Ice Skating at The Inn at RSF

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Our neighbors at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe are celebrating the holiday season with cheer and family fun! Guests will be transported to a winter wonderland with The Inn’s outdoor synthetic skating rink. Guests can enjoy skating in the Ranch under the allure of festive twinkle lights and the lighting of the stately 20-foot Christmas tree on the front lawn of The Inn. Starting December 19, the hours are open from 10am to 9pm, Monday through Sunday. The fun lasts until January 4, 2016 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Father Joe’s Villages.

December 19 – January 4

  • Monday – Sunday, 10:00am – 9:00pm

Cost per session (including skate rentals)

  • Ages  12 and over $18.00
  • Ages 11 and under $15.00
  • Groups of 10 or more receive $2.00 off per person
  • Skating session is 3-hours in length

More information: www.theinnatrsf.com/ice_skating/

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About Father Joe’s Village

As San Diego’s largest homeless services provider, Father Joe’s Villages offers a wide variety of housing and services at several locations. They also prepare up to 3,000 meals and provide a continuum of care to nearly 1,500 individuals every day—from infants and adolescents to adults and seniors. This includes over 150 children and over 200 military veterans. As industry thought leaders, they offer effective tailored-to-client solutions to address the complex needs of the homeless, regardless of age, race, culture or beliefs. Their primary goal is to transform lives and end the cycle of homelessness.

To this end, they provide housing, rental assistance, healthcare, food, clothing, education, job training, mental health, addiction treatment and child development in an internationally modeled “one-stop-shop” approach. Their mission is made possible only through the efforts of compassionate staff, dedicated volunteers and generous public and private donors.

More information: http://my.neighbor.org/

Starry Starry Night 2016 to benefit Voices for Children

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Voices for Children’s 13th annual Starry Starry Night gala was held on Saturday, September 19, 2015, at the San Diego Polo Club in Rancho Santa Fe. Co-chairs for the event were Stephanie Bergsma and Dwight Hare, and the theme was “When You Wish Upon A Star.”

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Janice Dodge transformed the polo fields once again with garden glam styling as the evening sky transitioned from sunset to starlight. More than 340 supporters of Voices for Children gathered for sumptuous craft cocktails, curated by Snake Oil Cocktail Company -and paired with savory bites designed by Andrew Spurgin, LTD and Culinary Concepts Catering.

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The sparkle of dotted garden lights strung over luxurious lounges and tablescapes of deep blue and crisp white. The evening was designed to create an intimate gathering around a central stage to focus on the heartfelt success stories of the children helped by VFC and an exciting live auction. Starry Starry Night grossed a record $1.37 million and netted $1.13 million to support the life-changing work of our Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) who advocate for San Diego County foster children in Court, in schools, and in the community.

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Following a delicious dinner and fundraising activities, guests found their way to a dancefloor brought to life by the music mix of DJ Brandon Noel and his team of live club performers. Favorite late night treats were donuts and “cereal milk”, meant to remind us of the kid inside us all! Rentals supplied by Raphael’s Event Works. Technical support provided by Meeting Services, Inc. Event Design, Decor, Florals and Logistics provided by Janice Dodge, Inc.

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Voices for Children transforms the lives of abused children by providing them with volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). We believe that every child deserves a safe and permanent home, and to that end, will review and monitor every court file in the system, provide a CASA to every child in the foster care system who needs one, and advocate to improve the lives of foster children. In addition, Voices for Children increases awareness about the foster care system, and advocates for legal policies and practices that enhance the quality of life for foster children.

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

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.

Brazilian-Dancers

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

Willis Allen Memorial: Polo player and real estate mogul generous with his wealth

Original Article posted in San Diego U-T on June 16, 2001.

By Jack Williams

1912 WILLIS M. ALLEN SR. 2004

He raised and rode exquisite polo ponies. He shared his wealth generously and without fanfare. And he oversaw the growth of his real estate company into a luxury-housing leader.

