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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continued from page 17 A S I S E E IT grandfathers, uncles, cousins, his father and brothers, readily acknowledges PETER J. RIZZO the Irish Thoroughbreds that Cudmore, backed by Longdole Polo Club's considerable resources, has led the way in showing what can do in polo. Based at Cowdray Park from where he for Silver Spring, plays a high-goal team bankrolled by Adrian Kirby, he now sources all his horsepower from Australia Rob Archibald took annual trips to Ireland to purchase horses. He liked their temperament, and that the Irish took their time making them. weekly Irish Kerry Packer and played by Adolfo Cambiaso, Lolo Castagnola and Gonzalito Pieres; Brazil (also played by Cambiaso); Cabernet (Javier Novillo-Astrada in the 2003 Open, won by his team, La Aguada); Bellen and the gelding Renaldo (Lolo Castagnola). Each year Cudmore places an ad in the inviting Field local Thoroughbred breeders to take their progeny on a specific day for his inspection to a riding school near Cashel in County Tipperary. "The breeders bring them by trailer, they walk them past me and in two hours I can choose whatever I like from more than 100 on offer," he says. "I look at them with an eye to their size and shape rather than lineage. What I particularly like about Irish Thoroughbreds is their abundance. You can scout all over England buying one here and another there. I'd rather go to Ireland and look at a whole lot and buy what I want in one go. You pay 500 to 800 euros per horse and air-freighting them to England costs another 200 euros each." Nowadays he keeps the best from what he buys in Ireland to mount his own sons, Mathew (23 years old and 2 goals) and Oliver (21 and 4 goals) and Christopher Hanbury's sons, Charlie (25 and 4 goals) and George (24 and 2 goals). By way of example of the ridiculous prices English polo pays for ponies, he cites an offer of 100,000 pounds for one of Charlie's mares, a bid which he declined. Rob Archibald, 27, a 6-goal professional on the English circuit and scion of a polo dynasty spanning paternal and maternal by breeders with whom Booth had done previous business. "We would ride them all and if they had the right conformation we would buy three or four fillies annually, all broken in but never raced," Archibald recalls. "It's always a risk but it was justified by the success of others we'd bought on previous visits. "The greatest attraction of the Irish Thoroughbred is their temperament. The Irish are good horsemen and they take their time with their horses whereas in England and elsewhere they tend to rush them. We wouldn't bring horses into high-goal polo before they were 6 years old. There's a saying that for every year you wait, you get two years more polo from a pony." Rob Cudmore buys and trains Irish Thoroughbreds for polo. Nine have played in the Argentine Open for top players. where several breeders, not least his own father, support him in his quest to scale polo's highest pinnacle, the 10-goal handicap. The then 17-year-old Archibald took sudden wing in Australian medium- and high-goal tournaments in 2002, his handicap rising from 1 to 3 goals following the polo season. His progress as a player has been reinforced by annual excursions to Argentine, continuing to this day, working for and playing with polo families, including the Monteverdes, the Arayas, and more recently, with 10-goaler Bautista Heguy, complemented for successive Argentine-born Alejo Aita Tagle has been making and selling Irish Thoroughbred polo ponies for nine years at his wife's family's Bishopland farm in Kildare. Others in English polo with a soft spot by contesting Argentine medium-goal tournaments and by the English season, playing patrons and intermittently representing Australia in test matches against England, New Zealand and South Africa. Archibald's admission into English polo in 2003 came courtesy developer Mark Booth, of Wildmoor team, playing in medium-goal tournaments. Booth had a penchant for Irish Thoroughbreds. Archibald recalls their annual trips to Ireland to sample 2- and 3-year-old for the Irish Thoroughbred include the former 7-goaler Alan Kent, Oliver Hipwood (6 goals), Henry Brett (6 goals), Roddy Williams (5 goals) and Richard Le Poer (4 goals), who won the Ferguson Cup for the most 2011 improved young player in English polo. Descended from an ancient Anglo-Irish dynasty, he insists that Irish Thoroughbreds are "the best sport horse in the world because they have of property patron Thoroughbred the oldest breeding lines of due to the persistent passion of the Irish people to breed the best horses for the last two colts and fillies offered centuries … These lines give a horse heart, athleticism and a good temperament. This is why many Irish Thoroughbreds have done well in polo." POLO PLAYERS EDITION 43 ALICE GIPPS ALICE GIPPS BUNNY PARSONS

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