May 11, 2023 7:34 PM

2022 Spring BOG Meetings.

The USPA Spring Committee and Board of Governors Meetings were held from April 17-22 during the final week of the U.S. Open Polo Championship. The meetings were held both virtually and in-person exclusively in the Wellington area for the first time at the National Polo Center- Wellington (NPC) and the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame.

The week kicked off with one Zoom Only meeting presented by the Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) Committee on Monday, April 17. On Tuesday, April 18, all meetings were held at the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, including the Executive Committee, Women's Committee, High-Goal Committee and Safety Committee. The postponement of the U.S. Open semifinals due to rain, required several meetings to be rescheduled in order for attendees to watch on Thursday, April 20.

On Wednesday, April 19, the Board and Staff Development Committee and Audit Committee both met in the 7th Chukker at NPC. Meanwhile, the Rules Committee and Tournament Committee met in the Pavilion. Following these meetings, attendees were invited to the Chairman's Cocktail Reception held at the Mallet Grille. During the reception, the Umpires LLC presented the historic Tom Hughes award to Dan Healy. The Polo Training Foundation (PTF) also took the opportunity to honor Bradley Biddle by naming him the 2022 PTF Carlton Beal Arena Umpire of the Year and Danny Juarez was awarded the 2022 PTF Carlton Beal Umpire of the Year.

Bradley Biddle was awarded the 2022 PTF Carlton Beal Arena Umpire of the Year
Bradley Biddle was awarded the 2022 PTF Carlton Beal Arena Umpire of the Year.

On Thursday, April 20, several other committees met in the morning, and guests were encouraged to watch two thrilling semifinal matches. On Friday, April 21, the board, committee members, staff and USPA Members gathered for the remainder of the committee meetings, with Zoom links provided for those unable to attend in person. The Board of Governors Meeting took place on Saturday, April 22.

To cap off the week, the NPC Polo Ops Board and NPC Hospitality Board hosted an appreciation asado for the full polo community at the Isla Carroll barn on Saturday evening. Many guests stayed to watch the U.S. Open Polo Championship Final on Sunday, April 23 and Monday, April 24.

Please find a brief recap of each committee meeting below:


©David Murrell
©David Murrell


The Arena Committee met on Thursday, April 20, and highlighted the growth and development of arena polo. The FIP Arena World Polo Championship, taking place at the end of April was a hot topic of discussion with much anticipation for the event. Robert G. Walton, M.D. was named the 2023 Russ Sheldon Award recipient for his outstanding contributions to arena polo.


The Armed Forces Committee conducted a thorough review of the 2023 military polo tournament schedule and provided an update on the status of military tournaments held thus far this year. Additionally, the Committee played a pivotal role in organizing a mounted color guard for the Westchester Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship Final.

As part of their ongoing efforts to recognize the outstanding achievements of military personnel, the committee will be presenting the highly prestigious General George S. Patton Jr. Award during the upcoming USPA Fall Committee and Board of Governors Meeting. This award is given to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the sport of polo while serving in the military.

Executive Director of USPA Services Division Carlucho Arellano.
Executive Director of USPA Services Division Carlucho Arellano.


The BASDC discussed professional and leadership training offered to staff. The committee considered offering outside training programs to better support USPA staff in their roles. Additionally, the committee addressed a request to review excused Board absences. To address this matter in a comprehensive manner, the BASDC will work closely with the Constitution Committee to ensure that any changes or revisions made are in line with the By Laws and the best interests of the organization.


The Club and Membership Administration Committee convened on Thursday, April 20. The committee reviewed the current club compliance list and evaluated which clubs met the criteria to be raised from Provisional to Active status. Additionally, the committee discussed which clubs would be dropped from Active to Provisional status and which clubs would face termination if they failed to comply with requirements by the May 1, 2023, deadline. The Board approved the club compliance list which can be found here.


The Constitution Committee met and discussed several By Law, and policy concepts for potential amendment, including Officer term limits, term limits for committee chairs, circuit boundary review periods and more. The committee will meet throughout the summer to further discuss and recommend proposed revisions for approval in the fall.

