Dec 19, 2017 5:09 PM
One passion that nearly everyone involved in the sport of polo shares is a love for horses. All aspects from breeding, training, nutrition, fitness and personality, create the perfect polo pony for every polo player. Trained eyes in polo look for the movement of the horse, the footwork, the athleticism and the stamina. The everyday person who may see a game for the first time feel the thunder of hooves and see the speed at which the horses and riders pass from their seat on the sidelines. If these animals did not exist, neither would the amazing sport that so many consider themselves lucky to be a part of. What are the stories behind these great horses? Where did they come from? And how did they make it all the way to high-goal tournaments in Wellington, Florida?
This year, Hall of Fame inductee and former 10-goal player Adam Snow is making his return to the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida, to compete in the high-goal season with SD Farms Polo Team. This will be SD Farms’ first year to compete in the 20-goal tournaments and they are excited to have Snow as a key member of their team. Snow has always been known for his consistency in obtaining and breeding high quality horses that can compete at the top levels of polo. This year, he will travel from his farm in Aiken, South Carolina, with an incredible string made up of six impressive homebred ponies and four highly talented horses he has accumulated over the years. One horse in particular that many are eager to watch is a five-year-old dark bay homebred (Halebopp X Riverdance) Thoroughbred gelding by the name of Bebopp.
“Each morning when I make my way to the barn, Bebopp is the one I always glance over at, to see what he’s up to,” professional groom and Snow’s barn manager Samira Waernlund said. “If he’s not passed out under a tree, he’s prancing around along the fence line eager to start his day. He has the type of confirmation and build that just makes you smile. He’s not a long-legged, lean thoroughbred or a beefy large powerhouse, but he sure does catch the eye. He has already had the amazing opportunity to show off his skill in the Pete Bostwick Memorial 12-goal, he shined in the Chukkers of Hope 22-goal charity match, and having performed exceptionally well in two pro-am seasons, it’s hard to believe he’s only five years old.”
We sat down with Snow to learn more about Bebopp and his role in the upcoming winter season:
What made you decide to breed Halebopp and Riverdance?
“As many know, Halebopp (who is a member of the American Polo Horse Association) was one of my favorite horses I played throughout my career. She is smaller than most polo ponies and many believed her to be a quarter horse, but she is a full American Thoroughbred. She excelled in high-goal polo with her quickness and ease and she took me to the ball in every play. Several people had approached me about buying her, but there was no way my wife Shelley would have ever let her leave the family because of her wonderful personality and how important she was to my career. I chose Riverdance because of his racehorse breeding and everything he accomplished playing under my neighbor and fellow Hall of Famer Owen Rinehart. I believed that his racehorse build and Halebopp’s short chunkiness would create an ideal polo pony.”
“He’s a bit of a rascal and has a lot of attitude. He’s not mean, but he’s feisty and hopefully he can channel that towards competitiveness, like his mom did. She would pin her ears back going to a bump and he does the same thing. Hopefully he can hunker down and use that spunk on the field this season.” – Adam Snow
Was there a moment when you knew he would make a good polo pony?
“I truly felt like I began to enjoy playing him after we gelded him about a year ago. I began to play him in green horse chukkers this past spring and felt a big change in his suppleness—he started feeling reminiscent of his mom. I try not to compare the two because those are huge shoes to fill. However, he has started showing similar qualities such as quick to turn and quick to stop, and he’s the perfect size to hit the ball well.”
What chukker do you think he will most likely play in and why?
“I tend to not want to play young horses late in the game, but his mom usually played in the fourth chukker. My philosophy is that the fourth is very much like the first. It is a chukker where I want to have a good horse that is good to hit the ball on, that is easy and maybe a little bit smaller, and quick. Kind of like another first chukker horse that gives me confidence. The first game I played him in, I just said, ‘well, I feel good on him so let me put him in the chukker he feels good in, and that was the fourth.’ In all his career, Billy Wayman said he only had two that were as good as their moms. I have always remembered that and I’ve always kept that in mind. It can be clones, embryos, or natural breeding, but it’s hard to expect them to be as good as their forebears, so I’m trying to just enjoy him for who he is—how far he goes is up to him.”
What are some fun facts about Bebopp that would give people an idea of his personality?
“He was one of the harder horses to take on sets, even today. When Team USPA member Pedro Lara was helping me take sets at my farm in Aiken, he mentioned that Bebopp was always looking for an excuse to make something go wrong. He’s a bit of a rascal and has a lot of attitude. He’s not mean, but he’s feisty and hopefully he can channel that towards competitiveness, like his mom did. She would pin her ears back going to a bump and he does the same thing. Hopefully he can hunker down and use that spunk on the field this season.”
“It can be clones, embryos, or natural breeding, but it’s hard to expect them to be as good as their forebears, so I’m trying to just enjoy him for who he is—how far he goes is up to him.” – Adam Snow
What is his best attribute on the field?
“His quickness and how easy he gives you the ball. When you have the ball you feel like you have options. You can stop behind or you can try to slip past other players, that’s what I like about him.”
Where do you see him five years from now?
“Well, because of my age I would like to see him playing in the Argentine Open with somebody else! I would also enjoy playing him myself and keeping him at my farm in Aiken. Both are good options, and I know for sure he’s going to be fun. If I get to play him that would be great, and if he goes for a greater career somewhere, I would be a fan, following him and his achievements.”
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More