Polo Players Edition

NOV 2011

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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What has been your biggest challenge in improving? My biggest challenge has always been getting opportunities to play. Not coming from a polo background makes it a little more difficult to break in to the sport, but I have been lucky that the Johnston family has given me numerous opportunities to play and ride. What is your most memorable moment in the sport so far? ᑂᑃᑉᑉᑇᑆᑑᑀᑁᑐᑅᑈᑆᑄᑃ ᑆᑕᑔᑅᑀᑃᑄ ᑈᑑᑗᑓᑖᑒᑑᑙᑅᑀᑂ ᑇᑑᑡᑔᑓᑅᑀᑇᑖᑕᑀᑈᑘᑠᑗᑁᑀᑉᑐ How did you get started in polo? I was lucky enough to move next to the equestrian center in Big Horn and started exercising horses for Paul and Renee Wollenman when I was 11 years old. They provided me with horses to participate in the Saturday night polo school, and I fell in love with the sport. I worked for them for four summers until I was offered a job by the Johnston family training green horses. I have been playing and training for them ever since. What college did you attend? I attended Sheridan College and the University of Wyoming. Did you have one person in particular who inspired you to play? It would be unfair to pick just one person who inspired me to play. There have been many players who have inspired me at different times, and many others who, through their wisdom and generosity, have made the sport irresistible. What is it about the sport that you like best? The most interesting and addicting part of polo to me is the horses. Combining personal athleticism with the ability to control an animal has always been the most appealing part of polo to me. Jeff Blake instructs Devon Dailey and Matt Huckeba What is your goal in the sport and how do you plan to reach it? My goal in polo is to just to be a part of it. Whether I become a professional player or a horse trainer, I hope to be around the sport for as long as I am physically able. I think that through hard work and maintaining good relationships, a career in polo will always be there. My most memorable moment in polo so far would be winning the 12-goal in Gulfstream as it was the first complete tournament I was able to play. It was an incredible learning experience and I was thrilled to be a part of it. What is a typical day for you? A typical day depends on the season. In Florida we start early, generally around 5 a.m., cleaning stalls and taking sets. This past season we had polo almost everyday whether it was a game or practice. If there was no game or practice we would ride singles. In Wyoming I try and ride almost all day every day, moving cows, playing keep-away or green horse chukkers. Which player do you admire most? I admire and love to watch players who ride as well as they play. To be 8, 9 or 10 goals and look that smooth on a horse takes a lot of talent and patience. That is what I admire most. What do you look for in a horse? Having ridden predominately green horses, I tend to look for a good mind, athletic ability and just overall smoothness. The more tournament polo I get to play though seems to change my opinion of what makes a good horse. What is the best horse you've ever played? The best horse I have ever played would be small, gray, Wyoming-raised mare named Silver leaf. She was bred by Gillian Johnston so I know her well, having played her as a young horse. She has an unreal handle, especially at speed. You feel as if you are always 100 percent in control of her every movement. Even though she is typically the smallest horse in the barn, she has so much try and determination that she wins plays she shouldn't. Other than polo, what are your interests? Polo occupies the majority of my time, but any extra time is typically devoted to fly fishing. Tell something about yourself that most people don't know. I am an avid reader; I try and finish a book a week. POLO PLAYERS EDITION 23

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