Polo Players Edition

NOV 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.

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12 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N I N S T R U C T O R S F O R U M BY MASON WROE SCHOOLING HORSES E veryone is always trying to find that next machine, the next $100,000 horse. Why not maintain the good horses you have? Put more emphasis on maintaining your horses and keeping them playing well versus continually getting rid of horses because they aren't going well. You know the adage ... you are only as good as your worst horse. If you take the time and put in the effort, you can often improve a horse that isn't going as well as you'd like. Work with your farriers, vets, local horse trainers or anyone that can help to figure out why a horse may not be going well. A lot of times, a horse may be hurt- ing, can't physically do what you are ask- ing of it or may not understand what you are asking of it. Not everyone has the knowledge and experience to school horses so don't be afraid to ask for help from someone more knowledgeable. There are so many knowl- edgeable horsemen that have so much to give, so find them, ask for help and try to learn from them. If you don't know what you are doing, you can make your horse even worse. Every player has a different approach to schooling horses. I try to maintain my horses and have a nice string for a long period of time to play year-round. I prefer to ride singles rather than taking my hors- es on sets. Riding singles allows you to lope circles to the right and left, helping to build muscle faster. It also allows you to catch something that feels a little funny or if the horse is just not as sharp and supple as you want. In sets, horses often pull you around and can develop bad habits. If you can't ride every horse every day, rotate which horses go out on sets and which are ridden single. My young horses and made horses are ridden the same. Obviously, the made horses move better and are further along so they can do things better. I like my horses all to feel the same. If you've got horses of all different shapes and sizes they may not move exactly the same, but try to ride them the same. Ask for things the same way. Over time, the horses will listen to your cues and respond in a similar way. The level of polo you play won't have too much of a bearing on how you school your horses. In higher-level polo, it is a more open, flowing game so you aren't stopping as much. Instead, you are bank- ing the turns and staying with the man. It is more about speed and lateral move- ment. In lower-goal polo, you may want to practice stopping more because you will do more of that in the game. There is only a few differences in schooling based on the position you play. Make the most of your horses by putting the time into them Mason Wroe often works his horses in an exercise bridle and western saddle. This gives the horses different pressure than polo equipment. Wroe warns not to overdo it when schooling. KAYLEE WROE

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