeth Miranda and Kaelynn Rice Horsemanship Award: Leah Meltzer Sportsmanship Award: Emily Coflin Best Playing Pony: Apache, owned by Coco Acker 24 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

Aiken, South Carolina Two teams gathered at New Bridge Polo Club to participate in the tournament. Lazy R triumphed over Crestview in the two-day event. All-Stars: Daniel Arnold, Ramon Caro, Gavin Meeker and Boyett Watridge Horsemanship Award: Tomas Caro Sportsmanship Award: Tyler Runion Best Playing Pony: Oruzco, owned by Gavin Meeker


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

Lazy R’s Tyler Runion, Daniel Arnold and Boyett Watridge won at New Bridge.

Blue’s Jordan Pearson, Emerson Bond and Luca Abboud won at Lakeside.

Grey’s Rory Knox, Mya Quarcoopome and Aleem Siddiqui were victorious at Marlan Farm.

Post Time’s Madison Haggerty, Kairi Davies and Liam Ersing won at Buffalo.

Linnea Johnson, Annabelle Mericle, Helena Bache, Mathew Werner, Morgan Manos, Kate Soderin, Charlie Brand, Vivi Klentner and Alyssa Neville participated at Central Coast. The Blue team (center) won.

Gardnertown Polo Club Newburgh, New York Gardnertown saw four teams from across the East Coast battle it out. The final saw Dark Green hold off the Blue team for the win. Other participating teams were Grey and Light Green. All-Stars: Henry Elser, Saralyn Painter, Cate Godey

and Daniel Arnold Horsemanship Award: Cate Godey Sportsmanship Award: Sammi Ihan Best Playing Pony: Armana, owned by Saralyn Painter (continued on page 57) POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 25


Desert storm Horses and horsepower highlight Arizona event

Molina’s Diego Flores comes in to defend Centtrip Wales’ Roddy Matthews.

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


Nearly 12,000 people attended this year’s The World’s Greatest Polo Party—9th Annual Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships, presented by Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, Nov. 2. The day kicked off with the U.S. Air Force team (Courtney Parker, Croix Waage, Garrett Bankhead) defeating Marines (Natalie Grancharov, Bill Clark, Dan Faherty), 5-3, in the Gen. George S. Patton Jr. tournament presented by Safeway Albertsons and Sanderson Lincoln. Soon after, Molina’s Arizona Polo Club upset Talking Stick Resort Centtrip Wales team (Ricky Cooper, Pete Webb, Roddy Matthews), 12-6. Arizona included brothers Felipe and Andres Camacho and Arizona Polo Club president Diego Florez and Bill Stolcup splitting a position. The signature match of the day saw Nacho Figueras lead Bentley Scottsdale’s Aspen Valley Polo Club to a hard-fought 75 victory over Barrett-Jackson’s Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, with Charlie Wooldridge, Roy Prisk and Jamie Morrison. It was the fifth consecutive win for the Aspen Valley team, which included mother and son, Melissa and Grant Ganzi. Grant was named MVP after scoring three goals. Britney, owned by Marc Ganzi and played by Figueras, was Best Playing Pony. The action concluded with the first ever charity match-up, sponsored by EPR Polo. Southwest Wildlife (Elle Syebold, Matthew Fonseca, Marcial Socas) took on Arizona Equine Rescue (Carol Hobson, Toto Socas, Inaki Echezaretta) for a $10,000 purse. The tight match ended in a 4-4 tie, so the two organizations each received $5,000. The matches each began with a special guest bowling in a ceremonial first ball. Guests included Arizona Diamondbacks Managery Torey Lovullo, legendary Valley Concert Promoter Danny Zelisko, 9-year-old cancer survivor Peyton Gonzales and Figueras. There was plenty of action off the field as well. The 6th Annual Canine Couture, presented by Lugari Pet Salon, saw Bernadette Parra’s Lucky take home Best in Show. Special performances were given by two cast members of a new musical, Americano!, debuting Jan. 31 at The Phoenix Theatre company; Doc Jones, an Oboe player from the Phoenix Symphony; fieldside tango dancers; rapper Ali Tomineek; and an acoustic guitar showcase in the Sanderson Lincoln Black Label Lounge. Riders from the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show performed and Phoenix Fashion Week presented the World’s Longest Catwalk Fashion Show during halftime. An impressive display of vehicles from Sanderson Lincoln led the fashion show as models traversed the field. Some 200 yards in fashions were provided and inspired by USPA Global. Car enthusiasts marveled at the array of automobiles on display in a sneak preview of the 2020 Barrett-Jackson Car Collector Auction, as well as displays by Bentley Scottsdale,

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


Courtesy Volvo, Earnhardt’s Genesis Collection, Apex Private Motorsports, and exotic cars by Scottsdale Ferrari and Maserati. No one went hungry at the event with high-end cuisine provided by Steak 44 in the Prime VIP tent; bottomless french fries and complimentary mimosas in the Barrett-Jackson Champagne & Jazz Lounge from M Catering; several food trucks and pop-up concepts; and DJ infused party tents, Riot

House and Wasted Grain. “There is no doubt, 2019 was our best year yet,” said Bentley Scottsdale’s Beli Merdovic. “Besides the fact that our team won, we saw incredible crowds and a huge lineup of events and festivities. We will definitely be back and bigger than ever next year for the 10th Anniversary.” Organizers are already planning for next year, and said concerts and night polo are possible additions. •

Spectators came dressed in their best outfits to see and be seen.

Left: Riders from the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show performed between games. Above, Aspen Valley’s Nacho Figueras and Grant Ganzi high five spectators after their win in the signature match of the day. It was the team’s fifth consecutive victory.

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


Top: Kristen and Torey Lovullo, the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, stomp divots; Top, right: The Riot House party tent was rocking all day; Right, second from top: Field car girls announce the chukkers; Right: Food and drink tents allowed spectators a perfect view of the field on one side and mountains on the other; Bottom, right: The Canine Couture Show had dogs dressed to the nines—K9s!; Below: A variety of musical talent could be heard throughout the venue.

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


In living color Artist depicts gauchos and other horsemen By Peter J. Rizzo

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


I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Argentinian artist Esteban Diaz Mathé at an asado hosted by the Aspen Valley Polo Club in Carbondale, Colorado, during the 2019 USPA Silver Cup this past summer. He showed me a number of images on his smart phone of some of the paintings and drawings he had done of Argentine gauchos and landscapes. I was astounded, as others around me were, by his use of vivid colors and his unique mastery of capturing the various expressions on the faces of the people depicted within his art. My first thought was

this guy was a truly a master, much like a modern-day di Vinci, using techniques reminiscent of Rembrandt’s Chiaroscuro or even suggestive of Thomas Kinkade’s use of ambient light. My other thought was they were so realistic they might be mistaken for photographs. The images he depicts are so vivid, so expressive – so alive. They are pure expressions of a true artist who captures the vital essence of horses, people and landscapes. Diaz Mathé is a master artist who can make magic combining colors and canvas to create

Opposite page: The gauchos Diaz Mathé paints remind him of American cowboys. Diaz Mathé was commissioned to paint helmets for Facundo Pieres to wear in the Argentine Triple Crown. They were later auctioned for charity.

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


Diaz Mathé was recently commissioned to paint for a Cambiaso tribute at Cambiaso’s La Dolfina ranch.

feelings and passion—just like the masters of old that he studied and now emulates and honors with his extraordinary art. We continued our discussion via texts and emails after he continued on his summer travels in Colorado and in Wyoming as the guest of Polo Hall of Famer Skey Johnston and Skey’s wife Gil. As Esteban tells it, his forebears at the early part of the 1800s were poor but determined to better themselves by migrating from Spain to Argentina to

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

begin a modest business, which prospered to the extent that their descendants married into a landed family. Today, Esteban’s family has its own estancia, which spans hectares of cattle ranching located about 200 miles northwest of Buenos Aires. He said, “I had a privileged upbringing because I was born into a family which could offer us so many opportunities.” Like his three elder brothers, he was educated in the city-environs of Buenos Aires. Each brother eventually found their own career paths.


As children, Esteban and his brothers would spend three months each summer at the family estancia. He also enjoyed hunting and fly-fishing in Patagonia, however, his first loves were the gauchos and their horses. “To me they were a dream, they were my friends and my father-figures. At dawn each day they would call for me with a horse and I would ride with them all day,” explained Esteban. Many of the gauchos remain his friends though some have since retired. Esteban recalls it was the gaucho’s affinity for horses, cattle and wide open spaces that reminds him of the iconic North American cowboys, with some important differences. While Hollywood films depicted the Wild West cowboy with six-shooters, the gauchos’ chosen weapon is el facón, a sharp, long-bladed knife used for everything from fighting to cutting meat. Gauchos, the offspring of 17th century Spanish colonizers and indigenous American women, were perceived by their colonial rulers as lazy and troublemakers, though useful and admired for their skill with horses and cattle. Sprawling estancias have long been fenced, but their owners still employ the legendary gauchos to manage their cattle and horses. Throughout Argentina’s 19th century-era hostilities to end Spanish imperial rule, the gallant gauchos largely made up the Argentine cavalry and won the admiration of their new-found, homeland. Today, they are hardworking horsemen dedicated to horses and livestock, celebrated annually in rodeos and in

songs and dances of cultural events. According to biographer Masha Malinowski, “The vast majority of the Argentine population now live in and around cities. Yet, just as Americans hold dear an image of rugged individualism and independence, the Argentines still view the gaucho as the embodiment of the Argentine soul. To this day, the gauchos can still be easily found going about their work throughout the Argentine outback. For how long, no one can say. Their way of life is deeply imprinted on the Argentine psyche and will be forever preserved by the art of Esteban Diaz Mathé.” Esteban’s path from the estancia to the city led him to the University Del Salvador from where he graduated with a degree in psychology. From there he switched to architecture and joined a firm where he specialized in human resources. “As a hobby, I started drawing and discovered my gift for art. From drawing with a pen, I went to charcoal and from there to paint. I copied prints of the great masters, Michelangelo, de Vinci, Caravaggio, Rembrandt and the Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla, who was famous for his landscapes and portraits.” Some within the Buenos Aires art community urged him to become an artist, even though he had no formal art training. He admits he had doubts about his ability, but people were buying his paintings, so he decided to give up architecture to become a traveling artist, and made it a life quest to discover and explore more of Argentina, its people

Members of Flying H Polo Club browse Diaz Mathé’s art on display at The Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming.

