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Tournament Recap

BMW of Encinitas Wins 8-Goal USPA Spreckels Cup Match in OT

By | 30th Anniversary Season, Charity Event, Player's Corner, Sunday Polo, Tournament Recap | No Comments

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Polo in San Diego, where surf and turf meet, is well and alive. The final tournament for the season was the 8-goal Spreckels Cup match in front of a sold out crowd on Sunday October 2. The match was held to honor the tradition of the cup and to benefit the club’s charity partner, Dress For Success San Diego, a non-profit that empowers women to succeed in the work place and improve the quality of life for their families.

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Team BMW Encinitas with Nour-Dean Anakar in the one position, Nicholas Ramos playing two, Rodrigo Salinas playing three and Doug Blumenthal at four, took on Roseville Motors with Topo Mendez at one, Juan Jose Gonzales at two, Ashton Wolf at three and Eric Hammon at four. The match was a hard fought battle from start to finish with Roseville Motors jumping out to a fast 3-1 lead in the first chuker with two goals from Mendez and one by Gonzalez. BMW Encinitas came roaring back with five-consecutive goals with Anakar and Ramos knocking in two each and Salinas adding one. The second half was a tight defensive battle with neither team able to score until the last chukker. Wolf and Mendez each scored to force overtime. Anakar converted a penalty 3 in extra time to bring home the win for Team BMW.

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The 107-year-old Spreckels Cup was presented to Team BMW Encinitas by USPA Governor-at-Large Scott Walker, USPA Committee Member Tony Yahyai and special guest, David Lewis, the grandson of John D.Spreckels. Topo Mendez won MVP and Ashton Wolf’s horse Chica won Best Playing Pony. The trophy presentation was followed by both teams soaking each other with champagne. After the Spreckels Cup presentation, the club celebrated the season finale with a members’ barbecue party.

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Becky Schaller, Kristi Hammon, Ashton Wolf, Eric Hammon and Ellen Greenhill win the pro-pool Spreckels Cup!

Congrats to the first and second place pro-pool teams who played for the Spreckels Cup earlier in the afternoon. Team Monteverde/RosevilleMotors was victorious! Kristi Hammon won MVP and Eric Hammon’s horse won Best Playing Pony.

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Marc Berry, Juan Jose Gonzales, Tony Yahyai & Nour-Dean Anakar win 2nd place of the pro-pool Spreckels Cup! On stage with announcer Steve Lewandowski and David Lewis, grandson of John D. Spreckels.

Thank you all for a wonderful summer season! We are winding down with Fall Polo through October and arena play through the end of the year. If you’re interested in lessons or playing polo, feel free to reach out to us at chukkers@sandiegopolo.com or 858-481-2247. Otherwise, we’ll see you on Opening Day 2017!

Pacific Coast Arena League Welcomes Over 45 Polo Players to San Diego

By | News, Player's Corner, Polo Stories, Tournament Recap | One Comment

On Saturday, July 23rd, arena polo players from all over California came to San Diego to participate in the Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament, attracting over 45 players in just one day.  The Pacific Coast Arena Polo League is a summer polo competition. Players have the opportunity to compete throughout the season at five different clubs for points. Those points tally, and high points earn season-end awards. It’s a fun way for all of the arena players in southern California to get together for a full day of polo. From our Interscholastic teenaged players to our best A-rated players, the day was action packed with some of the most amazing arena polo you’ll ever see.  Some of the other clubs represented were OC Polo, Central Coast Polo, California Polo Club, Lakeside Polo and Poway Polo.

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The day started off with an A-flight round robin between Moonshine Polo Team (Julie Empey, Jeff Trout, Jennifer Alexy), Poway/OC (Skyler Dale, Ian Schnoebelen, Forest Smith), and Justice League (Ali Mobtaker, Niki Mobtaker, Andrew Scott). Final score: Justice League 6, Poway/OC 5 and Moonshine 1. Sportsmanship went to Julie Empey, MVP to Skyler Dale and Best Playing Pony to Ian Schnoebelen’s horse Secret.

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Next up was the B-Flight round robin between Ludwig Polo (Sri Mummaneni, Dawson Ludwig, Troy Crumley), CCPC (Alyssa Garcia, Hannah Heitzig, Megan Judge) and Top View (Chuck Stanislowski, Lovive Laverdure, Alenya Chekhova). Final Score: CCPC 14, Top View 10, Ludwig Polo 9. Sportsmanship went to Chuck Stanislowski, MVP to Megan Judge, and Best Playing Pony to Lovive Laverdure’s horse Secret.

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In the afternoon, the B Flight match up between OC Polo (Mila Herrera, Shelley Geiler, Heather Perkins, Kelli Newton) and CPC (JP Coghill, Katty Wong, Kirsten Ludwig) was a high scoring match. CPC won the match 12 to 8. Sportsmanship went to Shelley Geiler, MVP to Kirsten Ludwig, and Best Playing Pony to Kelli Newton’s horse Zenardi.

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The C Flight Team Mystical Moose (Jack Empey, Drew Hobscheid, Kylie Kufahl and Paige Kufahl) played CPC 2 (Sonia Couling, Frances Bryson, Barry Nadell and substitute JP Coghill). After a minor injury, Nadell stepped out and JP Coghill subbed in his place. Mystical Moose scored 13, with just 1 for CPC2. Sportsmanship went to Sonia Couling, MVP to Drew Hobscheid (with 10 goals!), and Best Playing Pony to Paige Kufahl’s horse Bella.

