Polo Players Edition

AUG 2018

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/1005812

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Page 38 of 67

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 37 from the time she was 9 years old, Tiamo was helping groom for him and he would occasionally let her play some of his young horses. "Once in a while he would let me play a chukker and I would just sit on there. I could barely hold the mallet up," she said. "I would just be cruising around with everybody, usually on a green horse." When she was 12, the sponsorship suddenly stopped, but by then the trainer allowed her to work off her lessons and even paid her a little bit to help with competition fees. "My mom always helped me when she could. My mom is amazing," Tiamo said. "She has always been there for me and done what she could. And I always worked hard too." Over the years Tiamo saved every bit of money she received for birthdays and Christmas. Her mom was a waitress for 12 years and everyday over that time she took any coins she received as tips and put them in a jar for Tiamo. "Over 12 years it amounted to a lot," Tiamo recalled. By the time Hudspeth was 12, she was begging for a horse of her own. She had saved about $1,500. At Thanksgiving with her mom's family around the table, her mom made an announcement. The entire family—aunts, uncles and cousins—had chipped in and would match the money Tiamo had saved to purchase a horse. "It was really cool. My whole family pitched in to match what I had, so I had a little over $3,000 to find a horse," said Hudspeth. "That was my Christmas present from everybody." Tiamo purchased an unbroke appendix Palomino gelding with a horrible leg wound from barbwire that was left untreated. She nursed him back to health and then saddle broke him. "He was kind of a rescue case and was a real bronc. He bucked me off more than all the other horses combined. And you could tell he was started by a 12-year-old girl. He's got no manners but he knows a lot of tricks," she said. "He ended up being really good and I could do anything on him. He taught me everything." Eventually she roped off him and played polo on him, but his real talent was jumping. "He did everything but jumping was definitely his favorite. We still have the Six-Bar record on him in Hawaii from when I was in high school. That's a jumping competition where the fences keep going up. I think [we jumped] like 5 feet, 5 inches," said Hudspeth. She still has the horse, who is now 19. He is retired in a 400-acre pasture with her in Texas. "He's my buddy. He's so smart," she said. "He's done a lot for me so now he can live the good life." Hudspeth got more involved with polo when she was in high school. "I started playing a lot more and really started to get into it. And I got to go on a couple of trips," said Hudspeth. "I went and worked for an Argentine guy one summer in Santa Rosa [California], and played there and I also went to Arizona for a winter with one of my best friends from childhood. It just kind of snowballed from there." When she graduated from high school, just after turning 18, she moved to Oahu on Hawaii's North Shore. She worked three horse jobs at once, two that were in exchange for food or housing and one that paid a little bit of money. "I worked all day. I loved it though. I had an amazing work ethic and I love horses. That's all there is to it. I am only doing this because I love horses. It is not about anything else for me," she said. "I appreciate all of the opportunities I was given." A year later, she was playing with Ronnie Tongg, who she didn't know well JACQUELINE MILLER IKnow recently won Best Playing Pony in the Women's East Coast Open. Tiamo is finishing the horse for owners Wendy and Stacey Stover.

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