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


Diaz Mathé has painted many different aspects of the horse world, including racehorses.

and landscapes. Esteban was hosted by owners of about 40 estancias in 10 of Argentina’s 23 provinces. He took many photographs as he journeyed across Argentina, never intending to be copied as paintings, but more intended to offer suggestions in their light, color and facial expressions of the gauchos and their horses, adding or deleting photographic details to enhance the essence of his paintings, a practice he continues to this day. Esteban lovingly acknowledges the credit for his success goes to his wife Florencia, a lawyer he met by chance during his first sojourn across Argentina. “She’s the love of my life. She supported me 100 percent,” he explained. “When you dream of something outside the box, you really must feel you can do it.” They married and now have a 4-year-old son, Lorenzo, and a 1-year-old daughter, Elena. In 2012, Esteban published and edited his first book of artworks: Ser Argentino (Being Argentine). The bilingual text was written with the help of Mariano Fernandez, a freelance journalist who contributes to livestock pastoral magazines. The book’s cover flap reads, “Gathering information, investigating and sharing his daily work with rural people, Esteban Mathé seeks to capture through his paintings the very essence of the national being.” The book was awarded the Congress

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

Honor Award in Arts and became a protocol gift from the Argentine Congress to all international dignitaries that visit Argentina, presidents, diplomats or key international business representatives. In addition, the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs distributed copies of Ser Argentino to its 80 embassies around the world, and 3,000 copies were sold to Buenos Aires banks and business houses. Soon after Esteban published Ser Argentino, he and his art came to the attention of Marcos Uranga, the well-respected former president of the Argentine Polo Association and founder and first president of Federation of International Polo. Uranga contacted Esteban, expressed admiration for his artwork and urged him direct his talent to celebrating the sport of polo. “Though I’ve loved horses and riding all my life, I only played ‘fun’ polo as a kid with a friend whose family owned a horse-stud operation outside Buenos Aires.” With Uranga’s encouragement, Esteban started watching polo and taking photos at all the important tournaments, such as Hurlingham, Tortugas and Palermo. Uranga convinced him to submit polo drawings for the official history of FIP, commemorating its 30th anniversary. That led to more commissions. Most recently, Esteban completed the covers of the past five annual editions of the Argentine Polo Pony Breeders’ Association. Esteban developed and renewed friendships and won the support of such eminent polo families as the Pieres, Mac Donoughs and Novillo Astradas. “Since I started my artist career in polo, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, a friend of mine since we were kids, introduced me to his father, Taio Novillo Astrada, who really supported me constantly. Alejandro later introduced me to Skey and Gil Johnston, who, once he saw my work in Argentina, told me that you must paint in the United States and paint our polo and our Western culture.” This past year, Esteban was commissioned to paint for a tribute to Cambiaso at La Dolfina, and was asked by Facundo Pieres to paint his three helmets used for the Tortugas, Hurlingham and Palermo Open tournaments. After the tournaments, the helmets were sold at a charity auction. In addition, Jorge and Pablo Macdonough


commissioned him to create the logo of their polo operations La Irenita. After an invitation from Skey Johnston to visit his ranch to feel, explore and live the West, Esteban spent a portion of the summer in Wyoming researching and then capturing the region’s distinctive and iconic images of people, animals, events and locations. He credits the generosity of the Novillo Astrada and Johnston families for the opportunities to see places and people outside of his home country and for his traveling adventures to unknown lands and cultures. As soon as he stepped onto Johnston’s Flying H Ranch, and visited the famed Sheridan Rodeo, Esteban says he felt like he was home. “The similarities between gauchos and cowboys were fascinating, and I got the sense of the common ways of how they think and talk, both externally and internally. They are men of the land, the men of horses and cattle. They are the same people worldwide because it is nature that sculpted their spirit,” he said. The Johnstons continued their hospitality by inviting Esteban to their home in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he studied Johnston’s huge library

of books of western paintings and sculptures. Those books gave him a real appreciation for the American culture from the many artistic approaches by so many talented artists. This summer, 29 pieces of Esteban’s art were featured in a “Gauchos, Cowboys and Polo” display at The Brinton Museum, located in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, near Big Horn, Wyoming. The museum also features 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art. The Johnston’s also introduced Esteban to Bill King’s Bozeman Trail Gallery as well as nearby horse and cattle ranches. Johnston is encouraging Esteban to research and paint the traditional and iconic western scenes of cowboys and indians, as well a capture other aspects of the American horse world, like what he as done in Argentina. Gil Johnston also commissioned Esteban to paint a portrait of her best steeplechase horse, Mr. Hot Stuff. “A whole new chapter in my career just began, and I hope to keep visiting this amazing country,” Esteban said of the U.S. “I will do my best to provide a tribute to your people and to your culture with my art and my soul. Once again, the sport of polo is the bridge between our two cultures.,” he said. •

Skey, Gillian and Gil Johnston with Diaz Mathé. The Johnston’s hosted Diaz Mathé in Wyoming this summer.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 35


Rubén Sola Unexpected death saddens polo community

ALEX PACHECO

By Adam Snow

On Dec. 1, 2019, the polo world lost one of its greats when Rubén Sola suffered a fatal heart attack as he sat alone in his truck among the Palermo Field No. 2 palenques and watched the final seconds of his son, Facundo’s, semi-final qualifying victory for the Argentine Open. Rubén was only 55 years old. I can picture my friend there in his farm truck, most comfortable among the horses he had trained; voicing instructions to Facu’s grooms; jaw clenched with the nerves of a parent watching their child protégé on their biggest stage— un sufrimiento lindo (beautiful suffering), as he once described it. He would have a maté gourd cradled in one hand, a black boina (beret) on his head, and a quick white smile and palm-in salute always ready, for those who greeted him warmly—Rubénchó! Rubéncíto! Cordobés!—in passing. Exactly 20 years earlier, Rubén and I had played together on this same field. Then, it would have been a 9-year-old Facundo watching from the palenques. But, as a father and mentor, Ruben passed the torch gracefully, enthusiastically and—together with an amazing wife, Ana Rosa Ricci— poured his heart and soul into the lives of their three children. In recent years, their oldest daughter, Delfina, gave them their first two grandchildren. This past week, I came across a video clip of Rubén taking his grandson to go ride un petíso for 36 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

his first time. As the truck bounced over the dirt roads—of what I imagined to be his hometown of Colonel Moldes, Córdoba—Rubén and his tiny grandson, wearing matching red boinas, bobbed to the music playing over the radio as they headed towards their horse adventure. It was classic Rubén! Facundo, now 29-years-old and 9-goals, is one of the best players in the world. In the Argentine Triple Crown this past season, he won multiple Best Playing Pony prizes--the product of a father/son collaboration which, in many cases, began with Rubén starting unbroken 2 year olds from scratch. Ana and Rubén’s youngest daughter, Rosário, who they affectionately called Tigre, was a talented youth tennis player. At one point, they even considered her pursuing tennis for a career. But, on Dec. 1, 2019, she would have been leading the fieldside cheers for her brother’s Las Monjitas team. Likely, Rosário was somewhere near the palenques, and her dad probably had an eye on her too. Rubén and I got to know each other in Palm Beach in 1997, while playing for Michael Price’s team, Peapacton. Almost immediately, we clicked. We shared a barn, maté, a birth year, families with three similarly-aged children, a passion for horses and sport, and more wins than losses. Since my own family was in Aiken that winter, I soon became a regular for family dinners that Ana cooked at their regular rental in Wellington, Florida’s Bedford Mews community. On the field, Rubén was a fast, forward player who could really ride; and he scored a lot of goals. Rated 8-goals, he had no ego about his role on the team, always wanted to double his best horses, and was an all-around great teammate. When pre-game meetings got too technical, Rubén would always end them with a joke: Basta! Basta! Ya estamos jugando! (“Enough! We’re already playing!”)


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$ One spring, when the Sola family visited us in Aiken, I remember Rubén insisting on letting a group of four to six younger horses out of their paddock so that we could watch them run free. The idea was to flag them up and down the lane between pastures, with each of us acting as a blocker at one end. It wasn’t long before they had busted through our flagging efforts and were running wild around the exterior of the pasture. I was petrified of an injury but, after chasing them around for a while, we eventually got them herded safely back through the open paddock gates. Ruben was delighted. I think it felt to him like the next best thing to being home on his farm in Argentina. While in his home province of Córdoba, Rubén found another way to enjoy free-running horses in the annual gaucho competitions held in the town of Jesús María. Here, attired in full gaucho regalia, Rubén competed in, and one year even won, the tropilla herding class. A tropilla is a group of eight to 15 similarlycolored criollo horses with no tack or halters, who are trained to link-up and be herded in an organized fashion. Essentially, the event involves a gaucho riding one horse and ponying another, a madrina (herd-mare with a bell around her neck), into an arena containing hundreds of horses from mixed tropillas and herding his own tropilla in as short a time as possible. If it sounds crazy, it is. Somehow, gradually, the loose horses get drawn to their respective madrina’s bell. And, eventually, the arena transforms from chaos to the spectacular sight of herds of similarly colored loose horses, flocking tightly to their respective gauchos on horseback and the madrinas they are ponying. Though I never got to witness Rubén compete in person, I can imagine the enthusiasm he poured into this uniquely Argentine event. Friend, teammate, country-valuesfamily-man, gaucho aficionado, River Plate fan, lover of all things horse-related; Rubén Emilio Sola, you will be missed. Your passion for life was contagious, and is still present in the things you lived most for--family and horses. •

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POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 37


True grit Women’s teams display talent, determination By KC Krueger Photos by Kaylee Wroe

Polo Gear’s Tiffany Busch powers past LM Ranch’s Alexis Ellison in the Texas Women’s Open final.

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


After 102 chukkers, 22 matches, and five different levels of polo, the 25th annual Houston Women’s Polo Championship came to an end Nov. 17, at the Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas. The grand finale on Sunday afternoon on the historical Farish Field included the finals of the Ladies’ Junior Invitational, the USPA Texas Women’s Open and the U.S. Open Women’s Handicap. Land Rover Houston-Central was the first winner of the day in the Ladies’ Junior Invitational over Luxury Event Trailers. All the players displayed great horsemanship and knowledge of the game, proving the future is looking bright for the young women players at the Houston Polo Club! The USPA Texas Women’s Open final between LM Ranch and Polo Gear did not disappoint. Both teams had 2-0 records, narrowly ousting the competition during the week to earn their spots in the final. Polo Gear struck first with an incredible neck shot by Dawn Jones, only to be followed up by her well-mounted teammate Lottie Lamacraft, quickly making the score 2-½. LM Ranch’s Alexis Ellison brought life to her team as she made a quick goal from the field, however Jones scored her second goal of the day ending the

first chukker, 3-1½. In the second chukker, Polo Gear’s Tiffany Busch took the scoring into her own hands, as she added two more goals on the board to LM Ranch’s Izzy Parson’s one goal, ending the chukker, 5-2½, in favor of Polo Gear. The teams took a quick break, and LM Ranch knew it had to come out strong in the third chukker. LM Ranch’s Tiamo Hudspeth converted an open goal Penalty 2 as the team tried to gain on Polo Gear’s lead. Four LM Ranch shots missed the mark, allowing Polo

BCI/Sullivan Group’s Cara Kennedy

LM Ranch’s Izzy Parsons scores on a well-executed tail shot.

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


Above: Luxury Event Trailers’ Anne Carl and USPA Governor-At-Large Steven Armour present BCI/Sullivan Group’s Cara Kennedy, Joanie Jackson, MVP Marissa Wells and Athena Malin with the U.S. Open Women’s Handicap trophies and gifts. Below: Texas Women’s Open winners Polo Gear’s Meghan Gracida, Dawn Jones, MVP Lottie Lamacraft and Tiffany Busch, with Anne Carl, Memo Gracida and Steven Armour.

