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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Page 62 of 67

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 61 This does not, however, constitute a justifi- cation for the situation that exists today. When the first horsemen of the Argen- tine invaded our polo circles in 1922 with such brilliant success, they brought a splendid string of ponies. When they departed, they left them here for prices that were to them amazing. No one gave it a thought. Their visit was extremely popu- lar, and whenever and wherever this team appeared, it was greeted with a richly deserved enthusiasm. The admiration we had for the players was bestowed on the ponies and some of these proved outstand- ing compared to the heterogeneous offer- ings of the American dealers. Other teams came out, and departing, left their ponies behind. And their number has been augmented by others brought in by dealers, as well as by individual players. But notwithstanding the failure of a large percentage of these later importations, the reputation established by those first few persists. "Persists" is hardly the word. This reputation has grown until today it is almost a mark of social distinction to own a few Argentine ponies. At times I almost wonder if Man o' War was not smuggled in from the Argentine. That the rate of foreign exchange has a bearing, particularly on the Chilean mar- ket, is no doubt true. A prominent player told me that while on a visit to Chile to look after business interests there, he found it difficult to take his money out of Chile. Also, the rate of exchange was so favorable that he found most satisfactory ponies could be had at a very low price. Naturally, he took advantage of the situa- tion. And other buyers, particularly from California, have followed his example. As already suggested, the unreliable American dealer is responsible in no small degree for the present situation. I do not attack his integrity as much as his judg- ment. In those roaring days from 1926 to 1929 when the clerks on Wall Street were looking for yachts, any horse that had its mane roached, its tailed pulled and would not run away, was a prospect for the East- ern market. This reflects on the judgment of the buyer, who, with the dealer, made up the vicious circle that left the American breeder on the outside, wondering what it was all about. Nor is the American breeder free from responsibility. If he had not bred and sold to the dealers so many half-trained misfits, they would never have appeared on the market to strike such a blow at the prestige of the American pony. For it must be remembered that while America produces as many high-class horses as any other country, she can, at the same time, match any other nation in her output of worth- less scrubs. This is due, in part, to a want of direc- tion and to a lack of definite standards. This lack of definite standards is due, in many cases, to the remoteness of the breeder from a market, which, a decade ago, was not at all definite in its demands, which was uncrystalized and lacked knowl- edge of its own needs. In the great majority of cases, the Western breeders' only con- tact with this market has been through dealers who often knew little of horses and markets, or else were none too particular as to what they offered. Despite these facts, America produces today a sufficient number of outstanding polo prospects to meet many times over the American market demands. This I know to be true from a wide personal contact with our American horse breeding industry, as well as from a personal knowledge of what other nations are selling to consumers. We have, to begin with, vast stretches of country second to none, and superior to most, in those basic qualities necessary to the full, symmetrical and hardy develop- ment of horses. This is a fact recognized by horsemen the world over. We have more level-headed strains of Thoroughbred blood than any other coun- try. On our remote Western ranches today T.B. Drybrough bought Golden West from a hill pasture in California for $100 as a raw, hungry 4-year-old. Just 10 days later, he turned down $250 for the horse. With some good training, the horse went on to excel in polo.

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