5 Reasons to Attend a Polo Match in San Diego

Some people like to describe the game of polo as hockey on horseback. No ice of course, but this is a rough and tumble sport where the crashes between competing players are every bit as fierce as those between skaters chasing a hockey puck. Yet polo has the added dimensions of elegance and beauty, found as polo ponies of every hue make quick work of an area nearly nine times larger than a football field. Watching these powerful animals—and the players aren’t bad, either—while sitting in the California sunshine is just one reason to attend a San Diego polo match.

Take Part in Tradition 

It is rather amazing that a sport originating in Persia, now called Iran, is here in San Diego. First played in the 5th century BC, polo has found a welcoming home in this major southern California city. The agreeable weather offers a playing season that lasts from early May until the end of October. Even if you choose not to play, you can still take part in the game. The horses’ hooves and the mallets take a toll on the polo field. It is traditional for spectators to take part in the “divot stomp” at half-time. This involves walking the field and stomping down the loose pieces of turf back in their holes. The San Diego Polo Club has personalized this tradition by pairing it with Korbel California Champagne.

The Wardrobe – See and Be Seen

The Kentucky Derby has its southern belle charm and England’s Royal Ascot is a parade of hats and upscale attire. Attending a polo match in San Diego means a trip to the local shops in Del Mar or La Jolla to find a light and airy, yet fashionable, new outfit. Some luxury San Diego apartments have shops and services on their ground floors, which are always a great idea when looking for proper polo attire, as some of the best outfits are from small, hole-in-the-wall boutiques. However, ditch the high heels; they’ll only get stuck in the grass. Bring sunscreen, sun hats and a pair of designer sunglasses. For men, jeans and khaki pants are cool, comfortable and classy when paired with polo shirts and a lightweight blazer. It pays to look your best while walking the field, champagne glass in hand, as you efficiently stomp down those divots. All that California sunshine could have you thinking about moving to closer to the San Diego Polo Club, so be sure to meet one of the local apartment brokers during the divot stomp and find out what apartments are available in San Diego.

For the Love of the Horse

People who love horses just can’t get enough of them. Going to watch polo in San Diego is one way to see these athletic creatures in action. Most of the polo ponies in San Diego are thoroughbreds or quarter horses and privately owned. That means these horses are tall, long-legged beauties built for speed. To prevent injury from an errant mallet swing or speeding ball, the owner will wrap the horses’ legs in protective padding. The horses are the heart of the game and they are well cared for and cherished accordingly.

Contribute to Charity

A typical San Diego Polo season allows fans the chance to take part in a number of special events. One example is the Father’s Day “Cigars & Cars” celebration that highlights two of dad’s favorite pleasures. Other special events include the annual White Party, where guests are encouraged to wear the traditional polo color before Labor Day and a biplane fly-in showing off antique planes. The planes arrive the Saturday before the match and leave late Sunday, allotting airplane enthusiasts plenty of time to get a good look. A portion of the proceeds from these and other events goes toward a number of charities. Among them are TERI, TROTT, WILDCOAST, San Diego Opera, and San Diego Symphony. Also on the charity list is Saving Horses, out of Alpine, California. This group helps rescue abandoned and abused horses.

Family Fun

Kids are welcome at polo matches, even those who may not be all that fond of horses. While the big draw is the game, the San Diego Polo Club also sets up a special children’s area complete with a bouncy castle, face-painting artists and special booths selling snow cones. Relax on blankets or lawn chairs, maybe even play a game of catch before the game starts—far away from the field, of course. Musicians add atmosphere and concession stands offer tasty treats. It’s not surprising that many visitors to the area do an impromptu San Diego apartment search after finding such a family-friendly venue. Bring lots of sunscreen and enjoy a fun-filled Sunday at the polo match. But remember: If you just can’t stand the thought of leaving San Diego, keep your eyes and ears open; one of the local apartment brokers could be sitting on the next picnic blanket over.

This guest post article was written and provided by Martha Keagan who is a freelance writer, full time mother and part time real estate and San Diego apartments broker.

Happy Anniversary, Riviera Modern Luxury!

Neon pink lights, 2 shiny Ferraris and Riviera Magazine hostesses greeted the guests at 7th Anniversary of Riviera Magazine, one of the SD Polo Club‘s favorite media partners!  Held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in charming Little Italy, 2 of the exhibit rooms were open for the guests to peruse.  The main attraction was a vibrant room with animated floral art projected on the walls, created by Jennifer Steinkamp.

Riviera had a DJ spinning electic jams, 3 food stations to reflect the trio of local chefs that make up Campine Catering, and a full bar specializing in craft cocktails.

Neiman Marcus stole the show with a twist on the typical fashion show.  Models showed off the new fall fashions on glowing cubes, slowing circulating all of the season favorites.  We saw a lot of purple and deep red, furs, colored tights, blocked patterns, animal and paisley prints, plus sequins and shine!

