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2024

 
Upcoming Events

 

 


Remember - all attendees must belong to Pony Up Polo Boosters (out of town guests are welcome).


2024 
Opening party at
the Polo School

February 17 at 11:15AM

Rain date - February 24

Spring Training Exhibitions Feb 18 & 25
 

March
The Spring Polo Season begins March 1

Just Horse'n Around  March 12, at 10AM

April

Polo 102 at The Barns on April 4

Enjoy a round of sessions at the three barns.

Just Horse'n Around April 11, at 10AM

Sold out!  Postponed until Mon, Apr 15 at 10AM due to expected inclement weather.

Don't forget your chairs.

May 4 at 5:30PM

Annual Derby Party at Rohan Recreation

Enjoy dinner, watch the Derby and bid on a variety of experiences, art, and polo related items. We're raising funds for The Villages Polo Academy and the Injured Players Fund.

October 25 - 27

30th Anniversary Celebrations

Pony Up Polo Boosters Championship Cup

PEARLS OF WISDOM COMPETITION

Please share your Pearl of Wisdom. As this is our 30th Anniversary and Pearl is the gem, we're having a competition! The person with the best submission as determined by the Board will receive a prize and recognition at the 30th Anniversary Celebration in October. Each member may submit up to six Pearls.

Pearls of Wisdom

2024 Spring Opening Party

The week’s weather delay of the opening party certainly didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the polo boosters who attended the first ever event for the Pony Up Polo Boosters -- the Spring Opening Party. Bright sun and cooler temperatures made for the perfect day to celebrate the start of the 2024 Spring Polo Season.


Thanks to Instructor Mike Harris for allowing us to sit in on a Polo School training session. The students demonstrated the various strokes used in polo before moving from the arena to the field to highlight the skills they are learning to master as they played a special match just for the Boosters. Everyone was delighted to see how our future polo players are progressing. No doubt the students also enjoyed having an audience to cheer them on.


Lunch under the branches of the great oak at The Barns gave everyone a chance to catch up with each other, renew and start new friendships and enjoy getting to know the polo students and instructors a little better.  


The new logo for the Pony Up Polo Boosters was on display so everyone could get a sneak peek at the new design that will be on the shirts soon available for sale during the matches in the Spring season. Be sure to shop early so you can get your favorite color.


See you all at the matches.

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Spring 2024 - Polo 102

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Polo 102 - Always Informative!

 
We see the polo ponies on the field on Friday’s and Sunday’s but what is the life of a polo pony really like?  Approximately 60 booster members attended Polo 102 to find out for themselves. 
 
Attendees were divided into three groups with each group starting in a different barn to learn about:
 
Teeth and Bits from Dale Gavitt,
Grooming and Tack from Nick Johnson, and
Shoes from Marcelo Torres
 
Starting in Barn 1, Dale explained the importance of teeth hygiene throughout an equine’s lifetime.  Since their teeth are continually growing, it is important that their teeth be filed down at least yearly to make the pony more comfortable and more responsive to their riders through the use of a bit placed in their mouth.  He also explained some of his tools of the trade while demonstrating their use on his willing equine volunteer.  Attendees were fascinated to see Dale demonstrate just how far back a horse’s teeth are placed.  It was surprising to learn that the maximum life of a horse in the wild is only about 12 years due to teeth and foot issues.  The polo ponies have a much longer life as they are getting the best of care, including regular dental work and foot and hoof care as well as chiropractic and acupuncture treatments. 
 
Continuing on to Barn 2, Nick introduced us to Fuego, one of his 10 polo ponies.  Nick explained that he feeds his horses a diet of high protein oats and sugar beets which is like rocket fuel for them, giving them strength and endurance.  Fuego started out as a gray horse but has turned white as he has aged to his current 13 years.  Nick also noted that he has Fuego’s sister and brother among his string of ponies.
 
Nick explained the routine that goes into preparing a pony for match day and along with the assistance of Groomer Monica explained all the equipment that is used on a polo pony.  Fuego was the picture of patience while he was tacked up and down from his feet to his tail. Nick went on to explain that each of his 10 horses has their own bridle and Nick has four identical English saddles that he uses among his 10 horses.  Wow – that is a lot of leather to take care of.
 
Nick added that caring for polo ponies is a 24/7 responsibility and work usually starts at 6:00A and ends after 6:00P, with just a few free hours available midday.  It truly is a labor of love.
 
Barn 3 was the place to be as the sister of Fuego was getting fitted for her brand new shoes. What female doesn’t like a new pair of shoes!  Marcelo explained the anatomy of a horse’s foot so everyone could understand the placement of shoes and nails and the importance of a good fit and trimming.  The ponies are reshod every four to six weeks and can even be fitted with orthopedic horseshoes if needed.
 
Marcelo really understands the importance of a good fitting horseshoe as he is a former polo player himself and is now a full-time groomer and farrier. 
 
Before the question-and-answer session, Nick Johnson showed us some amazing balance by standing on the back of a horse barefoot while using a mallet to bounce a polo ball vertically.  No wonder he is so good in a saddle! 
 
Polo 102 ended with Q&A session with Dale, Nick, Lord Lyall and Mike Harris from the polo school answering a multitude of questions from the audience.

(We ran long so we didn't capture everyone in the group photo. Next time!)

2024 - Just Horse'n Around

Our thanks go out to Ali and Kathy Indelicato who hosted two groups of Polo Boosters at their farm in Inverness.  The Boosters were treated to a private presentation of the Maddy Method of training rescued wild Mustangs.  Ali and Kathy explained how these magnificent horses are acquired, maintained, shipped, bought and sold and trained after having had no human contact.  They shared their own personal journeys with the 50+ remarkable Mustangs and other rescues that reside on their property.  This was a popular event, and both sessions were well attended.  Several Booster members even took advantage of the special offering for a discounted trail ride that was offered.  What a great day in the country.

2024 - Annual Derby Party at Rohan Recreation

We can count this year’s Derby Party as another successful event for the newly renamed Pony Up Polo Boosters. It was an evening full of fun activities from the moment of check-in with our Derby trivia right up to the last minute of the live auction when it was time to leave Rohan Recreation Center. Not only were many Pony Up Polo Boosters in attendance, but we were honored to have several of our polo players with us, including multiple players from the visiting Barbados team.


The Derby race was being televised, but unfortunately due to some technical issues experienced right at the end of the race, we didn’t get to see the by-a-nose finish. But that didn’t deter our own professional and amateur audience players from getting into the spirit of Derby Day with their own Derby races. Their trusty steeds were also quite beautiful and may have appeared to be a little stiff, but that certainly didn’t curb the enthusiastic audience as they cheered their favorites on to victory. 


That wasn’t the only competition going on this evening. The Silent Auction tables were buzzing with bid activity. Everything from Artwork to Zperiences were up for bid and there were several enthusiastic bidding wars going on for the generously donated treasures. Many thanks to our multiple sponsors and others who were so gracious in contributing items to the Silent and Live auctions. 

 

Our thanks to Lord Lyall who provided the musical notes while all enjoyed a wonderfully catered meal provided by La Hacienda. Being a multi-talented individual, Lordy also was quite entertaining as the auctioneer for the live auction event where some truly unique and amazing items were available.  The proceeds of the evening’s events have been earmarked for several charitable causes that the Pony Up Polo Boosters support with the majority going towards equipment needs of the Polo School students. These students are the future of polo in The Villages, and we are honored to be able to provide them with some much-needed equipment. 

 

See you all in the Fall!