Natania Farm & Polo Club is dedicated to promoting fun, family-friendly, all-amateur arena polo.
Steve McQueen and Crocker Snow at Myopia in 1969.
𝐔𝐊 𝐖𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐨 𝐋𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐑𝐮𝐥𝐞𝐬:
𝙉𝙤 𝙥𝙤𝙡𝙤 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙮𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙩 𝙖𝙛𝙛𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙘𝙡𝙪𝙗𝙨 𝙙𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙙 𝙡𝙤𝙘𝙠𝙙𝙤𝙬𝙣.
Good idea for a logo?
All polo in Argentina has been suspended for the rest of the month of March.
USPA pulls plug on three remaining I/I tournaments:
Northeastern Intercollegiate Regionals
National Interscholastic Championships
National Intercollegiate Championships.
When the new handicap ratings come out and you are still rated at minus one.
MEET THE REAL MAN GATSBY DESPISED
By Ron Allen
Thomas Hitchcock Jr. was a real life war hero, aristocrat and polo player. In the 2013 Gatsby film the Hollywood glamour spotlight shines on a character from the 1925 novel by the name of Tom Buchanan, an old money antagonist of a new money tycoon Jay Gatsby.
In the early 1920s writer F. Scott Fitzgerald happened to cross paths with Mr. Hitchcock at a swanky social setting on Long Island, NY. The inspiration for a key character in his novel The Great Gatsby was born. He was eye-to-eye with a real life Tom Buchanan.
Born and raised in Westbury, New York Hitchcock took up the game of polo as a teenager. His well to do father was one of America’s first ten goal players.
But Tommys horse hobby would be interrupted by World War I. Suddenly he was involved in an even more dangerous game as a fighter pilot with the illustrious Lafayette Escadrille. His aerial combat efforts were nothing short of spectacular. After shooting down two German planes Hitchcock’s plane was knocked out of the sky, behind enemy lines, and he was taken prisoner for six months. He was eating from a wooden spoon instead of a silver spoon and soon suffered from severe malnutrition. While being transferred to a different prison camp Hitchcock heroically leaped from a moving train and managed to escape and walked one hundred miles, over eight days, to freedom in Switzerland.
Following the war Hitchcock attended Harvard University and developed his prowess for polo once again. His skill on horseback would catapult him to the top of his game.
If Bobby Jones was the Tiger Woods of golf during the Roaring 20s then Hitchcock was regarded as the premier Superstar of polo. During its golden era 45,000 fans would attend the Sunday polo games. He was rated at the ultimate ten goals for an impressive eighteen years and won the prestigious U.S. Open four times.
His final mission in life was to become the test pilot for a new fighter plane developed for World War II. The new Mustang was sporting a high-powered Rolls Royce engine. Tommy was unable to pull out of a dive while testing the aircraft in the skies over England. He was only 44 years old.
His was a celebrated lifestyle, the kind that movies are made of. However, in the case of renowned polo player Thomas Hitchcock Jr.- life imitated art.
Don't question them or this could happen to you too
Horse For Sale:
An anonymous professional player says the average American player is rated at zero for many reasons. “They are such poor riders and won’t take riding lessons once they learn how to hit the ball. This kind of person will never get a better handicap because they become ‘ball chasers’ and ride very poor stock. Some of the uspa instructors are really not qualified for the job.”
A little loose in the saddle
Commitment by Nico Pieres
Virginia Polo Club
The schedule is out!!
The USPA has spent over $30 million dollars in the last three years trying to grow polo and instead they have lost over 100 members.
Cool drone pic by Olli Zimtstern via Polo Channel
Gone With The Wind
By Ron Allen
It took only 11 months to film and edit the classic 4 hour epic "Gone With the Wind". It's been well over two years since the USPA mistakenly decided to get into the motion picture business with a short 90 minute production titled "The Perfect Match". It's been anything but perfect as the project is long overdue and well over budget.
Following a private showing, with mixed reviews, it was announced they would have a distribution plan in place within 30 days. It's now been over 60 days and there is no plan. In the film industry that is something that takes place BEFORE the first frame is even shot. No distributor is going to bid on this debacle. These are the same people who pay to show one game a year on television, unlike other sports where the network actually pays for the rights to show games on TV.
