Polo Players Edition

SEP 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/1016123

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Page 27 of 67

26 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N Hand to mouth Bitting is an important part of training by Gwen Rizzo G avin Chaplin has made it his mission to educate people about horse training, with an emphasis on what equipment is used in their mouths. Chaplin grew up around horses as both of his parents played polo and he had a polo field on the family farm in South Africa. "I was the only child in the club at that point and we had the most amazing club. Our club practices were 22-goal practices," he explained. And he had some unorthodox early training. "Every time you chased the ball, they'd take your mallet away, so it got to be man marking [was the better option] for me, and I had to earn my pocket money by riding with notes [under] my knees. If I lost any of it, my pocket money was gone," he said. "I used to go out for exercise in the groom's arms and fall asleep riding." He was sent to an English boarding school at just 5 years old. He didn't speak English and was very dyslexic. "They just thought I was really, really lazy," he said. "I would have to go pick a stick every day and they would put my head in the cupboard and beat me. That was the cure for dyslexia in those days." He remembers the panic he felt on a daily basis knowing he couldn't do what was being asked of him. "That has played a big part in how I train horses," he said. "I switch into their panic when I feel they are unable to do something, but I am also able to figure out if they are just being obstinate. If a horse is willing, I go back to the schooling method of teaching one thing at a time. You teach a child the numerals first, then you teach them to add, then subtract, then multiply. You are not teaching it all at once," he explained. After Gavin finished university and a stint in the Army, Benjamin Araya's parents came and stayed at his family home and invited him to come to Argentina. He jumped at the chance and after being there nearly a month, he realized he wanted a career with horses. "I went there hoping to find some way of staying there. When [9-goal] Eddie Moore came to buy horses, I said to him, 'Have you got a job for me?' He told me to get in the lorry, so I got in the lorry and traveled about eight hours from Coronel Suarez to his place," Chaplin explained. "I was dumped in a little hut on the edge of the field, spoke no Spanish and nobody spoke English, but I loved it because it was my passion, and it was what I wanted to do. "Eddie would come everyday and look, and dad was a super horseman so I kind of knew my way around riding. After a month, Eddie came past me and asked if I

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