Polo Players Edition

JAN 2019

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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60 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N Y E S T E R Y E A R S THE AMERICAN BREEDER " T hey have shod everything but the cattle!" Thus my friend, Wiley Jones, is said to have characterized the offering of polo stock at the recent sales in the Argentine. I suspect Wiley was correctly quoted. To begin with, he is a keen judge of horses, and to his ears the words "Argentine" and "magic" are not synonymous. And why should the Argentinians not have brought in everything they had; were not the Amer- icans coming? Moreover, should we not define a polo pony as "any quadruped bred in the Argentine, which does not part the hoof?" What of it? Simply this. Now, in unpar- alleled times, when all industries are strug- gling to survive, our polo players who can afford replacements are going to the Argentine and Chile to make their pur- chases. No one questions their legal right to do this, but one does wonder if they are not short-sighted, if they have considered the serious effect of their actions on the American breeder. What is the effect, and are our sports- men justified by existing conditions in going to a foreign market? The effect, on our Western breeders particularly, is one of frank discourage- ment. For there, where natural conditions favor the development of horses to polo rather than to hunter size, and where the work on the range approximates the early training of a polo pony, our ranchmen have been breeding for the high-class polo markets, encouraged by the government and by the United States Polo Association. During the past year, I visited the ranches of many of these breeders. As usu- al, they had up and in nice condition a few of their best prospects. When buyers failed to appear, they charged it up to the depres- sion, which to them is a stern reality. But when the news leaked out–our buyers were going to the Argentine and to Chile to pur- chase their replacements—the inevitable conclusion followed: our players are demanding foreign-bred and foreign- trained ponies. So there is among them a growing feeling that our sportsmen are not quite playing the game with them. Now, why are our polo players going abroad to buy? Do the foreign markets offer better ponies at lower prices? Are they influenced by a favorable rate of exchange, or is it the pursuit of a fad? To begin with, let us admit that many inferior ponies have been gathered in our Western country, and with little more attention than a hair-cut, unloaded on the Eastern market as polo ponies. These have lowered the average of American ponies so that the carefully selected few brought in by those fine teams from England, from India, from the Argentine, have made our mounts appear common in comparison. Is it right for Americans to buy mounts in Chile and Argentina at this time? BY ROBERT V. HOFFMAN The progeny of some of the great sires, such as Star Shoot and Broom Stick could be found on remote western ranches. Still, some breeders lacked knowledge of market needs, and in some cases, rather than train them merely roached their manes, pulled their tales and sold them as prospects.

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