Since the USPA brass have no clue as to what B.G, cig or vod even mean they find themselves in yet another dilemma with hundreds of thousands of dollars just gone with the wind. Their wasteful spending continues unabated with no accountability. Why? Because "frankly my dear, the members don't give a damn".
What do you think, should we change our farm name to Natania Polo and Archery Club?
Here are some of our players having some fun after polo practice. This was too much fun - we'll have to make this one of our regular activities!
Progress Or Politics
By Ron Allen
The USPA annual spring meeting in Florida is coming up and many observers are wondering if they plan to continue to play politics or will they step up and fix what has been broken for several years. Many of these people are well intended but get blindsided by a handful of self-appointed ‘power brokers’ who have had their way for too long. Transparency needs to become a priority. The PDI Director is gone and it’s a big secret. That’s not how real corporations behave. Especially since they are a $19 million dollar a year 501 C6 – Not For Profit.
We have questions: Why do they mistakenly believe it’s constitutionally legal to threaten members with expulsion for speaking out? They intentionally removed member contact information from the Blue Book. Is Rule 4-10, C for privacy or political purposes?
Where’s the fiscal responsibility? The $4 million dollar a year PDI budget includes Team USPA, which was originally supposed to be Americas six best young players. It has skyrocketed to 50 players and 25% of them don’t even own a horse.
No media savvy: The Polo Network has 8 employees with an annual budget of $600,000. They only have a few hundred watching. Plus the additional high cost of one game a year on national TV that is not exposing the sport to a new audience. What happened to the ‘major motion picture’ that was supposed to be released five months ago?
5 of the 6 teams in the Open this year will be playing in the WPL next year. The biggest patrons in American high goal just abandoned the USPA. ‘Money Ball’ will not get them back. The meetings need to end with real accomplishments. Is that possible with 32 employees, 29 members of the Board of Governors and over 100 volunteers?
New Game In Town
By Ron Allen
February 2019 is the launch date for the World Polo League in Wellington, Florida. The concept is the brainchild of polo trio Bob Jornayvaz, Marc and Melissa Ganzi. Dale Smicklas has been named league Commissioner. The former 8 goal pro left the USPA after a disappointing term as Governor-At-Large. He said the 26-goal will start with an All-Star pool featuring eight 10 goal players. The second tournament will be the Founders Cup followed by the Palm Beach Open. The big finale will be the Triple Crown of Polo trophy, also played at the 26-goal level.
Valiente’s Bob Jornayvaz introduced several of the high-ranking professional players who will be involved including the worlds number one player Adolfo Cambiaso. Bob promises better TV coverage and says transparency will be the key to their success. Marc Ganzi reiterated that fifteen fields will be used during the season and the emphasis will be on bringing back “fun, open polo” with better rules to improve the playing experience for players and spectators alike.
Just hours before the unveiling of the new league the USPA announced plans for $500,000 in prize money for their lower handicapped 22 goal Triple Crown. The concept was not received well by some of their members. 95% of the USPA membership is not involved in high goal polo and feel the money could have been better spent on helping several of the struggling clubs within the association.
Photos from Natania Polo's post
Gabriel Boie gave us some new saddle pads during the holidays. He figures the pink ones will be an incentive for players not to arrive late, or else that's what they'll end up using on their horses!
Getting ready for winter
Some very good teams are participating. Worth the trip - it will be fun polo.
We have an exciting week ahead of us at Virginia Polo! We will be hosting teams from SMU, Texas A&M, Miami, Cornell, and Kentucky for a very competitive 2016 Fall Invitational. Come out and support our Hoos!!!!!!
4pm UVA 2 vs. TAMU Women
6pm SMU vs. TAMU Men
8pm UVA vs. UK Men
4pm UK vs Miami Men
6pm UVA 2 vs. Cornell Women
8pm Cornell vs. SMU Men
4pm TAMU vs TBA Women
6pm UVA 1 vs. Cornell Women
8pm UVA vs. Miami Men
12pm UVA 1 vs. TBA Women
4pm Cornell vs. TAMU Men
10am MENS FINAL
12pm WOMENS FINAL
Natania's 3 new horses this season
We'll have a second white-board session at Chetwood on Sunday July 31 to discuss the rules we did not have time to discuss last month. I expect the session will start around 1 pm.