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


USPA Texas Women’s Open BTA: Chrys Beal Audry Persano KC Krueger Gillian Johnston

19 3 4 6 6

Rocking P:

19

Bridget Price Grace Mudra Hazel Jackson Milly Hine

3 2 9 5

Gear to hold strong to its 6-3½ advantage as the teams entered the fourth and final Plank Companies: chukker. Hudspeth and Parsons each Land Rover: 16 Cory Williams Lily Lequerica 0 converted penalties to come within 1½ goals Kendall Plank Madi Outhier 1 but their time was running out. Meghan Ina Lalor Sarah Wiseman 8 Gracida, on a beautiful chestnut pony, put Dayelle Fargey Clara Cassino 7 the final nail in the coffin, scoring the last Polo Gear: goal of the game to ensure Polo Gear the 8LM Ranch: 19 Meghan Gracida 5½ victory. Crystal Cassidy/Alexis Ellison 3 Dawn Jones Tiamo Hudspeth 5 Lottie Lamacraft was MVP; Porscha, Lottie Lamacraft Alyson Poor 4 owned by Nick Cifuni and played by Izzy Tiffany Busch Izzy Parsons 7 Parsons, was Best Playing Pony Pro; Dawn Jones’ Mini was Best Playing Pony Amateur; and Tiamo Hudspeth’s Indigo Wood was U.S. Open Women’s Handicap American Quarter Horse Association Best Mem. Chiropractic Roxstars: BCI/Sullivan Group: 12 Playing Pony. Kendall Plank Joanie Jackson 2 As players shook hands, the crowd had a Roxy Mounter Cara Kennedy 2 chance to stretch their legs and help stomp Dayelle Fargey Marissa Wells 5 Karrie Yager Athena Malin 3 divots before the final of the U.S. Open Women’s Handicap took place. Spectators Villa Ecleto: Bearsden: 12 enjoyed the beautiful autumn day, and Morgan Tennant Carol Farnsworth 2 sipped complimentary champagne thanks to Jessica Mignone Tiamo Hudspeth 5 American National while walking the field, Rebecca Clark Audry Persano 4 Izzy Parsons Grace Parker 1 getting a sneak peak at the new vehicles from Porsche of West Houston, Land Rover W-S: Bestway Welding Supply: 12 Houston Central and Bill Fick Ford. Emma Tooth Nicole Speed 0 The final two teams of the 2019 U.S. Hannah Mitchell Sarah Prinsloo 3 Open Women’s Handicap, BCI/Sullivan Jenny Vargas Sheila Lequerica 4 Group and Bearsden, stepped out onto the Carin Middleton Lottie Lamacraft 5 field. Both teams were 2-0, winning the Herk’s Store & Grill: 11/12 Woody’s Furs: semifinals on Saturday to advance to the Kelly Coldiron A. Massey/S. Massey 1/2 final on Sunday afternoon. Both teams Amanda Burns Wendy Stover 4 came away after the second chukker, tied 1Megan Flynn Cory Williams 4 1, as it was looking like it was going to be a Roxy Keyfauver Keala Panzarini 2 game of defense. However, in the third chukker, BCI/Sullivan Group’s Athena Malin and Marissa Wells capitalized on opportunities, Natchez, played by Audry Persano, was Best Playing creating a 4-1 lead for themselves as the teams entered Pony Pro; Cara Kennedy’s Luna was Best Playing Pony the fourth and final chukker. Amateur; and Carol Farnsworth’s Cash was AQHA Bearsden’s Audry Persano showed off her hand-eye Best Playing Pony. coordination as she stole the ball from the opposition, All the games throughout the week were well played hit it on both sides of the horse, ultimately scoring a at every level. With great sportsmanship and neck shot to bring her team within two. Bearsden’s camaraderie, women’s polo is growing at a fast rate, Carol Farnsworth followed Persano’s lead, making her and the Houston Polo Club is proud to host the largest first goal of the game to bring the team within one. ladies’ tournament in the United States! Thank you to Suddenly we had a one-point game! The crowd was on all the players, horses, field owners, sponsors and the edge of their seats as Wells fought hard to give her everyone else who made the week and the entire fall team another goal. She miscued the ball, however season possible. We especially would like to thank this teammate Malin was there to grab it and send it right year’s title sponsors Land Rover Houston Central’s through the center of the goal, giving BCI/Sullivan Mike Baches and Luxury Event Trailers’ Anne Carl. Group a two-goal lead as the clock ran down. The We are also grateful for team and Best Playing Pony sound of the horn confirmed BCI/Sullivan Group the sponsors that participated. We could not make this 5-3 win. amazing tournament happen without each of you and Marissa Wells earned MVP honors; Steve Armour’s your support for women’s polo! •

20 4 4 6 6

20 3 6 5 6

11 4 1 6 0

11 0 2 2 7

11 2 1 4 4

11 1 2 3 4

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


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

,

In season La Aguada hosts several tournaments Photos by Adrian Melo & Matias Callejo

Participants in the La Aguada Cowdray Park Polo Trophy

While members of the La Aguada family were competing in the Argentine Triple Crown, the family’s estancia was hosting polo tournaments for both amateurs and professionals alike. La Aguada is the Novillo Astrada family’s estancia in Open Door. It was established more than 60 years ago by Don Julio “Iaio” Novillo Astrada. Iaio’s son Eduardo “Taio,” an 8-goal player in his heyday, and Taio’s sons and grandchildren continue the family tradition of polo and horse breeding. In 2003, the family team (Eduardo, Miguel, Javier and Nacho) won Argentina’s Triple Crown of Polo, only the second team of brothers to do so. Alejandro, the youngest, was substitute. This year, brothers Ignacio (9) and Alejandro (8)

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

joined up with Lucas Díaz Alberdi (7) and Alfredo Bigatti (8) on the La Aguada El Dok team, competing in the Triple Crown. The family’s estancia hosted numerous teams in several tournaments. The players not only got to play in fun, competitive polo, but they enjoyed watching the Triple Crown games and rooting on the La Aguada El Dok team. Starting off the season, was the VI Argentine Amateur Championship presented by Río Uruguay Seguros, with six teams up to 24 goals divided into two brackets. The action began on Oct. 25 with Esmowing (Nicolás Pisarenko, Nicolás Fernández Llorente, Gustavo Courreges, Marcelo Young) edging Core Capital (Antonio Lanusse, Iñaki Bortaburu,


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

Esmowing went undefeated, winning the Argentine Amateur Championship, 14-8, over La Malterina SBG.

Gonzalo Moretti, Christian von Rennenkampff), 11-8. Esmowing took its second win the next day over Miralejos (Roberto Jerónimo Bosch, Augusto Reese, Thomas Urien, Emiliano Urien), 11-6, while Praderas (Jorge Urquiza, Diego Sirirto, Lucas Plamero, Conrado Fernández Cancio) handed Core Capital its second loss, 8-5. In the other division, La Malterina SBG (Matías Malter Terrada, Juan Saffratti, Ignacio Abelenda, Alejandro Amadeo y Videla) got the best of Libres del Sur (Emiliano Nespola, Ariel de la Fuente, Christian Condomi Alcorta, Juan Gómez), 12-9, and Los Canarios by Tribu (Julián Martínez, Diego Steverlynck, Javier Uranga, Mike Vigano) edged La Aguada (Tomás Allende, Mariano Bosch, Francisco Soldati, Maximiliano Pistone), 7-6. The next round had Libres del Sure top Los Canarios by Tribu, 10-7; La Aguada beat La Malterina SBG, 11-7; Esmowing crush Praderas, 11-3; and Core Capital with its first win over Miralejos, 9-7. In the final on Nov. 3, the undefeated Esmowing downed La Malterina SBG, 14-8, for the title. Miguel Novillo Astrada presented the MVP award to Nicolás Pisarenko and the Fair Play Award to Tomás Urien. In subsidiary finals, Los Canarios defeated La Aguada, 11-8; Praderas defeated Miralejos, 8-5; and Libres del Sur defeated Core Capital, 10-5. Another six teams lined up for the 16th Julio Novillo Astrada Cup, presented by Rio Uruguay Seguros and played at 22-goals. The first round saw Lovelocks Polo Stud (Tommy

Severn, Charlie Hanbury, Matt Perry, James Beim) edge Power Infraestructure (Miguel Mendoza, Lerin Zubiaurre, Alejandro Muzzio, Jorge Fernández Ocampo), 12-7; Las Monjitas (Camilo Bautista, Matt Coppola, Facundo Sola, Guillermo Caset) defeat Los Cocos (Rafael Zubillaga, Alfredo Bigatti, Miguel Novillo Astrada, Tomás Lalor), 10-7; and El Milagro (Federico Tomasevich, Santiago Solari, Francisco Irastorza, Ignacio Novillo Astrada), top La Mancha Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, Lucas Díaz Alberdi, Mariano Obregón, Facundo Obregón), 12-10. La Mancha Dutta Corp picked up a 10-6 win over Los Cocos in round two; Las Monjitas beat Power Infraestructure, 9-6; and El Milagro edged Lovelocks Polo Stud, 12-10. The last round had Lovelocks Polo Stud topping Los Cocos, 9-6, and La Mancha Dutta Corp defeating Power Infraestructure, 11-9. Las Monjitas earned a spot in the final after its 10-9 overtime win over El Milagro. That put El Milagro in a three-way tie with La Mancha Dutta Corp and Lovelocks Polo Stud for the other final spot. El Milagro won the penalty shootout to advance, giving it a replay against Las Monjitas. In the final, played Nov. 19, after the first two chukkers ended in a tie, Las Monjitas took control but El Milagro fought back, leveling the score at 8-all to start the fifth chukker. Facundo Sola gave Las Monjitas the lead until the last seconds of the

Cowdray Park’s vice president, Lila Pearson, played in the Cowdray Park Polo Trophy at La Aguada.

(continued on page 56) POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 43


POLO AROUND THE GLOBE

Czech Republic Alchymist Luxury Hotel tops Prague Polo Cup Photos by Adam-Costey.com

Four teams, with players from the U.S., Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Prague, competed in the event.

Polo in the Czech Republic is relatively new, dating back to 1993 when a polo match was played during a visit to Prague by Britain’s Prince Edward. In 2006, the Prague Polo Cup was established by Uwe Zimmerman in cooperation with Private Bank Sal Oppenheim. It was held at Farma Levín for five years. In 2009, Credit Suisse took over as the cup’s main sponsor, which was then taken over by BMW. In 2013, Nina Popova hosted the cup at the Prague Racehorse Chuchle. It was held at that location for five years until 2108, when it returned to its original location at Farma Levín, home of the La Republica Polo Club. The Czech Polo Association, encompassing four polo clubs (Prague, Noe, La Republica and Aviator), has about 40 members. La Republica is the most

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

active, thanks to Popova, who has worked hard to attract sponsors and the media. The club was established by Lady Martina Lowe around 2009. After a nine-year gap, when she moved to Great Britain, the club and its facilities were taken over by Popova. In 2018, she rebuilt the polo field, complete with side boards, goal posts and a score board. It also secured sponsorship agreements with La Martina and Nespresso. The field was leveled, enlarged and re-seeded in 2019 and professional equipment was purchased to help care for it. Additionally, the club doubled the size of the paddocks and introduced polo lessons to attract new players. The club offers stabling for about 15 horses, mostly imported from Argentina, Great Britain and Germany, owned by club members. It also


POLO AROUND THE GLOBE

joined Britain’s Hurlingham Polo Association, offering its members British handicaps, umpire training and rules. The improvements helped the club secure the annual Prague Polo Cup, which is not only a highlight of the social season, but also attracted four teams this year: Alchymist (Davis Colley, Max Zimmerman/Philipp Zimmerman, Uwe Zimmerman and Bruce Colley), Aston Group (Marketa Pavleye, Petros Papadopoulos, Mark Robinson, Anthony Caine/William Lobkowitz), Alo Diamonds (Andrea Fülöpová, Alexandra Benčiková, Gábor Rónai, Ladislav Agárdi) and Veuve Clicquot (Marek Polan, Viktorie Polanová, Daniel Zachoval, Rene Lelek). Players came from all over the world, including the U.S., Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Prague. Semi final matches were played on the first day, with the final played the following day, on Sept. 14, in front of 300 VIP guests. The delightful summer weather also attracted a large crowd of members of the general public. In the end it was the 2-goal Alchymist Luxury Hotel team that prevailed. Team captain Uwe Zimmerman said, “We are all very happy to see polo in the country growing and developing again.” •

Alchymist’s Uwe Zimmerman salutes a fan after his team won the event.

