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P L AY E R S’ E D I T I O N

Intercollegiates: Texas A&M Takes it all! $5.00 US/$5.50 Canada


CONTENTS

P L AY E R S’ E D I T I O N

J U LY 201 9

VOL. 22,

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

30 Sun and sand

6

by Sharon Robb

Association News USPA Bulletin Team spotlight

U.S. Polo Assn. shines in Miami Beach Polo

34 Right is right by Joshua Casper

12 Instructors Forum

Why polo can’t be played left-handed

38 Hooked

N O . 11

by Peter Rizzo

14 Usefuls

by Sarah Eakin

Teen could be poster child for youth polo

by Dana Fortugno

16 Equine Athlete J U LY 2 0 1 9

18 22 24 40

TION P L AY E R S’ E D I

OUR COVER TAMU’s Christian Aycinena defends as UVA’s Nachi Viana moves in during the men’s National Intercollegiate Final.

Intercollegiates: Texas A&M Takes it all!

Photo by Mike Ryan

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

Polo Development Intercollegiate/Interscholastic Polo in the Pampas by Ernesto Rodriguez

58 Calendar 60 Yesteryears 44 Polo Report Cancha de Estrellas wins California women’s event

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

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

Editor & Publisher

GWEN D. RIZZO

Contributing Editors

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

Editorial Board BOB PUETZ, TONY COPPOLA, TOM BIDDLE, DAWN WEBER, AMI SHINITZKY Art Director DAVID BEVERAGE Prepress PUBLISHERS PRESS Advertising & Editorial Offices USPA Member Subscription Inquiries (800) 232-8772 OR FAX (888) 341-7410 ldolan@uspolo.org

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E-mail: info@poloplayersedition.com ©Copyright 2019 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. 22, No.11 POLO Players’ Edition (ISSN #1096-2255) is published monthly by Rizzo Management Corp. 6008 Reynolds RD, Lake Worth, FL 33449 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, 6008 Reynolds RD, Lake Worth, FL 33449. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement No. 40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Imex Global, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2.

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


U S PA B U L L E T I N

DAVID MURRELL

Fall National Tournaments Consider entering a team in one of the upcoming fall national tournaments: Arena Commander-in-Chief Cup (5-8 goal) Oct. 26-27

12-Goal Trifecta (Northrup Knox Cup, Copper Cup, Bronze Trophy) Sept. 20- Nov. 3 New Bridge Polo & Country Club, Aiken, South Carolina For more information, email Hayley Bryan at hbryan2485@aol.com or Raza Kazmi at razanewbridge@gmail.com. U.S. Open Women’s Handicap (8-12 goal) Nov. 12 17 Houston Polo Club, Houston, Texas The club is celebrating 25 years of hosting women’s tournaments with new levels (including the 16- to 20-goal USPA Texas Women’s Open) and dates, so mark your calendars and start organizing your teams--it’s going to be a great week of fun competitive women’s polo! The tournament packet and entry forms will be available in August.

Army’s Joe England, Zach Grob and Paul Knapp won the Commander-in-Chief Cup in August 2018.

KAYLEE WROE

Lia Salvo, Grace Mudra, Bridget Price and Carolyn Stimmel won the 2017 U.S. Open Women’s Handicap in Houston.

Two Wishes Ranch Polo Club, Lockhart, Texas Four team maximum (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force). $1,000 covers tournament fees and required horse rental. Participation open to USPA members who served on active duty or in reserves. Contact team captains to be selected for a team and to participate in the tournament by Oct. 1. Army, Mark Gillespie, gillespie2@aol.com Marines, Steve Walsh, stevenlwalsh@gmail.com Navy, Karl Hilberg, karlhilberg@gmail.com Air Force, Rob Phipps, rob.phipps1@gmail.com

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Military Tourney Incentive Program In an effort to increase participation in military polo, the USPA Armed Forces Committee has received board-approved funds to reimburse certain expenses for USPA member clubs hosting the following tournaments: There are four circuit military events (Outdoor: 0to 4-goal General George S. Patton Jr. and 4- to 8-goal General S. Brown and Arena: 0- to 3-goal Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and 3- to 6-goal General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller) eligible for the reimbursement program. Two 2019 circuit military events—$1250 2020 National Commander-in-Chief Cup (0-12 Outdoor)—$2,500 Six 2020 circuit military events—$750 Please see the list of requirements below. All tournaments are subject to approval by your circuit governor or the USPA Tournament Committee. •These funds are in addition to any other available USPA funds (umpire, marketing, arena, etc). •For circuit events a minimum of three teams is required for this reimbursement. •For national events a minimum of four teams is required for this reimbursement. •These funds are limited and will be approved on a first-come, first-serve basis. In general, these funds are to be used to cover expenses that other USPA programs do not cover. They can be used for marketing, EMT, announcer, etc., but not for umpires, players or winning team trophies. For more information or to apply, please contact Tournament Coordinator Kaila Dowd by email at kdowd@uspolo.org.


U S PA B U L L E T I N

John Deere Giveaway This year, in conjunction with the USPA Polo Plus Discount Program, USPA member clubs will be eligible to win a John Deere TS Gator. The USPA member club with the highest cumulative discount program dollar amount spent by its members during 2019 will receive the John Deere TS Gator grand prize. In addition to the grand prize, all USPA members who utilize the discount program with any of the participating companies will be entered into a drawing for a $500 Tackeria gift certificate. Participating companies include John Deere, Sherwin Williams, UPS, Nationwide, Suncast Commercial, Redbrand and Office Depot. USPA members are eligible for significant savings from these companies through NTRA advantage. To enjoy the benefits of one-stop buying, call toll-free at 866-678-4289. U.S. Polo Assn. U.S. Polo Assn. was once again the official apparel partner for the Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup, creating custom-designed performance jerseys for the polo players and providing sport-inspired polo shirts for all event staff. In addition, U.S. Polo Assn. served as a sponsor for the team playing against The Duke of Sussex’s Sentebale St. Regis team in a very competitive game. The event took place on Friday, May 24, at the world-renowned Roma Polo Club in Rome, Italy. The annual polo event raised funds for Sentebale, an organization co-founded in 2006 by The Duke of Sussex and Prince Seeiso to support the mental health and wellbeing of children affected by HIV in southern Africa. This year’s Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup again captured the world’s attention. The Duke of Sussex’s Sentebale St. Regis team

was captained by Nacho Figueras and included Sarah Siegel-Magness and Michael Carrazza, while the U.S. Polo Assn. team included brand ambassador Ashley Busch, Malcolm Borwick, Chet Lott and Cable Siegel-Magness. The Sentebale St. Regis team successfully defended its championship title. “We are very humbled and honored that U.S. Polo Assn. will once again serve as the official apparel partner and team sponsor of this incredibly impactful charity polo event,” said J. Michael Prince, USPAGL president and CEO, who globally manages the multi-billion-dollar U.S. Polo Assn. brand. “The Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup aligns with U.S. Polo Assn.’s core values of supporting the sport of polo around the world while also supporting those in need through polo events.” Sentebale and U.S. Polo Assn. also designed an apparel capsule collaboration that was showcased at a “high-energy” pop-up shop at the event to U.S. Polo Assn. provide attendees the opportunity to further sponsored a team and engage with Sentebale through the consumer provided jerseys for lens. The product was included in the players’ kits the Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup for both teams with 100 percent of the proceeds in Italy.

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U S PA B U L L E T I N

from the apparel sales donated to the Sentebale foundation. The remaining product was donated to the foundation to be shared with Sentebale staff and those they serve.

DAVID MURRELL

Women’s Tournament Series Points and participation seem to be a growing theme with the Pacific Coast Arena League, Texas Arena League, National Arena Amateur Cup and now, the Mid-Continent Women’s Polo Series.

Kelly Coldiron leads the pack on Isabella in the Texas Arena League.

Swiss watch. Additionally, USPA women’s arena tournaments will count towards National Arena Amateur Cup points. “In this series, the individual gets the points, rather than the team. The idea is to increase participation in all events by offering an amazing prize to the individual who earns the most points throughout the Mid-Continent Women’s Polo Series,” organizer Robin Sanchez said. “Each club handles its own tournaments and that is who the players and teams should contact to enter. The series will maintain the points tallies and provide some extras to each location, such as Best Playing Pony blankets.” “We are really excited about the incredible growth in our sport with female players and women’s tournaments,” USPA Women’s Committee Chair Erica Gandomcar-Sachs said. “This series is another step in the support that every player and club can provide to the growth of women’s polo along with USPA and other entities like the Women’s International Polo Network.” According to Susan Koehler of NWA Polo Club in Gravette, Arkansas, “This is going to be a great boost to our women’s tournament in September. We have a USPA Arena Women’s Challenge paired with a Middle School Tournament. It will allow moms and kids to have a combined weekend of polo competition.” Clubs participating in the Mid-Continent Women’s Polo Tournament Series include Arrowhead Polo Club (Bixby, Oklahoma), Central Texas Polo Association, Dallas Polo Club (Red Oak, Texas), Denver Polo Club (Littleton, Colorado), Houston Polo Club (Houston, Texas), East Texas Polo Club (Legend’s Horse Ranch, Kaufman, Texas), Midland Polo Club (Midland, Texas), New Mexico Polo Club (Santa Fe, New Mexico), New Orleans Polo Club (Folsom, Louisiana), NWA Polo Club (Gravette, Arkansas), OKC Polo Club (Jones, Oklahoma) and South Padre Island Polo Club (South Padre Island, Texas). If you are interested in playing, please contact each club directly. You can also follow all of the tournaments, dates and participating clubs on the Women’s Polo Series Facebook page.

USPA Women’s Challenge circuit events and USPA-sanctioned women’s tournaments, both arena and outdoor, will be played in 2019 as part of a series. Individuals will receive points based on team ranking within each tournament (winner, second, Published by the United States Polo Association third, etc.) along with points Offices at 9011 Lake Worth Rd., Lake Worth, Florida 33467 • (800) 232-USPA for Sportsmanship and Most Chairman: Chip Campbell President: Tony Coppola Valuable Player awards. At Secretary: Stewart Armstrong the end of the year, a highTreasurer: Sam Ramirez point winner will be the Chief Executive Officer: Robert Puetz proud owner of a Catena

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U S PA B U L L E T I N

National Youth Tournament Series The USPA National Youth Tournament Series is picking up steam as summer clubs begin opening their gates for the season. In a recent match in Maui, Hawaii, Maui Polo Club Black’s Daniel Miranda, Elizabeth Miranda, Azure Parker DeCoite and Alana Benz faced off against Maui Polo Club White’s Maya Miller, Kaiana Holland, Laura Coflin and Sunny Diller. Black prevailed 6-4 thanks to five goals from Daniel Miranda and one from Benz. Daniel Miranda, Benz, Maya Miller and Kaiana Holland were recognized as All-Stars. Sue, played by Daniel Miranda and owned by the Miranda family, was Best Playing Pony. If you are interested in playing a USPA NYTS tournament, contact your local outdoor club or visit uspolo.org.

Intercollegiate/Interscholastic The I/I Regular Season Regional Champion Awards are presented to teams that have participated and supported in-region play. To qualify for the award, a team must have played a minimum of four in-region games during the regular season, against three or more in-region/division opponents. The I/I regular season starts Sept. 1 and extends to tournament time in February and March. The recipients of this award have shown their dedication to the sport through their time and commitment leading up to the tournament season. This is the fourth year that the I/I program has named Regular Season Regional Champions. Congratulations to the following recipients: Cornell Women, Garrison Forest School Varsity Girls, Boston Polo Club Girls and Myopia Polo Club Varsity Open.

Sept. 28-29 NWA Polo Club—Gravette, Arkansas Oct. 12-13 Aiken Polo Club—Aiken, South Carolina Oct. 12-13 Garrison Forest School Polo Club —Owings Mills, Maryland Oct. 19-20 Barrington Hills Polo Club—Wacounda, Illinois October 26-27 Gardnertown Polo Club—Newburgh, New York Nov. 9-10 Central Coast Polo Club—Los Osos, California

The Cornell women’s team won an I/I Regular Season Regional Champion Award.

A Boston interscholastic team battles the Maui interscholastic girls’ team

Middle School Do you have a 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th grade player that is ready for tournament polo and would like to compete in this year’s USPA I/I Middle School League? Check out the dates below for clubs already planning tournaments. Don’t see a club near you? Contact Emily Dewey at edewey@uspolo.org to schedule a tournament at your home club. 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

Billy Raab Stepping up for Southeastern Circuit

O

vercoming a childhood fear of riding horses to occasionally mounting rodeo bulls and broncos and galloping racehorses as a teenager, USPA Southeastern Circuit Governor Billy Raab never allows a challenge to derail his vision. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Raab calls Wagener, South Carolina, home, where he lives and works on Broken Arrow Farm with his wife Michelle. The son of a single mother of three, Raab was instilled with the discipline of hard work from an early age, running the gamut of the polo industry as a 5-goal player, USPA certified umpire, green horse trainer and polo club owner. Since stepping up to voice his opinion as circuit governor in September 2018, Raab has tapped into his expertise and dedicated himself to being available, responsive and creating a greater sense of unification between the clubs, which are both historical and regional pillars of the polo community. Before settling down in his later years in South Carolina, Raab’s playing career took him across the United States, England, Argentina and the Dominican Republic. A lifelong baseball fan (especially of the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers), Raab found longevity in polo, managing his own Wagener Polo Club for over a decade and previously Aiken Polo Club in Aiken, South Carolina. Receptive to advice even now with decades of experience invested into the sport, Raab believes that success is found through diligence and continuous learning. Now mentoring two grandsons who are blazing their own path in polo, Christian (otherwise known as Chief Osceola, Florida State University’s mounted mascot) and Mackenzie Weisz (representative of the NYTS Florida region), Raab’s determination has indirectly trickled down to positively influence the up-and-coming generation.

What is your equestrian background and how did you become involved in polo? I started playing polo in 1968 at the Detroit Polo Club in Union Lake, Michigan. When I was in seventh grade I got into a fight with a boy named Russell Siders and we ended up becoming good friends. He was playing polo and working for John Magers at the time and since I lived next to a stickand-ball field, I started hot walking horses. I wouldn’t get on one because I was scared, but finally I got tired 10 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

of people calling me a chicken! I decided to jump on a horse and ended up going for a long two-and-a-half hour trail ride through the woods. I found out it wasn’t that bad and although I bounced around at first it just felt natural to me from the start and I was hooked. After that I wanted to ride anything I could and I didn’t care if it tried to buck me off because I didn’t think it could. I also tried jumping briefly, but found that it’s not my style because there is so much waiting around for only a 30-second thrill. In 1974, Merle Jenkins gave me my first job grooming in Florida so I went to Boca Raton and I started playing practice games. Two years later I was hired by Ed Bernard and went to Alabama as a groom/player, working my way up gradually to reach a 5-goal handicap. Growing up, my family didn’t have anything to do with horses, my mother raised me and my two sisters by herself. She wanted me to be a professional baseball player and go to Florida to try out for the Detroit Tigers, but when I came down I pursued polo instead and have been doing it ever since.

What do you enjoy most about training green horses? I still actively train green horses and I’ve made over 30 throughout my career. The first horse I trained I sold to Bart Evans when I was 20 years old. I am completely self-taught and I always listened and paid attention, trying to learn everything I could from more experienced horsemen. I was lucky that many horse trainers and players, including Joe Barry and Tommy Wayman, talked to me and helped me out along the way. It’s a great feeling knowing that I made horses that went on to play high-goal polo. I bought a 2-yearold gelding named Awesome and called Sugar Erskine and said, “This is one of the nicest horses I’ve ever had. I’ll make you a deal, you can buy him now for $20,000 or you can get him in a couple years for $50,000-plus, but if you buy him now you can’t have him until he’s ready.” He bought the horse and a year and a half later played him in Boca Raton in the $100,000 Gold Cup game. The next day I called Sugar and said, “He’s ready for you.” Sugar played Awesome in the U.S. Open Polo Championship and then shipped him to Argentina to play in the Argentine Open.


ELIZABETH HEDLEY

U S PA B U L L E T I N

Why is low-goal polo thriving in the Southeastern Circuit? Playing only four chukkers makes it more feasible for everybody and there are a lot more players at that level in this region, so I find it’s much easier to fund. Most of the people playing in these tournaments are from other states, including Georgia, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and New Jersey. Many people who come here play in the spring and then they return to their home club in the summer and either come back in fall or turnout their horses. You can play here basically year-round. During the winter, I play green chukkers at my farm. We have outdoor arenas that we can use. Right now, I go to Skaneateles Polo Club in Skaneateles, New York, in the summer and run the club for Marty Cregg, but I used to stay here and play through those months. This past fall in Aiken, we had 10 teams in one tournament, which we haven’t seen in 12 years so it’s definitely growing. Aiken Polo Club and Wagener Polo Club joined together to be more or less one singular club so we wouldn’t be drawing away from each other. There is still some overlapping of schedules, but the clubs try to work together to make it feasible for the pros and sponsors. As long as you are organized and treat everybody fairly you’ll get people to come play at your club.

As a small club owner, are small clubs an asset to the USPA? Low-goal polo and club polo are essential to producing sponsors so that polo can grow. In anything, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up to make it to the top. The USPA is trying harder to promote low-goal polo being played at small clubs across the country by introducing prize money for lower-goal club tournaments, which I think will help. Although we can climb the ladder of polo, eventually with age we are going to come back down to low goal so that level of polo is going to last forever and sustain the sport.

Has umpiring played an important role in your career? To help myself learn faster, I started umpiring when I was younger because it forced me to pay close attention and really learn the game. I was in the umpire program until I left Florida 13 years ago and I did it for four to five years in South Carolina. The last time I umpired in Aiken was three years ago because my schedule became too busy. I still umpire from time to time in the summer in New York. When you umpire you are able to understand the game much better because you pay more attention to

Billy Raab with wife Michelle

it rather than just playing. I encourage everyone to umpire. It’s not that easy, but you have to really learn and understand the rules and thoroughly read the rule book. Knowing the rule book definitely helped my game because I tried to figure out how I could beat the rules, which I used to my advantage. Umpiring trains you to focus on the game, the other players, and anticipate the plays before they happen. Most players just chase the ball around the field, but they don’t think about if their opponent is going to back the ball, turn it, hit it away, or where their teammates are on the field. Umpiring definitely helped my polo career, and knowing the rules is definitely going to make anyone a better polo player.

