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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POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 63 ry Armory in Westfield and the 112th Field Artillery Armory in Trenton (which incidentally took the Lawrenceville School under its wing). In Philadelphia there was "The Armory" at Lancaster Avenue and Thirty- Second Street where military teams as well as ones from the University of Penn- sylvania engaged in indoor polo. The Armory also gained fame for holding a series of practice matches for the English team during their aforementioned 1923 visit for the Townsend Cup. In addition to the general military armories and the riding halls, spe- cial mention should also be made of the indoor facilities at the pri- vate college level. Among the Ivy League schools, the granddaddy of them all was the Yale Armory which was opened in 1916. It was initially used for a cavalry regi- ment during the First World War and subsequent to the conflict was made available for indoor polo at the university. The armory had a playing field measuring 220 feet by 100 feet as well as stabling for up to 120 horses at the outset. The armory enjoyed a long and illustrious existence, only closing in 2009. Among other Ivy League insti- tutions, Prince- ton had its "Rid- ing Hall" which was shared by both the school's polo team and its ROTC unit, while Cornell also had its own riding hall beginning in 1931, which was only replaced in 1988 by the Oxley Equestrian Center. Several of the military academies also had indoor arenas. Both Norwich Univer- sity in Northfield, Vermont and the Penn- sylvania Military College in Chester, Pennsylvania had their own riding halls. But the most significant one was the Rid- ing Hall at the United States Military Academy. Built on a breath-taking bluff overlooking the Hudson River, the gothic-revival style Riding Hall at West Point was monumental in every aspect. As testimony to the vastness of the place (580 feet by 125 feet) is one anecdote from an inter- view I had with Tommy Glynn in the early 1990s when I was writing an article for the USPA intercollegiate program. At the time, Glynn remarked that when he was on the Harvard polo team competing against the USMA in the Riding Hall in the late 1920s, it was almost like playing outdoors given the enormity of the place. Glynn's observation was corrob- orated by a vignette in a 1933 issue of Polo magazine: "At West Point where the riding hall is nearly 600 feet long, the game is played with outdoor rules, using a back-line and goal-posts away from the end-walls." In a similar vein, the highly respected polo journalist, Robert F. Kelley reinforced this impression in an earlier article (1931) in The Sportsman: "The huge riding hall at the mili- tary academy makes an entirely different style of play possible and reacts against vis- iting teams quite often." In reviewing military institu- tions, I would be remiss if I didn't give recognition to the Culver Military Academy (now the Culver Academies) in Culver, Indiana. This wonderful secondary school started playing polo in its magnificent 200 feet by 95 feet Riding Hall (now the Vaughn Equestrian Center) dur- ing the winter of 1925-1926. Cul- ver would eventually go on to dis- tinguish itself by winning more USPA interscholastic champi- onships than any other institu- tion. Special mention should be made of some alternative meth- ods in arena polo that were under- taken beyond the armories and riding halls in the years before the war. From a 1935 postcard, I came across a polo game being played before a robust crowd in the cavernous Convention Hall in Atlantic City (300 feet by 160 feet). I also hap- pened upon a rare program from 1937 for one of many outdoor evening polo match- es being staged in the Victor McLaglen Stadium in Los Angeles under the aus- pices of the Southern California Nite Polo Association. I also have programs from 1941 for arena polo at both the Jack- son Crispin Farm in Berwick, Pennsylva- nia, and the Joy Farm in Milwaukee, Wis- consin.

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