Willis M. Allen Sr. did it all, it seemed, with a breezy informality and accessibility that endeared him to everybody from the poorest ranch hands to captains of industry.

“He had a sense of humor and sense of style that made people feel very comfortable around him,” said Andrew E. Nelson, who bought the remaining shares of the Willis Allen Co. real estate firm in 1995. “He treated everybody equally, and people who met him loved him.”

Mr. Allen, who had a hand in the operation of the real estate business that bears his name for 55 years, died Sunday at his La Jolla home. He was 91. The cause of death was cancer of the throat, said daughter Louise Knowles.

Mr. Allen’s holdings included three ranches in Baja California, where he raised polo ponies and cattle, Crystal Pier and Cottages in Pacific Beach and a share of La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla.

His philanthropy, estimated to be in the millions, benefited such institutions as the San Diego Humane Society, the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, the San Diego Aerospace Museum and a variety of Scripps Health entities, including the McDonald Center for alcohol and drug abuse treatment.

He created the Allen Field sports complex in La Jolla and he bought property in Ramona for the Pemarro center, a long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility operated by Group Conscience Inc.

“He paid for scholarships anonymously and supported orphanages in Baja California,” his son, Willis Jr., said. “If you wanted to call somebody for money, you called Willis.”

Although his Willis Allen Co. became synonymous with multi-million-dollar coastal properties, Mr. Allen started in business on a much more modest scale.

With a loan from his grandfather in the 1930s, he bought a half interest in the College Riding Academy at 70th Street and El Cajon Boulevard.

“They rented horses to ride for 1 cent per minute,” his son said.

A few years later, he sold insurance policies for $16 a week. After joining a La Jolla real estate firm founded in 1914, Mr. Allen would settle for a $1 commission on a rental property, Nelson said.

In 1940, Mr. Allen and three others bought the firm, known then as Cooper Co. Mr. Allen bought his partners out within a year.

When he went overseas in the Navy during World War II his wife, Ruth, took over the reins.

Mr. Allen left the Navy as a lieutenant commander after serving in the Pacific and expanded his company during the postwar housing boom.

Offering a range of services, Mr. Allen established separate mortgage and insurance firms as he built up the business. “He knocked on doors to sell insurance and founded a mobile mortgage company in a Volkswagen van, going to people’s homes to set up their loans,” Nelson said.

In 1949, Mr. Allen sold an expansive parcel of land that today encompasses Clairemont and University City. As his client base expanded, he opened a second office in Rancho Santa Fe in 1952, a third office in 1973 in Del Mar and a fourth in Point Loma in 1988.

In 1980, Mr. Allen’s firm recorded its first million-dollar sale, closing a deal on a physician’s home on El Camino del Teatro in La Jolla for $1.6 million.

By 1981, the company was reporting $60 million in annual business. In 1989, it did $300 million in sales, making it the largest and most profitable independently owned real estate firm in the county, according to a 1989 article in San Diego Home and Garden magazine.

In his office on Wall Street in La Jolla, Mr. Allen often preferred jeans to more traditional business attire.

“When I met Willis, he was wearing Levi’s with a tie and button-down shirt, in days when you didn’t do that,” Nelson said. “There was an informality, warmth and openness in his office. He had a way of making people feel good about themselves.”

Mr. Allen, the son and grandson of rear admirals, was born in Philadelphia.

As a youth in Connecticut, he became enamored of polo, a sport he would play until weeks before his death.

At 19, he accompanied some friends in driving from Greenwich, Conn., to San Diego, where he found work at stables in Mission Valley.

Later, he sold Chevrolet automobiles, schooled polo ponies and competed in polo matches in an arena on the old show grounds in Coronado.

In 1934, he married Ruth Annable, who shared his passion for polo ponies.

For many years, the Allens raised horses, cattle and hay on a Sorrento Valley ranch that later became El Camino Memorial Park.