What have you learned in your time as club manager, and what advice would you give other small club owners? I learned from watching other managers and seeing how they ran their clubs. I’m always paying attention to see if what someone else is doing can better me and help me down the road. Typically, I leave the house at 6 a.m. and return at 11 p.m. seven days a week. My wife and I don’t have help, we do everything on the farm, from mowing 57 acres of grass to feeding and exercising all the horses. The main thing when running a small club is staying organized, starting your practices on time and making sure everybody has a good time by treating everyone fairly regardless of how much money they have or your personal relationship to them. As long as you are fair with everyone, you’ll have people who want to follow you and continue to play at your club. If you would like to get in touch with Billy Raab about your club, he can be reached at bkrpolo@aol.com. • POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 11


INSTRUCTORS FORUM

Take a brake Help your horse to stop easier with the right cues By Peter Rizzo

Stopping should be a pain-free experience for the horse and no amount of brute force will help a horse that is fearful or in pain. A well-trained, healthy horse will only need a light touch on the bit to respond. If you have a horse that is difficult to stop, before you start pulling harder or using stronger bits, the first order of business is to have the horse evaluated for health issues. A sore back, sore hocks and teeth issues are just a few of the numerous reasons that might make a horse not want to stop. For instance, if its back or hocks are hurting it will resist stopping to avoid pain and may even go faster to get away from the pain. Once a veterinarian has cleared the horse medically, check your bridle and saddle to be sure they are adjusted correctly. If the horse is more resistant to stop later in the chukker, the horse might simply be too tired. The horse may not be fit enough for the level of polo you are playing or not athletic enough to play a full chukker at that level. Fearful horses may also be reluctant to stop. Some horses are just not cut out for the sport and just because you can swing a mallet off them, doesn’t make them polo ponies. If being on the field around other horses is too stressful for them, stopping may be a problem. Further, like people, some horses are more athletic than others. A horse that is not very athletic may not be capable of stopping as well as a more athletic horse. The next things to consider are the hands holding the reins. All too often stopping issues are rider error. Does the rider have a ‘death-grip’ on the reins or is he using them to balance? Is he jerking the reins too hard or are the reins twisted or too long on one side? Any of these situations will likely make the horse’s mouth numb or painful and the horse less responsive to the cues to stop. Is the rider giving the horse mixed signals? Is he bouncing on the horse’s back or shifting too much instead of being centered in the saddle? Almost all horsemen will admit, they are constantly learning. You can always improve your riding no matter how long you have been at the sport. The best way to improve is to take lessons or have a more experienced horseman watch you ride and make suggestions. Often times you may think you are 12 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

riding a certain way when, in fact, you are riding a completely different way. It takes patience, knowledge and time to teach a horse anything. The use of your reins and other cues are a form of communication between you and the horse. During training, a horse learns the various cues to anticipate stopping through repetition. But, it is important for the horse to be well-balanced when asking for any maneuvers. In general, horses are naturally well-balanced so in some respects, it can be easier to work with an untrained horse than one that needs to be retrained. Retraining often requires teaching the horse—and sometimes the rider—to forget all the learned bad habits. While training or retraining a horse to stop is best left up to professionals, there are some exercises you can work on with the horse to reinforce that training. Leave your mallet at the barn and find a flat, open area where you can circle the horse. Be sure your reins are the same length on both sides and that none of the reins are twisted. Hold the reins so they are neither too loose nor too tight. Move the horse into a canter, circling in one direction and making sure the horse is on the correct lead. Get the horse into a nice rhythm so that it relaxes. If the horse is tense and having difficulty relaxing, take a break. Now do the same thing in the other direction. When the horse is relaxed, practice cantering in a straight line, speeding up for short distances before asking the horse to slow down for several strides. Canter in both directions, alternating speeds. Again be sure the horse is on the correct lead. Does the horse respond to your signals to slow when changing speeds without you having to jerk hard on the reins? If not, consider what the rider might be doing wrong. If the rider is doing everything right, it might be time for the horse to go back to basics with a professional trainer. If the horse is responding well, move on to cantering in a straight line toward a fence or arena wall, stopping just before you reach the barrier. Using your legs to keep pressure even on both sides, shift your weight slightly back with your feet slightly forward. As you begin to pull back, say, ‘Whoa.’ Start with a light pull before resorting to a major pullback. With consistent signals and repetition, the horse will


know what is coming and likely won’t require much of a pull. The horse’s back legs should set underneath it when it stops. To reinforce this you can practice backing a few steps after stopping. Do this by applying leg pressure on both sides while you gently pull with the reins. If you are consistent with your signals, the horse will anticipate slowing or stopping as soon as it feels your weight shifting and hears your voice command. If the horse is not reacting well to its bit, even with light pressure, you can try a different type of bit. It is important to keep in mind that sometimes less is more. Before moving on to a more severe bit, try using something that offers less pressure. Some horses panic at a bit that is too severe, and respond negatively. Players may interpret the horse’s reaction to not having enough pressure when in fact, it is too much pressure. The key to training and schooling is allowing the horse to trust that it will not be hurt or scared. Fear will cloud the horse’s mind and both fear and pain can quickly undo years of training. Bits and bridles can assist players in getting the most out of their horses. It is helpful to know how each bit works before deciding which one to use on your horses. Some bits put pressure on the tongue while others put pressure on the bars of the mouth. In polo, gags and pelhams are the most common bits but there are so many variations of both of these bits, and each variation evokes a different response from the horse. Likewise, there are a variety of different bridle pieces, such as draw reins vs. straight reins. drop noses bands, rope nose bands, etc. and each is used for a different response. If you aren’t familiar with how different bits work with certain bridle parts, you could be using them to work against each other, confusing the horse. Ask for advice from a knowledgeable professional. • A former professional polo player, Peter Rizzo has owned and trained hundreds of polo ponies over his 50 years of participation in both outdoor and arena competition.

Certified Equine Appraisals Professionally certified equine valuations for: Donations • Purchases • Sales Injury or death • Bankruptcies Disputes & litigation • Liquidations • Audits • Insurance • Fraud

Peter Rizzo, ASEA Certified Equine Appraiser 561.777.6448 or email: rizzo.poloworks@gmail.com

Ten-goal Adolfo Cambiaso has been winning in the Texas Polo Luxe Edition Saddle for eight seasons everywhere he plays: Florida, England and Argentina

DALLAS •www.Texaspolo.com • 214 - 720 - 0233 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 13


USEFULS

Reel time Bringing the rules to life in the digital age By Dana Fortugno

Umpiring almost 200 games a year, I hear the same comments from the players over and over. They want to know the rules changes and how we umpires call certain plays. They do not read the rule book and if they try to read it, it is very difficult to understand how a played is actually called just from the text of the rule. As an umpire, I have to answer these questions if I want to be fair and transparent, and I do. In fact I answer the same questions over and over. The umpire program tries to have players’ meetings at the start of the season but not everyone attends. Of course, we have regular umpire meetings where we are given all the latest information and how we are to call the new plays, but it is impractical to include the players in these meetings because there are too many players. What is really happening is that the winter-season players are getting this information at the players’ meetings (if they go) and from the umpires’ mouths just before the game, but mostly from each other as gossip, which is usually inaccurate at best.

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

Players will be able to click on a rule or play and get an explanation of how it is called as well as see a video clip showing an example of the play.

What about the summer clubs who make up the majority of the polo association? They don’t get anything until the PUMP umpire visits their club and does a rules review at the players’ meeting. This means they may play half their season or more under the older rules or with a poor understanding of the new rules. When I visit these clubs in the summer, they are often shocked at the new rules. I hear comments like, “I had no idea that was a rule,” and so forth. We have been doing things this way for years, limited by technology, and the result is a huge lag time between a rule change and player knowledge of the new rule. This also creates friction between players and umpires since we find ourselves on different pages when it comes to the rules. I can honestly say we don’t need any more friction with the players. So, we have a problem—we all known that. After some discussion with our top management and a presentation to our leadership (the governors you elected) we got the go-ahead to solve this problem once and for all. The solution is a video rule book on the USPA website with an explanation by a USPA umpire of each rule and how it is called in practical, simple terms along with video examples for you to see. Basically, it’s a click-to-learn-and-


USEFULS

understand format. Our principles for the project are simplicity and top-quality production. Of course, this will be a work in progress for some time to come and as we get more tech savvy we can add overlay animations and who knows what else! Umpires, LLC. has been assigned the project and I will be working on it alongside Bob Puetz and Charlie Muldoon. We hope to have a working model ready in the fall to present to our leadership, and to have it available to you soon after that. As I sit here and begin my outline of the project, it is no simple task but I promise it will get done in a simple, easy-to-understand format, even if you are old school. This is going to be a user-friendly interface between the players and the rules that is up-to-date and accessible 24/7/365. It will offer the umpires a template (frame of reference) on which to base their calls—a template that if changed, is changed for everyone (players and umpires alike) at the same time. If a rule change is made or the way we call a rule is tweaked, we can email blast it out to our entire USPA membership instantly and anyone can click the link and see the explanation of the change. Players will be able to click on a rule or a play and get an explanation—a real explanation–of how it is called and see an example or several if need be. The

point is for umpires and players to be on the same page with the rules at the same time and all be current. Not only can we do this, we are doing it as you read this article. I am so happy to be a part of this new era in polo where everyone is equally educated when it comes to USPA rules and their implementation. When I see you this summer, ask me all about it. I am happy to share our progress. •

The Umpires, LLC. is working on a userfriendly interface between players and the rules.

Players often come up to umpires during games to ask about a rule change and how it will be called.

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

Too hot to handle Avoid heat stress and heat stroke in horses By Heather Smith Thomas

H

If a horse doesn’t respond quickly to cooling and rest, check for a more serious problem.

EAT STRESS, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are terms that refer to dangerous conditions that may occur when horses are working hard in hot weather. Extremely hot, humid weather can pose a risk for horses, but is most likely to be life threatening when a horse is exerting (creating more body heat) or hauled in an enclosed trailer with inadequate ventilation. Dr. Mike Foss (Alpine Veterinary Hospital, Hood River, Oregon) says horses sweat to cool themselves,

so when they are working hard we need to make sure they don’t run out of fluid and electrolytes and become dehydrated. Dehydration in hot weather can lead to heat stress. He gives talks to students at veterinary schools discussing heat stress, and uses a diagram showing the various ways heat can affect horses. “This includes radiation from the sun, reflection of heat from the ground (sand, concrete, dirt), body heat from within, air temperature, and so on. There are many ways horses can get too hot. In the arid West we are fortunate because horses can sweat to cool themselves,” says Foss. The dry air aids evaporation of sweat, taking heat with it. “About 80 percent of excess body heat can be dissipated via sweating, and a much smaller percentage is dissipated via air exchange in the lungs. Horses breath faster, to help facilitate that exchange. If they lose their ability to sweat, either through dehydration or increased humidity (which hinders evaporation) they have to utilize other ways to get rid of excess body heat and those ways are not as efficient,” he says. “In a hard-working horse we used to worry when their respiration rate got higher than their heart rate but today we realize fast respiration in a horse is simply the body’s attempt to cool off. We’ve learned that if we give the horse a chance to cool down, the horse will usually be fine. However, a high respiration rate shows that the horse is heat stressed, and we need to reduce the work (slow down and let the horse rest). If a horse doesn’t respond quickly to cooling and rest you need to check for a more serious problem,” says Foss. Signs of heat stress When a horse is too hot and unable to cool down he may be lethargic and depressed. “After a workout he may be breathing fast (almost panting) and not recovering as you’d expect. Heart and respiration rate have not slowed down. Delayed recovery might be the first thing you notice, and not wanting to eat,” says Foss. Many of the signs of heat stress will be subtle and you might not notice them or realize their signifi-

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


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

cance. “One thing you can do is take rectal temperature. Most veterinarians don’t consider a high temperature serious until it’s over about 105 degrees,” he says. If it’s that high you’d want to check it again soon to see if it starts dropping. If it doesn’t come down, the horse has not yet cooled off and may have a problem. Severe heat stress/heat stroke is fairly uncommon in an arid climate unless there is a heat wave that lasts several days. “When we do have that kind of heat, some people are caught off guard, thinking it won’t happen here,” he says. Dealing with hot weather Shade for pastured horses, and well-ventilated stalls that use fans with misters can be very helpful. In severely hot weather you might see heat stress in horses that are not actively exerting. Horses at pasture with no shade, horses being transported in a closed van or trailer in hot weather, fat horses (too much body mass, insulated with fat, and less ability to dissipate heat) may be at risk. If you put up a roof for shade in a pasture, make it high enough to provide good air flow underneath or it may create an oven effect, especially if it’s a tin roof. Kent Allen, DVM, sport horse veterinarian in Middleburg, Virginia, (Virginia Equine Imaging) says people may need misting fans for extreme climates, to keep horses cool enough. “Our first use of misting fans was in Atlanta, at the 1996 Olympics, and we had to find the best way to cool the horses. If you spray a hose in front of a fan, all you do is get everything wet because the droplets aren’t small enough. You need to spray the water under pressure (which requires a pump) and put it through very fine nozzles to create a really fine mist. This mist, as it moves out with the fan pushing it, flash evaporates and cools the air,” he explains. “In the less humid southwest, this is the rationale behind swamp coolers. They do the same thing, and as the colder air mass with moisture in it moves out, it evaporates and the temperature drops in that cold air mass. But if you try that in Virginia in the summer where the humidity is already high and the air is saturated, it won’t work as well as it does in a lowhumidity area, but is still better than nothing,” says Allen. “When moving to an extremely hot climate (tropical weather), ideally you’d have air conditioning. An air-conditioned stall is expensive, however. Your other option is just fans. They help; the air movement makes the heat more tolerable for the horse. The middle ground would be use of misting fans. Often the compromise would be fans in the stall, keeping

the horse out of the direct sun unless he’s outside working, and doing training workouts in the cooler parts of the day.” Avoid heat stress when traveling Transporting horses in hot weather can put them at risk. “I know of one case in California some years back when a horse owner hauled two horses to the vet on a hot day in an air-tight trailer and the horses died in the trailer on the way,” says Foss. “It’s much warmer in a trailer compared to outside. In hot weather you need good ventilation and air flow, and its best if you don’t travel during the heat of the day. Trailers can be like an oven,” he says. “Put a thermometer in your trailer to know how hot it actually gets in there. This can be eye-opening to realize what your horse actually has to deal with for all those miles. One reason it gets hotter in a trailer is because of the heat radiating up off the asphalt,” Foss says. “Some horse vans and trailers have air conditioning. If they don’t, they need lots of air flow. When traveling with horses, try to do it during the night or early morning when it’s cooler, and stop and check them regularly. Don’t stop too long. During your leisurely lunch in an air-conditioned building, the horses are in the ‘oven.’” If you don’t have air conditioning in the trailer, you might pull into a gas station periodically and use a hose with a spray/mister on the end of it to dampen the horses with water, or use a sprayer bottle as a mister, which you could spray on tolerant horses.

Hosing can help cool a horse but remember to scrape off the water because it can heat up and create a layer of insulation, trapping the heat.

(continued on page 54) 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

JUSTHEAD REWARD PTF honors several Subheadyoung players

T

ALEX PACHECO

HE POLO TRAINING FOUNDATION held its annual Polo Party on Friday, April 19, at International Polo Club Palm Beach’s pavilion in Wellington, Florida. Over 300 people attended the event, which combined dinner, dancing, awards presentations and live and silent auctions. The ceremony was jointly held with the USPA, the same weekend as the U.S. Open Championship. The awards included PTF Junior Sportsmanship, which went to Giuliana Tarazona and Brock Brom-

Back row: Maeve Reicher, Ava Hinkson, Malia Bryan, Jack Whitman, Keith Whitman, Danny Scheraga, Michelle Whitman and Tony Coppola. Front row: Giuliana Tarazona, Brock Bromley and Benjamin Obregon

ley: and PTF Junior Most Improved Players, which went to Maeve Reicher and Benjamin Obregon. These awards were sponsored by Celtic General Contractors. The PTF Sportsmanship Award went to Liliana Falcone, while PTF Most Improved Players went to Malia Bryan and Jack Whitman. These awards were sponsored by S-RM. The Sprit of PTF Award went to Rose Hinkson; PTF Volunteer of the Year went to Michelle and Keith Whitman; and Carlton Beal PTF Umpire of the Year went to Bradley Biddle. Thanks to sponsors Smart Choice Communications, Thompson and Knight, S-RM, Celtic General Contractors, Travel Leaders, Gloria Geraci & Associates, USPA, Nevers, JLL and Consilio, the fundraiser grew by nearly 30 percent, netting close to $100,000 to support PTF training and scholarship programs. The party committee, that worked tirelessly throughout the season to make this night special, included chairs Jennifer Ametrano Rodriguez, Anthony Coppola and Melissa Ganzi. Committee members included Gil Johnson, Olexa Celine, Mario Chiara, Jesse Coppola, Greg Hinkson, Jennifer Hinkson, Perry Palmer, True Rodriguez, Patricia Yunghanns and Michelle Whitman. If you were unable to attend, but would like to make a donation to support the PTF programs, go to polotraining.org or call 888.783.7656.

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


POLO SCENE

HORSE TRAINER GERRY GESELL and his wife, Cecilia Steel,were watching the radar at home on ranch outside Christoval, Texas, Ttheir HE TRIANGLE AREA POLO CLUB textin the early morning text hours of May 19. Severe weather was expected to hit the area and hail, rain and wind were moving in. Suddenly, the front door flew open. When Gesell went to close it, he was violently thrown against the wall. He made it into the hallway as the roof of their home was pulled off and their belongings were being sucked up into the night sky. Steel took shelter in the closet as broken glass and debris flew around the house. Within a matter of seconds, the storm was gone, but the damage was done. Miraculously, the couple was unharmed. The couple’s dog kennel was all but destroyed, yet 23 dogs inside survived. One dog lost part of a tail and another suffered an injury to its face. Fortunately, their horses were outside and were uninjured. “If I had to say what it felt like when the door threw me into the wall, it felt like being kicked by a horse, but by a big and very powerful horse, with both hind legs.” Gesell told San Angelo Live’s Manny Diaz. Daylight revealed the extent of the damage. A large stock trailer was thrown around and left twisted and mangled 70 yards from where it had been parked. A car was thrown 30 feet. The tops were ripped off the trees and the Gesell’s belongings were hanging were branches and leaves once hung. Gesell grew up in San Antonio and worked for Tommy Wayman as well as his father, Billy Wayman. It was working for the Waymans that he really got started training horses. About eight years ago, he took a group of horses from a BLM holding facility in Nevada and trained them for polo. Today, he continues to train horses for ranch work as well as the occasional polo pony. The couple have lost most of their personal belongings and their house had to be demolished. A GoFundMe page (Cecilia Steel & Gerry Gesell Tornado Relief) has been set up to raise money to help them rebuild their lives and shelter for their animals.

