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 48 of 75

47 I/I MAGAZINE - 2019 HELPING ON HORSEBACK SMU Coach Runs Succesful eraputic Riding Program I n 1964, the same year the Beatles hit the USA for their first appearance in the states, a young 11 year old boy was given the gift of horses thru the generosity of one Donald "Mac" McCarrol . Mac played arena polo and ran and owned a public riding program with over 100 rental horses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He made his money operating a large school bus program but his passions were horses and arena polo. He sent one of his school buses around the entire city of Milwaukee every Saturday all year long picking up and dropping off riders of all ages, mostly kids. He made the experience of riding a horse and playing arena polo available at an incredibly discounted price. $2 to ride a horse for an hour and $4 for two chukkers of Arena polo. I never would have had the opportunity to get into horses if it wasn't for Mac and that weekly school bus that took me out to Joy Farm. I looked forward to that one hour on the back of a horse all week long. Two of us on that bus went on to play for the University of Connecticut polo team. Rick Voss was my best friend (still is) and he won the National Intercollegiate Arena Polo Championships three times. I only won twice, but I helped transition polo from off campus to on campus and began a teaching program at UConn back in the seventies. That program pulled in a grad student by the name of James McBride who then got another guy named Jim Dinger going, whose daughter Meg started the successful years of women's championships that included Kim Syme and Amy Fraser. Anyone in I/I will recognize those two names. What does all that have to do with a therapeutic riding program called Helping on Horseback now operating out of Flower Mound Farm in Flower Mound, TX? It has everything to do with it. Mac lite a fire all the way into my soul 54 years ago. I fell in love with horses and then later, polo. I have spent a lifetime and a livelihood managing large equestrian centers, playing and teaching polo. Mac set the example for me of helping others by the way of the back of a horse, so I have tried to do the same. One of the ways is "Helping on Horseback", a therapeutic riding program that I started in 2011. We are aligned with two fabulous programs: Easter Seals and HopeKids, both programs for kids. Easter Seals is all about children with autism. HopeKids gives hope to children and their siblings with terminal conditions. Many people do not realize how much surviving siblings struggle with the loss of a brother or a sister, so HopeKids reaches out to the entire family. Autism has a wide spectrum and Easter Seals decides who of their students will best benefit by the experience of being on the back of a horse. It is so powerful to see a child who struggles with coping with everyday things we all take for granted, climb up on a horse and literally be carried to a better place. Both of these programs and all of their children have been a gift in my life. To see them break into laughter when we trot down the ring gets me every time. I still feel that exact same way when I'm up on a horse. I just never express it as well as those kids do. Riding makes me about as happy as I can be. So happy to follow Macs lead and to be able to keep sharing that wonderful feeling with others. Mac passed away a couple of decades ago. He scored a goal in an arena chukker and cantered back to the throw in, reached down to pat his horse, Baywood, and suffered a massive heart attack. Mac was still Tom Goodspeed- University of Connecticut '77

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