Jun 18, 2018 3:54 PM

mia bray

Mia Bray has been in the saddle since day one, beginning her riding career on a pony named Ribbit. She blossomed as a confident rider under the guidance of her mother and father, training hunter jumper horses to compete on the West Coast circuit. She received a scholarship to Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, Oklahoma, to ride on the equestrian team. While Bray was successful in the hunter jumper industry, she found herself leaning towards polo and began playing more frequently while in college. She joined the OSU polo team and rescued two horses to retrain for polo. After graduation Bray played in an 8-goal tournament at Eldorado Polo Club in Indio, California, and recently began an internship through USPA Polo Development, LLC at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California. The USPA sat down with Bray to learn more about her internship in California.

Team USPA member Mia Bray riding her rescue horse Pistol Pete.
Team USPA member Mia Bray riding her rescue horse Pistol Pete.

What does your typical day look like at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club?
“Busy! I am playing in the 8-Goal July and August, so I have my string of six horses up right now and my young horse, Pistol Pete. I take a set first thing in the morning so that I can be at the office by 9am. Depending on the day, I will be working in the office organizing the pro pool league and doing office work or if it’s a game day, I am generally helping keep score and time. I take another set in the evening and ride Pistol Pete.”

How has interning at the Polo Office helped with your career path?
“I am very interested in attending law school in the future, but my heart is in polo so I am eager to find a way to combine both of them! I have been working with Melanja [Jones] on creating a system for the waivers that is efficient and ensures the club stays protected. I am also responsible for the polo section of the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club website, which was definitely a new area for me. Working with the marketing, advertising and event planning department has helped me develop skills within and beyond the world of polo. I am very grateful for USPA Polo Development, LLC providing me with this opportunity.”

umpire mia

As a new member of Team USPA, what are your personal goals in polo and with Team USPA?
“Jake Klentner (also a new member of Team USPA) and I have been working towards obtaining our outdoor umpire certification. I am very excited for the opportunity to play with Joe Henderson and Mariano Fassetta in the 8-goal. I hope to begin playing more international and national women’s tournaments in the near future with Team USPA.”

Tell us a little bit about your rescue horses. How did you get involved in rescuing and retraining horses?
“My mom found my first rescue on Facebook. She called me up while I was at OSU and said I bought a thoroughbred horse from the kill pen and you need to go pick it up. We hooked up the rig and picked up Stilly, named after Stillwater, Oklahoma. I jumped on her shortly after she finished quarantine and began working with her immediately. Playing Stilly in her first 12-goal practice was an amazing feeling. My 'second mom' Laura Maloney found another rescue for me, but this time it was a little quarter horse. Pistol Pete was pretty scrawny when he first arrived, but with a lot of love, attention and hay he filled out and is quite fat and happy. I played Pistol Pete his first practice chukkers a few weeks ago. I am excited to see how he finishes because he has a great handle and is very kind.”