LISA TICHY

Couple survive Subhead direct hit from tornado

Cecilia Steel took shelter in a closet. Her kennel (shown here) was destroyed but luckily all 23 dogs survived.

LISA TICHY

AS THE WORLD HEAD TURNS

The couple’s house was damaged beyond repair and was recently demolished.

PARKER’S POLO MINUTE You’ve heard the saying, life is worth living. One could easily substitute the first or last word in that sentence with “polo.” SanDiegoPolo@hotmail.com

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


POLO SCENE

THE SHOWHEAD MUST GO ON

Subhead Event is held despite inclement conditions

Above: Event chairs Melinda and Henry Musselman with Dwight Yoakam, center Right: Dwight Yoakam performs during a private concert.

STEVEN BUTMAN

The barbecue and concert were moved to the Stephens County Airport.

STEVEN BUTMAN

STEVEN BUTMAN

DESPITE A SATURDAY morning storm that wreaked havoc on plans for this year’s Polo on the Prairie, May 18 at the Musselman Brothers’ Lazy 3 Ranch in Albany, Texas, the rains failed to dampen a recordbreaking fundraising effort. More than 1,100 supporters of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center enjoyed a live performance by Grammy Award-winning country music star Dwight Yoakam. The event raised over $775,000 for cancer research and patient programs at MD Anderson. This year’s fundraising brings Polo on the Prairie’s total support of MD Anderson to more than $7.4 million. The original plan was to gather at the West Texas ranch to enjoy a polo match, a chuck-wagon style barbecue dinner by Joe Allen’s Pit Bar-B-Q of Abilene and a private concert by Yoakam, capped by a spectacular fireworks show. Instead, with muddy roads too dangerous to travel and two inches of water in the tent, event planners quickly changed gears. With seven hours until the event was to start, MD Anderson staff and event volunteers contacted guests; procured a new stage and sound system; arranged for security and parking; and moved lights, linens, decorations, food and equipment to the Stephens County Airport. Polo matches on May 16-17, played in Midland due to soggy field conditions prohibiting play at the ranch, featured the Lazy 3 and Prevalecer teams. Lazy 3’s Bauti Crotto, Nicolai Galindo, Mitch Horne and Molly Musselman took home the winning trophy. MD Anderson’s Ben Melson, chief financial officer, addressed guests assembled for the relocated dinner and concert. He offered special thanks to Polo on the Prairie chairs Melinda and Henry Musselman of Midland, event hosts along with the John Musselman and Jimmy Musselman family; chair emeritus Mary Anne McCloud of Eastland; and committee members Michele Arnot, Suzan Cook, Pat Everett, Liz Green, Prissy Harvick, Marci Pearson and Virginia Musselman. Melson also recognized MD Anderson faculty and staff who traveled from Houston for the event. “The success of this year’s event is due to the dedication of countless volunteers who refused to let a little rain dampen their spirits, but instead pulled off another record-breaking year in support of MD Anderson,” said Henry Musselman, who has served on the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors since 1988. “This community-wide effort represented what Polo on the Prairie is all about: our West Texas neighbors united in making cancer history. We’re grateful for everyone who pitched in to make this event happen in support of the groundbreaking research and multidisciplinary care for which MD Anderson is known worldwide.” Musselman and his family have hosted Polo on the Prairie since the inaugural event in 1987, welcoming thousands of West Texans who share their commitment to MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer in Texas, across the nation and around the world. The event, which attracts amateur and professional polo players from across the country who contribute their time, equipment and horses, has become a multigenerational tradition for many families.

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


POLO SCENE

NEW YORK TIME British Polo Day held stateside

Guests were treated to drams of Royal Salute 21-year-old whisky.

Four teams competed in the event.

SAM CHURCHILL

for its 74th event, held at Haviland Hollow Polo Club in Patterson, New York. British Polo Day is an invitation-only global platform created to build relationships with some of the world’s most dynamic cultural and lifestyle leaders through unforgettable experiences hosted in iconic destinations. Over 250 top players have participated in British Polo Day since its inception, including the Duke of Sussex, Nina Clarkin and her husband JP Clarkin, and Adolfo Cambiaso. On the field, four teams played beautiful exhibition polo, competing for the VistaJet NYC Polo Club Cup and the Chelsea Barracks Haviland Hollow Plate. Good play by the University of Virginia team against an uneven Haviland Hollow saw UVA gain a deserved 7-5 victory and lift the VistaJet NYC Polo Club Cup. In the second game, which saw British Exiles play New York Polo Club, the talent on both sides enthralled the crowds, ending in a 5-5 draw. The Royal Salute Most Valuable Player was Richard Le Poer and the Chelsea Barracks Best Playing Pony went to Bocha. Richard Oakes, Executive Director of Chelsea Barracks, said, “We are delighted to be the title partner for British Polo Day as it returned to New York for the second time. The collaboration has presented a great environment for Chelsea Barracks to forge diverse and lasting relationships across the world through a mutual love for this heritage sport.” Ian Moore, Chief Commercial Officer at VistaJet, added, “Our customers expect the most extraordinary experiences at the highest standards. Their passions become our passions and supporting them is a cornerstone of the VistaJet brand. In partnering on such opportunities with British Polo Day, we are able to continue to deliver second-to-none events to our community.” To celebrate the occasion, guests were treated to drams of Royal Salute 21-Year-Old whisky, toasting to the brand’s longstanding support of polo and the lifestyle it accompanies. Dating back more than a decade, Royal Salute’s involvement in polo continues to thrive today, featuring a truly global program of events spanning four continents.

SAM CHURCHILL

CELEBRATING ITS 10TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR, British Polo Day was excited to be back in New York

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

Southern Hospitality New Bridge slated to host NYTS Championships By Hayley Heatley

Participants enjoy a day of fun in the Crocodile Open.

The picturesque New Bridge Polo & Country Club, located in Aiken, South Carolina, is slated to host the NYTS Championship weekend, Sept. 6-8. Southern charm exudes from the property, encompassing over 800 acres of rolling pastures deep in the heart of horse country. Boasting five state-of-the-art fields and enthusiastic local support, the national championship is poised for success. Players from out of town arrive midweek, in time for the first team meeting ahead of practice on Thursday afternoon. After testing out a few plays and strategies with their coaches, players don their Sunday best for the tournament draw and welcome dinner at the rustic, colonial-style clubhouse. The two regional semi-finals and the first game of the girls’ division will be played on Friday, Sept. 6. With the support of USPA Polo Network, family, friends and fans have the opportunity to watch the

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

games live on uspolo.org and the USPA social media channels. The four-legged athletes receive a well-deserved day off on Saturday while their two-legged pilots hit the ground running at the Crocodile Open. Originating with the Snow family, the Crocodile Open is similar to field day. Harkening back to the days of school yard fun, players, coaches, siblings and parents hop into potato sacks, give their all at tug-of-war and spike ball their way to the ultimate Crocodile Open bragging rights. Teams meet to review game footage before final matches take place on Sunday, Sept. 8. The USPA National Youth Tournament Series program was founded in 2013 with a goal of providing opportunities for youth players to compete with and against their peers at qualifier tournaments nationwide. USPA outdoor clubs in


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

The 2018 winners were Cipi Echezarreta, Grayson Price, Vaughn Miller Jr. and Will Walton.

good standing are encouraged to host NYTS qualifiers as a way to involve local and regional youth players in organized USPA tournaments. A specified number of players demonstrating outstanding horsemanship, sportsmanship, playing ability at their current handicap and ability to play as a member of a team are awarded All-Star medals at each event. At the culmination of the season, four regional zones and two girls teams are nominated to advance to the championship round. The Central Region team took home its first title in 2018 at the Columbine Polo Club in Littleton, Colorado. Coached by Texas native and Team USPA alum, Mason Wroe, Cipriano Echezarreta, Grayson Price, Vaughn Miller Jr., and Will Walton defeated the Western Region team in a tightly fought match decided by a half goal spread, 6-5½. Olivia Uechtritz, Cory Williams, Jenna Tarshis and Lila Bennet defeated their opponents in the inaugural NYTS Championship Girls All-Star Challenge. The 2019 NYTS qualifier season concludes Aug. 1. NYTS program chair, Chrys Beal, is an avid supporter of youth polo. “We are looking forward to having the NYTS Championship in Aiken this year. Host clubs have always exceeded our expectations in terms of hospitality and support. The level of play really continues to rise each year. The kids are coming to the tournaments organized and ready to play,” said Beal. For more information on the NYTS program please visit uspolo.org. •

In addition to NYTS action, a Girls All-Star Challenge will be held.

Players will meet at the club’s rustic clubhouse for a draw and welcome dinner.

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

Double Trouble Texas A&M men and women take titles By Emily Dewey • Photos by Mike Ryan

The men and women of Texas A&M University became the second team in history to complete a rare double-double in the world of intercollegiate polo, sweeping the competition for the second year in a row to bring home the silver in the National Intercollegiate Championships held at Virginia Polo, Inc. in Charlottesville, Virginia, April 1-7. The only other school to accomplish this feat in the history of the tournament was the University of California Davis, which celebrated wins in both the men’s and women’s divisions in 1981, 1982 and 1983.

Women’s All-Stars were Shariah Harris, Hannah Reynolds, Meghan Milligan and Marissa Wells.

Women’s Division For the third year in a row, the final saw University of Virginia take on Texas A&M. UVA won it in 2017, while TAMU took the honors last year. Four teams competed in the championship this year,

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

in a single-elimination format. Matches were played as six five-minute chukkers rather than the traditional four seven-minute chukkers. To get to the final, Texas A&M claimed its spot with a stellar performance and deadly aim when shooting from the field, overtaking California Polytechnic State University, 20-3. On the other side, University of Virginia held off a late run by Cornell University, earning its spot with a 19-17 win. Horses, courtesy of Cornell, proved to even the competition in the first chukker with each team tallying four goals. Marissa Wells led the way for the Aggies, while Sadie Bryant’s accuracy from the penalty line aided the Cavaliers. TAMU began to take control of the game when it mounted UVA horses for the second chukker. “We felt very confident on the UVA horses, since


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

we’ve had the opportunity to play them a few times this year,” reflected Ally Vaughn. Wells sunk an additional three goals in the chukker, including the lone two-point shot of the game, while UVA was held to a single score from Meghan Milligan. The third chukker was similar to the second, with another trio of goals from Wells and a tally from Bryant for UVA, ending the half with TAMU on top 10-6. “The first half was very close,” said Wells. “We just slowly took the lead one goal at a time.” Stellar Aggie defense won the fourth chukker as it shut out the Cavaliers while Wells and Vaughn combined for four more goals. UVA, hustling to make a comeback, was rewarded with a Penalty 1 in the fifth chukker. Heading into the last chukker, the teams were assigned to horses provided from Wells’ mother, Kelly Wells, and the TAMU string included her well-known paint pony, Napoleon, who is scheduled to be retired from I/I polo after this season. “When I saw that I would end this game and both of our careers together in that final chukker, I was very emotional, I couldn’t believe it,” Wells, a senior, recounted. “[Napoleon] has made an enormous

Texas A&M’s Ally Vaughn, Marissa Wells and Hannah Reynolds

Cal Poly’s Sydney Weise finds an opening while Texas A&M’s Ally Vaughn rushes in to hook.

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 25


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

Texas A&M’s Fritz Felhaber, Mariano Silva, Colton Valentine, Christian Aycinena, Marissa Wells, Ally Vaughn and Hannah Reynolds, with coach Mike McCleary and U.S. Polo Assn.’s David Cummings

Mike McCleary, center, presents Sportsmanship Awards to Andrew Scott and Sydney Weise.

impact on my career and I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.” The duo added a final tally to their years of spectacular play, with teammates Vaughn and Hannah Reynolds each scoring from the field to

match Milligan’s two tallies for UVA, ending the game, 20-9, in favor of the Aggies. TAMU’s Wells and Reynolds, along with UVA’s Milligan and Cornell’s Shariah Harris, were named to the Women’s National All-Stars. Cal Poly’s Claire English was elected to receive the Connie Upchurch award for sportsmanship. UVA’s women’s string, including Best Playing Pony Galleta, was voted Best Playing String by the players. Men’s Division Five teams participated in the men’s championship, playing off in a single-elimination format. The first match had Western region champions from California Polytechnic State University facing off against the wild-card selection from the Central region—University of North Texas—in the quarterfinal round. The Mean Green of UNT overcame the Mustangs in a 27-3 decision to earn its spot in the semifinal round against the University of Virginia. However, the North Texas team’s hopes were short lived after the Cavaliers stopped them in a 23-6 contest to move on to the final. The Texas A&M University Aggies squeaked out a 15-14 win over

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


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

Cornell University in the second semifinal to set the final matchup. TAMU would face UVA in the final for the first time since 2016, when TAMU got the 16-15 edge. This time, the seasoned TAMU men entered the arena as underdogs, seeded No. 2 to the undefeated freshman trio from UVA. The Cavaliers came out firing in the first chukker, with Jack McLean quickly opening up the scoring. Teammate Nachi Viana hit the first two-pointer of the game soon after and Brennan Wells added two goals of his own to give UVA the 5-0 advantage. McLean found the goal once more before the Aggies got on the board with a tally from Christian Aycinena to end the chukker. “We had to stick together after we got down by five in the first chukker,” recalled Mariano Silva. “We knew it would take one goal at a time to stay in the game.” TAMU was unable to gain any ground in the second as UVA neutralized penalty conversions from Viana and Silva with field goals from Wells and teammate Fritz Felhaber. Viana opened the third chukker with a massive two-point score out of the lineup to put the Cavaliers on top, 10-3. Aycinena and Wells traded goals to maintain the comfortable seven-goal gap between the two powerhouses until the Aggies rallied, dominating the rest of the chukker. Silva nailed three goals, including a

MEN’S DIVISION CA Polytechnic State U

WOMEN’S DIVISION CA Polytechnic State U

Stone Rush Theo Anastos Sayge Ellington-Lawrence Brandon Carreon

Fiona McBride-Luman Maggie Papka Megan Wurden Claire English Sydney Weise Carter Nix

Cornell Jedidiah Cogan Grant Feuer Lorenzo Masias Morgan Palacios

Texas A&M University Christian Aycinena Fritz Felhaber Mariano Silva Colton Valentine

University of North Texas Vaughn Miller Jr. Turner Wheaton Andrew Scott

Cornell Rachel Booth Shariah Harris Anna Ullman Ingred Donnan Kyra Umrigar

Texas A&M University Marissa Wells Alexandra Vaughn Courtney Price Hannah Reynolds Emma Glynn

University of Virginia University of Virginia Jack McLean Ignacio Viana Brennan Wells Simon Colloredo-Mansfield Antonio Mendes de Almeida

Demitra Hajimihalis Meghan Milligan Jessica Riemann Connell Erb Mia Sweeney Sadie Bryant

UNT’s Vaughn Miller Jr. moves in to challenge UVA’s Ignacio Viana, right. Brennan Wells, far left, keeps a close eye on the play. POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 27


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

UVA men’s captain Jack McLean, Ellen Lopez, Lou Lopez and UVA women’s captain Sadie Bryant celebrate their Best Playing String award.

beautiful two-point shot, while Aycinena found the goal two more times to bring TAMU within two, 119, at the half. Aycinena cut the lead to one from the penalty line to begin the fourth chukker, but McLean found his mark to put the lead back to two. Back and forth goal-mouth defense prevailed throughout the chukker, but back-to-back goals from Aycinena tied the game at 12-all heading into the fifth chukker. “We’ve played in a lot of close games this year against University of Kentucky, University of North Texas and Cornell yesterday,” TAMU’s Colton Valentine said. “We knew we could make this game turn in our favor.” The teams traded goals evenly in the fifth chukker, but Viana’s third two-point score of the game proved to be the difference, giving UVA the lead by one, 14-13, moving into the last chukker. Two goals in a row off Aycinena’s mallet equalized the score then gave TAMU the lead early in the sixth chukker. Wells and Viana countered to put UVA back in front, 18-17. Felhaber tied the score for the last time and Aycinena popped in the go-ahead goal with minutes remaining in the match. With ice in his veins, Aycinena didn’t let the pressure get to him

The crowds line the arena wall to watch Texas A&M take on University of Virginia in the women’s division.

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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

as he put the game out of reach with two penalty conversions, sealing the 21-18 win in favor of the Aggies. “We have been visualizing this win,” explained Aycinena. Silva elaborated, “After being here a few weeks ago and losing, we’ve been constantly thinking about this game. We’ve been working out, practicing, and playing, all while imagining ourselves winning again. Our desire to win has been enormous.” TAMU’s Aycinena and Silva, along with UVA’s Viana and Cornell’s Lorenzo Masias, were selected as the Men’s National All-Stars. Andrew Scott from the University of North Texas was the recipient of the Connie Upchurch award for sportsmanship. UVA’s top string of horses, which included Best Playing Pony Nemo, was named Best Playing String. The I/I team would like to thank Virginia Polo, Inc., Lou Lopez and Jess Schmidt for hosting the event and coordinating with us for an amazing tournament. A huge thank you to our horse providers Cornell University, Dardo Iglesias, Garrison Forest School, Kelly Wells, Olivia and Nate Berube and University of Virginia. Special thanks to our umpiring team of John Bianco, Bradley Biddle, Robert Lyn Kee Chow and Mike VanDerwerken. •

TAMU’s Ally Vaughn gets out front with UVA’s Meghan Milligan hot on her heels.

Men’s All-Stars included Lorenzo Masias, Nachi Viana, Mariano Silva and Christian Aycinena.