The La Republica club made numerous improvements to its field. Inset, right: The ladies hat contest had many elegant entries.

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


POLO REPORT DISPATCHES FROM THE WORLD OF POLO SOUTHWEST

KAYLEE WROE

TONKAWA DOMINATES HOUSTON 10-GOAL SERIES

Tonkawa’s Mason Wroe sends the ball to a waiting Jeff Hildebrand in the 10-goal Texas Open final.

T

he Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas, completed its fall season, including four 6-goal tournaments, three 10-goal tournaments, several pro-am events and five women’s tournaments (see page 38). Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Vaughn Miller Jr., Nacho Badiola, Mason Wroe) captured all three titles at the 10-goal level. In the USPA H. Ben Taub Memorial, an undefeated Tonkawa faced Eureka/Team Tejas (Rene Campos, Charles Fridge, Jorge

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

Cernadas, Jeff Hall) in the final. Tonkawa was quick to jump out with the lead as Nacho Badiola singlehandedly scored five goals in the first 14 minutes, ending the second chukker 5-3. Tonkawa outscored Eureka, 2-1, in the third, ending the half with Tonkawa ahead, 7-4. The halftime break gave Eureka a chance to regroup, and it was able to hold Tonkawa to one goal in the fourth, which it matched. Eureka was gaining confidence and managed to

outscore Tonkawa, 3-1, in the fifth to come within one, 9-8, with seven minutes left. The final chukker was an all-out battle, with both teams stopping the opponents’ drives. The umpires awarded Eureka a Penalty 4, but the team was unable to convert it, missing a chance to knot the score. Play continued with the teams struggling to reach the goal. Just as the 30-second horn sounded, Eureka was given a free hit from the 40-yard line. Charles Fridge,


R E P O R T

Tonkawa’s Mason Wroe, Nacho Badiola, Vaughn Miller Jr. and Jeff Hildebrand won three 10-goal titles in Houston’s fall season.

who was 4-4 on penalty shots that day, stepped up to take the shot. Tonkawa breathed a sigh of relief as the ball sailed just wide of the target, ensuring Tonkawa the win. Vaughn Miller Jr. was named MVP and Jeff Hall’s Sevillana took home the Best Playing Pony blanket. Tonkawa carried that momentum into the USPA Keleen & Carlton Beal final. Defending champion Tonkawa was hoping for its fifth consecutive win as it faced last year’s runners-up, BTA (Chrys Beal, Steve Krueger, Alejandro Gonzalez, Joe Wayne Barry). BTA was looking for redemption, but was unable to gain any traction in the first two chukkers as a strong Tonkawa powered ahead, 5-0. Steve Krueger managed to end BTA’s drought with back-to-back goals, while Tonkawa was held to a single goal, ending the half, 6-2. The teams traded goals in the fourth, allowing Tonkawa to maintain its four-goal lead, 7-3. Krueger and Alejandro Gonzalez hit the mark in the fifth, but a Penalty 2 conversion by Jeff Hildebrand kept Tonkawa comfortably ahead, 8-5, going into the last chukker. An early goal by Joe Wayne Barry gave BTA a boost, but Vaughn Miller Jr. neutralized it with one of his own as the clock ticked away. Undaunted, Krueger split the uprights to get BTA

KAYLEE WROE

KAYLEE WROE

P O L O

Bearsden/Tylee Farms’ Al Pepi, Carol Farnsworth, Francisco Rodriguez Mera and Cody Woodfin won the Penny Cup.

closer, but the team was also fighting the clock. Gonzalez snuck in one last goal as the horn blew, with BTA falling just short, 9-8. Tonkawa took home the winning belt buckles. Mason Wroe earned MVP honors and Gonzalez’s grey Dobel was Best Playing Pony. Tonkawa made it to the last 10-goal final, the Texas Open, this time meeting a hungry Horsegate (Nick/Lance Stefanakis, Sloan Stefanakis/Ariel Mancebo, Tommy Biddle, Shane Rice). Horsegate knew it had to strike early and often, and its plan seemed to get off on the right track. Biddle sent a strong back shot to Lance Stefanakis, who picked it up at midfield and guided it through the posts. Disciplined team play allowed the team to tally another after Lance’s tail shot found Rice, whose impressive nearside neck shot split the posts. Mason Wroe came to life, running the ball 200 yards, dodging defenders, and necking the ball through the posts to level the score, 2-2. Biddle gave Horsegate back the lead early in the third, but Nacho Badiola tied it back up, 3-3, midway through the chukker. Wroe reclaimed Tonkawa’s lead but Rice responded with a high-flying 60-yard nearside back shot. With less than a minute left in the chukker, Jeff Hildebrand gave his team the 5-4 advantage going into

the half. Spectators stretched their legs, stomping divots, enjoying champagne (compliments of American National), and admiring cars on display from Land Rover Houston Central, Porsche of West Houston and Bill Fick Ford. Tonkawa played the second half just as it had all season: organized, strategic and powerful. Badiola and Wroe extended Tonkawa’s lead to 8-5 going into the final chukker. Tonkawa’s lead increased to four just 30 seconds into the sixth. Horsegate kept pressing and Ariel Mancebo and Biddle brought the team within two goals, 9-7. With time ticking away, Rice grabbed the ball and headed downfield, but was stopped by Wroe. The clock ran out with Tonkawa ahead, 9-7. Wroe took MVP for the second time and Nacho Badiola’s Raspadita was Best Playing Pony. In the 6 goal, Bearsden/Tylee Farms (Carol Farnsworth, Al Pepi, Cody Woodfin, Francisco Mera), held onto its half-goal handicap to edge Pegasus/Propoganda (Chino Payan, David Andras, Mason Wroe, Paul Hobby), 6½-6, in the Penny Cup final. Bearsden started out strong, adding three goals to the handicap in the first seven minutes while holding Pegasus to one. Al Pepi converted his second Penalty 3 in the second to give

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 47


KAYLEE WROE

Team Tejas’ Hernan Tejera, Charlie Fridge, Tiamo Hudspeth and Alejandro Gonzalez won the USPA Master’s Cup. KAYLEE WROE

Pegasus/Propaganda’s Chino Payan, David Andras, Mason Wroe and Paul Hobby won the Red Oak Cup.

KAYLEE WROE

R E P O R T KAYLEE WROE

P O L O

Plank Companies/Sullivan Group’s Billy Mudra, Nick Cifuni, Kendall Plank and Joanie Jackson won the Houston Classic.

Bearsden a 4½-1 lead, but David Andras scored his second goal and Mason Wroe shot in two in a row to come close, 4½-4, at the half. Andras and Wroe added two more in the third to take a first-time lead. Francisco Mera responded with two in a row in the fourth, while Pegasus was held scoreless to give Bearsden the win. Wroe was named MVP and Francisco Rodriguez Mera’s Bongui was Best Playing Pony. The two teams met again in the final of the Red Oak Cup on Oct. 3. Mera gave Bearsden its first goal, added to its handicap. Andras responded with a Penalty 3 conversion. Focusing on defense, neither team was able to reach the goal in the second, ending the half with Bearsden

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

Stewart Title’s Alexis Barker, Crystal Cassidy, Chris Williams, Chad Bowman and Martin Munez won the September Scramble.

leading 1½-1. Wroe sunk a lone goal in the third to give Pegasus a narrow lead. He scored again early in the fourth, but Mera shot back with one of his own. A Penalty 1 was the icing on the cake for Pegasus as it took the trophies, 4-2½. David Andras was MVP and Mera’s Bongui won Best Playing Pony for the second tournament in a row. A few weeks later, T Square/Spec Oil (Emma Tooth, Nick Dunbar, Tommy Costello, Bryan Middleton) fell to Team Tejas (Charlie Fridge, Tiamo Hudspeth, Hernan Tejera, Alejandro Gonzalez), 8-4½. T Square/Spec Oil began with a 1½-goal handicap. Middleton added to it by sandwiching goals around one from Gonzalez. Middleton and Gonzalez traded penalty

conversions in the second to end the half with T Square/Spec Oil sporting a 4½-2 lead. Team Tejas came back after the halftime break with renewed energy, effectively stopping T Square/Spec Oil. Meanwhile Charlie Fridge and Gonzalez added two apiece and Tiamo Hudspeth and Hernan Tejera sunk one each. When the dust settled, Team Tejas had a comfortable lead, 8-4½, for the win. Alejandro Gonzalez was MVP and Bryan Middleton’s Cadence was Best Playing Pony. The Houston Classic, the last 6 goal of the season, saw Plank Co/Sullivan Group (Joanie Jackson, Kendall Plank, Nick Cifuni, Billy Mudra) take on Brown Bears/San Saba (Will


KAYLEE WROE

Bayou City’s Chad Bowman, Francisco Rodriguez Mera, Cara Kennedy and Madi Outhier won the Fall Fandango. KAYLEE WROE

Memorial Chiropractic Roxstars’ Shane Rice, Ignacio Saenz, Roxy Riggs-Mounter and Karrie Yager won the Autumn Classic.

KAYLEE WROE

R E P O R T

KAYLEE WROE

P O L O

Crows Nest Ranch’s Brandy Heckeroth, CJ Lequerica, Lily Lequerica and Jimmy Seward won the USPA Governor’s Cup qualifier.

Brown, Dawn Jones, Martin Munez, Ignacio Saenz) in the final. A costly mistake by Brown Bears put Plank Co. on the board first with a Penalty 1. Ignacio Saenz sunk a Penalty 4 to put Brown Bears on the board and Martin Munoz followed with a goal to give Brown Bears a leg up. A pair of penalty conversions by Joanie Jackson put Plank ahead 3-2 at the halfway mark. Saenz sunk another Penalty 4 in the third to knot the score while Plank was silenced. Jackson converted a Penalty 3 to take a short-lived lead but Saenz countered with a Penalty 6. Dawn Jones put Brown Bears briefly on top before Nick Cifuni countered to level the score at 5-all and force overtime. Billy Mudra scored the golden goal to give Plank Co/Sullivan

Memorial Chiropractic Roxstars’ Karrie Yager, Roxy Riggs-Mounter, Sebastian Saenz and Shane Rice won the Texas Standoff.