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Three’s Comany (Matt Davis, Lauren Helpern, Kelly Davis, Colleen Newton) and Poway/San Diego (Gillian Young, Larry VanderPloeg, Bryan Treusch) battled it out in the 4:00pm C Flight. Three’s Company won 8 to 5. Sportsmanship went to Larry VanderPloeg, MVP to Matt Davis, and Best Playing Pony to Bryan Treusch’s horse Coneja.

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The last match of the evening was a C Flight match between OC/San Diego (Leo Diaz, Emma Hobscheid, Miriam Ellis, Jack Gaon, Hudson Sirjani) and Rebel Polo (Mikayla Chapman, Shayna Chapman, Gwenyth Bennett, Nicole Johnson, Michael Proulx). Keep in mind, some of these players were splitting positions and we always play 3 on 3. OC/San Diego won 13 to 3. Sportsmanship went to Shayna Chapman, MVP to Leo Diaz and Best Playing Pony to Nicole Johnson’s third chukker horse.

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Arena polo is often mistaken as less exciting and more condensed than grass polo.  If you take just one quick moment to watch some chukkers of some A rated players, you’ll very quickly realize how scrappy, exciting, action packed and different Arena polo is from grass polo.  It’s amazing just how different the entire game can be within the 100×50 yard field.  You can often use the wall or boards of the arena as a “4th man” in your chukkers, using it for your team, or against the other team.  You can smack the ball against the boards at an angle to change the line of the ball to pass to a teammate, something you can’t really do in grass unless you hit it low enough to bounce it off the red boards on the ground.  The close contact in the arena is extremely exciting, sometimes looking more like a demolition derby instead of Formula One racing.  Most of the same rules still apply in either game – grass or arena – but the strategy tends to be much different.

2016-PCAL-San-Diego-Megan-Judge2016-PCAL-San-Diego-Mythical-Moose-Drew-HobscheidWhile hitting and carrying the ball tends to be much easier on the grass, since most people prefer to play golf on the green instead of the sand pits, imagine just how much more skill you might need to “play golf in the sand pits” all the time?  The arena ball tends to glance off mounds of sand or mud, or get stuck in hoof holes created by the galloping horses.  But to develop enough skill to work around that and STILL be a dynamite polo player, I’d say that’s a mission worth trying, and a feat often underestimated and overlooked. With the deck stacked against you in getting the ball to move anywhere in a straight line, you might argue that arena polo is harder.

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New players may rush themselves through Arena as their end game or end goal might be to play on the grass.  Take one look at an arena tournament and you are in for one hell of a ride. You can see Everything right up close, you can hear the grunts of the horses, hear the clanking of stirrups during a ride off, see all the action up close from wherever you’re standing – it’s easier to see every detail.   Get ready to duck out of the way of a ball flying out of bounds!

The next time you hear about an arena tournament at SD Polo, come on down and check it out.  It’s really an amazing display of expertise horsemanship, and expert ball-mallet handling, turning in tight circles, dribbling the ball to keep it away from a fast approaching opponent.  It has non-stop ride-offs, precision maneuvers within the small space… it is a RUSH!

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Thank you to USPA third man umpire Rick Sears, Julie Empey, Stacy Egusa, Lindsey Chronert, Tim Empey, Ashton Wolf and the entire San Diego Polo team for putting together a fun tournament. Another big thank you to everyone who came out to the polo fields to play and support our arena programs! We love hosting visitors and opening our doors to different players of all levels. We hope you enjoyed your time at SD Polo, its picturesque setting, and hopefully you made it down to watch our Sunday Matches!

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USPA Spreckels Cup Finals presented by Woodford Reserve to benefit WWF

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Polo Team Adeptus/Sycamore Wins 106th USPA Spreckels Cup

in support of World Wildlife Fund

2015-SDPC-Spreckels-Cup-Winners.-Diego-Cossio,-Max-Menini,-Colleen-Wilson,-Bryon-Ward.-Photo-by-Jaime-Dixx-webThe tournament’s underdog, Team Adeptus/Sycamore won the 106th USPA Spreckels Cup at the San Diego Polo Club, which took place on Sunday, September 27. The charity polo match benefited World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization that helps protect the future of nature. With the help of local Rancho Santa Fe residents, polo players, friends and WWF supporters, the charity raised over $11,000 at the San Diego Polo Club.

In partnership with the United States Polo Association, the San Diego Polo Club hosted the 106th Annual USPA Spreckels Cup, the oldest polo tournament on the west coast. The USPA Spreckels Cup is a historical tournament named after John D. Spreckels, an entrepreneur who founded a transportation and real estate empire, including the San Diego Railway, Hotel del Coronado and San Diego’s first polo club in Coronado.

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Multiple teams played in the two-week Spreckels Cup tournament, bringing in international polo players for the duration of the tournament. Favored to win, Team San Judas had a strong team consisting of Mexican polo professional Alvaro Tadeo; American professional player, Joseph Stuart; 15 year old prodigy, Harrison Azzaro, son of one of the most talented American polo players; and team owner, Ramon Richard. In previous games, San Judas was victorious, even in their previous match up against Sunday’s opponent, Adeptus/Sycamore. However, with the help of Argentine polo professionals, Diego Cossio and Max “the machine gun” Menini, Team Adeptus/Sycamore came out on top and celebrated their victory in front of Sunday’s Closing Day crowd, alongside team owners Colleen Wilson and Bryon Ward.