Snake Oil Cocktail Company served up an array of elixers, from the sweet, celebratory “Birthday Cake” made with Pink Pigeon Rum, sweet cream and fruit to the refreshing cucumber, gin and ginger cocktail.  Snake Oil is a San Diego based company.  We had the pleasure of meeting the owners at a small farm located just behind the Polo Club.

Campine Catering hosted three food stations spotlighting each chef: Brian Malarky of Burlap and Searsucker, Anthony Splurgin formerly of Waters Catering, and Antonio Friscia of Stingaree.  WOW!  We can’t wait to attend more events with the Campine trio.

Publisher, Jessica Cline, and Marketing Manager, Stefanie Leatherman were gracious hosts.  Big thank you to Riviera Magazine!  The San Diego Polo Club had a fantastic time!

Photos from Campine Catering, Snake Oil Cocktail Co., TheMediaBuyLine.com, & San Diego Polo Club

Southwest High School Comes to SD Polo!

Last Friday, we entertained about 20 ASB students from Southwest High School.  We took a tour of the polo property, learned how to care for a horse, explained the rules and the history of polo, and then let the kids try it out for themselves!

Each student sat on Cilantro, one of our sweet school horses.  Being so close to a horse and sitting on one was a first for many!

Next, we played with some foot mallets and Kimo, one of our Polo School instructors, helped the kids learn to hit the ball.

We finished up their visit with the Spreckels Cup semi-finals, autographs from the players and lunch!  We had such a fun time with the ASB students!  Thanks to councilmember David Alvarez for helping us coordinate this fantastic event.

USPA Spreckels Cup FINALS

Here’s the real story.

The semi-finals were heated.  Team Hanelei Bay, previous winner of the 2010 Spreckels Cup, had a record of 3 tourament wins in the 2011 season, making them the competition to beat.  Tritech/San Judas is traditionally one of the hardest teams to beat.  Chis Maloney and Gaston VonWernich make a mean duo, unstopable to most.  Friday’s semi-finals were highly attended.  Both teams put up a fight, but Hanalei Bay made it to the finals of the Spreckels Cup.

On the other hand, Starmeadow was equipt with the best polo player from New Zealand, Mr. Graham Bray and his 18-year old son, Jesse Bray, and two couragous females, Jessica Bailey and  Joy Bancroft.  Friday’s match, they fought against Adeptus/Southwind and came out victorious.

On Sunday, you could feel the anticipation in the air.  At 2:00pm, the national anthem was sung and the first ball was rolled in.  Within seconds, Hanalei Bay’s Mariano Fassetta made a break away for the goal and shot one through the posts.   In the first chukker alone, Mariano had 2 and Alvaro Tadeo had 1, giving Hanalei Bay a good lead over Starmeadow, who had yet to score one.

Apparently this did not sit well with the young Jesse Bray.  In the second chukker, he ruled the field, scoring 3 points to match his opponent.  Fassetta had two in the second chukker.

In the third chukker, Jessica Bailey was on fire and wanted a piece of the action.  Bailey scored one for Starmeadow, followed by another one score by Jesse Bray.  They don’t call him the “Argentine Assassin” for nothing; Mariano Fassetta scored one for Hanalei Bay just before the end of the chukker.  By half time, the score was 5 to 6, Hanalei Bay.

While the crowd enjoyed sipping bubbles during the divot stomp, the players strategized for the second half.

In the 4th chukker, the score climbed up and up.  Jesse Bray scored one for Starmeadow, Alvaro Tadeo scored one for Hanalei Bay, Jesse had another for Starmeadow and Mariano Fassetta one up-ed him again, keeping Hanalei Bay in the lead.  When Jesse Bray is hot, he is on FIRE.  This kid performs wonderfully in front of a crowd and the adrenaline pumps through his blood like gasoline to a fire.

The 5th chukker was phenomenal.  Jesse Bray scored 2 more for Starmeadow and his father, Graham Bray put another two on the board for Starmeadow, while Hanalei Bay was running out of gas.  Alvaro Tadeo scored one.  At the end of the 5th chukker, Starmeadow had the lead, 11 to 9.  And the crowd was ROARING.

The final chukker was icing on the cake.  Jesse Bray scored another, totaling 9 goals in the game.  After being hit in the chin by his opponent’s mallet, Graham Bray was still able to show off his talent and score an additional 1 point for  Starmeadow.  Hanalei Bay could not keep up, although Fassetta was able to get one before the buzzer.  Final score was 13 to 10, Starmeadow.

MVP went to Jesse Bray and the Willis Allen Award went to Colton Bancroft.  The Willis Allen Award is given to a young player every year who shows sportsmanship, skill, horsemanship and all around attitude.  Graham Bray’s horse won Best Playing Pony.