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Sun and sand U.S. Polo Assn. shines in Miami Beach Polo By Sharon Robb • Photos by Michelangelo Photography

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U.S. Polo Assn. rallied in the final chukker to capture the World Polo League Beach Polo Miami Beach Cup, April 28, in front of a sold-out audience at Collins Park. Thousands of spectators attended the event over the course of three days. U.S. Polo Assn. (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Carlitos Gracida) scored five goals in the final chukker to defeat Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Wes Finlayson), 9½-8. U.S. Polo Assn. was the youngest team in the eight-team tournament with Ganzi, 21, Bollini, 23, and Gracida, 27. Grant Ganzi earned the Winning Team Captain Award and Melissa Ganzi was named Best Playing Female Player. “This win definitely falls in the top five for me, probably the second biggest win,” Ganzi said of his second WPL tournament victory. His Grand Champions team won the Founders Cup earlier this season. “The Founders Cup has been the biggest win for me. I was grateful and happy for that one.” U.S. Polo Assn. got off to a slow start, trailing 63½ at halftime. After shutting out Flexjet, 1-0, in the third chukker, U.S. Polo Assn. still trailed, 6-4½. U.S. Polo Assn. started to control the momentum in the fourth and final chukker with a 5½-2 chukker. Ganzi and Bollini each had two goals and Gracida added one in the final chukker. Ganzi started off the rally when he scooped up a Gracida missed shot and scored on a backhander to trail 6-5½. Novillo Astrada then beat his defender to extend Flexjet’s lead, 7-5½. Bollini came right back with an open backhand goal to cut the lead to a half, 7-6½. With 2:04 left, Bollini then converted a 25-yard penalty to overtake the lead, 7½-7. Flexjet moved back into the lead when Finlayson leaned into his shot to score and then tumbled off his horse, landing on his knees for an 8-7½ advantage. Gracida then scored off Ganzi’s goalpost rebound for an 8½-8 lead. Ganzi scored an insurance goal and then cleared out Flexjet’s final scoring opportunity with 30 seconds left. “We were frustrated in the beginning,” Ganzi said. “We had a game plan and it wasn’t working and we tried to adapt and that wasn’t working either. “We tried to work for each other and make good plays, our problem was getting the ball near the goal. In the end we started making good plays like we did the last two days. “It was a great win,” He continued. “It’s fun to be on the same field with two of my best friends.

It’s a great feeling. It makes it a little more fun.” Gracida had a game-high four goals, Bollini had three and Ganzi had two. The team got a half-goal handicap to start. Finlayson led Flexjet with four goals, Astrada had three and Melissa Ganzi added one. The American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony was Turquoise, played by Astrada in the fourth chukker. The World Polo League Best Playing Pony was Chimp, played by Grant Ganzi in the first and fourth chukkers. In the subsidiary Speedart Cup, Peroni (Sarah Siegel-Magness, 0, Jesse Bray, 6, Jason Crowder, 7) knocked off Speedart Motorsports (Marc Ganzi, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Tito Gaudenzi, 3), 11-5. Roldan earned MVP Pro Player honors. Bray had a gamehigh six goals and Crowder had five. Roldan had three goals. The Setai (Rommy Gianni, 2, Juan Cruz Greguoli, 5, Pedro Soria, 6) won the Barbados Cup with a 7-5 victory over Italkraft (Diego Urrutia, 0, Pablo Spinacci, 7, Juan Bollini, 6). Soria led scoring with four goals. In the opening game, World Polo League (Vincenzo Sangaline, Gussie Busch, 2, Kris Kampsen, 9) defeated Fiji (Sebastian Schneberger, 2, Santos Bollini, 2, Pablo Dorignac, 7), 11-8, for third place in Barbados Cup subsidiary play. Sebastian Schneberger was named MVP Patron. Kampsen scored a game-high six goals. In the Neiman Marcus Cup, a charity game between Give Back For Special Equestrians (former pro football player Jeremy Shockey, model Ines Rivero, Tito Gaudenzi) and Museum of Polo Hall of Fame (Marc Ganzi, actor Sterling Jones, news anchor Louis Aguirre), Jones scored the winning goal for a 1-0 victory for the Museum of Polo Hall of Fame. One of the highlights for new fans to the sport was their interaction with the players and horses throughout the tournament. Before and after the games, players would high-five fans along the fence banners and chat with fans, allow them to pet the horses and take selfies. On Sunday, in addition to watching the live games on the corner Jumbotron, a large barge floated back and forth on the ocean behind the playing field for five hours playing highlights from the inaugural World Polo League, the only 26-goal polo played outside of Argentina. WPL Commissioner Dale Smicklas, who attended the tournament that featured several WPL players, was among awards presenters.

Polo returned to South Beach for three days of fun in the sun

Italkraft’s Pablo Spinacci (shown left)

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Guests enjoyed strolling around the shopping area where high performance sports cars were on display.

“This event couldn’t have been more significant for Miami and couldn’t have been more significant to the future of the World Polo League,” Smicklas said. “My hat is off to Tito Gaudenzi for organizing this magnificent event and the Ganzi family, specifically Melissa, for her input in making this week happen.” Smicklas and tournament players were impressed with the speed of play and surface, which he said was the best he had seen in polo. Added Ganzi, “The footing is what made the tournament be that fast. Playing 16 chukkers a day and the footing was still great.” The surface surpassed any beach polo has seen to date. The venue, behind the Setai Hotel, between 21st and 22nd Streets, was used a week earlier for the Longines Global Champions Tour, bringing together the top show jumpers competing for prize money. The tour includes 20 events in spectacular destinations. “This year’s World Polo League Polo Miami Beach was an incredible multi-day event that truly showcased the best of the best in the sport of polo,” said Tito Gaudenzi, event founder and president of Lifestyle Companies. “The synergy and energy between all of our partners, sponsors and activations combined with all of our professional athletes and the thousands of fans in attendance was phenomenal and we can’t wait to be back in 2020.” •

Eight teams competed over several days, drawing thousands of spectators.

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U.S. Polo Assn.’s Juancito Bollini, Carlitos Gracida and Grant Ganzi with WPL Commissioner Dale Smicklas

U.S. Polo Assn. brand ambassador Juancito Bollini scored three goals in front of a packed VIP area.

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


Right is right Why polo can’t be played left-handed By Joshua Casper

Carlos Galindo, a natural lefty, switched to his right hand after his brother kept getting after him.

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Sinister is sinister; right is right. Even princes must use their right hand to play polo, as does the natural lefty Prince William. The Latin word for left: sinister. For centuries left-handedness was associated with everything from witchcraft to insincerity and sin. A Victorian schoolboy would likely get a whack on the knuckles from his schoolmaster for not using his right hand. In the polo world, it isn’t much different. “They used to tie my left hand behind my back in the beginning because every time I get distracted, I’d grab the mallet with my left and then they mark my right hand as the one I should hold the mallet with,” remembers Hall-of-Famer Mariano Aguerre, a natural lefty. “[My father] told me, had I been born left-handed, as a child, he would have broke my fingers so I would have had to play right handed,” Lord Lyall, son of one of the last lefty polo stars wryly recalled. “So, he must have considered [playing left-handed] a disadvantage of some sort.” Carlos Galindo says his brother would make him switch to the right when he picked [the mallet] up with his natural hand. “I picked the right hand, literally, thanks to my brother getting after me.” “I had the traumatic experience of getting yelled at for putting foot mallets in the left hand,” quipped USPA Director of Player Development Justin Powers, who was stricken with the so-called southpaw malady. “There was no excuse, I was going to swing a polo mallet with my right hand, short of my dad taking vet wrap and vet wrapping the mallet in my hand when I was a kid.” It’s right there in plain English, southpaws by decree are left out: Rule 28e: All players shall play with the mallet with their right hand, with the exception of left-


handers registered with the USPA prior to January 1, 1974. (Arena rule 15d. requires all players to carry the mallet in their right hand, except those registered prior to Jan. 1, 1982). With the few exceptions, the USPA banned lefthanded play beginning with the 1974 season. That hasn’t stopped southpaws from having a marked impact on the game, no matter which hand the mallet is in. “A very close friend of mine on the [USPA] rules committee called me up and said I have good news and bad news,” remembers Hall of Fame left-hander Summerfield “Skey” Johnston. “We’ve voted to bar left-handed play. The good news is we’ve grandfathered you in.” Johnston, who competed in multiple tournaments, including the U.S. Open, went on to serve the USPA in several capacities, including vice president (1979-1980), president (1980-84) and chairman (1984-88). Bill ‘Lefty’ Lyall had a long and distinguished polo career, which began at Colorado State University where he attended veterinary school. After, he moved to Ocala, Florida, where he eventually built the Oxford Polo Club. He literally played until the day he died of a heart attack, at age 71, in 1998. “Obviously, [being lefty] didn’t affect him that much,” said Lord, who has himself made a mark as a player, and continues to run the Oxford Polo Club. “He just kept playing [left-handed], the way he always did but he did complain he thought that umpires would see the game slightly twisted because he seemed to always get the short end of the stick.” Today, you might find a polo player eating, drinking, throwing or signing with their left hand, but their mallet is always in their right-hand. The Yarra Valley Polo Club, one of the most prominent clubs in Australia since 1952, explains on its website why there are no more left-handed players. “Consider this: you’re driving merrily down the road when all of a sudden, coming straight at you, is a crazed Englishman driving on the left side of the road. The panic you’d feel in that situation is just what a right-handed polo player feels when he and a lefty approach the ball from opposite directions.” It’s an analogy a lot of players, including natural southpaws like Galindo, make. Though the verdict has long been decided, opinions on its merit are divided: “I think it was a great idea to make everybody go right handed,” recalled Galindo, who reached 5-goals over a 40-year career as player, and most recently,

professional umpire. “I think it’s crucial to the [safety of the] game … Skey Johnston, he is lefthanded; I was playing against him in Memphis … he was [one of] the last player[s] to play left-handed and actually got to play against him. He came up to the ball … from my right side … and I came up to meet him and I pulled out because I got scared. I said he can have this play … he’s got more [guts] than I do, I am out of here!” Johnson himself, who lost a son in a polo accident, thinks the rule is good for the game. Yet Bill “Lefty” Lyall, along with Johnston, the last remnants of the grandfather doctrine was strident, recalls Lord Lyall, that the rule is a consequence of, pardon the pun, a left-handed myth. “He would say this is promoting ignorance because the off-side is the side of a horse not which

Lefty Skey Johnston, second from left, with son Skeeter, Jules Romfh and Jay Romfh.

Bill ‘Lefty’ Lyall was the last to play polo left-handed.

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CHICHI UBINA

Former 10-goaler Mariano Aguerre believes, when it comes to horses, lefties have an advantage.

hand you hold the mallet in; when you meet on the offside, it’s the side of the horse,” he said. Aguerre concurs: “Left-handed players need to learn how to play a different game. I wouldn’t say it’s an unchangeable rule—it’s a changeable rule. When you think of a left-handed polo player you have to learn to meet the ball on the near side; I know there are people that can do it. The lefties just have to learn with your right or learn to play the game differently.” “Who’s right and who’s wrong?” quipped Galindo of the opposing view. No matter the answer, two facts remains true: lefthanded polo play is a thing of the past but, as with Lyall and Johnston, that wasn’t always the case. As it was rendered an anachronism, a lone tete-atete between lefties wreaked havoc on the rules, as Lord Lyall remembers: “I played in a father-son tournament in Memphis, Tennessee, and we played against Skey and Skeeter Johnston. We had an incident in our game where my father was bringing a knock in off the end-line, so he is hitting it from the near side, his power side. He did not hit the shot he quite wanted and so as the opposing player is coming to meet him, he has to take the ball on his offside and it happened to be Skey Johnston coming to meet him. So, these two guys are coming to meet each other both reaching across their horses but both meeting on the offside. It took the umpire 30 minutes to figure it out. He was quite a noted figure as an umpire but … he kept coming up with [penalties] changing hands—that’s not even a thing! “Finally, I think they awarded a bowl-in or something. I think that was a true moment in history where the last two left-handed polo players in the United States Polo Association played against each other, around 1975.” Johnston told Sam Morton in a March 2012 interview for this magazine that the rules were designed for righties. “Truthfully, I played with one or two

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

[lefties] and it confused the hell out of me (laughs).” Plenty of natural lefties like Mariano Aguerre and former player and USPA broadcaster Toby Wayman have made the adjustment. “Mariano Aguerre, I don’t think he could eat right handed but he is a hell of a player,” said Johnston. Aguerre reached a 10-goal rating and counts nine Argentine Opens and two U.S. Open Championships among his many victories. “I got to the age I had to stop feeling sorry for myself for being left-handed,” explained Powers. “I found out Mariano Aguerre was left-handed and my dad played with him in the Canadian open which was 20-goal polo in the early 90s. That was kind of a pivotal point. I was like, well, this is not a handicap or anything like that.” “It’s always good to hear things like that,” says Aguerre. “Sometimes I don’t consider myself to be an example in a good or bad way, [but] to hear that some people look up to me, I am grateful for [that]. I don’t think you have just one person as a role model. It’s very hard to accomplish something that somebody else did but if you keep an open mind you can learn what to do and what not to do from a lot of people which is what I tried to do throughout my career.” Inducted into the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in 2017, Aguerre is grateful to the museum for what he calls his most cherished honor. “You don’t have to be the most talented, you don’t have to be the biggest winner or the most anything,” he said of his induction, “You just have to able to put your mind and yourself into something that you love, and the results will come.” Aguerre is proof that there is a place in the sport for natural lefties, some even see it as an advantage. “No question that we have an advantage as to how we manage the horses and how sensitive we are to the left side [as] our contact with the horse is much better than any righty. I can be very sensitive to the reins, I can be stronger, I can always control the tension of my reins with finesse. We have a huge advantage over a righty,” says Powers. It’s a theory Powers’ friend likewise posited to him way back in college. Apparently, his idol, Aguerre thinks it has merit. “… So many people ask me about the lefty situation. I never realized until a couple of years ago how fortunate I was to be lefty; how fortunate I was to have this relationship with the mount. Once you realize and you look at it and you see how much you are gaining … I remember it all the time, every time I ride, every time I see a picture, I see how the reins of the horse are collected. I have a reminder that in many ways you are lucky to be lefty,” he said.


Lyall, a natural lefty, who reached a 2-goal handicap, loved using it to his advantage. “He consciously incorporated it into his strategy and then [he’d] taunt you after taking balls from you,” said Lord Lyall. “It’s like hitting left-handed, the strike zone is the same. He is hooking your mallet if he is on the left side. He doesn’t have to reach across his horse to hook a player going in the same direction. Taking an off-side cruise shot he is able to kind of slash-hook your mallet and steal the ball from you and there isn’t a lot you can do. You’re not used to the strength that is coming from that side. When he rides you off, on the near side he can hit it 90 yards down field where very few of us can.” When polo was enjoying its naissance during the roaring 20s, left-handed play was allowed and one of its biggest stars was a southpaw, J. Watson Webb, the 10-goal lefty who was part of the “Big Four.” Webb, who, according to the New York Times, was named to polo’s All-Time All-Star Team by USPA Chairman Louis Stoddard in 1934, helped the United States take the International Cup from England three times: 1921, 1924 and 1927. Webb played both No. 1 and No. 3 alongside the likes of Dev Milburn, and left his mark on the game as a strategist, tactician and philanthropist during the heyday of polo at lauded venues, such as Meadow Brook, and was plastered all over the sports pages alongside boxers, pitchers and golfers. Said this very magazine in its 1997 Yesteryear column: Lewis Lacey, the legendary Argentine Back, said that Webb was the best No. I he ever faced because he was the most difficult to outwit; definitely not a lefthanded compliment. “He felt [being left-handed] gave him a tremendous advantage,” said his grandson Sam Webb, “but he also thought that you had to know what you were doing or it would be much too dangerous or you could really cream somebody. He was all for [the rule change] because he had seen some bad things. My father never put a polo mallet in his hand because he was left-handed.” Even then, however, most natural lefties were playing right-handed. Lefty play was taboo in many of the prominent polo-playing countries, and, in 1973, the USPA officially voted to ban it. Johnston remembers that Lord Cowdray, the famous pioneer of Hurlingham, saw left-handed play as an anathema to the sport. “He wouldn’t let me play. Lord Cowdray lost his left arm at Dunkirk and played with the reins tied to what he had left of his arm and he played right-handed. We used to talk, [and I’d say], if you lost the other arm

everyone would play left handed.” Johnston, the Coca-Cola bottling magnate, who also recently earned the Hugo Dalmar Sportsmanship Award, knew no other way. “[Being left-handed] never bothered me. It was the way I learned to play, and back when I played there were still a few left-handers around. I understood the rules of the game, where the right-of-ways were and stayed on my side. I started playing that way and it really wasn’t very difficult for me,” he explained. “By the time I got big enough and old enough to be able to stick and ball and start playing, the war came on in 1941 and polo ceased in the United States, so there was no polo really in the area I grew up. There was no polo again until the 1960s and by the time polo started up again players had either succumbed to the war or gotten old, but we did have a few left-handers around. “I just started playing left-handed and there was no rule against it. I am very left-handed. I was a horseman so I naturally played polo left-handed. I did understand the rules thoroughly and stayed on my side, the correct side of the ball, and it made me make, what to most players would be, a near side which is an off-side shot but I more or less mastered it,” he explained. For left-handed players learning the sport today, Aguerre says, “Practice with your right-hand. Once you learn, you remember how to swing. It’s easy. There are many golf players like Phil Mickelson who are righty and play lefty and [tennis player] Rafael Nadal is a righty and plays lefty. I think from a horse point of view, you have an advantage. It’s easier to learn how to swing right than to handle a horse with the other hand.” •

J. Watson Webb was all for the rule change banning left-handed play because he recognized the danger.

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


Hooked

Teen could be poster child for youth polo By Sarah Eakin Photos by Ginny Southworth

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The USPA’s website’s ‘Learn to Play’ page proffers a quote from Tommy Hitchcock Jr: “There is a fascination about the game of polo that is hard to describe to anyone who has never played. Once a man has had a taste of it, the task of curing him is rather hopeless.” Michael Bradford, a 14-year-old, fellow Aikenite, is testament to the theory. At a polo game a few years back he saw a sign for a youth clinic. He signed up to learn to play. With no family background in polo or horses, Michael, a minority student at Aiken High School, now has a string of five ponies, a barn to keep them in, transport and equipment to suffice—and a determination to pursue a hobby, if not a career path, in polo. “My dad was like ‘would you like to try that?’” Michael, an all-round sportsman who was attending his first polo match some two and a half years ago, said. “I didn’t know about polo. I was surprised. It looked really dangerous to me, but I like dangerous stuff and so …” The youth clinic was run by Tiger Kneece and his wife Susie who in the course of the last four years have built up one of the most successful youth polo programs in the country, now regularly attended by some 25 players. “We are not from a horse family or a polo family,” said Michael’s father Lain Bradford, “but the youth program in Aiken was really accommodating. Michael is completely hooked.” Michael’s first lessons were one-on-one with Tiger and focused on pure riding. Michael had sat on a horse before—a few sessions in a round pen five years previously—but was essentially a beginner. Watching the other players in the program—including Tiger’s daughter Summer, Anna Hale and Cuko Escapite’s son Josh—he was inspired. “I saw the other kids out practicing and I was like ‘wow’ I can’t wait to be that good,” he said. Aiken Youth Polo supply enough equipment for players to get started and decide whether or not the sport is for them, before making a big investment. “That’s the way we’ve kind of structured our polo,” Tiger said. “We offer a mechanism for kids and their families to get into polo without spending a fortune.” Tiger’s mantra is that “anyone can come and join us” and Michael is testament to this approach. “As I played practices over the months, I started to realize that everyone I played with had a family in polo and all their parents help them out,” he said. Not deterred by the disadvantages of coming at a sport from complete scratch, Michael worked hard, practicing three times a week. He progressed to chukkers and eventually tournament polo

playing on horses borrowed from Tiger. “Some people were watching me play,” he said of his match debut. “They thought I was really good for a beginner so a lot of people offered me horses.” While polo players tend to come from polo or at least horse-related backgrounds there are some notable exceptions such as Julian Hipwood who started out in soccer and Adolfo Cambiaso, who is a first generation polo player. Steve Orthwein Jr., the USPA’s Florida circuit governor and head of the Polo Development, LLC advisory board, accepts that being

born into the sport is an advantage. “Throughout the world you’re more likely to learn to play polo if your family played polo,” he concedes, “but somewhere along the line, in someone’s family, someone started. So that’s the truth of it.” If Michael didn’t originate from a polo playing family, he certainly has one now. His father Lain Bradford, traded a job running a medical practice for a job running a barn, where Michael’s horses are kept. “It’s a lot less stressful,” he says of his new vocation, even though he is also new to horses. Lain’s move came with the realization that without it, his son’s future in the sport would be untenable. “Aside from the people in the town—I really recognize the talent that he has. But, the financial side of it can be pretty overwhelming,” he said. “The job I took here at the farm basically pays for the care of the horses and for the sport and without that I don’t know how we would do it. We would have to rent

Michael Bradford now has a string of five horses.