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Joseph Stuart kicked things off in the first chukker with a goal for San Judas, knocking it straight through the goal mouth from 90 yards back. Max Menini scored for Adeptus/Sycamore to tie it up, but Harrison Azzaro with San Judas scored, bringing the score 2 to 1 in the first chukker.

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Adeptus/Sycamore had a strong defense and San Judas fell behind in the second chukker, while Bryon Ward and Diego Cossio scored for Adeptus/Sycamore. Joseph Stuart and Maz Menini both scored on penalty hits in the third chukker, bringing the score to 4 to 3, Adeptus/Sycamore on the lead. While Joseph Stuart and Harrison Azzaro take the credit for the goals for San Judas, Alvaro Tadeo was a workhorse on the field, making it hard for Adeptus/Sycamore to score.

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Diego Cossio and Max Menini were a dynamic duo, always working together both defensively and offensively to help each other out. In the fourth chukker, Diego Cossio scored another for Adeptus/Sycamore and kept San Judas at bay until the 5th chukker.

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Alvaro Tadeo passed the ball up to team owner, Ramon Richard, and Ramon took it away to the goal and scored an important point for San Judas. In the final chukker, Max Menini scored for Adeptus/Sycamore and Alvaro Tadeo scored for San Judas. It was a hard battle, but Adeptus/Sycamore stayed in control of the game steadily through with the final score 7 to 5.

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Dr. Colleen Wilson has served on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Polo Club for many years, and has played polo in Rancho Santa Fe for 18 years. Over the course of this time, she has played with multiple teams and various professionals, but this winning combination has taken her to the top and led her team to victory for the first time, thus proving how difficult it is to enter the historical tournament. One of Dr. Wilson’s strengths is her string of eight beautiful polo ponies; she is well-known in the equestrian community for her healthy horses and horsemanship. There are two athletes on the field: the horse and the rider. A polo players mount is just as important as the talent riding the animal.

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In partnership with the La Jolla Polo Team, the World Wildlife Fund hosted their first-ever fundraiser in San Diego to raise awareness about their global initiatives. For more than 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.1 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.

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California State Assembly member, Martin Garrick and San Diego Council-hopeful Ray Ellis enjoyed the afternoon in the VIP tent with other guests, including Regional Director of WWF Britta Justesen, Director of Philanthropy of WWF Anne Trela, Vice-President of SDPC Nour-Dean Anakar, Zeeto Media’s CEO Stephan Goss, General Manager of BMW Encinitas Darrin Fetterolf, Reuben and Natasha Katz of La Jolla Polo Team, and local philanthropic supporters Naomi Gallego and Berenice Blake.

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The San Diego Polo Club invited guests to the Woodford Reserve’s VIP Lounge with polo players, local celebrities and philanthropists alike. VIP guests enjoyed the Distiller’s Select Kentucky Bourbon and Doubled Oaked Bourbon pairing with sweet caramel and fresh pear slices. Woodford Reserve offered specialty cocktails that benefited WWF, including “Panda Punch” and the “Jaguar Julep”.

Korbel California Champagne offered tastes of champagne to all guests during the half-time divot stomp and BMW of Encinitas refilled glasses from the back of their luxury automobiles parked center field. Woodford Reserve presented bourbon barrel heads and bottles of bourbon as gifts to both teams.

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BMW of Encinitas led the ceremonial Parade of Teams with a fleet of luxury cars, including the new hybrid BMW I-8. Steve Lewandowski, the voice of the San Diego Polo Club for the last 25 years, emceed the event.

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The national anthem was sung by Jazmin Feteke, and Billy Ray, National Brand Ambassador for Woodford Reserve with Suzanne Brown of Brown-Forman provided the ceremonial first ball throw in to start the game.

2015 SDPC Spreckels Cup. First Ball Throw In Billy Ray. Photo by Eric Young

United States Polo Association Governor, Scott Walker, presented trophies to the winners alongside three generations from the Spreckels family, Molly Spreckels-Agee, Jessica Spreckels-Burch, and Torry Spreckels-Metrovich.

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Son of San Diego Polo Club’s founder, Willis Allen, displayed over a dozen antique Steerman biplanes on the grass, which took off over the large crowd after the matches.

USPA Rossmore Cup Finals & White Party to benefit the San Diego Film Foundation

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The San Diego Polo Club hosted its USPA Rossmore on September 6, with its annual White Party to benefit the San Diego Film Foundation. The San Diego Film Foundation is an educational, 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that produces the annual San Diego Film Festival and hosts year-round, cinema-related events to foster and promote the film community in San Diego.

Guests entered the gates modeling their white ensembles. Before taking their seats, guests strolled around the venue, taking a look at our vendors including Buzz Box cocktails, JL Rocha leather goods, and Roast Coach.

For a quick (and fun) recap, watch the USPA Rossmore Cup & White Party Video below.

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Patrons enjoyed an intermission show of Brazilian Drumming/Dancing as they celebrated Brazilian Independence Day.

Sacha Boutros de Cázares had the pleasure of singing the national anthem. San Diego native, Sacha, has gone from gigging at a few San Diego clubs and U.S. festivals to touring the world and back, to having her recordings hit the top of the charts in Japan and on e­music, to even receiving a Grammy nod for best jazz and Latin jazz album in 2008 and 2013.

The feature match of the day began at 3:00pm between Twin Palms/Roseville Motors in blue and Pasion sporting the day’s theme of white. Merridee Books, Vice President of Development of The San Diego Film Foundation had the honors of doing the first ball throw-in.

