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TEAM USPA EXECUTIVE TRAINING SPOTLIGHT: PART TWO

May 16, 2017 6:41 PM

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Stephanie Massey in blue at Eagles' Landing Polo & Ranch, 2017 ©Lyliana Arribas
Stephanie Massey in blue at Eagles' Landing Ranch & Polo in Bryan, Texas, 2017. ©Lyliana Arribas

The Team USPA Executive Training Program, launched in 2016, was created in an effort to remedy a major issue that the sport of polo faces—a lack of sponsor development. Many young players are forced to take a hiatus in their polo playing to develop careers outside of polo in order to generate a stable income. They then return to the sport much later in life.

Team USPA has designed three tracks to offer the best training for its members. The Professional Player track geared towards aspiring high-goal players, the Industry Professional track focused on careers within the polo world but not necessarily on the field and the Executive track. Jesse Weaver is the volunteer spearheading the Team USPA Executive Training Program. Weaver used his own experience of playing polo professionally for several years post grad before making the decision to transition to a career outside of polo when designing the curriculum. He stayed involved in the sport while working a nine-to-five job. He wanted to help fellow Team USPA players who are going down a similar path. He recognized a major challenge that the USPA is facing right now in keeping young players involved in the sport who are pursuing traditional careers and has facilitated the creation of an innovative program to combat some of those challenges.

The program benefits Member Clubs by providing access to quality players, while also continuing to develop talented athletes throughout their professional careers. Team USPA aims to further expand the program to enable players to be placed in an executive training environment that is relevant to their desired career focus. Team USPA is looking for more mentors who are interested in having a Team USPA player help them at their club in return for an internship position. 

“I see too many 2-4 goal players leave the sport to pursue other careers and too many clubs and sponsors who could learn from those players," said Weaver. "The goal of the Team USPA Executive Training program is twofold; to help Team USPA members make the transition out of being a full-time pro and to benefit local clubs. The club gets a seasoned polo player, who in turn receives business experience and the opportunity to play affordably, everybody wins. We’re bringing back the 4-goal amateur.”   

Many players involved in Team USPA have pursued very successful careers while keeping the sport alive in their everyday lives. Over the next few weeks we will highlight Team USPA members and alums who are excelling in both their business careers as well as on the polo field. The strong foundation that comes from being a competitive polo player and member of Team USPA member translates well into any avenue of work. Team USPA is consistently identifying and fostering exceptional talent, including alum Stephanie Massey. Read about her experiences below. 

steph massey

Stephanie Massey

Current Occupation: 
"I am currently in my fourth year of veterinary school at Texas A&M University. I will graduate with my doctorate of veterinary medicine in May of 2017 and plan to start an equine internship in July of 2017 with Palm Beach Equine Clinic in Wellington, Florida. I will be getting married in June and will soon be changing my name to Dr. Stephanie Colburn!"

Lessons Learned from Team USPA:
 
"The course of my life would be entirely different if I had not been selected for the Team USPA program. Team USPA has been instrumental in helping to equip me for a career in equine veterinary medicine. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for horses and pursued a career of being an equine veterinarian. It was during the summer training offered by Team USPA in Sheridan, Wyoming, that I met Dr. Paul Wollenman. I gained valuable experience from Dr. Wollenman that summer and experienced high-quality equine medicine for the first time in my life. I also found out about a clinic he had in Wellington, Florida. I wanted to go visit the clinic simply because I loved this facet of veterinary medicine, Dr. Wollenman’s polo clients and the quality of medicine performed. After visiting the clinic later that year, I was hooked. I had never experienced such a place before; such high-level equine athletes, professional horse people and an amazing equine hospital. Palm Beach Equine Clinic became the gold standard to which I compared every other equine clinic I visited thereafter. Now, almost five years later, I am about to graduate from veterinary school and will be working for Palm Beach Equine Clinic in a few months; all simply from an introduction that I gained through Team USPA."

What is your current involvement with the sport today?
"Due to the time constraints and patient care required during veterinary school, I haven’t been able to play tournament polo regularly in over four years. I am blessed to be close to several local clubs in College Station, Texas, and have good friends that allow me to ride, stick and ball and play pick-up chukkers at their facility as much as I want. I was very blessed to be able to go on the Team USPA women’s India tour this past January. I had an exceptional experience promoting and teaching women’s polo, playing competitively and raising awareness about preservation of the Manipuri pony." 

Stephanie Massey on a breakaway during the in The 2nd Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament in Imphal, Manipur, India.
Stephanie Massey on a breakaway during the in The 2nd Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament in Imphal, Manipur, India. ©Manipur Photography Club

Continued support of the program: 
"Team USPA has had a major impact on my life, thus, I try to exemplify the program by giving back to polo as much as I can. Even though I cannot consistently play right now, I still enjoy being around polo and giving back to the sport by teaching lessons, umpiring and serving on committees. I am currently a rated umpire, am pursuing certification within the Certified Polo Instructor Program, and serve on the Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) Equine Welfare Committee, I/I Central Regional Tournament Host Committee, I/I Scholarship Committee, Texas A&M Polo Scholarship Committee, and Women’s Arena Handicap Committee. Team USPA and polo in general have been very influential in my life. I hope to return to the competitive aspect of the sport, one day, maybe after I have established my veterinary career. Regardless, I hope to remain involved in polo throughout my life, even if that is simply by working on polo horses as an equine veterinarian. For now, Team USPA has and continues to be a wonderful asset for me to remain connected with the sport I love."

The mission of the Team USPA Executive Training Program is to aid players who are pursuing a career outside of polo through job opportunities, mentorships and club access that also allows them to stay involved with the sport. If you are interested in providing a Team USPA member with an internship opportunity, please contact Amanda Snow, Director of Player Development for a list of available players and resumes.

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