Mr. Allen polished his polo skills in the late 1930s in matches conducted at low tide at La Jolla Shores.

In 1987, he helped found the Rancho Santa Fe Polo Club on land developed by his son-in-law, Harry Collins. The grounds became a popular site for charity fund-raisers over the years, beginning with a match to benefit the San Diego chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

At age 70, Mr. Allen rode on a four-man team that won the seniors tournament at El Dorado Polo Club, which he helped found in Indio.

“He knew how to pick horses, whether they were $500 or $5,000,” his son said. “They trusted him and he made the sport fun for them.”

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Mr. Allen also indulged an interest in recreational flying, logging about 3,000 hours in private aircraft.

“He was involved in everything from flying down to Baja to chase goats and shoot rattlesnakes to going to black-tie events,” his son said.

For every black-tie event, though, there was a casual get-together at his home in Pottery Canyon that exemplified the diversity of his friendships.

“It didn’t matter to Dad if you were a kid from Mexico or Prince Philip,” his son said.

Mr. Allen’s wife died two years ago. Survivors include his daughters, Louise Knowles of La Jolla and Judy Collins of Rancho Santa Fe; son, Willis Jr. of Mount Helix; 14 grandchildren; and 27 great-grandchildren.

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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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First Polo Event of the Season

Polo at The Inn at RSF Invite
The San Diego Polo Club will be hosting their first event of the 2015 Summer Polo Season on Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 11am to 1pm on the Croquet Lawn at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.
The event will include a mini polo match and reception with small bites and refreshments.

Please RSVP to:

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
5951 Linea Del Cielo
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-1 The patriotic spirit was everywhere on Sunday as we enjoyed The Pan American Cup Finals on Sunday July 6th. It was the perfect way to cap off an amazing 4th of July weekend. Red, white and blue was abundant, from our lovely patrons stylish attire, to the tablecloths and trophy decorations.

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-2In the first match at 1:00pm, Topo Mendez scored the first goal in Chukker 1 for his Team Twin Palms/San Judas. Followed by John Eicher with one for Leisure Society. Then another by Virgil Kyle for Leisure Society and the last by Ashton Wolf for Twin Palms/ San Judas, wrapping up Chukker 1. In Chukker 2 Jennifer Alexy bringing one in for Twin Palms/ San Judas, followed by anther for Leisure Society by John Eicher.

Ryan Robertson finished it off by scoring a goal for Leisure Society in the last chukker, bringing the final score to 11 to 9, Leisure Society.

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During our intermission, we had a wonderful demo by The Oceanside Police Canine Officers Association.

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Spectators were on the edge of their seats watching the dogs go through their amazing skills. Demonstrating a variety of tactics to assist their human counterparts in the safe and efficient handing of dangerous situations. Spectators were then invited to enjoy picture ops with the dogs and service men and woman.

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The Oceanside Police Canine Officers Association thanks you for being here this afternoon. Their nonprofit, established by the officers in 2013, bridges the gap for our K9s healthcare, training tools, and retired police dogs.  In the line of duty, sometimes our dogs get injured requiring expensive veterinary care. Their goal is to be able to have funds available for each of our 4 canines should a medical emergency occur. Thanks to donations from our generous community members, their dogs can stay healthy and safe, while they protect and serve.

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We also hosted the Del Mar Lifeguards, Del Mar Ranger, San Diego Fire & Rescue and local EMTs. Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Del-Mar-Lifeguard-Truck-Tomas-Bryant-2

The Lifeguard Department serves the community with a wide variety of community service programs. The Department staffs permanent and seasonal lifeguards. Lifeguards patrol and oversee 2.5 miles of beach. Each day, lifeguards establish and maintain safe swimming and surfing areas. They warn visitors of dangerous swimming areas, rip currents, and unstable cliffs and bluffs. Environmental conditions are constantly monitored and weather and surf are updated and posted throughout the day. The Del Mar beach has very strong rip-currents and several inshore holes. The department averages 1,400 water-related rescues and 1,100 medical aids per year.