The first chukker concluded with two goals from Graham Bray and Chris Maloney for Twins Palms/Roseville Motors. In Chukker Two, Kimo Huddleston and Diego Velarde each scored a goal for Pasion.

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Chukker Three left the game tied with one more goal from Patrick Uretz representing Twin Palms/Roseville Motors and another goal from Diego Velarde representing Pasion.

With the score at 3-3, the teams entered the fourth chukker. Uretz, Bray, and Maloney scored three goals for Twin Palms/Roseville Motors and Velarde scored once more for Pasion.

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In the 5th chukker, Bray took a hard bump from the opposing team, knocking both him and his horse on to the ground. The horse rolled on top of Bray before running back to the tie rails. Bray sat on the field for some time and while his fellow players told him to take it easy and sit out for the remainder of the game, Bray pushed them aside, wiped off the blood and mounted up. In the final two chukkers, Bray played his hardest.

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By the sixth chukker the score was 8-7 with Twin Palms/Roseville Motors in the lead. Diego Velarde scored two more goals for Pasion. Maloney and Bray together scored three goals in the final chukker leaving the final score at 11-9, Twin Palms/Roseville Motors.

Alice Collins presented Chris Maloney with the Best Playing Pony Award for his horse Pulona.

USPA’s Mike Uretz presented the winning team with awards. Eric Hammon, Patrick Uretz, Graham Bray and Chris Maloney.

Needless to say, Graham Bray won the Most Valuable Player Award. He’s one of the most skilled horsemen in the sport and one of the toughest guys on the field.

USPA Rossmore Cup MVP

Nacho Figueras’ Team La Jolla Polo Wins Polo Match at Woodford Reserve Polo Classic in support of the International Testicular Cancer Foundation

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San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Nacho Figueras

The San Diego Polo Club welcomed Nacho Figueras and Hilaro Figueras during his first-ever visit to the San Diego Polo Club at the fourth annual Woodford Reserve Classic, which took place on Sunday, June 28. The charity polo match benefited International Testicular Cancer Foundation, a charity that raises awareness about testicular cancer in younger generations. ITCF was created in memory of a young man that lost his battle to testicular cancer at a young age.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic-Parade of Teams

Nacho Figueras and his son Hilario Figueras assisted in winning the game for La Jolla Polo Team, which celebrated their victory in front of a large crowd alongside Reuben Katz, Shannon John Johnson, and Ellen Greenhill. The team fought against Team ITCF, which featured Vice President of the San Diego Polo Club, Nour-Dean Anakar, Stephan Goss, Nicole DeBurg and Team Captain, Diego Cossio. The two teams played each other in a short two chukker polo match.

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In partnership with the La Jolla Polo Team, Nacho Figueras and his son Hilario played an exhibition polo match in front of the San Diego Polo Club audience in order to raise awareness about the International Testicular Cancer Foundation.

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His wife Delfina Blaquier enjoyed the afternoon in the VIP tent with other guests, including the founder of UGG Brian Smith, Craig J. Venter Institute’s COO Nicole DeBurg, Zeeto Media’s CEO Stephan Goss, Reuben and Natasha Katz, Board Member of ITCF Shannon John Johnson, General Manager of BMW Encinitas Darrin Fetterolf, Regional Marketing Manager of Brown-Forman Ivan Toro and Woodford Reserve Marketing Manager Lisa Renard.

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The San Diego Polo Club invited guests to a Woodford Reserve’s Distiller’s Select Kentucky Bourbon and Doubled Oaked Bourbon pairing with sweet caramel and fresh apple slices.

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Woodford Reserve also served cocktails to VIP guests during the half-time divot stomp and presented the winning team with Woodford Reserve barrel head timepieces and bottles of bourbon.

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BMW of Encinitas led the ceremonial Parade of Teams in both matches with a fleet of luxury cars, including the new hybrid BMW I-8.

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The national anthem was sung by San Diego Opera’s Christen Horne and Jim Smallwood, founder of the International Testicular Cancer Foundation with Natasha and Bela Katz of La Jolla Polo Team, provided the ceremonial first ball throw in to start the game.

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Son of San Diego Polo Club’s founder, Willis Allen, displayed over a dozen antique Steerman biplanes on the grass, which took off over the large crowd after the matches.

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Father’s Day Brunch & Rancho Santa Fe Cup Finals

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The San Diego Polo Club (SDPC) celebrated Father’s Day on Field 5 with a special Father’s Day Brunch. Guests enjoyed a brunch buffet and coffee while enjoying a day full of equestrian fun.

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Gates opened at 11:00am as guests and their fathers enjoyed items from a wonderful brunch menu that included Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits, Crème Brulee French Toast Casserole, Spice Rubbed Tri Tip and an Andouille Sausage Carving Station, along with Kale Caesar Salad, Fresh Fruit Platters, and Mini Carrot Cake Cupcakes.

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The first polo match of the day began at 11:30am between Adeptus Nutrition/Pasion and Von Furstenburg. Diego Cossio scored twice in the 1st Chukker for Von Furstenburg followed by one goal from Ashton Wolf representing Adeptus Nutrition/Pasion. By the 3rd Chukker Von Furstenburg had leaped ahead by one point from David Samaniego. Diego Cossio locked in the win in the Final Chukker with one more goal from Von Furstenburg; the final score being 5-3.