Group the 6-5 win. More than half the goals were tallied from the penalty line. Joanie Jackson’s accuracy from the penalty line earned her MVP honors, and one of Dawn Jones’ ponies took home Best Playing Pony blanket. The Pro-Am league saw several winners, beginning with Stewart Title’s Alexis Barker, Crystal Cassidy, Chris Williams, Chad Bowman and Martin Munoz taking the September Scramble on Aug. 29 after topping Cinco Canyon Ranch (Colleen Marks, Carin Middleton, David Marks, Bryan Middleton), 1-½ and Memorial Chiropractic Roxstars (Roxy Riggs-Mounter, Shane Rice, Karrie Yager, Ignacio Saenz), 2-1½, in a round robin final. Seven teams competed in the event. On Oct. 2, Memorial Chiropractic

Roxstars defeated Crows Nest Ranch (Brandey Heckeroth, CJ Lequerica, Lily Lequerica, Jimmy Seward), 5-3½, in the final of the Autumn Classic final. Eight teams were divided into two brackets, playing off over three weeks. Crows Nest Ranch also fell to Bayou City (Madi Outhier, Francisco Rodriguez Mera, Cara Kennedy, Chad Bowman), 3-2½, in the final of the Fall Fandango. The USPA Governor’s Cup Qualifier was played in conjunction with the Fall Fandango. In a battle of the ranches, Crows Nest Ranch defeated Cinco Canyon Ranch, 3½-2. Eight teams played off from Oct. 6-20. Memorial Chiropractic Roxstars finished off the season with its second title, this time in the Texas Standoff

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 49


DAVID MURRELL

R E P O R T

DAVID MURRELL

P O L O

Marine Corps’ Zoe Lehmer, Agustin Arrayago, John Greening and Tres de la Paz won the Teddy Roosevelt Cup in Texas.

MARINES WIN ROOSEVELT CUP The Marine Corps team topped the 6th Annual Teddy Roosevelt Cup held at the Texas Military Polo Club in Poteet, Texas, Nov. 23-24. Four teams, each representing a branch of the military, participated in the event. Rain during the week threatened to move the action indoors, but lighter rain than expected and a lot of luck allowed the matched to be played outdoors. The action began with Marine Corps (Zoe Lehmer, Tres de la Paz, Agustin Arrayago, John Greening) taking on Air Force (Lara Semmelmann, Jessica Mignone, Gal Shweiki, Roni Panzarini). Marine Corps, began with a half-goal handicap and went right to attack mode but had trouble hitting the target, shooting at goal six times to no avail. The second chukker was more of the same until John Greening converted a Penalty 2 to put Marines on the board at the 3:30 mark. That seemed to unlock the dam as Greening scored twice more (including another Penalty 2) and Arrayago

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

added two of his own to give Marines a 5½-0 halftime lead. In the third, Tres de la Paz found the mark and Arrayago converted a Penalty 4 before Jessica Mignone put Air Force on the board. With a decisive lead starting the fourth chukker, Marines shifted to defense, but Roni Panzarini managed to break through with a goal for Air Force. Marines took the 7½-2 win. Army (Dani Gibson, Horacio Herran, Eduardo Amaya, Nicole Speed)

faced Navy (Jose Velez, Chris Ballard, Mike Lancaster, Jack Crea) in the second match. Army began with a half-goal handicap and Chris Ballard traded goals with Eduardo Amaya, ending the first, 1½-1. Mike Lancaster was on fire in the second chukker, tallying three in a row for Navy while Army was silenced, ending the half with Navy ahead 4-1½. Army took control in the second half. Amaya struck for Army seven seconds into the third but couldn’t get any DAVID MURRELL

after shutting out Cinco Canyon Ranch, 3-½. (The half goal was given to Cinco Canyon on handicap.)

Air Force’s Roni Panzarini, Lara Semmelmann, Jessica Mignone and Gal Shweiki won the USPA Constitution Cup.

Roni Panzarini keeps the pressure on Agustin Arrayago in the Teddy Roosevelt Cup.


P O L O

R E P O R T

UnitedHeathcare’s Rose Sease, Olivia Reynolds, Liv Berube and Anna Winslow fell to Fross & Fross’ Mary Phipps, Midge Ellison, Meghan Okerlund and Tiffany Busch in the Arden’s Fine Jewelers Women’s Tournament at The Villages.

closer, ending the chukker trailing 42½. That all changed in the fourth, when Navy caught the umpires’ whistles, leading to Army being awarded a Penalty 1. Less than a minute later, Army converted a Penalty 2 to take the lead, 4½-4. Time ran out and Army had the win. The following day, Navy and Air Force met in a consolation match, played as the USPA Constitution Cup. Navy began with a half-goal handicap, but Air Force neutralized it in just 45 seconds thanks to a goal by Gal Shweiki. He started the second with another goal and Panzarini followed with three, giving Air Force a 5-½ advantage heading into the half. Air Force held the momentum into the third chukker when Lara Semmelmann and Jessica Mignone both scored. Mike Lancaster shot one in for Navy but Shweiki had the answer. Jack Crea traded goals with Shweiki before Panzarini finished off the scoring with a pair of goals for the 12-2½ win. Lara Semmelmann’s Sophi, played by Panzarini, was Best Playing Pony. The final match for the USPA Teddy Roosevelt Cup pitted Army against Marines. Army began with a half-goal advantage, but that lasted 40 seconds before Arrayago struck for Marines. Marines stayed in command as Green-

ing sunk a Penalty 2 and Arrayago scored another goal to put Marines ahead, 3-½. Marines continued to dominate, scoring three points per chukker. Meanwhile, Army struggled to reach the goal and ultimately fell, 12-2½. Agustin Arrayago was named MVP; John Greening’s Gus was the Sgt. Reckless Best Playing Pony; and Dani Gibson was honored with the Sportsmanship Award. FLORIDA

FROSS & FROSS TAKES WOMENS TOURNAMENT The Arden’s Fine Jewelers Women’s and 8-Goal Tournament each wrapped up before a near-capacity crowd on Nov. 3 at The Villages Polo Club in The Villages, Florida, highlighted by Fross & Fross (Mary Phipps, Midge Ellison, Meghan Okerlund, Tiffany Busch) rallying for five unanswered tallies in a 7-4 victory over UnitedHealthcare (Rose Sease, Olivia Reynolds, Liv Berube, Ann Winslow) in the all-female event. After trailing 4-2 early in the second half, Tiffany Busch led the comeback effort for Fross & Fross, registering a hat trick with three tallies over the final two

chukkers of play. “We’d never played together before this weekend, and I think that’s always going to lend itself to taking a couple chukkers to get a feel for things,” Busch said. “We knew that even though we got down a couple goals, we could come back. It’s never good to get down on yourself and we didn’t today.” UnitedHealthcare worked its way out to a 2-1 lead through the first chukker, as Anna Winslow cleaned up a rebound attempt from teammate Liv Berube with the latter finding a goal of her own just before the period ended. A goal by Midge Ellison brought Fross & Fross back to a 2-2 tie early in the second, before Berube and Winslow each registered on the scoresheet once again to double the advantage to 4-2. But from there it was all Fross & Fross, with Busch scoring twice in the final 90 seconds of the third chukker. Meghan Okerlund tallied the goahead goal with 4:20 to play on a breakaway to give Fross & Fross a 5-4 advantage, before Busch added an insurance marker with 2:50 left. Okerlund put the match away for good with 1:28 remaining, bringing the women’s event to a close. “We all came together as a team and really rallied,” Busch said. “I think a couple great horses in that last chukker

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 51


POLO REPORT

The Villages Insurance’s Finn Secunda, Paige McCabe, Nick Johnson and Frankie Bilbao won the Arden’s Fine Jewelers 8-Goal.

made a difference for us, and we really found a way to gel together and get it done.” In preliminary play, Fross & Fross downed Citizen’s First Bank (Sue Doyle, Loryn Butterworth, Kim VonStade, Paige McCabe), 7-3, while UnitedHealthcare got the best of Arden’s Fine Jewelers (Pippa Campbell, Gracie Brown, Anja Jacobs, Claire Brougham), 7-4. In the consolation, Arden’s overcame the half-goal handicap it gave Citizen’s in the first seven minutes, 2-1½. It maintained that lead through each of the four chukkers to win, 5-4½. The club also continued its 8-Goal tournament series with The Villages Insurance (Finn Secunda, Paige McCabe, Nick Johnson, Francisco Bilbao) skirting past Arden’s Fine Jewelers (Kelly Beck, Antonio Silvestre, Stuart Campbell, Juan Valerdi), 10-9, in the weekend finale. Nick Johnson scored five times to lead the way for Insurance, while Francisco Bilbao followed up his 10-goal performance a week prior with four tallies in the final. Juan Valerdi registered five goals for Arden’s in a losing effort. In the consolation, Galaxy Home Solutions (Jimmy Wetter, Midge Ellison, Alfredo Guerreno, Martin Estrada) ousted Fross & Fross (Holly Chamberlain, Brent Hamill, Charly Quincoces, Guille Aguero), 12-9.

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

The Villages Insurance’s Alan Martinez, Alfredo Guerreno, Midge Ellison and Jimmy Wetter won The Villages Insurance 8 goal.

The following week, a dominant duo led The Villages Insurance to victory in The Villages Insurance 8-Goal. Just as they have done many times before, Alfredo Guerreno and Alan Martinez joined forces on The Villages Insurance team, tallying 10 goals in a 10-9 win over Galaxy Home Solutions (Scott Doyle, Winship Rees, Stuart Campbell, Juan Valerdi). Jimmy Wetter and Midge Ellison rounded out the Insurance team. “Playing with [Martinez] as much as I have, there’s a lot of chemistry there,” Guerreno said. “We’ve played together so much and have built our game up together over time. I think we give each other a lot of confidence out there, and that’s the most important thing you can have in trying to win in polo.” Down a goal at the start due to an uneven handicap, Insurance fell behind 2-0 on a tally from Galaxy’s Juan Valerdi on the opening possession. Martinez and Guerreno each registered on the scoresheet in consecutive rushes to even the match at 2-2 through one chukker of play, before doing so again in the second to take a 4-3 lead. Galaxy scored three unanswered goals to open the third, highlighted by a 90-yard strike from Valerdi, to take a 64 lead midway through the frame. But from there Martinez took over, scoring four straight to push Insurance back in

front at 8-6 entering the fifth chukker. Martinez, who was named the weekend-long tournament’s MVP, left a pass behind to Guerreno for another tally midway through the fifth before scoring his seventh and final goal of the afternoon on a breakaway rush to extend the Insurance lead to 10-8 early in the sixth. Galaxy’s Stuart Campbell hammered a penalty shot over the north-end scoreboard to trim the deficit to 10-9, but narrowly missed a would-be-tying marker wide to the left with 33 seconds remaining to fall short late. “I think we tried extremely hard from the beginning today, and that made a big difference,” Guerreno said. “We had a lot of confidence in our talent right away and we were able to keep pushing forward together to get the win.” On the way to the final, The Villages Insurance downed Arden’s Fine Jewelers (Ann Rizvi, Lord Lyall, Charly Quincoces, Francisco Llosa), 12-8, and Citizen’s First (Sheri McQuown, Paige McCabe, Nick Johnson, Francisco Bilbao), 11-9. Galaxy Advanced over United Healthcare (Miguel Lis-Planells, Meghan Okerlund, Dennys Santana, Ruben Coscia), 12-10. Other preliminary matches had Arden’s tie Citizen’s First, 4-4, and United Healthcare, 4-4, in round robin play, while UnitedHealthcare edged Citizen’s


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

P O L O

Fross & Fross’ Jimmy Wetter, Midge Ellison, Alfredo Guerreno and Alan Martinez won the Fross & Fross 8-goal tournament.