Scone's Poroto Cambiaso and Pilot's Matias Gonzalez competing in the 2023 Gauntlet of Polo on U.S. Polo Assn. Field One at the National Polo Center- Wellington.
Scone's Poroto Cambiaso and Pilot's Matias Gonzalez competing in the 2023 Gauntlet of Polo on U.S. Polo Assn. Field One at the National Polo Center- Wellington.


The High-Goal Committee met at the Museum of Polo on Tuesday, April 18. The committee discussed the formats used for the Gauntlet of Polo and made suggestions to be explored in the future. The committee also discussed a new concept for a jackpot to be offered to Best Playing Ponies during the U.S. Open.


The Equine Welfare Committee met on Friday, April 21. Dr. Mike Manno introduced new committee member, Beth Supik, who will also be working with Lindsay Greenway to organize and execute more Equine Drugs and Medication Testing. It was explained that this process is cumbersome due to the dwindling number of equine veterinarians, conflicts of interest and scheduling conflicts. The committee also discussed the idea of producing educational videos regarding basic horse care. The I/I Department has discussed a similar project and it was suggested that the groups work together. Dr. Katie Flynn, the former California State Veterinarian, former Kentucky State Veterinarian and current Senior Staff Veterinarian for the United States Equestrian Federation made a presentation on the importance of Equine Contagious Disease control. She noted that it is important to isolate infected animals, identify who has been exposed and increase biosecurity. The committee finished with a brief presentation from the Executive Director of the USPA Umpires, LLC, Fergus Gould, providing an overview on the changes in rules to ensure the safety of horses in the sport. He believes that adding a yellow card for hitting into a horse has made the players aware of the consequences leading to less incidents.

©David Lominska
©David Lominska


On Wednesday, April 19, the Rules Committee held a meeting to discuss a wide range of topics related to polo rules. The committee focused mainly on cleaning up language and ensuring consistency throughout the Rule Book. The committee delved into specific areas, such as clarifying language around yellow and red card suspensions and substitutions. Additionally, the committee discussed the variance to Outdoor Rule 2 that was offered to the Gauntlet teams. They also considered recommendations from the Arena Rules Subcommittee.

Over the summer, the Rules Committee will continue to work on the list of revisions discussed during the meeting and plan to present the final version to the Board of Governors for approval at the fall meetings.


The USPA Safety Committee met on Tuesday, April 18. Much of the meeting involved a presentation by Dr. Steve Rowson from the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab. Dr. Rowson reported that nine helmets have been tested for rotational impact thus far, the Casablanca NEU had not yet been tested at the time of his report. He explained the process of testing and then the comparative results from the helmets. The preliminary results have shown that the NOCSAE Certified helmets rank highest in both the linear and rotational testing. Virginia Tech will be putting together a final report that will be distributed to the membership once the final helmet has been tested.


The Tournament Committee and Board approved the 2023 and 2024 National and Sanctioned Tournament applications.


The Women's Committee met to discuss important matters related to women's polo. One of the main topics discussed was the success of the 2023 U.S. Open Women's Polo Championship. The committee noted that, for the first time in history, the championship final was played as the featured 3:00pm match on the Sunday U.S. Polo Assn. Field One. The change in schedule was seen as a positive move, as it allowed for greater visibility and exposure. The handicap level of the U.S. Open Women's Polo Championship was discussed extensively and was left to be decided by the Tournament Committee.


The Communications Division presented on Friday, April 21. Matt Baran, Executive Director of Communications, and Cristina Fernandez, Communications Manager, discussed highlights since the USPA Fall Committee and Board of Governors Meeting covering topics such as XII FIP World Polo Championship successes,, the evolution of the USPA Polo Network, departmental growth and synergy, as well as National Polo Center – Wellington (NPC) updates. received a facelift with a more dynamic homepage and video page. Another major change in 2023 involved the livestreaming of USPA Official Events and the shift back to the USPA Polo Network from Global Polo. experienced a 41% increase in unique website visitors to over 85,000 in March 2023.