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We had the pleasure of hosting Rhianna Wilson as our national anthem singer during the day’s intermission. Rhianna Wilson is 17 years old and will be a Senior in High School this fall.  She is a 3rd Generation San Diego Native who resides in Ramona with her family. Rhianna is a Petty Officer in her NJROTC class at school and a vocal artist for the Girls Against Abuse Musical Charity.  She has had the honor to sing the National Anthem for the SD Padres, Rodeos, SPAWAR Ceremonies, but the one that has meant the most was for NBC’s Salute to Service aboard the Midway on Veteran’s Day this past November.

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The feature match of the day began at 1:30pm between Luna Polo and Night Watch. the 1st Chukker consisted of two goals from Diego Larregli representing Luna Polo and one goal from Diego Velarde representing Night Watch.

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In the 2nd Chukker Bernie Diaz scored for Night Watch. Topo Mendez brought Luna Polo ahead by one point soon after.

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Diego Larregli scored three goals in a row for Luna Polo in the 3rd Chukker. Diego Velarde scored one for Night Watch.

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In the 4th Chukker Diego Velarde and Manny Rodriguez scored for  Night Watch, leaving the final score in Luna Polo’s favor at 6-5.

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Diego Larregli won MVP with 5 goals on the afternoon. Steve Pollack presented Diego with a pair of sunglasses, courtesy of SDPC’s Official Eyewear Sponsor, Leisure Society.

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Rancho Santa Fe Cup

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Sunday, June 7th was another beautiful day here at the San Diego Polo Club. What originally was a gloomy, cloud-covered morning eventually turned into a sunny afternoon as the first wave of guests arrived. This exuberant day brought our polo season underway with special attendees sipping on bottomless mimosas in the VIP Tent while settling in before the first match.

The first match began at 1:30pm between Luna Polo and Knight Watch. Luna Polo leaped ahead in the 1st chukker with Jennifer Alexy and Diego Lareggli each scoring a goal. Rodolfo Ramos and Diego Velarde held their ground for Knight Watch as they also scored two goals later on in the match. The match ended with Knight Watch at 2 and Luna Polo at 4, taking the win.

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Guests sporting their chic polo attire enjoyed samples from BuzzBox Beverages and cold brew from Roast Coach while perusing through the fine furnishings and clothing options from ValGalder Design for Living. VIP guests enjoyed samples of Enzolie Men’s Fragrance on each of their tables and were later fed delectable meals from the Wild Thyme Company which included summer rolls and cheese plates. Others enjoyed the bright weather while tailgating with their families on the opposite side of the arena.

At intermission the attendees enjoyed an energetic demonstration by the Ballistic Racers Flyball Team. Dogs of every age and size had the thrill of demonstrating their talents for a fascinated audience.

Our national anthem was sung by Jazmin Fekete, a native San Diegan from Rancho Penasquitos. She started competing at 5 years old and has recently been seen on Fox 5s “3 minutes to stardom”. She has sang in front of crowds big and small and even sang as a pre opener for Kelly Clarkson in 2006. Jazmin now sings as a worship leader for several events and is a part of the Rock Church Worship Arts Choir.

Shannon Smull had the honor of throwing in the ceremonial first ball in celebration of her birthday! Shannon is an arena player that is new to grass polo.

The second match of the day began at 3:30pm between Adeptus/Pasion and San Fernando/San Judas. The 1st Chukker consisted of two goals from Colleen Wilson and Kimo Huddleston for team Adeptus/Pasion, followed by one goal from Alvaro Tadeo representing San Fernando/San Judas. Tadeo scored another three goals in the 2nd Chukker, tying up the game. The audience sat on the edge of their seats as SDPC’s very own Ashton Wolf scored the final goal for Adeptus/Pasion and taking home the win, 7-6.

Opening Day Exceeds Expectations

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Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club has evolved into one of San Diego’s signature events, where people flock to the fields for thrilling polo, champagne, divot stomping and an incredible fashion scene. On Sunday, May 31, 2015, the San Diego Polo Club celebrated the kick-off of their 29th season in Rancho Santa Fe and 109th anniversary of polo in San Diego with a crowd exceeding 4,000, all to benefit local charity, Wounded Warrior Homes.

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One of the day’s most captured moments was at the entrance of the venue. The team at SDPC worked with local artists to build a wall made with recycled wood, succulents and plants arched with the letters “SD Polo”. Guests of all shapes and sizes posed in front of the SD Polo Wall. To see your photos, visit our Facebook Page.

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As an added feature, this year’s Opening Day showcased Southern California’s Food Truck Challenge and 3rd Annual Hot Rods for Heroes, a car and food truck competition. Over 100 hot rod cars, vintage autos and motorcycles were on display for everyone to peruse. Guests sampled food from the competing food trucks and tasted beers from San Diego’s finest craft breweries, including Ballast Point, Belching Beaver and Left Coast Brewing.

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The day started off with a game between Luna Polo (Virgil Kyle A, Jennifer Alexy A, Topo Mendez 2, Diego Lareggli 2) and San Fernando/San Judas (Roberto Estudillo A, Ramon Richard B.5, Francisco Guiquazu 3, Sam Sheike 1). Francisco Guiquazu scored the first goal on the afternoon and two total in the first chukker for San Fernando/San Judas and Topo Mendez shot one in for Luna Polo.

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In the second chukker, Jennifer Alexy, Topo Mendez and Diego Larregli all scored for Luna Polo, bringing the score 4 to 2 at half time.

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Diego Larregli came back strong with two goals in the third chukker and one in the fourth, bringing Luna Polo up to 7 goals. Francisco Guiquazu scored twice more for San Fernando/San Judas, but it wasn’t enough to take the win.