The Lifeguards are highly trained in several areas. Qualifications include being emergency medical technicians with advanced airway and defibrillator accreditation. The department operates year-round cliff, swift water and scuba rescue teams. The Department also cross trains for mutual aid responses with the Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies (ASTREA) and the United States Coast Guard.

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Our national anthem was sung by the lovely, Rhianna Wilson, a 16 years old and just finished her Sophomore year at Ramona High School. She has had the honor to sing the National Anthem for the SD Padres, Ceremonies aboard the USS Midway, KSON Radio and many community events.

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The feature match of the day at 3:00pm was between San Fernando and MonteVerde/Starmeadow. The match started with Diego Cossio scoring the first goal of the match for San Fernando in the first Chukker. Followed by one by Diego Velarde and one by Roberto Estudillo. With Chris Collins scoring one for his team MonteVerde/Starmeadow. Followed by Colton Bancroft and Graham Bray coming in to score 4 goals each for MonteVerde/Starmeadow. It was a close game ending with Diego Velarde scoring 3 goals for San Fernando and taking home the win.Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Graham-Bray

Written by Cara Helminski

A Polo Family Legacy

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Since the San Diego Polo Club opened its doors in 1986, our fields have welcomed four generations of polo players from the Allen & Collins families and needless to say, they have been an integral part of this club. The family legacy of polo started with Willis Allen, who along with his son-in-law Harry Collins, played an instrumental role in the formation of the San Diego Polo Club. Over the years, Willis Allen, his son-in-law Harry, his grandson Chris and his great-grandson Chris Jr. have all played polo on our fields.

A Horseman Like No Other
Allen was a talented horseman and he had a deep connection to polo. He was first introduced to the sport in the early 1920’s while visiting family in San Angelo, Texas. His uncle was a polo player and gave Willis his first lesson. After Willis returned home to Connecticut, his uncle sent him his first horse, which he named Concho.

By the age of 13, Willis started regularly playing in Connecticut and when he moved to California, he continued with the sport, playing arena polo at the Coronado Country Club. He carried polo with him through the many chapters of life and even played when he was stationed in New Caledonia during WWII. His family fondly shared stories of how even during those difficult years of war, he was able to put together a polo field and bring in horses to play. Allen was truly a man like no other and it was often said, “they broke the mold when they made Willis.” A true benefactor of the sport, he fostered the development and growth of polo on the west coast and always sought to cultivate the skills of aspiring players. He had an egalitarian view of the game and never thought of polo as a sport that should be exclusively reserved for the wealthy. Throughout his life, he encouraged everyone to play. For Allen, polo was never about title or status but instead about passion for the game and his connection to the horses.

In addition to the San Diego Polo Club, Willis was one of the original founding members of the Eldorado Polo Club in Indio, California. Willis also served as a USPA Governor from 1969-1974 and played on numerous national and international teams. Throughout his life, he raised award-winning polo ponies and many people credit his polo talent to his deep connection with the horses. He loved his animals and one of his greatest joys and passions was breeding ponies. For the majority of his polo career, he worked as his own groom and only hired one later in life, when he physically required the assistance. Until that point, he had always taken care of his ponies, believing that it was important to develop a deep connection to the animal. Willis’ passion and enthusiasm for polo was infectious and he continued playing until the age of 93, participating in his final polo match just two weeks before he passed. He died on June 13th, 2004 at his home in La Jolla, surrounded by family and friends.