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Superboy Young Cambiaso is making a name for himself By Ernesto Rodriguez • Photos by Sergio Llamera

Santiago Toccalino, Pelon Stirling, Roberto Zedda and Poroto Cambiaso came out on top.

In the final of the CaĂąuelas Land of Opportunities Cup, Adolfito Cambiaso was overtaken by his 13-year-old son, who has already entered into the polo books for being the youngest player to play in the Argentine high goal. The skinny boy, with a calm smile and disheveled brown hair, is like many other teenagers raised in the country. He likes to ride on a hoverboard or motorized skateboard, he keeps a close eye on his cell phone, he listens to trap (the novel musical genre so

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popular among young Argentines) as his father follows the games of his beloved River Plate in football and he does not miss the adventures of Lionel Messi in Barcelona FC. This young man, born on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005, while his father was playing a match of the Argentine Open in Palermo, has drawn attention for his feats on a horse. This is Adolfo Cambiaso VII, or Poroto (Butterbean) as everyone knows him. He got his nickname when his older sister, Mia, then an


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innocent preschooler, exclaimed, “It looks like a butterbean!” at the sight of her future brother’s image on his first ultrasound. The son of Adolfito is already making his own name at polo and breaking records. On Sunday, June 24, 2018, he was part of the La Dolfina team crowned in the traditional 15-goal Royal Windsor Cup, the oldest tournament of the Guards Polo Club in the outskirts of London, and at 12, the youngest player to do so. “I was pretty nervous in the final, but we started playing and I relaxed. The final salutation with Queen Elizabeth II was more complicated. She greeted me with great affection and asked me if I had fun in the tournament. Obviously I said, Yes!”

explained the teenager, who despite his travels around the world keeps up his studies with a tutor. A few months later, on Saturday, Sept. 15, he recovered from the flu in time to win the Jockey Club Open semifinal as the youngest player to participate in a high-goal tournament in Argentina, beating out Nicolás Pieres, who did it in 2006 when he was 15 years old as a member of Ellerstina in the same contest. Rain and the overlap of calendars prevented the Jockey Club Open final from being played but Poroto’s place in the books was assured. “Playing the Jockey with my dad was the best because there was a real high-goal team [opposing us]. They played at full power and it was very fun to face such good players who play so fast as Pelón

Adolfo Cambiaso joked that he would talk to his son during the 26-goal game to make him nervous.

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Poroto wears the colors of the Argentine flag on his helmet, just like his dad.

Stirling, Juanma Nero and Pablo Mac Donough. It was very good for me,” he said. This year, he played in 20-goal polo at Grand Champions Polo Club and then was part of the World Polo League, the 26-goal series organized jointly by Valiente and Grand Champions. Already back in Argentina, almost as in a Greek tragedy—although without the dramatic part—Poroto gave himself the pleasure of overcoming his father. It happened in the definition of the Cañuelas Land of Opportunities Cup, an event organized by La Dolfina Polo Club in which 10 formations between 23 and 26 goals participated, with the particularity that each team was made up of three high-goal veterans and a teenager. All four members of the Argentine Triple Crown reining champion team participated along with members of other teams that competed in last year’s Argentine Open as well as

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former champions such as Eduardo Heguy, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Milo Fernández Araujo. The classification was disputed in five days, from April 24-29, with 15 matches played. The final was scheduled for Wednesday, May 1, a holiday in Argentina in tribute to Workers’ Day. For 9th place, El Overo defeated La Matera, 12 -9. In the 7th position game, La Aguada beat La Morenita by a close 5-4. The match for the 5th step was for La Irenita, after overcoming Trenque Lauquen for a nail biting 6-5. And the Subsidiary Cup went to Chapa after leaving behind Liguria, by a clear 9-4. The two Cambiasos faced each other in a great finale: La Dolfina Acudir against @cria.oriental. The start was balanced and they closed 2-2 at the end of the first chukker. But three goals in a row from Uruguayan Stirling allowed @cria.oriental to get a


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

light on the score that widen at the beginning of the last period to five, 10-5. The locals scored a couple of conversions quickly and the match went into a state of uncertainty. But the @cria.oriental defense resisted and there were no more conquests. As time expired, the final bell decreed the triumph of Poroto over his father. Adolfito, tanned in victories, showed his fatherly pride in defeat. “Before the match I had advised him I was going to talk on the field to make him nervous,” he joked. “Seriously, I only advise him when he asks me about something. I prefer that he discovers things on his own inside the field. He is

El Overo Luquitas Monteverde Ignacio Toccalino Sebastían Merlos Tomas García del Río

La Matera Federico Fariña Guillermo Terrera Raúl Colombres Ignacio Novillo Astrada

La Aguada Adolfo Cambiaso likes seeing his son going strong on the field.

Kristos Magrini Matías Torres Zavaleta Miguel Novillo Astrada Juan Martín Zubía

La Morenita Mackenzie Weisz Valentín Novillo Astrada Diego Cavanagh Ignacio Lalor

La Irenita Ignacio Alberbide Matías Benoit Facundo Fernández Llorente Matías Mac Donough

25 2 8 8 7

26 2 8 7 9

24 1 7 8 8

23

Trenque Lauquen

24

Matías Mac Donough Jr. Facundo Castagnola Ezequiel Martínez Ferrario Juan Martín Nero

1 5 8 10

Chapa

24

Antonio Heguy Alfredo Bigatti Jerónimo del Carril Eduardo Heguy

2 8 7 7

Liguria

24

Cruz Heguy Juan Jauretche Pablo Mac Donough Milo Fernández Araujo

3 6 10 5

La Dolfina Acudir

25

3 6 8 6

Santos Merlos Juan Britos Adolfo Cambiaso Gastón Urturi

1 8 10 6

24

@cria.oriental

25

Poroto Cambiaso Robert Zedda David Stirling Santíago Toccalino

3 3 10 9

3 6 7 8

very calm and intuitive. I do not like him just being on the field, I want him going strong for all. But he went a little bit rogue now,” Cambiaso said with a joyful wink. “I had a lot of fun because I had a great team on my side. I had never played against my dad, but on the field I did not take into account that it was him. We were close at times, and when he put the ball in action from the line, I took him. The sensation of playing against him was brave. It’s hard to have him as a rival, but I lived it as a very nice experience. We do not bet anything, but I’m sure I’ll ask for something after as a prize,” the young man acknowledged after the match. Poroto, like the rest of the nine young players who took part in the contest, won a surprise award: each one received an embryo to start his own breed, donated by the high-goal players. “It wasn’t too bad. I received one mare from Juanma Nero’s mare,” explained Poroto, who, like his father, wears Argentine colors on his helmet. • POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 43


POLO REPORT DISPATCHES FROM THE WORLD OF POLO

CALIFORNIA

CANCHA DE ESTRELLAS WINS CALIFORNIA WOMEN’S EVENT

KWH’s Danielle Travis reaches to hook Cancha de Estrellas’ Cory Williams in the final.

W

omen’s polo is taking another step up on the professional scale. The USPA WCT Pacific Coast Women’s Arena Challenge, the first women’s money arena tournament, concluded May 27 at Central Coast Polo Club in Los Osos, California. More than just a little bit of polo, it was a full weekend of competitive tournament games, beach rides on the Pacific Coast, wine tasting and an allAmerican Memorial Day barn barbeque.

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

Played at the 10- to 12-goal handicap level, six teams, comprised of veteran and beginner players, rolled in from Texas, Hawaii, South Carolina and northern and southern California. Fifteen of the 18 players started or competed in interscholastic or intercollegiate programs. The teams were divided into two brackets and played as best of two games as opposed to a single elimination. The action began with California

Polo (Kailey Eldredge, Kimberly Garsed, Elizabeth Vary) taking on Stanford Alumni (Heather Lake, Jennifer Lake, Laura Kurt) in a hardfought, close game. Heather Lake, the coach from Stanford, scored four goals, while Eldredge, a Cornell graduate and National Intercollegiate Champion, scored five goals to lead her team to a 10-8 victory. Central Coast Polo (Hannah Heitzig, Maggie Papka, Rebecca Clark) defeated a Stanford mixed team


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Stormy Hale, far left, and Megan Judge, far right, congratulate the women’s teams at Central Coast Polo.

(Stanford Polo President Yasi Ainine, Stanford Polo Vice President Evengenia Borisenko, Central Coast sophomore interscholastic player Taylor Olcott), 14-7. Stanford began with a two-goal handicap and played good competitive polo but couldn’t stop the strong Central Coast team. The next morning, teams saddled up a beach ride on the beautiful Morro Bay strand. After, the two teams that until then had been watching from the sidelines came into play. Cancha de Estrellas included three young ladies from different clubs (Cory Williams—Santa Barbara, Sierra Dunbar—CSU alumnus, Petra Teixeira—CCPC Interscholastic player) defeated Stanford alumni, 10-3. KWH Equestrian, including Simone Harper (first year player from Cerro Pampa and Wrightway Polo played with Sutter Buttes IS team in the fall), Kendall Plank (Texas A&M Intercollegiate Nationals Champion) and Danielle Travis (TCU alumnus and highest-rated women’s player in Hawaii), formed the sixth team. KWH Equestrian played a strong Central Coast Polo team, the game showcasing seriously passionate and strong players with amazing horses. With disciplined defense by Heitzig and Clark, Papka was able to score three goals. On the other side, Plank nailed seven goals, including several

killer backshots, added to two from Travis, putting KWH ahead, 11-5, at the final horn. Cancha de Estrellas faced Stanford Alumni. Youth and horses shined and advantaged CSU alumni Dunbar and Williams. Heather Lake tried to mount a strong defense but Cancha de Estrellas closed the door with a 10-3 victory. Rainy weather on Sunday didn’t dampen the players’ spirits. These games determined the final as California Polo Club fell to Cancha de Estrellas, 15-11, before KWH Equestrian defeated Stanford mixed, 19-6. The final game between Cancha de Estrellas and KWH Equestrian was close and competitive but ultimately came down to who made the most twopointer. The score was 2-1 after the first seven minutes before KWH Equestrian went ahead, 5-4, at the half, spurred by a two-pointer from Plank. Unanswered two pointers by Williams and Dunbar brought Cancha de Estrellas ahead 9-5. Travis sunk another two-pointer and a field goal in the last chukker, but unfortunately it was not enough and Cancha de Estrellas ultimately defeated KWH Equestrian, 14-9. Cancha de Estrellas, sponsored by Sarah Siegel Magness, won the $3,500

check. Runner-up KWH Equestrian didn’t go home empty-handed, taking $1,500. Two-pointers made the difference. California Polo Club and Central Coast Polo Club battled hard for third place, playing to a 10-10 tie. Instead of a shoot-out, they chose to combine third and forth place winnings, splitting the $1000 down the middle. Tournament Committee members Joel Baker and Carla Renard selected MVP, Best Playing Pony and Sportsmanship awards. Cory Williams was named MVP and took home a new pair of Cheval polo boots. Canella, played by Danielle Travis and owned by Central Coast Polo, won Best Playing Pony. Sportsmanship was awarded to Kailey Eldredge. Special thanks to Danny Walker and the United States Polo Association for supporting the women’s arena tournament matching prize money.

ANTELOPE JR TAKES FIRST TWO 12 GOALS Antelope Jr. downed Klentner Ranch in the 12-goal Folded Hills Pope Challenge at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California, May 12. It was a rematch of last year’s final with the same result. While Antelope Jr. (Grant Palmer,

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


R E P O R T DAVID LOMINSKA

P O L O

Antelope Jr.’s Herndon Radcliff, Felipe Vercellino, Jim Wright and Grant Palmer won the Pope Challenge and Lisle Nixon Memorial.

Jim Wright, Felipe Vercellino, Herndon Radcliff) advanced to the final undefeated, it wasn’t as easy for Klentner (Luke Klentner, Patrick Uretz, Jesse Bray, Justin Klentner). It took two narrow victories and winning a shoot-out to secure its position. Nonetheless, Klentner got off to a good start, scoring the first two goals. Before too long, Vercellino’s Penalty 3 conversion put Antelope Jr. on the board. At the beginning of the third chukker, Antelope Jr. led by a goal. The lead was soon expanded when Vercellino came out on Best Playing Pony Que Va, scoring three goals. Wright scored the next three goals, expanding the lead to six by the end of the fifth. Klentner rallied in the sixth, scoring three goals but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit. Klentner captain Jesse Bray said, “It was a hard loss but we know what we need to improve, and we have our sights set on the next tournament.” Antelope Jr. took the 16-12 victory. Vercellino was high-scorer with 10 goals on the afternoon and Wright was named MVP for his consistent play. He credits the success of the team to its chemistry and the experience of playing together for multiple seasons. Six teams are competing in the 12goal season’s four tournaments. Aside from Antelope Jr. and Klentner, Antelope (Geoff Palmer, Santi Trotz,

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

FMB’s Matthew Walker, Lucas Criado, Danny Walker, substitute Santi von Wernich and Lucitas Criado won the Graber Memorial.

Hilario Figueras, Maco Llambias), Dundas Polo (Sarah Siegel-Magness, Alonso Andrade, Jason Crowder, Mariano Fassetta), Farmer & Merchants Bank (Lucitas Criado, Danny Walker, Lucas Criado, Matt Walker) and FMB Too! (Omar Mangaliji, Juan Monteverde, Santiago Wulff, Henry Walker) competed. Antelope Jr. carried the momentum into the Lisle Nixon Memorial, again reaching the final undefeated. It met FMB Too! that reached the final with a 1-1 record. It was locked in a four-way tie, decided by a shoot-out. Juan Monteverde’s accuracy helped advance FMB Too! to the final. FMB Too! began the final a little flat-footed as it watched Antelope Jr. amass four goals. FMB Too! finally got into a groove, with Wulff sinking three from the penalty line and one from the field, added to a Monteverde field goal, to knot the score at 5-all at the half. Antelope Jr. held a two-goal edge in the fourth chukker when FMB’s Mangaliji was injured and was replaced by Henry Walker’s son Charlie. Antelope Jr. increased the lead to three. Charlie Walker cut the deficit to two in the final chukker but Antelope Jr. held on for the 11-9 win. Vercellino, who scored seven goals, including all of his penalty shots, was

named MVP. “It was a really tough game against a great team. I think we played really well as a team and we are lucky to have Santi Trotz as our coach. It is a big advantage that we have played together before as we can stay focused for all six chukkers. It was a great tournament,” Vercellino said. Best Playing Pony went to Monteverde’s fourth chukker mare, Minima. Antelope Jr.’s winning streak was cut short in the Vic Graber Memorial, with Farmers & Merchant’s Bank emerging with a 3-0 record to advance to the final. Antelope, Klentner and FMB Too! ended in a three-way tie with 2-1 records. Antelope won the shoot-out to reach the final. FMB, made up of two father-son duos, showed great chemistry and notched two goals (Danny Walker and Lucitas Criado) before Antelope retaliated with back-to-back goals from Llambias. A penalty conversion from Figueras gave Antelope the edge at the end of the first. Lucas and Lucitas Criado scored in the second, but a goal for Antelope knotted the score at 5-5 after two. Unfortunately, Lucas Criado suffered an injury early in the third, requiring him to be replaced by 5-goaler Santiago von Wernich. As FMB adjusted to the new line-


P O L O

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NANO’S POLO MALLETS

CLUB FOUNDERS HONORED ON 20-YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH CUP The Central Valley Polo Club in Stevinson, California, celebrated its 20th anniversary June 12, with the first annual Founders Cup, honoring the original founders of the club, including Jack Conant, sons Mike and Tom Conant, brothers Bobby and Kevin Kelly, FD Walton, Dr. Robert Walton and many others. Winners of the Founders Cup (shown left) were Kurtis Keller, Brian McFall, Larry Stark and Alberto Gonzalez.

