Feb 28, 2017 5:18 PM

Skilz Clinic El Sur PC 2-21-17_8
Top row (L to R): Frankie Questel, Tom Blake, Nadir Khan, Mark Tashjian, Brett Brown, Juan Martinez-Baez, USPA Florida Circuit Governor Melissa Ganzi, Paul Kuhn, Duncan Huyler; Bottom row (L to R): Jess Downey, Hilary Blythe, Kelsey Miller, Morgan Bowman, Cindy Halle, Juan Vidal

Hosted at El Sur Polo Club in Wellington, Florida, 10 instructors from around the country gathered to work toward their USPA Certified Polo Instructor (CPI) Certification. Certifiers Cindy Halle of the Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Maryland, and Paul Kuhn of Haviland Hollow Polo Club in Patterson, New York, worked closely with instructors over the course of the two-day clinic.

“I enjoyed working with instructors from all over who are making an effort to improve their base of knowledge and experience to try to become better instructors,” Halle said. “One of the best aspects of the CPI program is that it brings instructors together where they can share their teaching skills, tactics and collectively raise the bar for polo instruction.”

Skilz Clinic El Sur PC 2-21-17_1
Certifier Paul Kuhn evaluates instructor Mark Tashjian teaching a nearside backshot lesson to Juan Martinez-Baez.

Attendee Instructors included: Brett Brown of Bluewater Creek Polo Club (Rogersville, Alabama), Mark Tashjian of Middlesex Polo Club (South Hamilton, Massachusetts), Juan Vidal and Juan Martinez-Baez of Brandywine Polo Club (Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania), Kelsey Miller, a Colorado State alumna, Morgan Bowman of Langdon Road Polo Club (Aiken, South Carolina), Frankie Questel of the Atlanta Regional Polo Center (Tyrone, Georgia), Hilary Blythe of Stone Pony Farm (Leverett, Massachusetts), Nadir Khan of Barrington Hills Polo Club (Wacounda. Illinois) and Tom Blake of Wellington, Florida.

“It was a great environment,” Questel said. “Everyone there had the same goal in mind, which is to grow polo safely and with the best instruction possible.”

The instructors taught two lessons to the group for the certifiers to critique, as well as participated in teaching lectures and activities throughout. The program coordinator, Jess Downey, led the group through a Body Condition Scoring activity, which allowed instructors to feel and delineate between the different equine body conditions and ensure the health of our equine partners.

A special thank you to El Sur Polo Club and Roberto Navaja for the excellent facilities and horses.

To learn more about becoming a USPA Certified Polo Instructor, or to find a certified instructor in your area, please contact Jess Downey at