Four Generations

 

The Willis Allen Cup

Each year, a special tournament is held in Willis Allen’s name, to recognize sportsmanship, horsemanship, and teamwork amongst young players within the San Diego Polo community. This summer, The Willis Allen Memorial Cup will take place on July 7th, 2013 and the proceeds will benefit the REINS Therapeutic Riding Program (www.reinsprogram.org). The REINS Therapeutic Riding Program is a non-profit organization, located in Fallbrook, California, and their mission is to provide physical and emotional therapy to a wide range of disabled children and adults through the use of carefully supervised horseback riding. They currently serve over 200 students each week, coming from all over southern California and ranging in age from 2 – 83. The students have a variety of disabilities including: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, seizure disorders, developmental delays and other mental and physical challenges. The benefits of this therapy are both mental and physical and include normalization of muscle tone, increased balance and coordination, developments of speech and language, and improvements in body awareness and self-esteem. Harry Collins participates in therapeutic riding and his family credits this program for the tremendous improvements he’s made since his 2003 polo accident. The Collins family is a huge supporter of the work that the REINS Therapeutic Riding Program is doing and they are thrilled to partner with them for the 2013 Willis Allen Memorial Cup.

Collins Family

Throughout his life, Willis Allen exhibited passion, energy, enthusiasm and most importantly, a generosity of spirit. It was an honor to sit down with the remaining three generations of his family and hear their first hand stories and memories of Willis and learn more about their family’s long and rich history with the sport of polo and the San Diego Polo Club.

HARRY & JUDY COLLINS

How would you describe Willis Allen as a person? As a player?
He was a wonderful father and father-in-law and overall just a really genuine and honest man. People loved him because he was a really kind and fun person to be around. He was Harry’s best friend and he taught Harry everything that he knows about horses and polo. Before Harry and I had met, he had hardly been around horses but my father introduced him. Eventually, they started breeding and raising ponies together. It was my father’s passion and he loved his horses so much. He had a connection to the animals and he loved to watch them grow. And he just loved polo! It was his life.

What is a special memory you have with the SD Polo Club?
While Harry was a regular player at the San Diego Polo Club, I never got seriously into the sport. I played with my father as a child but back then women weren’t competitively playing polo like they are today. I always rode horses though. Harry on the other hand, fell in love with the sport and he loved to play, especially at the San Diego Polo Club. Over the years, our family has had so many wonderful memories that it’s hard to pinpoint just one. Anytime Harry could play with Chris and Chris Jr. it was special for him.

Where would you like to see the sport head in the next 10 years?
That’s an interesting question and I’d probably have to reflect back on my father when answering. See, Dad was not big on huge tournaments, and he preferred the low-key nature of clubs like Lakeside. He also never had grooms, though I will say that when I was a kid, he would sometimes pay me 0.25 cents a weekend to walk his horses. He didn’t really believe in hiring pros either and he never thought polo should be a sport that was just for the wealthy. His view of polo was pretty simple. He loved the game, he loved and respected the animals and he valued teamwork, horsemanship and sportsmanship, and I think that’s the direction he’d want to see the sport move in.

CHRIS COLLINS

How would you describe Willis Allen as a person? As a player?
For Willis, polo was only about one thing – the horses. If you ever asked Willis about polo he would start by telling you about the horses. He bred ponies for almost 70 years, many from the same original bloodline. He also never hired a groom because he enjoyed doing everything with the horse. As a player, Willis was always the happiest guy on the field. He played every week and competed with some of the best players in the world. At the height of his game, he reached a 3 goal ranking. He was always running with the ball and one of his signature moves was dribbling the ball down the field between his horse’s front legs. Willis also really enjoyed teaching people the game, firmly believing that everyone should have the opportunity to play polo. He really wanted the sport to be accessible to everyone.

What is a special memory you have with the SD Polo Club?
Our family has so many wonderful memories with polo but one that stands out was the four-generation match we competed in. Playing with my grandfather, my father and my son is a very special memory for me. I also remember a time when Harry was injured and so Chris Jr. had to fill in for him. He was only 13 years old at the time but it was amazing to get to play together.