up, Antelope took advantage, quickly taking the lead. Without its highestrated player, FMB struggled to reach the goal but impeccable defense left Antelope scoreless in the fifth. Meanwhile, Danny Walker sunk five open goals, giving FMB the lead. Danny Walker scored a field goal in the final chukker, ensuring the 12-10 victory. Trotz’s third chukker mare, Muñeca, was Best Playing Pony and Danny Walker was MVP, something he credited to the entire team. “Team FMB is delighted with the win of the Vic Graber Memorial Tournament; delighted because two father’s were allowed to enjoy playing with their two sons, a most unusual team in modern polo; delighted that Lucas Criado, who was injured in the third chukker, did not sustain injuries that will disable him from [the] 2019 high-goal polo season; [and] delighted that Santiago von Wernich agreed to join Team FMB and be a contributor to a winning day. [It was] amazing to see Lucitas Criado and Matthew Walker accept additional responsibility in defending FMB against Antelope as Santiago von Wernich got up to speed. [It was]

a great day for Team FMB, for USPA polo and for father and sons to realize that playing together is a historical event [and] tradition in the world of polo. “As the MVP, I am proud to be selected when there were many contributors to a winning day by Team FMB. One hundred percent of our penalty shots, two Penalty 4s and five open goal penalties, were secured. [I am] proud that our horses played well in preparation for this finals by our dedicated staff horse management—MVP comes from the ingredients of great horses, great teammates and a commitment to successful unselfish play,” he said. EASTERN

DONATELLI VET ACES TWO EVENTS AT SENECA Donatelli Vet started off the season with wins in two events at Seneca Polo Club in Poolesville, Maryland. First, it took the 4-goal Sportsman Cup, then it topped Chukkers for Charity, a benefit match for Great and Small, which provides equine-assisted activities and

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NEIL AGATE

R E P O R T PAT MICHAELS

Donatelli Vet’s Winston Painter, Patricio Fraga and Javier Donatelli won the 4-goal Sportsmanship Cup at Seneca Polo Club.

therapies to children and adults with disabilities. In the Sportsmanship Cup played May 25-26, four teams battled for bragging rights. In the first game, Seneca Polo (Kaycie Campbell, Pete Balogh, Justin Powers) faced Visit Chapel Hill (Tatiana Wolf, Chris Wolf, David Brooks). The visiting team took a 2-1 lead after the first, expanding it to 82 at the half. Seneca fought back, scoring five goals in the second half but Visit Chapel Hill kept up the pressure with seven goals of its own to take the win and advance to the final. In the second game, Donatelli Vet (Javier Donatelli, Winston Painter, Patricio Fraga) took on Liberty Hall (Erica Tergenson, Zak Coleman, Dan Coleman). Donatelli struck hard and fast, with Painter single-handedly scoring six goals in the first chukker to Liberty’s one. The teams matched goals in the second and fourth chukkers but a strong third chukker made the difference and Donatelli Vet advanced to the final. Donatelli had an equally strong showing in the final against Visit Chapel Hill, coming out strong in the first chukker. Visit Chapel Hill retaliated in the second and fourth, but the damage was done and Donatelli took the win. In the consolation, Liberty Hall took on Seneca. A Penalty 1 put Liberty Hall on the board and Dan Coleman added

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

Donatelli’s Tracy Godey, Marisa Bianchi and Javier Donatelli came out on top in the Chukkers for Charity Benefit match.

another. Campbell answered with one of her own to end the first, 2-1. The teams scored four goals apiece in the second, leaving Liberty Hall narrowly ahead, 6-5. Campbell, the day’s highscorer, nailed a pair of goals in the third while holding Liberty Hall to a single goal by Zak Coleman, leveling the score at 7-7. The teams battled in the final chukker with Liberty Hall taking a twogoal lead. A penalty conversion by Campbell brought Seneca to within a goal, 9-8, when the game ended. The following weekend, the club hosted its Chukkers for Charity match. It was a fun, relaxed game with Donatelli Vet (Tracy Godey, Marisa

Bianchi, Javier Donatelli) and Seneca (Kate Godey, Dario Sotomayor, Juan Carlos Gonzalez) putting on an exhibition match to raise money for the therapeutic riding program. The teams kept pace in the first, ending in a 3-3 tie. Donatelli Vet turned up the heat in the second with Bianchi scoring a hat trick and Donatelli adding another while Seneca was silenced. The teams scored three goals each in the third and four goals in the fourth, but the damage was done and Donatelli Vet had the 10-14 win. Guests enjoyed a halftime vaulting exhibition by riders from Great and Small and a barbecue after the game.

Seneca’s Kaycie Campbell defends against Liberty Hall’s Dan Coleman in the consolation final of the Sportsmanship Cup.

PAT MICHAELS

P O L O


P O L O

R E P O R T

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Joe Ganter, center, with Stars Aligned’s George Daniello, Matthew Morgan, Val Washington, Gary Hulton and Bill Thomas; Fox Hollow’s Dave Halliday, Johanna Pederson and Rhya Lowenthal; Arby Dobb’s Sue Spencer, Kirstan Lamont, Talha Chaudrey, Anders Hedberg and Owen Halliday; and Fox Hollow’s Barclay Knapp with Best Playing Pony Shorty

FOX HOLLOW WINS SEASON OPENER IN PA Fox Hollow topped a round-robin to win the USPA Joe Stahl Memorial, May 18, to open the Tinicum Polo Club season in front of a packed house. The club is located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the first round, Fox Hollow (Dave Halliday, Johanna Pederson, Rhya Lowenthal) took on Stars Aligned (George Daniello, Matthew Morgan, Val Washington, Gary Hulton, Bill Thomas). Perfect weather and weeks of field maintenance put a blue sky above and a green field below the fast-paced game, which cleared the cobwebs in the first outdoor match of the year. Halliday wasted no time in scoring the first goal, but it was quickly answered by Morgan. A pair of goals off the mallet of Halliday and a beautiful shot through the uprights by Knapp ended the round in favor of Fox Hollow. Stars Aligned stayed on the field to face Arby Dobb (Sue Spencer, Kirstan Lamont, Talha Chaudrey, Anders Hedberg, Owen Halliday) in Round 2. Chaudrey blazed onto the field with back-to-back goals. Stars Aligned fell into defensive play to turn things

around but Lamont succeeded in breaking away and another goal lit up on the newly-acquired electronic scoreboard for her team. A shift in the galaxies occurred before the bell sounded, as stars did in fact align for the team in purple when Hulton found the target to put Stars Aligned on the board. Fox Hollow returned to meet Arby Dobb in the final round. Hedberg put Arby Dobb on the board but Knapp quickly retaliated. Both teams hustled for a chance at the silver but Fox Hollow kept the pressure on, scoring again and again for the win. Dave Halliday was MVP and Barclay Knapp’s small but powerful buckskin, Shorty, earned Best Playing Pony honors. Dennys Santana kept a close eye on the action, serving as umpire for the afternoon. The dedicated spectators of Tinicum Park Polo Club, the largest club in the USPA Eastern Circuit, filled the tents and lined the field to support their teams and participate in the festivities. A competitive tailgate competition saw a motley crew dressed as Colonel Sanders and his chickens take home the beautiful gift baskets created by social member Kathy Harrington. —Victoria Halliday

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POLO REPORT

Visit Chapel Hill’s Chris Wolf, Tatiana Wolf and David Brooks were runners-up in the Memorial Day tournament at Seneca Polo.

SOUTHEAST

VISIT CHAPEL HILL RUNNER-UP IN MD The Triangle Area Polo Club in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, got going in early March and, despite a soggy start, played numerous events over the course of three months, culminating with a trip to Maryland. The club’s aptly named Spring has Sprung tournament began the first week of March with a round robin. Leslie Brooks scored the game winner for Team White (Brooks, Brayden Foster, Maeren Honacher) in the last seconds. Each round was won by just a goal. The club also held an Intro to Polo clinic, which sold out with nine participants. Due to the demand, a

Young fans help David Brooks hold up the Cornelia Stewart Cup at the Horses for Healthcare Charity Match and Derby Party.

second clinic was held in May. Play continued with the Easter Baskets tournament. There is nothing in the world that makes players play harder than the chance to win a basket full of Easter candy! Four teams battled it out but in the end White (Leslie Brooks, Brayden Foster, Maud Eno) narrowly defeated Black (Maeren Honacher, Banks Holcombe, Amy Dunlap), 2-1, for the win. A Horses for Healthcare Charity Match and Derby Party drew a crowd 1,500 strong. The match, to benefit the Harnett Health Foundation, was held at Wellon’s Farm in Harnett County. It was the first polo match held in that county. Team Cornelia edged Team Wyrick Robbins in the match. The wet March and April gave way to a hot, dry May. The club had only one day rained out and it set a record

high for its lesson program. For Mother’s Day, the Moms, sponsored by WCHL The Hill, took on the Triangle men, affectionately known as The Boney Knees. The Moms (Peggy Baron Antollin, Leslie Brooks, Tammy Havener, Sheana Funkhouser) jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first, and maintained a one-goal advantage into the half, 3-2. The Boney Knees tied the game at 4-4 in the third, but the Moms came back, shutting out the men in the fourth, 3-0, to win 7-4. Brooks and Havener led the scoring for the Moms. A post-game cookout celebrated all the moms. On May 18, polo returned to Moore County for the first time in many years for the Polo in Southern Pines charity match. Baker Law Firm squared off against Law Office of Ron Scott. A boisterous crowd of 1,000 watched

The first Intro to Polo clinic in March was such a success a second one was held in May.

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


P O L O

R E P O R T

Baker Law Firm’s David Brooks, Chelsy Miller and Carson Tucker won the Polo in Southern Pines benefit game.

Army’s Javier Insua, John Greening, Zoe Lehmer, Chris Ballard and Taimur Zeb won the Gen. Patton Tournament at Two Wishes.

Baker Law Firm (David Brooks, Chelsy Miller, Carson Tucker) prevail on an unusually hot day. The spring season wrapped up with a Memorial Day weekend trip to Seneca Polo Club in Poolesville, Maryland. The Triangle team was sponsored by Visit Chapel Hill, a collaboration with the Orange County Visitors Bureau to raise awareness to all the things to do in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Carrboro. Visit Chapel Hill (Tatiana Wolf, David Brooks, Chris Wolf) pulled off the win on Saturday to play in the final on Sunday. It ultimately fell to a strong Donatelli Vet team. Blue Boy, played by David Brooks and owned by Leslie and David Brooks, was Best Playing Pony. Competing in the tournament was a

DAVID MURRELL

DAVID MURRELL

Moms’ Peggy Baron Antollin, Leslie Brooks, Tammy Havener and Sheana Funkhouser defeated Boney Knees on Mother’s Day.

JD Polo’s Chloe Rivas, Javier Insua, Lara Semmelmann and Holly Wood won the USPA Amateur Cup.

great way to introduce players in the surrounding area to the many activities available around the Triangle Area Polo Club.

SOUTHWEST

ARMY TRIUMPHS IN GEN. PATTON TOURNEY For the third year in a row, Central Texas Polo Association hosted the USPA Gen. George S. Patton Jr. tournament at its Two Wishes Ranch facility in Lockhart, Texas, April 28. Heavy rains earlier in the week limited the tournament to three teams—Army, Navy and Coast Guard—playing off in a round robin.

In an opening ceremony, the Lockhart ISD Air Force JROTC Color Guard’s Jacqueline Suchite, Breanna Huggins, Alonso Rodriguez and Mayte Gonzalez presented the American flag while Brooklyn Mendez sang the National Anthem. All 12 players and umpires Robin Sanchez and Jack Crea have either served in the military or have a family member who served. In the first round, Army (Zoe Lehmer, Taimur Zeb, Chris Ballard, Javier Insua and John Greening) soundly defeated Coast Guard (Lara Semmelmann, Patrick MacLeod, Gal Schweiki, Trey Crea), 9-½. In the next round, Navy (Tres de la Paz, Jessica Mignone, Carter Heltzen, Karl Hilberg) edged Coast Guard, 3½-3.

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


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With Navy and Army each sporting a win, the last round would be for the trophies. Navy was first on the board but Army shot back, ending the chukker, 3-2. Navy tied the score and took the lead early in the next chukker but Army answered with two of its own to take the game, 5-4. The Lt. Col. Tommy Hitchcock Jr. Army Air Corps MVP award went to John Greening; the Sgt. Reckless USMC Best Playing Pony went to Jessica Mignone’s Roulette; and the Col. Gordon Johnston Sportsmanship Award went to Karl Hilberg. In May, the USPA Amateur Cup was held in a round robin format over two days with JD Polo (Holly Wood, Lara Semmelmann, Chloe Rivas and Javier Insua), Shweiki Media (Sebastian Acosta, Mauro Parro, Tres de la Paz, Taimur Zeb, Gal Shweiki) and Texas Military (Zoe Lehmer, Chris Ballard, Jessica Mignone, Jack Crea). After a rainy spring, the players were eager to get on the field, which was in great shape. The first round pitted Shweiki Media against JD Polo. Shweiki began with a half-goal handicap, which JD Polo quickly neutralized. Insua scored three goals added to one from Semmelmann while Shweiki Media was silenced. It was more of the same in the second as Insua and Semmelmann combined for three more, ending 7-½. Shweiki took on Texas Military in the next round, in the closest match of the weekend. Tres de la Paz put Shweiki on the board with a lone goal in the first. Ballard scored the only goal of the second, added to a half-goal handicap to push Texas Military ahead 1½-1. JD Polo was just as strong against Texas Military, which began with a handicap goal. Insua and Semmelmann combined for a trio of goals and Wood and Semmelmann each converted Penalty 2s to give JD Polo a 5-0 lead after the first chukker. Texas Military slowed the bleeding in

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

the second, holding Insua to just two goals but the damage was done and JD Polo had the 7-1 win. The teams came back the following day to face each other again, adding to their scores from the previous day. Shweiki Media and Texas Military had another close battle, with Zeb scoring the only goal. The next chukker was a defensive battle but Mignone was able to get free and send the ball through the posts. With time running down, Texas Military was awarded a spot hit. Crea passed a line drive to Ballard who sent the ball between the posts with seconds to spare, ending the two-day total, 3½-2. Shweiki then faced JD Polo. This time de la Paz put Shweiki on the board first, but Insua retaliated with a Penalty 4 conversion, followed by a field goal. Shweiki and Parro each found the target in the second, but a Penalty 1 for JD Polo and back-to-back goals by Insua gave JD Polo the two-day total of 12-4½. Texas Military held JD Polo to two goals in their first chukker. Mignone and Crea neutralized those goals in the second but Insua added one more, giving JD Polo the two-day total of 10-3 and the trophies. Gal Schweiki was named MVP; Best Sportsman was Taimur Zeb; Karl Hilberg’s Carlita, played by Insua, was Best Playing Pony; and Insua’s string was named Best String.

OBITUARY

BUZZ RACKLEY Frank Bailey “Buzz” Rackley passed away peacefully on Mar. 15 in Batavia, Illinois, following a long illness. He was 74 years old. He was born Oct. 25, 1944, the son of Marguerite Moe Rackley and Frank Bailey Rackley in Washington, Pennsylvania. Buzz graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy, where he was captain of the polo team, and

then Bethany College. Following graduation, he worked in sales for Jessop Steel Company before striking out on his own as co-owner of Fox River Distributing, serving Chicago’s western suburbs. His warm, believable manner helped make him a success at both of these endeavors, as well as building lifelong friendships with virtually everyone he met. Polo was just as important to Buzz as business success. He owned and cared for his own string of ponies, and was a nationally-ranked player much of his life. He would often say, “Polo has meant everything to me in my life.” He was heavily involved in the Chicago Polo Clubs. Buzz leaves behind his beloved children, Tod Rackley and Juli Rackley Shirey (Dan); granddaughters Claire and Meehan Shirey; sisters Margo Rackley Miller (Richard) and JoAnne Rackley Richardson (Jim); brother Richard P. Rackley (Karen); as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. A Celebration of Life was held on June 15, at the Blackberry Polo Fields at Lake Run Farm in Batavia, Illinois. Contributions in his name and memory may be made to the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry, 100 Finn NW Street, Batavia, IL 60510, where he often volunteered. •


(continued from page 39) horses at every single tournament and for practices. It would just be financially unobtainable.” Lain’s commitment was matched by enthusiasm from the Aiken polo community. “It’s amazing how people have bent over backwards to help us and make sure we succeed,” he said. Aside from his father’s considerable support, Michael’s polo progress has been fuelled to date by donations. Horses that are semi-retired have been handed down to Michael from members of the Aiken polo community including Horacio Onetto, Dennis Freeland, Matt Barber and Theresa Shanihan. “I’m just really grateful for all the people who’ve helped me out because without them I would have no horses at all,” Michael said. While he may not have been born with a mallet in his hand, Michael did hit the polo zip code lottery by growing up in a polo city. “Michael’s able to have access to the sport because he’s in Aiken,” Orthwein said. “If he were in Duluth, Minnesota, it might be more difficult.” Being in Aiken has proved fruitful in more ways than one. Not only is it a polo city but a horse city. Michael’s father won a raffle and three trailers of used tack from a local supplier. “A lot of things we didn’t know what to do with ... ,” Michael admitted. He and his father have had a fast track lesson in stable management. “It was really hard at first,” Michael said. “But everyone has been really helpful. All the different types of supplements and stuff to add to the feed confused me. Tacking up was really confusing because of all the draw reins and breast plates. It was just a lot.” Michael filled the gaps in his knowledge when he started learning on the job. “I started grooming for people this year,” he said. “Last year I was fine tacking my own horses but other people had bridles I didn’t know how to put on. I learned a lot about bridles and what type of bridles to use on each horse from grooming for others.” While less green putting on a saddle, Michael still has much to learn about being in one. He fell off for the first time, about a year after his first lesson. “It was at the very beginning of the season and we just went to the field to stick and ball. I went to swing and my stirrup fell off and I fell off the side. I was a little amazed and kind of excited to tell people that I fell off,” he said. Michael’s foray into the polo world is about to embark on a steep learning curve as he heads out to Oakbrook, Illinois, this summer to groom for Horacio Onetto. It will be an opportunity to ride horses other than the schoolmasters he has experienced to date. “I like the fact that the kid is very talented and a hard worker,” said Onetto. “He’s very young and his attitude is awesome. He’s going to be riding my horses, stick and balling and playing a bit of practice. He needs schooling on his riding skills.

