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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43 I/I MAGAZINE - 2019 in. That first summer for me was spent as the only groom for Gary Eakin, a 5-goal player hired by a sponsor at Detroit to play and travel the summer circuit in the Mid- States. I had no clue what I was doing with a string of nine horses, with practices and games or even how to survive getting my first set out (who takes out four horses at a time?!?). The other grooms, who all knew I knew nothing, would drop little nuggets of information and helped me survive my first season. While working for Gary was an adventure to say the least, he took the time to stick and ball with me and would tee-up balls endlessly for me to shoot on goal. He gave me a few practice chukkers on his horses and by the end of the summer I could actually hit a polo ball with some skill. We went back that fall with a wealth of knowledge having honed our skills and were looking forward to getting our season started. My sister joined the team that fall and we spent all our free time at the barn and grooming in the summers. We both went on to graduate, she went to work for a polo-playing vet in Florida and then on to Vet School. She is now an equine surgeon living and working in Sydney, Australia. I, on the other hand, ignored my dad's advice to get a "real job" and decided to dive full on into polo. When you have a chance to get more polo in your life, you take it. So I took off to Sarasota Polo Club that winter after graduation and unknowingly set a course to make polo my career. Some opportunities you look for and others find you, and through many lucky breaks and, well, honestly some hard work, I turned my hobby into a "real job." I started out grooming, then running a polo barn in both Florida and Michigan, starting the S itting at a desk filling out yet another application for college, I was over it. I knew where I wanted to go to college, but my parents insisted I apply to a few other schools to be sure. A Midwestern girl born and raised, I had been on the back of a horse since childhood and thanks to my dad, they have been a part of my daily routine for as long as I can remember. Horses played heavily in my choices for college, to say the least. Michigan State University was the ticket to the education I wanted with the bonus of having horses on campus. This would ease the blow of moving away from my home and my horses, and the knowledge that my sisters would be taking over the barn and whatever was left behind in my closet. Getting on campus, starting class, and developing a new social network are all part of the experience, but for me something was missing, and I needed to get my horse fix somehow. So, I worked at the campus horse farm. Since equine sciences were not my major, I couldn't ride any of the horses there. The Equestrian Team seemed expensive for the few rides you did get and barn time was non-existent. Then, by some stroke of luck, a childhood horsey friend spotted a flyer for Polo Team try-outs and called me up. "We have to try this!" A couple of weeks later we were all in for polo. The polo team at MSU had just formed the year before with tremendous effort from the Detroit Polo Club and its founder Merle Jenkins. Our team had some incredible mentorship from the club and that extended into summer grooming opportunities. Many of the players took us newbies on and we fumbled through our first summer soaking it all LIFE AFTER I/I Getting in, Getting on, Giving back "...through many lucky breaks and, well, honestly some hard work, I turned my hobby into a "real job." Emmalyn Wheaton- Michigan State University '04

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