Where would you like to see the sport head in the next 10 years?
Lately, it seems like only the very wealthy play polo and Willis would never have thought that was right. He really believed that you needed a cross-section of people to play and that the sport should be accessible to everyone. I think we need to get back to that. The number of players is decreasing every year and so I think that we need to do something to bring more people into the sport. Polo needs to be revitalized and we really need to start encouraging younger kids to play. It’s important that we introduce them to polo at an early age and then foster their development and growth. It’s the only way our future generations of polo players are going to have a true competitive edge.

CHRIS COLLINS JR.

How would you describe Willis Allen as a person? As a player?
Strong!! I don’t know that many people who can play polo well into their 90’s. Willis was an inspirational man, not only to me, but to my entire family. His patience gave him a connection with the horses that most people will never have. As a polo player, I think everyone who had the pleasure of playing with or against him, knew that he could hit a tail shot 100% of the time. You would have never known he was ninety-two years old when he got on a horse and got into the line-up. You don’t meet very many legends in your life and my great grandfather was certainly one!

What is a special memory you have with the SD Polo Club?
Having the opportunity to play with my Dad, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather, is de”nitely one of my best memories at the San Diego Polo Club. I was only 11 years old but I can still remember how nervous I was before the game. Another great memory is winning the Spreckels Cup for the “rst time in 2010 with my dad. Finally, even though I’m not sure how much of this I actually remember, one of my best memories was attending my “rst polo match just two days after I was born. I was in a stroller on the sidelines for the very “rst game at the San Diego Polo Club.

Where would you like to see the sport head in the next 10 years?
We need to keep the sport growing and continue to get more people involved, informed and in love with this amazing game. I want to see more people taking lessons and I strongly encourage everyone to do so. I think the USPA has done a great job with Team USPA in farming young American players and giving
them opportunities they would have never had 5 years ago. If we can keep improving young polo players we will improve the sport here in the U.S. and make us even more competitive on a global scale.

Written by Vanessa ShapiroPhotos by Topher Riley & courtesy of The Collins Family

USPA Rossmore Cup & Salute to Military

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On Sunday, September 8, we kicked of the USPA Rossmore Cup and honored our military, veterans, and first responders with a special ceremony.  We warmly welcomed all military families, veteran support groups and charities who work hard to support our veterans in the community.  Among them were Horses Joining Forces, a therapeutic riding program for veterans with PTSD.  President of Horses Joining Forces, Former Major Glenn Cunningham, described the program and it’s benefits, giving the audience great insight what horses can do for our mind, body and heart.

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Tens of thousands of our young combat veterans are unemployed, underemployed, homeless, in support programs, and or despondent due on no small part to the cause and effects of PTSD and combat trauma.  Vets 360 invites recently separated combat veterans and their families into an on-going program of engagement, education, employment, and healing.  Their goal is to help them understand that asking for support is a sign of strength… NOT an inability to cope.  We were thrilled to have Vets 360 involved with our annual Salute to Military event.

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The day kicked off with a match between Twin Palms/San Fernando and Star Meadow/Monteverde.  Diego Velarde started off hot, leading Twin Palms/San Fernando with 3 goals in the first chukker and2 more in the second.  Gaston VonWernich also put a couple through in the first and fourth chukkers.  Star Meadow/Monteverde started slowly, building momentum in the third chukker.  At half time, the score was 5 to 4, Twin Palms/San Fernando in the lead.  In the fourth chukker, Graham Bray scored two and Martin Ravina one for Star Meadow/Monteverde.  In the 5th chukker, they did the same: Bray with two, Ravina with one.  Twin Palms/San Fernando fell back in the second half to play defense.  They weren’t able to score on the opposing team in the 5th and 6th chukkers.  Star Meadow/Monteverde came out victorious, 11 to 6.