“He’s going to find out what he’s made of and see if he likes it or not. It’s way more difficult without a background in polo of course but if you work hard anyone can make it.” Orthwein is relatively new to his role in polo development within the USPA and says the process is underway to review existing programs to make them more targeted and effective. Michael fulfills his belief that polo development means pursuing quality over quantity. “We need people who are making a commitment to the sport and not just taking a one-off lesson,” he said. “The focus should be on people who are interested in making the sport a significant part of their life. Michael is starting young, sounds very passionate about it, already has four or five horses and has a bright future in the sport. I think our goal is to help him as he matures in the sport, to improve as a player and have a more enjoyable experience.” USPA resources have certainly helped Michael but they only go so far. “The USPA’s role is more to create an environment to give players the opportunity to grow within the sport throughout their careers,” said Orthwein. “We can’t get you horses, to be blunt.” While donations helped Michael start, he has since been prepared to put the cart before the horse, paying it forward in a sport that to many can seem prohibitively expensive. “Most parents look at the expense and say there’s no way,” said Lain. Michael plans to donate a percentage of his Chicago salary to start a fund for young players in the same position as him. “I was going to give five to 10 percent to new players who need the money and don’t have any horses or resources that they can start with,” Michael said. “I was very proud of him,” Lain said, when Michael announced his decision in the car ride back from meeting with Onetto. “It’s tough for kids to break into polo who don’t come from the sport. Michael’s and my goal is how can we make it more easy for them to do it.” •

Michael Bradford with coach Tiger Kneece, left, and father Lain Bradford, right

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(continued from page 17)

Dehydration in hot weather can lead to heat stress so it is important to provide plenty of clean fresh water.

This will help keep them cool and give their sweating mechanism a break (they’ll dehydrate less). Any moisture that evaporates will help. “A study I did years ago showed that horses lose a fair amount of weight during transport, mainly from dehydration. One horse lost 77 pounds on a 450 mile trip, and it wasn’t even a very hot day; outdoor temperatures were in the 80s and 90s,” he says. Horses aren’t drinking when they are in a trailer, and very few people actually stop and water the horses during a trip. Meanwhile, the horse is sweating, losing body fluid, and not replenishing it. He’ll suffer more stress, weight loss and fatigue if he’s unaccustomed to traveling and nervous and upset during all those hours in a trailer. Allen says traveling itself tends to dehydrate a

horse. “They usually don’t drink much while traveling, and if they are on a plane they dehydrate, just like humans do—because of the altitude, etc. You need to make every effort to get them hydrated before a trip, and then do your best to get them to drink along the way, which can be challenging.” “To get them hydrated before they go, some horses that are traveling by plane we give IV fluids before they go. Other horses we give salt before a trip, mixed in their feed, to encourage them to drink. You have to do this far enough ahead that they will drink before you go (with plenty of access to water), and stop any salt at least six hours before the trip,” explains Allen. You don’t want them to have excess salt without access to water because this will make them dehydrate, pulling body fluids into the gut. “During transport, any time you stop, offer water, and hope they will drink.” Cooling a hot horse After exertion it is important to cool the horse quickly, especially if he is extremely overheated. “Air movement, cooler air mass with misting fans, etc. makes the horse much more comfortable than hosing him down or splashing him with ice and water, but if he is dangerously overheated you need to use cold water on him,” says Allen. “We know now that putting cold water on the horse’s large muscle masses doesn’t cause any muscle problems. People used to be very cautious about that, but we proved in Atlanta that we could use ice water over the large muscles (hindquarters) without causing harm,” he says. “When a horse’s temperature gets up around 104 or 105, he definitely should be washed down with water, and have it scraped off (keep putting on cool water and scraping it off) since the body will heat the water fairly quickly,” says Allen. The fastest way to cool an overheated horse is with cool/cold water, applying it over the body, especially on areas where the blood is near the skin surface (neck, chest, belly, legs). The veins under the skin on a hot horse will be standing out prominently, bringing overheated blood to the surface for cooling. “You can’t just put the cold water onto the horse; you also have to scrape it back off because it heats up immediately, creating a layer of insulation that slows the cooling process,” says Foss. “It works best to put cold water on, scrape it off (it immediately becomes warm) and put on more. You can readily feel that it warms up, so you scrape it off, taking the heat with it,” he says. “Cool to cold water works well,” Foss says. “In hotter climates people often add alcohol to the cold

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Keep safe temperature range In the horse, sweating is the primary mechanism of cooling. “Horses are very efficient at sweating,” says Allen. “They also dissipate heat via radiation, if the outside temperature is cooler than the body. They can also pant, but this is the least effective of all their cooling strategies, especially since the horse must breathe through his nose rather than his mouth. Unlike a dog, that can open the mouth and pant (losing heat via mouth and tongue), the horse doesn’t

have that option; the air must move through the upper airway, which is completely separate of the mouth,” explains Allen. The horse just breathes faster, to create more air exchange via the lungs. The way we can help the horse most is to first, not let the horse get so hot (by careful monitoring of his work load), and second, assess his temperature so we can realize when there is a problem. Third, we can put cool water (or ice water, depending on how hot the horse

is) on the horse, and take it back off again, taking heat with it. Normal temperature for a horse is somewhere between 98 and 100 degrees. “A horse with a rectal temp of 102 to 103 after working is not in trouble. He just needs [to be] walked around, letting him have occasional sips of water, and some washing down with cool water. You don’t need to take extraordinary measures at this temperature because it’s normal for a horse to heat this much while working,” says Allen.

Exertion creates heat Exercise warms the body. This is why horses like to run and buck on a cold day, to warm up. “Muscle contraction is an inefficient process; muscles create heat when they are working. Of every 1000 calories

ALEX PACHECO

water to enhance evaporation, adding about a pint of alcohol to a gallon of water. You can also use ice water. If you think the horse is severely overheated or has heat stroke, take his temperature. This will also let you know whether you are bringing his temperature down. Keep taking a temperature every 5 or 10 minutes. You want to stop cooling the horse when his temperature gets down to about 103 degrees, because you don’t want to chill him.” If you keep cooling him too much you can cause muscle cramping if he starts to get cold. Some people walk the horse slowly around in a circle, in between water applications, to help provide more air flow around the body--and to allow any breeze to hit both sides of the horse. Gentle exercise also helps the circulation continue to bring overheated blood to the skin surface for cooling. “Use common sense. If the horse is overheated when his workout is ended, try to get him in the shade, take off all tack (to enable air flow around the whole body surface), and use lots of water. If your water supply is limited, use a sponge to put it on and wipe it off, so you aren’t losing a lot of water. If the horse is overheated he should not return to work that day even if he’s cooled out,” says Foss. If he was severely overheated he may need several days to recover. Check with your veterinarian. “Heat stress can trigger other problems, including laminitis. We don’t always know how hot the horse actually got (before we checked his temperature) or how stressed he was, or how much damage might have been done.” utilized while exercising, only 200 calories (20 percent of that fuel) is used to create motion,” says Foss. The other 80 percent generates heat as the fuel is “burned” during the chemical reactions that turn energy into movement.

During exercise, 80 percent of energy burned creates heat the body must get rid of. On hot days, this can be problematic.

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Measuring body temperature Core temperature is in the core (center) of the body, and this is usually highest in a hot horse. In the past, the only way this could be measured was to put a catheter near the heart. The core temperature is usually a degree or two higher than the rectal temperature. Intramuscular temperature is also a little higher than the rectal temperature. Rectal temperature is easiest to check and most practical. Even though it’s always an underestimation of the core temperature, everything is relative. If rectal temperature is what you are consistently using, and predicting the effects, it all ends up the same. Today there are some sensors that look like a big lozenge that can be put into the horse. These are sometimes used in human athletes to measure core temperature. The animal swallows this sensor and it eventually passes on out through the digestive tract. This will effectively measure core temperature, particularly once it gets back in the small intestine. In that location there won’t be anything to skew the reading, such as cold water coming into the stomach when the horse drinks.

Trailers can be like an oven on a hot day. Good ventilation and air flow are essential.

“Thus 80 percent of the energy is lost as heat that the body has to get rid of. Generating all that heat on a hot day can lead to problems. To illustrate how much heat the working muscles can produce, a horse will generate enough heat during a 100-mile endurance ride to melt 25 gallons of ice and bring it to a boil.” A racehorse or polo horse isn’t traveling 100 miles but he’s traveling at high speed for a shorter distance, which also generates a lot of heat. “Studies have recorded temperatures as high as 113 degrees in hard-working muscles. That’s hot enough to ‘cook’ them. If this isn’t quickly reversed, there would be permanent damage. This could be a problem for horses in speed events

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because they are exerting at their maximum—going fast—without much chance of cooling until they are finished working,” he says. “Hopefully the heat is removed from the muscles afterward in a short period of time. If the heat is not dissipated, core body temperature also rises. Sustained rectal temperature of 108 can cause serious problems. If the brain gets too hot the horse will have seizures and more severe signs than simple heat stress. If this occurs you are approaching serious damage that may be fatal.” This would be classified as heat stroke if the horse collapses and goes into seizures. The term heat exhaustion is often used when a horse is obviously exhausted and dehydrated from the overheating/sweating, and the term heat stroke generally means a total collapse, and this condition is more life threatening. With heat exhaustion the horse would be very hot, but with treatment you would expect to be able to reverse and revive him, whereas in heat stroke the horse is in imminent danger of dying. Why and how horses sweat Martha Mallicote, DVM, DACVIM, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Florida Large Animal Hospital, says horses need to be able to sweat, to cool themselves. “This is a part of their physiology that is a bit different from other mammals. Horses are very efficient sweaters, though slightly less so in a humid environment. It is very important for performance horses to be able to sweat adequately, to dissipate heat from exertion,” she says. The horse can quickly pull fluid from the bloodstream and put it onto the skin via sweat glands, to evaporate. “In the horse, the sweat glands are already primed--all the time--with electrolytes, proteins and lipids in the glands, and all they have to do is draw water from the blood. When they get the stimulus from epinephrine (when the body determines it is too hot and needs cooling), this triggers the glands to draw in water from the bloodstream and then contract and expel it out as sweat,” says Mallicote. “This is a very efficient mechanism in the horse and it doesn’t take long for sweat glands to recover and be prepared to produce more sweat.” Horses that work hard in hot weather, especially if they are fit and in good condition, sweat efficiently and don’t lose as much fluid and electrolytes as an unconditioned, fat horse. Fit horses can keep working and keep themselves within a normal range of body temperature. “Horses that sweat profusely for a long period of


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Anhidrosis Sometimes horses develop Anhidrosis, a condition in which they can no longer sweat properly and become more prone to heat stress or heat stroke. This problem was first noticed years ago in British Thoroughbreds taken to tropical countries for cavalry use, racing and polo. A significant percentage of horses in hot, humid regions suffer from some degree of anhidrosis. This dysfunction is most common in horses in tropical regions and in some areas of the U.S. especially the Gulf Coast states. Anhidrosis is most common in hot, humid regions but can occur as far north as Minnesota and Michigan, and in dry climates like Arizona and California. Researchers don’t know how or why anhidrosis occurs in some horses, but theories such as hormonal and electrolyte imbalances, specifically low chloride, have been proposed. There is also evidence that inability to sweat (when experiencing extremely high temperatures) may be inherited. The first clinical sign you might notice is minimal or no sweat production during times sweat would be expected. Additional signs would be high respiratory rate and high rectal temperature which don’t resolve within approximately 30 minutes post exercise. Lethargy and poor performance may also be noted during summer months. Rectal temperature will be above normal. “We generally think of it as a problem in the Southeast and Gulf Coast, but there are times we see almost what you’d call ‘outbreaks’ of non-sweating in other regions,” says Mallicote. We sometimes get calls from veterinarians in New York and other northern areas during the summer because they are seeing a sudden onset of cases when temperatures are very hot, even in places you wouldn’t expect to see this,” she says.

The physiology of horses that are unable to sweat is still not completely understood. “Some things have been ruled out, however. We now think it is not related to alteration in the systemic signaling for sweat. The physiologic response to being hot, and the body’s signaling for sweat (via epinephrine and other hormones) does still occur; those hormones seem to be adequate. So the problem seems to be at the level at the sweat glands,” says Mallicote. “We really don’t know what is actually going on with the sweat gland itself. This makes it challenging to figure out a treatment. It’s frustrating for those of us who see a lot of these horses and would like to find an effective treatment,” she says. “This is a big topic in our practice area here in Florida, but if you look across the country and around the world it’s not as important. Thus it’s hard to find a lot of interest in funding for the things we need to do in order to address this problem. “There may be a genetic component. This idea is based on research done here in Florida and published in 2011. We are doing some additional investigation in that area, collaborating with a researcher (Dr. Samantha Brooks) here at the University of Florida,” says Mallicote. The horse’s sweat patterns may change. This can be subtle and sometimes people don’t realize that the horse is not sweating enough. The horse may sweat a little and there may be a few patches of sweat behind his ears, under his mane or saddle pad, at the elbows and flanks, but no moisture over his body. Other signs might be dry, flaky skin and hair falling out (especially around the eyes and on the forehead). “As a horse becomes chronically affected, hair quality gets worse,” she says. Oils from the sebaceous glands are no longer taken out onto the skin by sweat. The dry skin may itch, and there is often hair loss on the forehead.

time benefit from electrolyte supplementation since they may lose an excessive amount of electrolytes through sweating. A horse that has an average job and doesn’t sweat too much for too long

Generally the most noticeable sign is heat stress; the horse can’t handle the heat and has poor performance--and it takes a long time to cool out the horse after exercise. “In severe cases you walk out to the pasture and the horse is just standing there panting with a respiration rate of 100 or higher. These horses can also look like they have heaves because they are breathing so hard, and not sweating. You take the temperature and it will be high, but the first thing you see is the increased respiratory rate. This is often what you’ll see in pastured horses that get less regular attention than the performance horses that you are working with every day,” she says. Anhidrosis may be acute or chronic. “Many of these horses shut down and quit sweating, and then a month later the sweating will turn back on--an immediate reversal. It doesn’t always affect the horse for the rest of its life, especially if the horse owner/trainer can make changes in the management and environment to give the horse a break from the heat,” says Mallicote. “We divide cases into acute and chronic. In acute cases, the horse may have a problem for a summer or two, but then reverts back to normal. But once a horse becomes chronic, which we find in cases that continue for the third summer and beyond, we see changes in structure of the sweat glands. They not only suffer from whatever the original problem might be (causing the inability to sweat) but also start to atrophy and can’t work properly. Once the horse slips over into that chronic/permanent situation, it’s much harder for them to ever switch back to normal,” she says. “Even severely anhidrotic horses may revert during the winter, however. They will improve in cooler weather and may be able to sweat a little—but then the anhidrosis returns the next summer.”

probably doesn’t need electrolytes. The athletes we think about giving electrolytes are endurance horses or eventers, or horses working at speed for long periods,” she says. • POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 57


CALENDAR

July JUNE 1-SEPTEMBER 1 Women’s Polo League Denver, Denver, CO

J U LY 4 - AU G U S T 2 4 Pro-Am Rincon League (6-8) Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, CA

J U LY 8 - 12 International Jr. Tournament Denver, Denver, CO

J U N E 10 - J U LY 2 6 One-week Summer Camps Central Coast, Los Osos, CA

J U LY 5 - 6 Low Goal Challenge Southampton, Water Mill, NY

J U L Y 1 2 - 14 Heat Wave (0-4) Willow Bend, Little Elm, TX

J U N E 19 - J U L Y 2 4 Copa Miércoles (8) Mashomack, Pine Plains, NY

J U LY 5 - 7 Independence Cup (0-4) Willow Bend, Little Elm, TX

J U N E 2 3 - J U L Y 21 New York Cup (8) Southampton, Water Mill, NY J U N E 2 8 - AU G U S T 2 5 8-Goal League Oak Brook, Oak Brook, IL J U LY 1 Players Cup Honolulu, Waimanalo, HI Canada Day Tournament Calgary, Alberta, Canada J U LY 1 - 12 Interscholastic Polo Summer Camp Gardnertown, Newburgh, NY J U L Y 1 - 31 Western Regional Classic (10-14) Aspen Valley, Carbondale, CO J U LY 2 - 4 NYTS Nashville, Nashville, TN J U LY 3 - 7 USPA Constitution Cup (0-4) Farmington, Farmington, CT J U L Y 3 - 14 Oak Brook Polo Open Oak Brook, Oak Brook, IL J U LY 3 - 2 8 Eduardo Moore Invitational (8) Mashomack, Pine Plains, NY J U LY 4 July 4th Cup Barrington, Wauconda, IL J U LY 4 - 6 NYTS Qualifier Myopia, South Hamilton, MA

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Celebrate Saratoga Tournament Saratoga, Greenfield Center, NY J U LY 6 USA vs Ireland Newport, Portsmouth, RI Constitution Cup Farmington, Farmington, CT Miguel Torres/World Gym Jr. Tourney Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, CA J U LY 6 - 7 NYTS Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada NYTS St. Louis, St. Louis, MO Low-Goal Classic Seneca, Poolesville, MD The Seattle Cup Seattle, Enumclaw, WA J U LY 7 High Goal Challenge Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, CA

Polo Hall of Fame Tournament Saratoga, Greenfield Center, NY J U L Y 1 2 - 21 Robert Skene Trophy (12-16) Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, CA J U LY 12 - 2 2 USPA Chairman’s Cup (8-12) Myopia, S. Hamilton, MA J U LY 12 - S E P T E M B E R 2 7 Polo at Sunset (Fridays) Hickory Hall, Whitestown, IN J U LY 13 NYTS (0) South Bay, Gilroy, CA Newport vs Pittsburg Newport, Portsmouth, RI Dream Ride Cup Farmington, Farmington, CT NE Regional League Heritage Farm, Canaan, NH All Day NYTS South Bay, Gilroy, CA Max Berger 4-Goal Final Tinicum, Park, Erwinna, PA

Malcolm Wallop Trophy Big Horn, Sheridan, WY

USA vs South Africa Franklin Polo, Nashville, TN

Dark Horse Cup Play Polo, Granville, OH

J U L Y 1 3 - 14 USPA Women’s Challenge (4-8) Buffalo, Ontario, Canada

J U L Y 7 - 14 Forbes Cup (4-8) Myopia, South Hamilton, MA J U L Y 7 - 21 Tuckerman Cup (0-4) Myopia, South Hamilton, MA J U LY 8 Nalo Polo League Honolulu, Waimanalo, HI

0-3 Goal Freedom Cup Congressional, Rockville, MD Central Circuit PTF Seniors Blackberry, Batavia, IL J U L Y 14 Oak Brook Polo Open Final Oak Brook, Oak Brook, IL