First, 2-1. The season concluded with The Villages Insurance team switching to Fross & Fross jerseys for the Fross & Fross 8goal. Fross & Fross rallied behind two late goals from Alan Martinez, as the unit scooted past Citizen’s First (Miguel Lis-Planells, Meghan Okerlund, Nick Johnson, Ruben Coscia), 7-6. Martinez scored six of Fross & Fross’ seven goals on the day, though none were bigger than his game-winning tally with 1:56 left in regulation. In the consolation, Galaxy Home Solutions (Holly Chamberlain, Brent Hamill, Charly Quincoces, Guille Aguero) and UnitedHealthcare (Scott Doyle, Winship Rees, Juan Valerdi, Stuart Campbell) played to a 7-7 tie and left it at that. Preliminary play saw Arden’s Fine Jewelers (Sheri McQuown, Roberto Narvaja, Dennys Santana, Pelon Escapite) top UnitedHealthcare, 9-7; Fross & Fross edge Arden’s, 11-10; and Citizen’s First defeat Galaxy, 13-8. The club also hosted its traditional fall season finale event, the Lefty Lyall Family Feud Tournament, pitting teams with familial ties against each other. Chavelo Briones scored four times to lift The Villages Insurance (Ava Hinkson, Fernando Torres, Shane Chin, Chavelo Briones) over Fross & Fross (Dicky Van Stade, Loryn Butterworth,

Newport’s Juan Bollini, Gene Goldstein, Jason Crowder and Kris Kampsen won the Fall Plates Cup at Grand Champions.

Kim Van Stade, Hunter Jelsch), 5-3, in the Family Feud title match. Hunter Jelsch registered twice on the scoresheet in a losing effort for Fross & Fross. In the consolation, Citizen’s First (Mateo Bilbao, Larry Nelson, Roberto Narvaja, Franky Llosa) beat Arden’s (Jenny Phipps, Sue Doyle, Lord Lyall, Cameron Smart/Sheri McQuown), 6-3. Fross & Fross also edged Arden’s, 7-6, in a preliminary match.

NEWPORT CAPTURES FALL PLATES AT GCPC Newport captured its first tournament title of the fall season at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Florida, Nov. 11. After dominating Friday’s opening round robin, Newport (Gene Goldstein, Jason Crowder, Kris Kampsen, Juan Bollini) came back to defeat two-time defending champion Sebucan (Pablo Pulido, Brandon Phillips, Pablo Spinacci, Sugar Erskine), 11-7, and tied Casablanca (Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan), 11-11, to clinch the title. In the other game, Casablanca defeated Sebucan, 10-7. The scores carried over from Friday’s action where Newport defeated Casablanca, 4-3, and Sebucan, 3-2, and Casablanca topped Sebucan, 6-3.

Gene Goldstein, playing well above his 1-goal handicap, was named MVP after scoring four goals. “We had a very balanced team, those three guys are very strong pros,” said Goldstein, playing his horses for only the third time on a polo field. “The horses are doing better and this was much better than last Sunday and better than Friday. It’s going well. “I’m surprised we beat that Casablanca team. Those guys run the whole time. It’s very hard to stop them. The last three chukkers were very hard. Every one of them ran non-stop.” Molly, a 7-year-old American Thoroughbred gray mare played by Nic Roldan in the first and third chukkers and purchased from Kris Kampsen, was selected Best Playing Pony. In the third and decisive game, the lead changed 11 times before Crowder won the throw-in and connected with Kampsen, who scored with 1:30 remaining in the game to clinch the win. Kampsen scored four goals, including a penalty conversion and Crowder had three goals. In the opening round, Casablanca extended its lead against Sebucan, 8-4, after the first chukker and never let Sebucan into the game with its stingy defense. Sebucan had its fair share of scoring opportunities but failed to capitalize.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 53


CHUKKERTV FOR GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

POLO REPORT

Casablanca’s Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan and Pierre Henri Ngoumou won the Pedro Morrison Memorial.

In the second round, Newport flexed its muscles with great chemistry and teamwork. Newport jumped out to an 82 lead after the first chukker and continued its offensive barrage with a 4-3 second chukker for a 10-5 advantage and 3-2 output in the final chukker. The action continued with Casablanca taking the Pedro Morrison Memorial. In biting cold weather, Casablanca (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Pierre Henri Ngoumou) led for most of the game to defeat Sebucan (Sugar Erskine, Pablo Pulido, Pablo Spinacci, Brandon Phillips), 12-10, to win the sixth and final medium goal tournament of the season. Eight-goaler Nic Roldan was named MVP, scoring a game high five goals. “Nic was super strong in this tournament. He anticipates great and can hit the ball a mile,” Phillips said. “He’s real tough in this sport.” It was the first U.S. tournament victory for Ngoumou in his Grand Champions debut. The French national team captain was preparing for the Nov. 30 International Cup against Team USA at Grand Champions. “I am very happy to win,” said the 6goaler. “It was a tough game. The team went well and the field was amazing. I was impressed how Marc changed strategy for me at back to give Nic more time and Grant and Marc could go forward

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

KWH Equestrian’s MVP Rebecca Clark, Simone Harper and Taylor Olcott won the women’s tournament at Central Coast Polo Club.

with the ball. It was a very good idea and worked very well. “I feel more comfortable now,” Ngoumou said. “I am less in a hurry and I am getting to know the horses and players better. I felt much better today. We had a very good team. Nic gave me confidence. We played a good team but it was easy to play with Nic. He deserved MVP, no doubt.” Miss America, played by Ngoumou in the fourth chukker and owned by Halo Polo, was Best Playing Pony. Sebucan came back with a 2-1 second chukker with goals from Erskine and Spinacci for a 3-3 halftime tie. With goals from Roldan, Ngoumou and Grant Ganzi, Casablanca outscored Sebucan, 3-1, for a 6-4 advantage. Taking advantage of Sebucan penalties, Casablanca shut out Sebucan, 3-0, in the fifth chukker for a 10-6 lead. In that explosive chukker, Grant Ganzi had three goals including two penalty conversions. —Sharon Robb CALIFORNIA

KWH EQUESTRIAN TOPS WOMENS TOURNAMENT The Central Coast Polo Club in Los Osos, California, hosted its third mon-

ey tournament of the season with another women’s event. Four 6- to 9goal teams competed for the fun, a chance at the big check and free swag. Poway Polo Club boasted interscholastic high school and college players Emily Andre, Sydney Morris and Franchesca Johannsen; Cerro Pampa Polo Club’s KHW Equestrian came back with Simone Harper, Rebecca Clark and Taylor Olcott; Cal Poly had alumnus Maggie Papka and current players Rose Brownridge and Sydney Weise and Claire English splitting a spot; and the Central Coast team included Petra Teixeira, Melanja Jones (subbing for Megan Judge) and Poway’s rising high school player Jasmine Lu. John Westley came from Santa Barbara to umpire. Teams played a pair of two-chukker games and the teams with the best records advanced to the final. In the first match-up, Central Coast had a strong showing, scoring 11 goals for the win over Poway. In the next game, KWH led Cal Poly, 4-1, after the first chukker. Cal Poly scored two unanswered goals, but ran out of time with KWH ahead 4-3. Cal Poly then met Central Coast. The teams were knotted 1-1 after the first chukker. Central Coast scored back-to-back goals to take a 3-1 lead with half a period to go. A player substitution for


P O L O injury brought in Janelle Ross, changing the flow of the game. Cal Poly scored three in a row to lead, 4-3, at the horn. With the teams sporting 1-1 records, a shootout was held to determine which team would advance. Cal Poly won the shootout. The final match saw KWH face Poway. Both teams had strong goals but in the end, KWH powered ahead, 13-4½. The next day, following a robust middle school tournament with nine players from the Bay Area, Central Coast bested Poway, 13-10, in the consolation. Strong teamwork and handy horses made the difference. In the final, Caly Poly came out stong in the opening seven minutes but KWH leveled the score in the next two chukkers, before powering ahead for the 10-7 victory. KWH was wellmounted by South Bay Polo Club ponies and Olcott’s chestnut geldings Rubio, Indio and Trompo. KWH took the trophies and the $2,000 check. Clark was named MVP and Olcott’s Trompo was Best Playing Pony. The Sportsmanship Award went to Lu. “I was very impressed by how the college and high-school-age players held their own against the more seasoned players, and by how many of them brought their own horses. Taylor Olcott flying around the arena on her string of chestnut geldings was especially strong and really made a difference for her team,” said Melanja Jones, manager at Santa Barbara Polo Club. “Congratulations to all of the teams and thank you to Rebecca Clark, Taylor Olcott and Simon Harper for their exceptional playing and sportsmanship! Thank you to Megan Judge for another incredible opportunity for women polo players to show-

Debra Napp, center, presented the trophies to IGEA’s Adam Lipson, Glen Lostritto, Juan Redlich and Bob Ceparano, winners of the Jerry Napp Memorial.

case their athleticism and passion for the sport,” said Rebecca Kaykas-Wolff, KWH Equestrian founder. NORTHEAST

IGEA PREVAILS IN NAPP MEMORIAL The Meadowbrook Polo Club in Old Westbury, Long Island, New York, held the Jerry Napp Memorial Celebration of Life final on Sept. 22 at its Bethpage State Park field. It was the culmination of a week of games honoring Napp, who passed away last year. Napp loved to play polo, something he did for more than 50 years. He was always willing to lend a helping hand. If he wasn’t on a horse, you could find him mowing the fields, helping beginners or announcing. He was also an avid hiker, biker and wildlife enthusiast. Preliminary matches had IGEA (Glen Lostritto, Adam Lipson, Bob Ceparano, Juan Redlich) take on Aliano Realty/Hart Agency (Keith Hart, Slaney O’Hanlon, Nick Aliano, Esteban Scott). IGEA began with a half-goal handicap, which Redlich added to in the first chukker. Scott and O’Hanlon responded with goals to put Aliano ahead 2-1½.

R E P O R T Redlich took back the lead with a lone goal in the second. Redlich and Scott traded goals in the third to maintain IGEA’s half-goal lead, 3½-3. Redlich increased the lead in the fourth but a Penalty 2 conversion from Scott brought Aliano close. Time wasn’t on its side, however, and IGEA held on for the narrow win. Aliano faced Meadowbrook (Fiona KemptonDafaa, Al Keshvarzian, Lobo Fernandez, Simon Piolitino) in the next game. O’Hanlon put Aliano on the board in the first with a lone goal, and Scott and Nick Aliano tallied in the second, while Meadowbrook came up empty. Fernandez put Meadowbrook on the board in the third with the chukker’s only goal. Keshvarzian scored in the fourth to bring Meadowbrook closer, but Hart ended their chances with a pair of ensurance goals for the 5-2 win. The final was played as a round robin between the three teams, with Meadowbrook sporting a whole new line-up (Fiona Kempton-Dafaa, Michael McCoy, Johnny Snyder, Gaston Lisoli). IGEA and Aliano Realty/Hart Agency kept the same line-ups. After a robust competition, IGEA topped the standings, with Meadowbrook taking second and Aliano Realty/Hart Agency in third place. Gaston Lisoli was named MVP and his slick black mare Analia was Best Playing Pony. “It was heartwarming to see so many people—both friends and family—come out to celebrate Jerry Napp. Special thanks to Ceparano, Redlich and all the players who made this tournament possible, and to our fans who come out each and every week to watch polo,” wrote Debra Napp, who presented the trophies. •

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 55


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

(continued from page 43) chukker when Santiago Solari made a spectacular goal to knot it back up. The last chukker had Las Monjitas effectively shutting down El Milagro while Sola and Sapo Caset hit the target to seal the victory. It was the fourth time Las Monjitas has won the title, after winning in 2013, 2014 and 2017. Caset shared MVP honors with Federico Tomasevich; Francisco Irastorza earned the Skeeter Johnston Fair Play Award; Santiago Solari was the Best Mounted Player; Caset’s Dolfi Educada was Argentine Polo Pony Breeders Assn. Best Playing Pony; and Sunny, owned by Las Monjitas and played by Caset, was River Slaney Best Playing Pony.