The Communications Division synergy continues to grow through coverage presented across all the USPA’s media outlets including social platforms as well as POLO Magazine, “This Week in Polo” (TWIP) and the livestream. Promotion on all channels with a similar yet different perspective further informs audiences in the format they prefer and leaves a greater impression with multiple views. The USPA and NPC partnered with Running Iron Creative for 2023. The goal of the partnership is to elevate the USPA brand and showcase the sport to a wider audience.

The Communications Division was challenged with taking on NPC which included building out the new brand, marketing and advertising, a surge in print media and several other responsibilities. The team managed press coverage, media contacts and the weekly program at NPC as well as procured a new ticketing software and created a temporary website. The team also took the opportunity to align the branding and signage around the new facility and specifically for the Gauntlet of Polo.

Scone's Poroto Cambiaso and USPA Umpire (Name). ©David Lominska
Scone's Poroto Cambiaso and USPA Umpire Julian Appleby. ©David Lominska


The Umpires LLC outlined the expansion of existing programs and the addition of new initiatives. Executive Director, Fergus Gould, spoke about improvements in umpiring standards and professionalism.

The demand for professional umpire services has continued to grow through TWIP, Bridge to High Goal and other programs. The Umpires have already umpired 1,080 games in 2023 to date.

Bradley Biddle, the Arena Umpire Director, discussed the increasing popularity of arena polo and the success of leagues such as Texas Arena League and Pacific Coast Arena League. This trend has created a demand for professional umpires in arenas across the country.

Gould demonstrated the PoloSK technology and how it is being utilized by the LLC to streamline umpire services provided to clubs and members. He concluded by providing a brief “you make the call” demonstration. Guests acted as a third man and utilized the International Polo Academy’s (IPA) Dartfish platform to watch multi-angle views of games in real-time; then replayed the play in slow motion to determine who was at fault.

Executive Director of USPA Polo Development LLC Justin Powers.
Executive Director of USPA Polo Development LLC Justin Powers.


On Friday, April 21, the USPA Polo Development, LLC held its Spring 2023 presentation at the National Polo Center - Wellington. The presentation focused on updates and projects on the horizon for the Advisory Committees that make up Polo Development: Team USPA, Junior Polo, I/I and PDI.

In Team USPA, Hayley Heatley (Player Development Program Manager) updated the group on current Team USPA members, many of whom recently participated in the Gauntlet of Polo, the Wellington Polo Tour and high-goal women’s polo in Wellington, Florida. Heatley also outlined chair Mason Wroe’s plan for committee succession planning in order to keep the Team USPA Committee active, engaged and constantly looking for new ways to support upcoming American players best.

In Junior Polo, Heatley guided guests through plans for the 2023 National Youth Tournament Series season. The championships will return to New Bridge Polo Club in Aiken, South Carolina, in September 2023. Heatley also outlined new initiatives being discussed within the Junior Polo Committee, including international junior events and the trial of outdoor middle school polo programming to provide additional “structured” play for grades 5-8.

In I/I, Liz Brayboy, Chair of the I/I Polo Committee, and Amy Fraser, Director of I/I Polo, gave a brief update on the 2023 Tournament Season. An interesting metric was highlighted from the tournament season; 84% of National Intercollegiate Championship players and 34% at D2 National Intercollegiate Championship players came up through middle school and interscholastic programming, showcasing the developmental aspect of I/I polo.

Next up, Justin Powers, Executive Director of USPA Polo Development, LLC, reflected on the impact the Polo Development Initiative (PDI) program (now in its fifth year of capital improvements) has made on the critical infrastructure needed to develop the sport of polo. Over five years, the PDI program has partially supported infrastructure projects estimated at around 7.75 million dollars. In 2023, funded projects will include: four new polo fields, eleven field irrigation-specific projects and sixteen arena improvements (i.e., lighting and irrigation).

Finally, Powers walked guests through the International Polo Academy Player Development App project, which players and instructors can utilize. IPA has been working with a group of U.S.-based instructors to refine the opportunities of the app and is targeting a release in the summer of 2023.


The USPA Fall Committee, Board of Governors and Annual Member meeting will take place in Indio, California, from September 26-30.