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During intermission the Poway Valley Vaulters, consisting of 6 girls, 2 trainers and a 13-year old Percheron/Welsh pony, showed us their talents.  Equestrian Vaulting is a unique International sport that combines elements of gymnastics and dance on the back of a moving horse. And is a wonderful and fun way to develop coordination, balance, strength, flexibility, teamwork, harmony and creativity.

Vaulters of all ages and abilities showcase their talents in compulsory movements and choreographed freestyle routines set to music, with up to 3 vaulters on the horse at a time. Vaulting’s history is said to have begun thousands of years ago in ancient Minoa as ‘bull vaulting’. In fact, every horse culture around the world practices a variation of this sport.  The sport’s most modern ancestor was as a cavalry training tool for horse-mounted soldiers, and it was also a recognized Olympic sport in the early 20th century. It is one of the FEI’s 8 recognized sports, and is a regular feature of the World Equestrian Games.

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Our Salute to Military Ceremony was led by emcee and polo announcer Steve Lewandowski.  Steve welcomed Glenn Cunningham, president of Horses Joining Forces on to the field to speak about the therapeutic riding program and services for veterans with PTSD.  A representative from Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office presented certificates to many groups and people who made the event possible, and also gave a special flag to Steve Lewandowski for his exceptional effort during the planning of this event, and also to the San Diego Polo Club for hosting the event.  These special flags were once flown above the capital and considered a honorable gift.  Veterans and active military were invited on to the field for the recognition ceremony.

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CV4C2441Karen McBride sang the national anthem in front of a huge American flag and the teams paraded on to the field for the featured match.

Team Hanalei Bay and Team Adeptus battled it out on field one in front of the crowd.  Ashton Wolf, who fell and had to get face stitches on Friday afternoon, scored the first goal of the match for Hanalei Bay, followed by teammates Mariano Fassetta and David Samaniego.  Jesse Bray and Dan Juarez of Adeptus scored one each in the second chukker and an additional 3 in the third chukker.  By half time, the game was tied up 5 to 5.

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Guests enjoyed a taste of Korbel California Champagne during the half time classic Pretty Woman Divot Stomp.

Krista Bonaguidi and Ashton Wolf scored for Hanalei Bay in the 4th chukker, and Jim Wright was able to score one for Adeptus.  Jesse Bray scored 2 in the 5th chukker and teammate, Dan Juarez scored another for Adeptus.  Mariano Fassetta was able to get through Adeptus‘ defense to score two for Hanalei Bay in the 5th and 6th chukker, but it was Dan Juarez’s last goal that lead Adeptus to victory.

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Trophies were presented by the nieces of founding member and owner of Daou Vineyards, Georges Daou.

Daou Winners

Opening Day at SDPC

The place to be on Sunday afternoon was the San Diego Polo Club in Rancho Santa Fe.  With perfect weather, gorgeous people, and majestic horses playing polo, there was no other way to spend the day.   The San Diego Polo Club had their most successful day in 26 years with a record breaking attendance of 2,000.

Riviera Magazine sponsored the event, along with BMW of San Diego and Mini of San Diego.  Riviera’s publisher, Jessica Cline, was our guest of honor and presented Hermes trophies to the winners, compliments of Neiman Marcus.

The San Diego Polo Club debuted their first fashion show, with dresses by Poppy, shoes by Shoes Me, accessories by Nomadic Fashion and shades from Raen Optics.  Corals and blues are the color of summer.  Fashionista, Michelle Guerin of the San Diego Union Tribune said it best in her recent article, this season offers a kaleidoscope of prints and pops of color.

The Feature Match between Jetsuite/Monteverde and Starmeadow/Adeptus was a riveting one.  Both teams were neck and neck throughout all six chukkers with Mariano Gutierrez scoring the winning shot for Jetsuite/Monteverde.

Thank you to everyone who came out for a glorious, sun-filled day of Polo!  Join us this Sunday for our Father’s Day celebration including antique biplanes, cars, and cigars.

Special thanks to Frank Tupas and Dominick Lemarie for photography!