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Sempra Energy’s Executive Vice President, Jessie J. Knight  congratulated Luna Polo on their win on the trophy deck. Jessie J. Knight is chairman of San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E); chairman of Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), an affiliate of SDG&E; and executive vice president of external affairs for Sempra Energy. Jessie Knight was Mayor Faulconer’s chief aide when he was a City Council member and is also currently heading Mayor Faulconer’s new Chargers Stadium Task Force.

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After the first match, guests stomped the divots that were kicked up by the horses and sipped champagne! Among the stylish polo crowd were polo players, celebrities, entrepreneurs and scientists alike. Scott Eastwood, son of Clint, is currently filming 3 major motion pictures and just starred in The Longest Ride, but he found time to stomp divots and watch polo with friends.

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Guests in the VIP tent enjoyed complimentary Woodford Reserve tasters and mini-cocktails with the Kentucky bourbon and lemonade, our favorite way to enjoy the liquor.

A 1954 Bentley Mark VI Sedanca Custom owned by David Young of San Diego led the parade of teams for the featured match. The car is fully restored and the only one of its kind in existence today. He drove alongside J. Craig Venter’s 1963 vintage Jaguar XKE.

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Genomics entrepreneur and one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World, J. Craig Venter pitched the first ball into play Sunday for the San Diego Polo Club’s Opening Day featured match. Venter is a biologist renowned for his contributions in sequencing the human genome and creating the first synthetic bacterial cell. He is founder and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute, co-founder and executive chairman of Synthetic Genomics Inc and co-founder and CEO of Human Longevity Inc.  His new privately held company is focused on extending the healthy, high performance of the human life span. He’s been called one of the most influential scientists of our time.  He is a proud graduate of UCSD, an avid sailor and a award winning rare car collector.

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The 3:00pm match featured Team Von Fuerstenberg (Stephan Goss B, Nour-Dean Anakar A.5, Nicole DeBurg B, David Samaniego A.5, Diego Cossio 3) vs. Adeptus/La Pasion (Tracee Brunetti B, Colleen Wilson A, Ashton Wolf 3, Kimo Huddleston 2). Co-owner of Team Von Fuerstenberg, Stephan Goss had the first two goals on the afternoon, which set the tone for the remainder of the day.

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Diego Cossio scored another for their team, bringing the score 3 to 0 at half time. In the third chukker, Cossio scored again, but Kimo Huddleston retaliated by putting two in for Adeptus/La Pasion.

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Tracee Brunetti also scored one for their team in the fourth chukker. Final score was 4 to 3, Team Von Fuerstenberg.

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It was a sweet win for the underdogs and new polo players, Nicole DeBurg and Stephan Goss of Team Von Fuerstenberg. Nicole is known as the COO of the J. Craig Venter Institute, as well as past CFO of the San Diego Housing Commission. Goss, 27 year old CEO of Zeeto Media— San Diego’s fastest growing sustainable internet marketing company– was lucky enough to celebrate his first win at the San Diego Polo Club on Opening Day in front of the massive crowd. Founding Member and Vice President of the San Diego Polo Club, Nour-Dean Anakar has volunteered countless hours to SDPC and deserved the win more than anyone else.  Team Von Fuerstenberg couldn’t have been happier.

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Publisher of Riviera Magazine, Ken St. Pierre presented both teams with gift bags on the trophy deck.

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Esteemed member of OC Polo and the USPA and CEO of Leisure Society, Shane Baum presented the winners with umbrellas and gifted the MVP, Diego Cossio, with a pair of luxury sunglasses. Leisure Society is an eyewear brand created by Mr. Baum as an extension of his perspective on what life should be: spending time with family, friends, and enjoying intimate moments of absolute leisure.

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Craig Venter presented Leo, owned by Colleen Wilson of Adeptus Nutrition, with the Best Playing Pony award- carrots!

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Guests enjoyed the 7th Chukker After Party presented by Riviera Magazine with beats by DJ Here.

Recap of USPA Spreckels Cup Finals & Closing Day of Polo presented by Woodford Reserve

By | Event, Just For Fun, News, Polo Fashion, Sunday Polo, Tournament Recap | 2 Comments

The San Diego Polo Club (SDPC) celebrated the end of their 28th season in Rancho Santa Fe with the United States Polo Association (USPA) Spreckels Cup & Closing Day presented by Woodford Reserve. Heels2Heal was the exclusive charity partner with specific ticket and auction proceeds benefiting San Diego Youth Services.

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Gates opened at 12:30pm and guests were lined up as early as 9:30am itching to get a good spot to watch the final match at 2pm. Players and VIPs mingled in the Woodford Reserve Lounge and sipped on bourbon infused specialty cocktails as they took awe of the 105 year old Spreckels trophy that was on display with hundreds of beautiful garden and piano roses overflowing the cup.

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The VIP tent was filled with 500 guests, including players, family, friends, sponsors, and of course, the Heels2Heal guests right in the front row. Over 1,300 guests piled into the venue, dressed to the nines in red accents, hats and chic polo outfits.

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The day started out with a classic demonstration of rider and foxhounds, presented by the Santa Fe Hunt. Established in 1969, the Santa Fe Hunt/West Hills Hounds is a Masters of Fox Hounds Association recognized Hunt located in Temecula, California. They are a diverse group of riders brought together by love of horses, open spaces, country values and riding with a fine pack of foxhounds as they work a scent. The San Diego Polo Club is honored to welcome back Terry Paine and the Santa Fe Hunt every year.