CALENDAR

July Eaton’s Ranch Cup Big Horn, Sheridan, WY Cloud Peak Cup Final Flying H, Big Horn, WY Sammy Delgado Cup Hawaii, Waialua, HI J U L Y 14 - 21 USPA North American Cup (16-20) Aspen Valley, Carbondale, CO American Cup Greenwich, Greenwich, CT J U L Y 14 - 2 8 Copa Argentina Play Polo, Westerville, OH J U LY 15 Campos Cup Honolulu, Waimanalo, HI

USA vs Italy Newport, Portsmouth, RI J U L Y 2 0 - 21 HYT Polo Challenge (1) Will Rogers, Los Angeles, CA Sugarbush 0-2 Goal Heritage Farm, Canaan, NH J U LY 2 0 - AU G U S T 3 Hampton League (6) Southampton, Water Mill, NY J U L Y 21 Orthopedic Foundation Cup Play Polo, Granville, OH Bradford Brinton Memorial Cup Flying H, Big Horn, WY Governor’s Cup Hawaii, Waialua, HI

Arby Dobb 4-Goal Final Tinicum, Park, Erwinna, PA Newport vs Palm Beach Newport, Portsmouth, RI J U LY 2 7 - J U LY 2 8 Arena Women’s Challenge (3-16) Lakeside, Lakeside, CA Sugarbush 0-2 Centennial Cup Heritage Farm, Canaan, NH J U LY 2 8 Fred Dailey Cup Hawaii, Waialua, HI Mallets for Melanoma benefit Denver, Sedalia, CO Players Cup (4-8) Congressional, Rockville, MD Youth Polo events Big Horn, Sheridan, WY

J U L Y 1 5 - 17 NYTS Qualifier Foxlease, Upperville, VA

J U L Y 21 - 2 8 Forbes Chairmans Cup (8-12) Myopia, South Hamilton, MA

J U L Y 1 5 - 19 Adult Polo Camp Denver, Denver, CO

J U LY 2 2 - AU G U S T 2 Interscholastic Polo Summer Camp Gardnertown, Newburgh, NY

J U LY 18 - 2 0 Arena Circuit Masters (3-6) Brandywine, Toughkenamon, PA

J U LY 2 3 NYTS Qualifier Blackberry, Batavia, NY

J U LY 2 8 - 2 9 Central Circuit Women’s Challenge Blackberry, Batavia, IL

J U LY 2 4 NYTS Qualifier Southampton, Water Mill, NY

J U LY 2 8 - AU G U S T 10 East End Cup (10) Southampton, Water Mill, NY

J U L Y 2 4 - A U G U S T 11 USPA Silver Cup (20) Aspen Valley, Carbondale, CO

J U LY 2 9 Wahine & Women’s Challenge Cups Honolulu, Waimanalo, HI

The Knox Memorial (-2-4) Buffalo, Ontario, Canada J U L Y 19 - 21 Veuve Clicquot Tournament Saratoga, Greenfield Center, NY J U LY 2 0 Pacific Coast Arena League Orange County, Silverado, CA Polo Pro Series Clinic Mountain View, Charles Town, WV Tunxis Trophy Farmington, Farmington, CT South Bay Summer Solstice South Bay, Gilroy, CA Independent Polo Cup Dallas, Red Oak, TX

J U LY 2 5 - 2 8 USPA Constitution Cup (2-4) Acoaxet, Tiverton, RI

R.R. McCormick Cup Oak Brook, Oak Brook, IL Goose Creek Cup Flying H, Big Horn, WY

Goose Creek Cup Flying H, Big Horn, WY

J U LY 2 6 - 2 8 The Midsummer Celebration Saratoga, Greenfield Center, NY

J U L Y 31 Canyon Ranch Classic Oliver Wallop Cup Flying H, Big Horn, WY

J U L Y 2 6 - A U G U S T 11 USPA America Cup (12-16) Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, CA

J U L Y 31 - A U G U S T 3 Ladies Tournament Southampton, Water Mill, NY

J U LY 2 7 Gateway to Hope Benefit Spirit Valley, St. Louis, MO

J U L Y 31 - A U G U S T 1 8 USPA Constitution Cup (4) Mashomack, Pine Plains, NY

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One of a kind 10-goal left-hander embodied golden age of polo By Joshua M. Casper

J. Watson Webb never lost an international match and was known for his dogged determination and deft horsemanship. The year was 1921; the Roaring 20s were burgeoning along with the golden age of sport. Amateur sports were at their height. The leisure

Webb was the only 10-goaler to play left-handed.

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class had taken to the sport of kings. A Hall-of-Fame southpaw with a No. 3 on his back made headlines by capturing a world championship. Not that one. Scribes of the day were just as likely to aggrandize the polo exploits of J. Watson Webb and the new “Big Four” at Meadow Brook were they those of Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium. In the 1920s, both the house that Ruth built and the grounds that the leisure class rode, drew the great and the good, along with tens-of-thousands of roaring fans. J. Watson Webb is without a doubt the greatest left-handed poloist of all time. With left-handed play now extinct, he will forever remain the one and only southpaw (that played left-handed) to reach a 10handicap rating. As “The Babe” was making headlines with his bat in the Big Apple, Watson Webb was making headlines with his polo mallet across the pond at London’s famed Hurlingham grounds. America had fired the shot heard around the polo world by besting the Britons for the coveted Westchester Cup and bringing it back to the United States in the first transatlantic sporting competition since the war. It was a gallant affair with all the pomp and splendor that the era evokes. The gallery featured the crème-de-la-crème of British Royalty and American Tycoons— it was the event of the season, complete with lavish parties and a fashion show that cost £25 per guest. The players on the field were equally distinguished, and the Americans were determined to win. “That was quite a deal,” recalls Sam Webb, Watson Webb’s grandson. “He took the whole family over and went over three months before the match. He rented an estate; it had its own tennis court and a little polo field next to it. It was a hell of a


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big deal in those days to do that. They weren’t expected to win, and he beat the s—out of them.” Said the European edition of Pulitzer’s New York World: “Eleven to Four. This tells the tale. Before one of the most distinguished galleries that ever witnessed a sporting event, Messrs. L.E. Stoddard, T. Hitchcock, Watson-Webb and Devereux Milburn to-day in the match for the International Polo Cup made sporting history. “These gallant ponies, before two kings and two queens and about a dozen princes and princesses and all the world’s great horseman raised the Star-Spangled banner in the greatest triumph polo has ever seen. “Webb stood out easily over the American team as a tower of strength and defense ... his brilliant play and was the backbone of the team.” Rags on both sides of the pond agreed Watson Webb, playing No.3, was the best player on the field. Webb stymied Britain’s best player, Lord Wodehouse, and had a hand in almost every one of the States’ goals. After the U.S. took the first match, The Daily Mail ran a series of cartoons of Webb. One caption read, “Mr. Watson-Webb, the American giant who scored five goals and started that polo cup rocking on our side board.” The second match was no different. Despite suffering a severe cut on his thumb in a collision that forced a stoppage in play, he played on and scored the go-ahead and final goal in the States’ 10-6 win to give America a clean sweep over a much weaker British side. The London Times wrote: “The best player of the eight on the afternoon’s play was Watson Webb. The left-handed No. 3 fairly surpassed himself. He was always in the right position, and the accuracy of his placing the ball was supremely artistic. He made the ideal pivot of his team. His coolness and resource were the principal factors in America’s fine combination.” Recalled another member of the British press: “At. No. 3 was Watson-Webb, a long thin lefthander, and the best horseman on either side. On Saturday’s form he was also the best polo player … He is a ‘ghost’ player—that is to say, he does not appear anywhere until he is wanted, and then he is

always there. He is invisible until the moment at which you least wish to see him arrive, then he is always there, cool and collected, neither of which assets you can claim owing to the shock at his sudden calling on you to stop.” When the festivities drew to a close HM King George V presented the trophy to Watson Webb and the Americans. Again, the legend of the Big Four was etched permanently on the Tiffany gilded Westchester Cup. “He dominated, he absolutely dominated …” recalled the younger Webb. “The King presented the cup. I’ve got a picture of Grandpa bowing to the King. I guarantee you, that’s the only person he

Lewis Lacey called J. Watson Webb, above, the toughest opponent he ever faced.

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ever bowed to in his life. At the end of that match the King gave each of the American players a box of cigars and Grandpa kept that box on his desk for his entire life. He never opened it.” It would be the first of three International Cups for Webb as part of America’s legendary Big Four, and the pinnacle of a storied career when the sport was larger than life and so were the exploits of its heroes. Webb and his teammates honed their craft galloping up and down the sprawling lawns of the famed Meadow Brook Club, on Long Island’s Gold Coast. Matches were a who’s who of the society pages, where rich and powerful magnates right out

After the U.S. won the first match in 1921, The Daily Mail ran a series of cartoons of Webb.

of a Fitzgerald novel came to socialize and compete. In fact, Tommy Hitchcock Jr., Webb’s teammate, was the model for The Great Gatsby’s Tom Buchanan. Big Four back and comrade Devereux Milburn graced the cover of Time in 1930 as polo’s biggest star. Webb, who was also part of the team that topped the Argentines in 1922, never lost an international test match. That same year, he, Stoddard, Hitchcock and Milburn became the first 40-goal team in USPA history.

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Polo in the 20s epitomized a time that glorified the idea of amateur sportsmanship. While a pastime for the leisure class, competition was prodigious to vie for a coveted spot on the national team. While being a gentleman was important, the well-healed members of America’s polo clubs took winning seriously. Friendly club matchers at places like Meadow Brook and Aiken often took on the tenor of high-goal polo today despite the aristocratic ethos, which its members embodied. The trials for the international team at Meadow Brook were a cornucopia of the country’s elite in both polo and personage. “The competition was fierce, but it was literally gentlemanly,” recalls former president of Meadowbrook Polo Club, Luis Rinaldini, “It was really world class.” When the Americans invited Britain to compete for the Westchester Cup on American soil in 1924, it looked until the very end like Webb would be on the outside looking in. Californian Eric Pedley was universally considered an up-and-coming star, and the press predicted that it would be he, not Webb, that would make the team. “Says Country Club Magazine … every one told me that Pedley had it on Stevenson and Webb,” wrote the Rider and Driver; while the Herald, World and other newspapers of the day universally lauded the virtues of the upstart Pedley. Peter Vischer wrote, “The difference between Webb and Pedley will be well worth watching. Webb is left-handed and while he holds it a disadvantage to himself it makes his play unusual, so it bothers his opponent considerably … Pedley plays more youthfully and is a powerful stroker.” One headline read: Pedley Wins Place on Tentative Four, California Star Displaces Webb at No. 1 on US Team Old L&M—lean and mean—his family nickname, rose to the occasion during the trials. Having successfully remade his game as No.1, when the International Cup match began, it was Webb who cantered onto the pitch in front of 30,000 spectators at Meadow Brook. “He was very competitive,” said Webb of his grandfather. “He would not give up. I think that’s the main reason he made it; they knew they could rely on him. The other advantage he had, he could play any position; so no matter what, they knew they had somebody who could play any position if somebody got hurt.” “The secret of good play in any team is exchange of all positions between its various members,” wrote Watson Webb in his strategic monograph on the


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They were right. The latter prevailed. Webb had willed his way on the team. “His own peers thought he was too inexperienced,” said Rinaldini of Guest, who eventually made the team in 1930. Said Webb, “Grandpa was a very competitive guy. When other guys tried to beat him out, he was going to stay in there … he wasn’t going to give up, put it that way.” It embodied his character, the dichotomy of a well-to-do-socialite who possessed tough nononsense intestinal fortitude. In his international swan song, Webb scored four goals in the first match, including one in each of the last three chukkers. The legacy of WebbHitchcock-Stevenson-and-Milburn, the Big Four of COURTESY NIGEL A BRASSARD

fundamentals of polo. In his article on great polo players, Louis Stoddard even listed him among the best No. 1s and 2s. In the 1924 international, Webb stymied Britain’s star back, Canadian Lewis Lacey, who called him the toughest opponent he ever faced. In front of a veritable cornucopia of the elite, among them the Prince of Wales, America dominated, sweeping both games with Webb scoring four goals in the first, and again took the Westchester Cup. One grandstand was for those to see the match and the other for to watch the match and be seen. While the match was among the most chronicled sporting events of the year, an undertone camaraderie and goodwill that would come to epitomize the Anglo-American special relationship also permeated the event. “[Competing at Meadow Brook] was like playing in Yankee Stadium. It was very social; the players were very social. My grandmother [Electra Havemeyer Webb] used to go to almost all the matches with him and she would sit and walk on the sidelines,” said the younger Webb. Again, when the Americans invited the British back to vie for the Westchester Cup in 1927, it looked like Webb might be replaced. This time it was Winston Guest, a strapping young 21-year-old who had just graduated from Webb’s own alma mater, Yale. The New York Times headline on Aug. 8, 1927 was, “Guest, Hitchcock, Cowdin and Milburn officially named for US Polo Team … Pick U.S. Polo Team, Guest Will Be No. 1, Webb Stevenson Off. “The old Big Four of American polo has lasted for just one series of international matches with Great Britain. On Sept. 5, when this country’s four horsemen ride forth to face the helmeted riders of Great Britain, it will be with a new combination …This is official.” Webb’s former teammate, Stoddard, then the USPA chairman, said, “I do not want to make any extended comment on this. Here is the team. There will be no substitutes. We will play through with these men.” Polo Monthly extolled the virtues of Guest, calling him a hard hitter of terrifying proportions and something to be wondered at. They also called Webb a great money player [who] invariably strikes when faced by the most trying crisis.

the Roaring 20s, was sealed as the Americans again swept the British in front of 35,000 fans at Meadow Brook. Then, like the Sultan-of-Swat himself, when Webb felt he could not longer compete, he stepped away. Webb said he couldn’t do it physically anymore. He couldn’t play to the to the quality he had been used to and if he couldn’t play at 10-goals he wasn’t going to play. He wanted to go out on top. In 1929, Webb played in his last U.S. Open at Meadow Brook and won for the sixth and final time. It ended two decades of dominance. His first major

The British hosted a dinner for the American team in 1921. Webb is seated far left.

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titles came in 1908 and 1909 when New Haven won back-to-back Junior Championships. Watson Webb’s first U.S. Open win had come in 1914, when he also won the Junior. In 1919, he won the first of three straight Opens, beating Stoddard and Cooperstown with Meadow Brook teammates financier Frederick Prince, Frank Von Stade and Milburn, with whom he captured the crown again in 1920, this time with Von Stade, Milburn and the elder Robert Strawbridge, whose family ran the eponymous clothing store. In 1921, Webb, Stoddard and Strawbridge Jr., who later took the reins of the USPA, handed Milburn’s team the loss. He would win again playing with Harry Truman confidant, diplomat Avril Harriman, and the two men who vied for a spot on the 1927 international team, Stevenson and Universal Chairman J. Cheever Cowdin, in 1925. He, Stoddard, Stevenson and a 16-year-old Tommy Hitchcock Jr. won the first of his two Senior Championships in 1916, a feat he repeated in 1920 with Hitchcock, Milburn and sculptor Charles Rumsey, whose work is immortalized on the triumphal arch on the approach to the Manhattan Bridge. Though after he stepped away from competitive polo, he occasionally played with his own Shelburne Club at his country house in Vermont, he dedicated his time to his other favorite pursuits, fishing, riding and foxhunting, a hobby he shared with his grandson. Watson Webb became president of the Masters of Foxhounds Association. The secret of Webb’s polo prowess was his saviorfaire with the reins. An avid horse-breeder and foxhunter who raised and trained his own ponies at his Vermont estate, even as Webb got on in years, he was able to out-ride opponents. Webb’s mounts, Cipher, Naughty Girl and Chemewa were celebrities in their own right oft memorialized by artists of the time. “Being a horseman is huge, because it helps you at every stage of one’s career and you can never stop learning about horses,” says Hall-of-Famer Adam Snow, who shares quite a bit in common with Webb. A graduate of Yale 80 years after, like Webb, Snow helped the U.S. capture the Westchester Cup (1992) in Britain, the first International Challenge Cup match since the Second World War. Snow won two U.S. Opens, including MVP honors in 2002, and the Monty Waterbury Cup, which Webb also captured (1923). “He bred all his own horses and he just loved horses and riding. He was really a beautiful rider,” recalled his grandson “He and I rode a lot as a kid 64 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N

and he was sort of like Babe Ruth, a superb player and a lousy teacher. He only rode three horses for the whole match [during the internationals]. This was absolutely astounding to people. He loved them all, he used to talk about Naughty Girl all the time.” Wrote Watson Webb himself: “… the high-goal pony must be considered in relation to its rider. The personality of the rider and his style of play have fitted a certain pony and the combination has been admirable. Probably it would have been impossible to get as much out of this particular pony. I think few really great ponies have been selected at random. Rather they have been suited to a particular type of player.” Though he may not receive the same notoriety as the other members, Webb, the consummate teamplayer, was named by Stoddard to the All-Time Polo Team in 1934 according to his obituary in the New York Times. The other members were Monty Waterbury, Hitchcock Jr. and Milburn: “He was very fond of Tommy Hitchcock and Dev Milburn,” reminisces Webb. “Tommy Hitchcock was the finest polo player that he had ever seen, given that all four of the Americans were 10 goal players. That was a 40-goal team. He once said, ‘If I am worth 10 goals, then Hitchcock is worth 20.’” As a 10-goal southpaw, Webb will forever hold a unique place in polo history. Webb registered with Hurlingham in 1907 as one of only 21 left-handers, after which no others were allowed. USPA banned left-handed play in 1982. Snow said, “There have been [22 American] players in the history of the sport to be raised to 10goals. They can never take that away from you. Once you become a 10-goal player it never gets erased.” Like many of his contemporaries on the polo pitch, J. Watson Webb was more than just a poloist. The Vanderbilt heir worked in the family railroad business, law, finance and also started his own insurance firm. Webb was eventually raised to a lieutenant colonel in the American Expeditionary Force and fought at Verdun. He followed in the footsteps of his father who served in the House of Representatives for Shelburne, Vermont, and served a term for Shelburne in the State Legislature in 1921. Public service, he felt, was an important ideal. He and Electra, an avid art collector, founded the Shelburne Art Museum on their estate, one of the country’s hidden cultural gems. For all his accomplishments, being atop the saddle was always his first love. “He hated working,” laughed his grandson, “he’d rather play polo.” •


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Profile for United States Polo Association

July 2019 Polo Players' Edition  

July 2019 Polo Players' Edition