I will be running a white-board session about the rules of polo at Chetwood in The Plains on Sunday June 19th. We'll start immediately after their morning polo game - around noon or 12:30 pm. There is no charge for the session and everyone is welcome to attend. If there is time, we'll also go over some video clips that illustrate some of the most common fouls. (At the session, I'll discuss with attendees the possibility of giving them access to my rules-review website so that we can go continue the discussion online.)
Ray Hunt: "I was there for the horse. People were way down the list."
Decades before 'natural horsemanship' and 'horse whispering' became big business, Ray Hunt was out there in an old pickup with a two-horse trailer, hoping to make enough gas money to get him to the next fairgrounds.
"I didn't see any commercial value in it", says Ray. "If I had, I probably wouldn't have done it".
The horse world didn't exactly welcome him.
"I was working with the mind", Ray explains.
"A lot of people didn't want to believe the horse had a mind.
'Get a bigger bit'. 'Get a bigger stick'. That was their approach'".
Spectators watched as untouched colts were saddled and ridden for the first time with hardly a buck.
In a matter of a few days the young horses were ready to go on the payroll, meaning they had enough faith in their riders and had learned enough of the rudiments to be useful on a ranch.
In this atmosphere of trust and understanding, with no hobbles or snubbing posts, no external devices, except for the now widely imitated orange flag, it was hard to see what Ray was doing to get such extraordinary results.
Accused of using ringers, drugging horses, even hypnotizing them, Ray laughed it off and kept going.
"I was there for the horse. People were way down the list."
On a recent visit to the Hunt's North Texas ranch, Pat and Linda Parelli stop by and the conversation soon shifts to something else that seems to have been on Ray's mind most of the day.
Can you be in it for the money as well as for the horse?
Pat tries to convince Ray you can. Pat doesn't succeed.
With Ray Hunt the horse comes first and anything that threatens the horse's status will always be a moral dilemma for him.
Excerpt from an article titled 'For The Horse' written by Patti Hudson which appeared in the 'Eastern Oregon Equine Magazine'.
Image of Ray is by Eric Sines and is from the same article.
Natania Polo's cover photo
No one took me up on my December 1 challenge of finding the poloskilz video on the proper use of spurs (or at least, no one reported the results of a search). At any rate, with categories such as Horsemanship, Hitting, Rules, In The Barn, Strategy, Spotlight, I/I Education, Economics and Certified Instructors, where would you look for it? I looked under Horsemanship and I/I Education, but could not find it. It turns out it is categorized under "Certified Instructors" because the person giving the instruction on the video is apparently a certified instructor. Luckily, the folks who run Poloskilz are not the same ones as those who run your local library.
The video features Adam Snow, a former 10 goaler and very respected athlete and polo player. Unfortunately, Mr. Snow is not aware of the mistakes that I/I players make and consequently cannot give them the advice they need. On the use of spurs, he states that spurs serve as "an amplification of your leg". Fair enough if those legs belong to Adam Snow, but what if they belong to a player who sits back in the saddle, lifts his legs completely off the horse, and then slams them into the animal's side? Does the action of those legs need to be amplified with spurs?
I still think spurs ought to be banned in I/I, not because there is anything wrong with spurs but because there are too many kids who misuse them. So, how about some videos that teach some techniques on how to have a horse quickly move off the lightest touch of a heel without spurs because of the rider's balance, position on the horse and, most importantly, the timing of the use the rider's heels?
At a more basic level, let's teach these young polo players how horses learn. The results would make stars out of each and every horse on the polo string.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there is a wild rumor that the Surgeon General is considering adding a health warning to the uspa’s slogan “Live Authentically.” An early draft of the warning, it is rumored, reads as follows: “WARNING: do not ponder this slogan too deeply; it has so many layers of irony that your head will explode.”
Given these concerns and given the changes in the by-laws that I recently discussed, I would like to propose a new, very catchy slogan: “Live Under Scrutiny.” It has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?
8270 March Wales Road
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