Next up was the highly anticipated fashion show presented by Heels2Heal chair and polo player, Sonya Berg the Zen Fashionista.

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Sonya is a TV Personality, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Fashion Show Designer & Producer, and philanthropist. Her “Sexy Socialite News Girls Pre-Fall Fashion Show” featured the San Diego News Girls, including Brandi Williams, Kimi Evans, Natasha Sweattle, Sabrina Fein, Tabitha Lipkin, and Staci Ortiz-Davis. Over 20 female models and 10 male models featured fall fashions from Matti D, Nicole Miller, Mister B’s, Jill Courtemanche Millinery, TRE, and Van de Vort.

After the fashion show, guests were encouraged to grab a drink at the bar or get a bite to eat and settle in for the final match of the season, the USPA Spreckels Cup Finals.

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Five teams had been competing for the chance to play in the 105 year old tournament, The USPA sanctioned Spreckels Cup. On September 28th, 2014 the top two teams fought it out for the title of Spreckels Champions. After weeks of
competing for a spot in the final game, Starmeadow/Roseville Motor Car and Twin Palms took the field for the final tournament of 2014.

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Anthony Ballard did the honors of singing the national anthem during our Opening Ceremonies. With over 25 years’ experience, Anthony’s diverse background spans opera, musical theatre, non-musicals, tap, jazz and ballet. Anthony is an active member of the San Diego Opera’s Core Chorus and has appeared in over 50 San Diego arts productions since moving to the area in 1993.

USPA Closing Day- First Ball Throw-In

After the anthem, Suzanne Brown from Woodford Reserve did the honors of throwing in the ceremonial first ball and starting off the first chukker!

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The first goal of chukker one was scored by Graham “the big guns” Bray for Starmeadow. Twin Palms’ Gaston Von Wernich was right behind him, scoring for his team. Playing for the trophy, Von Wernich scored the next three goals in chukker two.

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Ashton Wolf made a comeback, scoring two goals for Starmeadow. Chukker three started with a goal from Twin Palms’ Ryan Robertson. Colton Bancroft fired back, scoring one for Starmeadow. Not one to back down easily, Robertson scored the remaining goal of chukker three, lengthening his team’s lead. At halftime, the scores were Starmeadow 4 / Twin Palms 6.

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During the traditional “Pretty Woman Divot Stomp,” guests enjoyed a sample of Korbel California Champagne as they mingled with friends and replaced the divots that were kicked up by the horses during the first half of the game.

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Plowing ahead in chukker four, Robertson again scored. Passing the reins to teammate Von Wernich, Twin Palms scored their 8th goal of the game; Von Wernich’s 5th.

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Like chukker four, chukker five belonged to Twin Palms. Alvaro Tadeo scored first for his team. Robertson picked up the second goal. Going into the last chukker, the score was Starmeadow 4 / Twin Palms 10.

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In chukker six, Starmeadow fought back hard. Bancroft scored first, followed by two goals from Ashton Wolf. Following suit, Graham Bray scored narrowing the lead Twin Palms had on his team.

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The final goal was scored by Tadeo of Twin Palms. Adding in team handicaps, Starmeadow ended with nine goals. Though Starmeadow fought hard, Twin Palms was on fire. They came to win and with eleven goals, they did just that.

Watch post game interviews with Colton Bancroft and Alvaro Tadeo by Mikki & Shay.

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Both teams joined together on the trophy deck for the Trophy & Awards Presentation. First off was the most improved player award, which was awared to Virgil Kyle by previous president and founding member, Ron Bonaguidi. Kyle has excelled in his skill level in 2014.

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Second was the sportsmanship award, which went to one of our newest members, who has displayed courtesy and sportsmanship to his fellow players. Eric Hammon was the recipient of this great award.

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Our founding father, Willis Allen was very instrumental in encouraging young players to get involved in the sport of polo. The San Diego Polo Club created his namesake award to honor Willis and congratulate the best all-around young player under 30 based on horsemanship, sportsmanship and playing ability. Judy Collins, daughter of Willis Allen, presented this award to 17-year old Colton Bancroft.

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Out of the 48+ horses played in Sunday’s polo match, the best playing pony is just that– the best pony out there. Gail Greggson of the California Thoroughbred Breeder’s Foundation presented the trophy to Graham Bray for his horse P1. This horse has won 4 best playing pony awards in the last two years!

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Torry Spreckels is the great granddaughter of John D. Spreckels. She and her daughter Jessica and granddaughter Molly presented the second place team with the Spreckels trophies. Both Molly and Jessica play polo today, carrying on the Spreckels family tradition. Christine Wuthrich, the great great grand daughter of John D. Spreckels also helped present the trophies.

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All of the players were then welcomed onto the stage and everyone was gifted with a nice bottle of Woodford Reserve, a small-batch straight bourbon distilled in central Kentucky. The distillery itself is a national historical monument!

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Jose Luis & Lovie Rocha, owners of  JL Rocha, have been designing and manufacturing handmade leather shoes & jackets for over 3 generations in Mexico and now they are in the United States. Lovie & Jose Luis presented each of the winning players with a fine lambskin jacket from their collection completely made by hand.

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Scott Walker, USPA Lieutenant Governor for Southern California, presented the winning teams with their trophies as well as awarded Most Valuable Player of the game to Gaston von Wernich!

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Guests stayed until dark, dancing and partying with polo players and members. DJ Beatnick kept the energy up and rocked the beats for one of the best after parties in history!

