Polo Players Edition

Intercollegeiate Interscholastic 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.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/1072212

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Page 26 of 75

25 I/I MAGAZINE - 2019 W isconsin may not be synonymous with polo, but Hillside Farm is working to change that. Its feisty team placed third at the 2018 USPA Girls' National Interscholastic Championship, finishing higher than any other Wisconsin team in history. That achievement is unusual for a grass-roots polo club, said coach Margie Paur, who, along with her husband, Tom Riegert, also owns Hillside Farm in Richfield, Wis. "That's what makes us different. We're a club of non- polo families, and our club doesn't have a paid polo professional, someone who plays polo nationwide professionally," she said. "I'm not from a polo family, and I didn't have professional instruction as a kid. We really started with nothing. That's important, because it helps motivate other clubs or schools who don't have a polo professional but who want to do this." In addition to snagging third, Hillside's Emma Sbragia was named a tournament All-Star and Sydney Weise earned Sportsmanship honors. Other members of the Hillside team were Samantha Oswald, Taylor Nackers and Gabrielle De Gail. "Emma got the most goals, had the strongest defense and was all over the field all the time, in the right place at the right time," Paur said. Weise won the Sportsmanship award for her quick thinking during the second match. As an opponent was losing her balance, Weise rode up next to her, grabbed her shoulder and righted her. But Hillside's success didn't happen overnight. In fact, during the 2016-'17 season, they finished last at the regional competition, but that didn't stop the team. "They just persevered. They definitely were not going to give up," Paur said The girls redoubled their efforts over the winter and summer months to refine their skills. It worked, and they won the next regional competition, which brought them to nationals. "The amount of effort they put into it was amazing," Paur said. In Wisconsin, Hillside Farm is known for making polo accessible to just about any rider, young or old, whether or not they can afford a horse of their own. Paur has an impressive 32 school horses, of which 24 are polo horses. More than 100 riders have learned the game at Hillside under her tutelage. Weise, who started riding at age 5, began playing with the Hillside Girls Interscholastic Polo Team at 9. Sbragia rode at 5 as well and got her start with polo at 10. Weise is continueing her polo career at California Polytechnic State University and Sbragia is at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Now that they have moved on, it's up to the younger riders to keep Hillside's winning reputation intact. "The younger girls really looked up to older members of the team, but now it's their turn to excel at the sport, and I have no doubt they will," Paur said. Hillside also has gained enough momentum to field a second interscholastic team in the Open division this year. HILLSIDE FARM POLO CLUB Margie Paur

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