Cowdray Vikings (Lila Pearson, Manuel Novillo Astrada, Ruso Benoit, Alejandro Novillo Astrada), 6-5. Silver Leys (Martin Roat, Juan Pedro Harriet, Will Smith, Eduardo Novillo Astrada) fell to both Cowdray Vikings, 8-7, and Price on Demand, 6-4. Irongate earned a place in the final over Silver Leys, 9-8, while Price on Demand advanced over Cowdray Vikings, 5-4. In the end, Irongate edged Price on Demand to capture the 7th edition of the La Aguada Cowdray Park Polo Trophy on Nov. 27. Cowdray Park’s polo manager, Chris Bethell and its vice president, Lila Pearson, were on hand for the final. Pearson played in the event and won the subsidiary with her Cowdray Vikings team after it beat Silver Leys, 6-4.

Guests relax fieldside to watch the polo action.

Las Monjitas’ Camilo Bautista, Matt Coppola, Sapo Caset and Facundo Sola won the 16th Julio Novillo Astrada Cup.

Power Infraestructure edged Los Cocos, 10-9, for fourth place and La Mancha Dutta Corp’s defeat of Lovelocks Polo Stud, 12-5, put it in third place. Participants celebrated after the match with a closing party, including an exquisite asado hosted by the Novillo Astrada family. The action continued with the La Aguada Cowdray Park Polo Trophy, from Nov. 21-27. The event was cohosted by La Aguada and Cowdray Park Polo Clubs. The idea behind the event is to strengthen bonds and friendships between the two clubs. The competition featured four teams up to 13 goals, with a Novillo Astrada brother anchoring each team. The first two days of play saw Irongate (James S. Hopkins, Jeremy Pemberton, Cruz Novillo Astrada, Miguel Novillo Astrada) celebrate narrow wins over Price on Demand (Nick Gerrard, Andy Cork, Alejandro Pistone, Ignacio Novillo Astrada), 8-7, and

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

A competitive women’s tournament saw four teams participating. The Villages (Catalina Lavinia, Catalina Jantus, Paige McCabe, Lia Salvo) were the highest rated at 18 goals. The other teams rounded out at 15. MJVH (Alicia Woods, Sofia Sciutto, Stephanie Haverhals, Sarah Wiseman) got the best of Agua Fria Ourofino (Claudia Junqueira, Jeanine Hugo Menéndez, Courtney Asdourian, Sofia Taylor), 7-6½, while The Villages downed La Aguada (Sarah Brown, Dayna Waechter, Mia Novillo Astrada, Emma Boers), 10-5½. In the second round, MJVH Polo defeated La Aguada, 7-6½, while The Villages beat Agua Fria Ourofino, 7-5½. The Villages carried the momentum into the final where it downed MJVH, 10-5½, Dec. 6. Lia Salvo was MVP and Claudia Junqueira earned the Fair Play Award. In the consolation, Agua Fria Ourofino downed La Aguada. •


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

Blue’s Joe Bob Lequerica, Judah Altic and Clare Bogart won in Houston

(continued from page 25)

Lakeside Polo Club Lakeside, California Lakeside hosted eight players from California and Arizona. Orange and Blue faced off in a close match that saw Blue come out triumphant. All-Stars: Luca Abboud, Jordan Pearson, Lukas Cobbs and Sebastian Lopez Horsemanship Award: Jordan Pearson Sportsmanship Award: Jordyn Griffith Best Playing Pony: Whisper, owned by Gillian Young

Team 5’s Evan Sayago, Malachi Light and Hannah Elliot won at Yale.

Central Coast Polo Club Los Osos, California Three teams descended on Central Coast’s arena for round robin play, Nov. 10. In game one, CCPC Red bested CCPC White, 4-2. The second game saw South Bay Blue edge CCPC White, 3-2. The final match had South Bay Blue defeat CCPC Red by a goal to take the championship honors. All-Stars: Morgan Manos, Vivi Klentner, Annabell Mericle and Helena Bache Horsemanship Award: Linnea Johnson Sportsmanship Award: Alyssa Neville Best Playing Pony: Pixie, owned by South Bay Polo

Marlan Farm Freeland, Maryland Marlan Farm pulled players from across the Southeast Region to compete. Black and Grey both had commanding performances in semi-final rounds before Grey came out victorious in the final. All-Stars: Kylie Beard, Izzy Brockett, Rory Knox and Aleem Siddiqui Horsemanship Award: Tori Picha Sportsmanship Award: Sierra Blevins Best Playing Pony: Napoleon, owned by Kelly Wells/Marlan Farms

Buffalo Polo Club Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada Players gathered in Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada to compete in the club’s first middle school tournament. The final saw Post Time taking a 5-3 win over Buffalo. All-Stars: Madison Haggerty, Kairi Davies, Hailee DeVries and Flynn Collins Horsemanship Award: Liam Ersing Sportsmanship Award: Luke Ersing Best Playing Pony: Miss Canada, owned by Hailey Van der Burgt

Houston Polo Club Houston, Texas Participating teams included Houston White and Houston Blue. After a hard-fought battle, Houston Blue prevailed. All-Stars: Isabel Artzer, Joe Bob Lequerica, Judah Altic and Clare Bogart Horsemanship Award: Quinn Van der Hoeven Sportsmanship Award: Caroline Karvelsson Best Playing Pony: Little Bit, owned by Joe Bob Lequerica

Yale Polo Club Bethany, Connecticut Five teams participated in the November tournament. Team 4 bested Teams 1 and 3 to reach the final, while Team 5 advanced over Team 2. Team 5 took the win over Team 4 by a one-goal difference. All-Stars: Malachi Light, Saralyn Painter, Dan Arnold, Sam Ihan Horsemanship Award: Emerson Bruce Sportsmanship Award: Adam Wallace • 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)

“When you view a horse from the side, you can see that most of the weight on the front feet is on the back half of the foot, especially when under load. On hind feet, most of the weight is on the front part of the foot, due to the leg’s relationship to (and weight distribution of) the body. Consequently, as a general rule, we don’t see as many underslung heels on hind feet as we do front feet,” explains Taylor.

As a foal grows and its feet bear more weight, the inside of the coffin bone remodels to handle the load and becomes straighter up and down, with a little more angle on the outside.

Looking at just front feet, or just hind feet, they should match and be a mirror image of one another, but they’re not perfectly symmetrical. “Regarding front legs, if we look at a normal horse from the front, his body mass is slung/suspended on the inside of the front legs. As a result, as the foal grows up, there is always a little more weight on the inside of the leg and foot than there is on the outside. That’s why there’s asymmetry in the coffin bone (front to side) and we see this reflected in the hoof capsule,” he says. The compressive forces on the foot as it lands and impacts the ground will also have an influence on hoof shape. “It’s a common belief that the foot lands flat and loads evenly, but most times it doesn’t,” says Taylor. This unevenness is due to several factors. 58 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

Front legs generally bear a little more weight on the inside of the limb. “As the limb begins to bear weight during movement, the fetlock joint usually articulates medially as well as downward. This puts more force on the inside of the legs.” There must be compensating factors to address this force. “Although a foal is born with very symmetrical coffin bones, as he grows and the foot bears more weight, the inside of the coffin bone remodels to handle the load and concussion and becomes straighter up and down and the outside has a little more angle. Consequently the inside of the hoof is a little straighter and the outside wall a little less straight, and this is perfectly normal,” says Taylor. Taken to extreme, however, this outside angle becomes a flare. But the front feet should be matched pairs, even though they are not perfectly round. On hind feet, if you look at horses from behind, some horses tend to be more base narrow behind than they are in front. “As a result, the leg compensates by having a little more outward rotation when standing. The hind legs are not set outside the frame of the body (as they are in the front); they go right into the pelvis. There’s a major grouping of muscles on the hindquarters, and often the legs are set on the inside of that mass, rather than outside,” explains Taylor. Even if a horse’s hind legs rotate slightly outward, with his toes pointing slightly off center to the outside (which is the most common and normal hind leg conformation) he can be fairly correct behind. “He just has a little bit of a set; when you look at his footprints as he stands squarely, his toes are pointing to 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock, rather than what conventional halter horse conformation would dictate (toes pointing straight forward at 12 o’clock),” he says. “To me, conformation should be physiologically correct, not just textbook correct. When we look at the horse standing, if conformation is actually a problem, we see it in the way the hoof wall remodels. If that remodeling keeps going unchecked, we’ll find unhealthy coffin bone remodeling. The ‘creep’ we see in the feet of horses with conformation faults who stand all day in stalls is a result of disproportionate weight on the feet beyond normal physiological limits. Areas of the foot that are more loaded will grow less. Areas that are not loaded grow more. We need to understand that if there is a conformation fault, it puts the limb and ultimately the foot into an unequal loading pattern and you need a shorter shoeing cycle (more frequent trim) to prevent major imbalance,” he says. Feet get out of balance much more quickly if they have a conformational fault.


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

“When conformationally correct horses grow long feet, even if the long toe becomes a little dished or the heels roll under, all you have to do is trim away excess growth, re-sculpt the hoof shape, and you’re good to go. But if a horse has a medial-lateral imbalance (base wide or base narrow) the feet will be flaring and there’s a lot more hoof capsule warping you must to try to correct. You want to stay on top of that,” says Taylor. “Growth on a normal foot (with straight limbs) is not as detrimental as the extra growth on a conformationally challenged foot.” A very correct horse, even if his feet grow long and neglected out at pasture, when the long feet break off they will still be relatively well balanced. Dynamic balance The way a horse moves (dynamic balance) is directly related to static balance. The less correct a horse’s conformation, the more faulty the gait. “Normal movement of horses is not two-dimensional. Because of the design and function of joints, limb movements are three-dimensional. As the conformationally correct horse begins to move and gain more speed, there is subtle medial to lateral variation as the front foot bears weight, and more weight on the lateral (outside) toe than the center of the toe,” says Taylor. “The timing of each phase of the stride changes with speed and gait, but these phases are present in all gaits—the walk, trot, rack, pace or gallop. Phases of the stride are generally referred to as impact phase (heel strike), slide phase, loading phase (midstance is when the fetlock joint is fully loaded and the cannon bone is perpendicular to the ground), heel up and breakover phase, and swing phase when the limb is in the air.” It is critical for soundness of the athletic horse that these phases of the stride occur in an organized and sequential manner. “Faulty conformation tends to affect the normal timing of the stride phases, which in turn can result not only in faulty gait but lameness in some cases. As lameness progresses it will also affect the timing and placement of the foot and leg during these phases of the stride,” he explains. “In gaits faster than a walk, some phases of the stride are accelerating and some are decelerating the speed of the limb. For example, when the foot leaves the ground the whole limb is protracted forward,

gaining speed. When the limb is fully extended it retracts or pulls down to the ground in a steeper angle, slowing its speed, getting ready for impact,” says Taylor. When the foot is pulled back down to the ground, it doesn’t land flat. “It’s more common for the outside of the foot to land a fraction of a second before the inside. Some people think that if horses land outside heel first, they slap the inside heel down. But high-speed videos show that normal horses don’t do that. They land outside heel first and by the time the foot gradually comes to a slide and stops, the inside heel is loaded.” It’s a smooth transference of weight and loading. There’s some rotation of the hinge joints and various other joints in the leg. “They all function and articulate around a rotation; they don’t articulate on just one plane like a machine. Almost all joints have some rotation,” he says. Also, as the horse pulls the leg back down--to land the hoof on the ground--the extensor and flexor muscles work together to make this a smooth transition. “The extensor muscles are on the outside of the forearm. As the horse is pulling the leg down and preloading the joint so it’s in a closed/packed position (to bear weight) and ready to hit the ground, the muscles tend to pull the leg outward slightly in a lateral motion.” If you watch the horse’s legs in motion, they are never moving in an absolutely straight line. There’s always a little medial/lateral deviation as the foot makes its flight, and this is never a problem unless the inward or outward swing is excessive. To summarize: when feet point in, they generally flare to the inside, break over more to the outside, and the outside of the foot tends to load more, wear more, and roll under the foot. When feet point out, the flare is generally on the outside and the foot breaks over more to the inside. •

Ideally, leg action should be free-flowing with feet and legs moving forward in relatively straight lines.

