Polo Players Edition

OCT 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/1029347

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Page 23 of 67

The United States Polo Association established Team USPA in 2009 to grow and sustain the sport of polo by identifying talented young American players and providing opportunities to grow their abilities. By Lindsay Heatley had a special place in his heart. During her summer vacation, Marissa traveled with Adam and his team from Aiken, South Carolina, to California, where Adam was competing during the summer months with Sol de Agosto in the 16-goal Pacific Coast Open. Adam helped Marissa develop her polo skills, and taught her an even more valuable lesson: how to manage high-goal horses. Marissa cared for and trained horses such as Be Bopp, a homebred out of one of Adam's legendary horses, Hale Bopp. Marissa was given hands-on experience in all aspects of a high-goal operation from her own personal polo skills to the proper care of high-goal horses. She was in the barn from dusk till dawn learning what it takes to train and care for some of the best horses to compete in high-goal polo. We sat down with Marissa to learn more about her experience in the Team USPA mentorship program. Lindsay Heatley: How has mentoring with Adam improved your understanding of horse and barn management? Marissa Wells: It has helped me learn how to manage a high-goal string. This is my first time working with this level of horses. Feed, how much to give them, what to give them, and how to treat the horses on game day, these are all things I was able to take to the next level under Adam's guidance. LH: Which horses are you favorite out of Adam's string? MW: Be Bopp and Indica are my favorites. LH: How has your polo game improved since working with Adam? MW: A lot of early mornings, but I got the chance to stick and ball with Adam a few times a week. We also ride singles together. He has been showing me how to school horses, and what kind of program they should be on during their days off. LH: Your mother is a well known coach for girls arena polo. Tell me a little more about her and how having a different perspective has helped you as a player? MW: Yes, my mom is the one who first introduced me to polo. I am from Maryland originally where we have our own arena facility. She teaches mainly kids, so I grew up playing, and I had a mallet in my hand at age 8. Kids come through, she teaches them riding, and gradually progresses to polo. That is how I came up. Working with Adam wasn't too much of a difference with the basic care of 22 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N Summer schooled Team USPA member expands polo knowledge A glimpse inside of a high-goal polo operation is an opportunity any aspiring polo player would love to be a part of, especially one whose goal is to become one of the top-ranked women's polo players in the sport. Meet Marissa Wells, a member of Team USPA and a recipient of the mentorship program offered by Team USPA. Marissa is no stranger to the polo world. Her family owns and operates an arena polo school in Maryland, and Marissa has always been a part of the family business. At only 8 years old Marissa discovered her passion for the sport of polo when she first held a polo mallet in her hand. This year, during her summer vacation from Texas A&M University, Marissa was searching for a chance to take her love of the sport to the next level. Team USPA connected her with former 10-goaler Adam Snow, who just happened to be her favorite player. Marissa was given a chance to work inside of his high-goal operation. Known mostly as a Hall-of-Fame high- goal player, Snow is also heavily involved in developing amateur polo players. He is the co-chair of the Team USPA program and participates in many of the development programs offered. Snow was happy to discover that Marissa would be his mentee this summer. Marissa and Adam share a connection from 2002, when Adam won the U.S. Open and was raised to 10 goals. That year, he received a letter from a 10-year- old Marissa, asking if he thought a woman could ever reach 10 goals. His response: Yes! Adam says ever since, she has always

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