Photos by Jim Bremner & Topher Riley. To see more, visit us on Facebook.com

Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament at the San Diego Polo Club

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San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament

On July 5 & 6, the San Diego Polo Club played host to one of many tournaments organized by the Pacific Coast Arena League.  USPA members from all over California traveled to SDPC to compete in the two-day event hosted by both San Diego Polo and Poway Polo clubs.  Roughly 40 players and 80 horses gathered at our arena to compete against one another over July 4th weekend.   The club was bustling more than usual and playing host to our guests brought a wonderful, different, refreshing air to the club.  Many of the competitors over the weekend got their start at our Arena School lessons and now compete regularly all over California at various other clubs. Each day had 6 matches consisting of 4 chukkers of various levels of competition. From our Interscholastic teenaged players to our best A-rated players, the day was action packed with some of the most amazing arena polo you’ll ever see.  Some of the other clubs represented were OC Polo, Central Coast Polo, Lakeside Polo and Poway Polo.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Maryam Jahani

Each day consisted of 6 matches, A-Flights, B-Flights and C-Flight Student chukkers. A-Flight is the more advanced and C-Flight is more beginner level, even though there’s still a lot going on in C-Flight, just watch!  For each match, 3 Awards were given:  Most Valuable Player, Sportsmanship and Best Playing Pony.  MVP is usually given to the player who contributed the most to the game, not necessarily who scored the most goals, an all around player acknowledged for their effort and skill, as well as their knowledge and respect for the game and rules.  Sportsmanship is given to a stand-out player who perhaps showed a mutual respect for another player, horse, or rule and did not put personal triumph above how the game should be played.  Perhaps an overall attitude toward the chukkers and other players. One young man was awarded Sportsmanship for initiating the “great game” handshake exchange to the other team’s players and to thank the umpires at the end of his match.   Best Playing Pony is given to the stand-out horse that performed brilliantly in terms of perhaps speed, ride-off, responsiveness to needs of the rider, and overall performance within the game.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Heather_perkins

Arena polo is often mistaken as less exciting and more condensed than grass polo.  If you take just one quick moment to watch some chukkers of some A rated players, you’ll very quickly realize how scrappy, exciting, action packed and different Arena polo is from grass polo.  It’s amazing just how different the entire game can be within the 100×50 yard field.  You can often use the wall or boards of the arena as a “4th man” in your chukkers, using it for your team, or against the other team.  You can smack the ball against the boards at an angle to change the line of the ball to pass to a teammate, something you can’t really do in grass unless you hit it low enough to bounce it off the red boards on the ground.  The close contact in the arena is extremely exciting, sometimes looking more like a demolition derby instead of Formula One racing.  Most of the same rules still apply in either game – grass or arena – but the strategy tends to be much different.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-sdpc

While hitting and carrying the ball tends to be much easier on the grass, since most people prefer to play golf on the green instead of the sand pits, imagine just how much more skill you might need to “play golf in the sand pits” all the time?  The arena ball tends to glance off mounds of sand or mud, or get stuck in hoof holes created by the galloping horses.  But to develop enough skill to work around that and STILL be a dynamite polo player, I’d say that’s a mission worth trying, and a feat often underestimated and overlooked. With the deck stacked against you in getting the ball to move anywhere in a straight line, you might argue that arena polo is harder.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Julie Empey

New players may rush themselves through Arena as their end game or end goal might be to play on the grass.  Take one look at an arena tournament and you are in for one hell of a ride. You can see Everything right up close, you can hear the grunts of the horses, hear the clanking of stirrups during a ride off, see all the action up close from wherever you’re standing – it’s easier to see every detail.   Get ready to duck out of the way of a ball flying out of bounds!

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Niki Mobtaker
The next time you hear about an arena tournament at SDPC, come on down and check it out.  It’s really an amazing display of expertise horsemanship, and expert ball-mallet handling, turning in tight circles, dribbling the ball to keep it away from a fast approaching opponent.  It has non-stop ride-offs, precision maneuvers within the small space… it is a RUSH!

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Alvern Vorn Steeg

A very big thank you to SDPC Polo Manager Graham Bray for letting us host the two day tournament, it went off without a hitch, so thank you very much for everything!  A very special thank you to Dr. Colleen Wilson of Adeptus Nutrition for donating her equine supplements for the Best Playing Pony awards given to the best horse in each match voted on by the umpires and officials of each game.  Thank you so much to Kimo Huddleston who worked tirelessly all weekend umpiring most of the games, fitting in teaching some lessons, and dragging the arena in between chukkers.   A monstrous thank you to the Godfather of Southern California Polo – Mr. Russ Sheldon.  Most of the organizational details are old hat to him, this ain’t his first rodeo, a valuable resource in the polo community, a hard working man dedicated to keeping polo alive and attainable for everyone in the San Diego area.  Thank you to Megan Judge, Heather Perkins, Russ Sheldon, Graham Bray, Heather Chronert, Kimo Huddleston and Gillian Young, for your help in organizing and making it all happen.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Kelly Newton

And the best thank you of all – to all the competitors for coming down and enjoying the tournament with us!  We love hosting visitors and opening our doors to different players of all levels. We hope you enjoyed your time at SDPC, its picturesque setting, and hopefully you made it down to watch our Sunday Matches!   I know we’ll see some of you back over Labor Day weekend when we host the National Youth Tournament Series final matches.  That’ll draw visitors from all over the country to watch the kids (all under 19) play on the grass.
San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Central Coast Polo
Thank you again for coming down to celebrate with us.

-Gillian Young

All photos by Jeffery Trout.