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

Soldiering On ... An Encore A passion for polo’s historical toy soldiers By Dennis J. Amato

Monarch Regalia polo toy soldiers. This is one of five sets in Amato’s collection.

Since 1985, I have written around 60 articles on the sport of polo. Most of them have been of a historical orientation on such subjects as the origins of California polo; the world’s first 40-goal team; the evolution of polo in Florida; Long Island polo: past and present; and early women’s polo in America. In addition, I have authored extensive biographical essays on such famous players as Foxhall Keene, Devereux Milburn and Stewart Iglehart. Other articles revolved around collectibles like polo autographs; polo tickets, passes and badges; polo pinbacks; and polo yearbooks. There also has been a smattering of art-related works under such titles as “Polo Deco,” “Polo Deco Deux,” “Polo Nouveau” and “Charles Cary Rumsey, Artist and Poloist.” Moreover, there were several book reviews, including those of Horace Laffaye’s Polo in Argentina, A History; Chris Ashton’s Geebung, The Story of Australian Polo; and the Argentine Polo Association’s Cent años de polo in Argentina. In addition, I have written some lighter

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

fare like surveys on polo cocktails, Bimini glassware and polo crystals. Only one article was of a somewhat whimsical nature, which I had long debated even putting pen to paper on. It revolved around my passion for collecting toy soldier polo players and was called “Soldiering On,” which appeared in the September 2014 issue of Polo Players’ Edition. Much to my surprise—actually to my complete astonishment—this relatively short piece generated the largest response that I had ever received for any of my articles! And to this day, I’m still not quite sure why. Perhaps, I just struck a responsive chord or a nostalgic nerve with a certain group of the magazine’s readers. As noted in “Soldering On,” toy soldiers could be traced back as far as the Egyptian pharaohs but it was really in 17th, 18th and 19th century Europe that they started to become more widespread and attracted a broader following. However, it was in 1893 that William Britain Jr. of England revolutionized the


Y E S T E RY E A R S

world of toy soldier making when he introduced the first “hollowcast” figures. Over time, his firm would arguably become not only the preeminent purveyor of toy soldiers in the world but also the standard by which his competitors would be judged. The article also pointed out that the size of these figures varied greatly. The so-called standard was Size 2, which was 54mm (2.25 inches or 1:32 scale) but with a range from 50mm (1.35 scale) to 60mm (1.28 scale). Nonetheless, devotees will come across toy soldiers that are slightly beyond these parameters as well as ones that are substantially oversized as well as miniaturized (“micros”). When the original article came out, I proudly proclaimed that I probably had the largest assortment of toy soldier polo players in the world. Admittedly, my “staggering” array of 43 pieces paled in comparison to such legendary collections like the one belonging to Malcolm Forbes, which reportedly totaled over 90,000 items. Nonetheless, my “little army” seemed impressive (at least in my personal opinion) given its niche nature. Since 2014, I have been able to add some 22 more toy soldiers to my collection. Given the apparent interest in my earlier summary, I thought I would share with PPE’s readers some of my more recent “finds” as well as circle back on some previous acquisitions with additional color and commentary. My very latest polo player I happened to find on Etsy, a site previously unknown to me. This delicate

representation is of a British player replete with a pith helmet, which would likely date the casting back to the 1930s. The toy soldier was sold to me by a dealer in Edinburgh. Despite the very “Englishness” of this toy soldier, it carried the rather odd marking of “Foreign” on the belly of the horse. If it were not made in

A Dresden Christmas ornament made out of cardboard, most likely in the early 1900s. It typically commands over $1,000 at auction.

Department 56 polo players are made out of resin.

An oversized polo toy soldier of unknown origin. It was likely made in Germany sometime in the 1930s.

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

A plastic polo player, believed to represent Tommy Hitchcock, manufactured by Louis Marx & Co. around 1960.

An English player, probably made in the 1930s. It was found in England but the horse’s belly is marked “foreign.”

An unusual HO scale group of four polo players (right), shown next to standard-sized (far left) and miniature-sized (middle) toy soldiers.

Britain, I’m guessing that it was manufactured in Germany or some other European country. Another quite interesting toy soldier I came across about two years ago is an oversized one measuring around 4 inches by 5 inches. While its origin is also unknown, it does depict another player sporting a pith helmet. The pose and position of this player is quite good making it one of the favorites in my collection. Undoubtedly, the most fascinating set of a polo team that I have ever purchased came to me via eBay late last year. It consists of four players with two dressed in maroon shirts and the other two in red shirts with a yellow stripe, which suggests that the original offering consisted of eight players forming

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

two teams. What makes this assemblage unique is its incredibly small scale and its exquisite level of detail. While there are “miniature” toy soldiers, these players were even smaller (1 inch by 1 inch). As they were advertised as HO scale, I surmise that they were most likely intended for electric train board dioramas. Attempts to find more members of this team or others like them have thus far proven to be futile, although the search goes on. The most significant addition to my collection came two years ago when I went to the annual East Coast Toy Soldier Fair in Hackensack, New Jersey. As I had not attended the expo in about a dozen years, my expectations for finding anything of interest were low. My instincts initially proved to be correct as I


Y E S T E RY E A R S

went from one dealer to another with nothing surfacing—not even the relatively common pieces like the All-Nu and Department 56 polo players. As I was finishing my “rounds,” I met a dealer from Kentucky who directed me to his Monarch Regalia line which featured five different sets of polo players: a team of four players with red shirts sold in two sets; a second team of four players in blue shirts, also sold in two sets; and a set of two opposing players going after the ball (i.e. a hooking scene). Needless to say, I ordered all the sets and was quite impressed not only with the quality of the craftsmanship which was extraordinarily high but also with the authenticity of the players (e.g. the position of the mallets, heels pushed back into the stirrups, etc.). In my view, the artist behind these polo players was either quite familiar with the sport or had done prodigious research on it. There is also one additional item that I acquired since I wrote my original article that is worth highlighting. In Dresden, Germany, I had previously mentioned the well-known firm of Georg Heyde that produced a wonderful set of polo players some time in the mid-1930s. This same city was also famous for creating in the late 1800s and the early 1900s these marvelous, three-dimensional Christmas ornaments made out of cardboard, including one of a polo player. As these generally commanded very high

prices at auction (often $1,000+), I had passed on numerous occasions on buying one but finally “bit the bullet” in late 2017 when a relatively reasonablypriced figure came up on eBay. Despite being made out of cardboard, this polo player very much has the characteristics of a metal toy soldier and has been a worthy complement to my collection. As most toy soldiers were actively, if not aggressively played with by youngsters, they tended to suffer a fair amount of damage, including broken limbs, chipped paint and missing parts (typically the mallet and the whip in the case of the polo players). Consequently, I have continuously taken the opportunity to replace less-than-perfect soldiers with better preserved ones, when they have become available. Since 2014, I have been fortunate in upgrading a number of my polo players. The most notable example was my ability to acquire a pristine Heyde polo set about three years ago—in an extremely competitive bidding process I might add for each of the five pieces auctioned off separately. With my growing army now aggregating around 65 toy soldiers, I am more prepared than ever to forge ahead in the uphill offensive in finding even more “combatants” to add to my current battle-ready battalion. Whether or not there will be at some point a further sequel entitled “Soldiering On…An Encore Once More” though still remains to be seen! •

This set of Monarch Regalia polo toy soldiers is well made and shows authentic detail not seen in other toy soldiers.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 63


CALENDAR

January / February D E C E M B E R 27 - JA N UA RY 4 Congressional Cup (6-8) Costa Careyes, Jalisco, Mexico

J A N U A R Y 1 8 - 31 USPA Constitution Cup (6) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL

D E C E M B E R 2 8 - JA N UA RY 5 Stagecoach Challenge (4) Coachella Cup (8) Empire, Indio, CA

JA N UA RY 2 4 - 2 6 Texas Arena League Two Wishes, Lockhart, TX

JA N UA RY 1 - 12 Joe Barry Cup (18) IPC, Wellington, FL J A N U A R Y 1 - 14 Congressional Cup (0-6) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL JA N UA RY 2 - 10 U.S. Arena Open (12-20) IPC, Wellington, FL JA N UA RY 4 - 12 Mack & Madelyn Jason Memorial World Gym Tournament Eldorado, Indio, CA J A N U A R Y 4 - 17 USPA George S. Patton (0-4) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL JA N UA RY 10 - 2 6 USPA Sportsmanship Cup (8) Empire, Indio, CA J A N U A R Y 11 - 2 6 USPA Sportsmanship Cup (4) Empire, Indio, CA J A N U A R Y 11 - F E B R U A R Y 2 Ylvisaker Cup (18) IPC, Wellington, FL JA N UA RY 15 - 2 9 USPA Governors Cup (6) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL J A N U A R Y 16 - 19 18th Bendura Bank Snow Polo

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 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

Münichauer Wiese, Reith bei Kitzbühel

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 JA N UA RY 18 - 2 6 Coachella Valley Officers Cup (4, 8) Eldorado, Indio, CA

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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

F E B R U A R Y 14 Hall of Fame Gala Polo Museum, Lake Worth, FL

The National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame will hold its annual awards gala and induction ceremony to welcome in this year’s honorees. Tickets are $250. To make reservations contact Brenda Lynn 561-969-3210; 561-969-7015; or email: polomuseum@att.net. F E B RUA RY 15 40 Goal Polo Challenge IPC, Wellington, FL

The Polo Players Support Group will host its annual 40 Goal Polo Challenge fundraiser, which allows it to continue to provide financial assistance to seriously injured or ill players and grooms. The event includes a match between the world’s best players on the best horses, dinner and silent and live auctions. Go to polosupport.com for tickets or more information.

F E B RUA RY 15 - 2 9 USPA Governors Cup (0-6) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL F E B R U A R Y 17 - 2 2 USPA Women’s Hobe Sound Cup (16) Hobe Sound, Hobe Sound, FL F E B RUA RY 2 2 - M A RC H 2 2 USPA Gold Cup (22) 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