Mar 28, 2023 6:52 PM
Legends Polo Club (Kaufman, Texas) was the gracious host for the third installment in the Texas Arena League (TAL) series. Facilities were well maintained and the players and ponies that used them showed up and showed out.
Legends Polo Club Owner Nacho Estrada commented, “It has been a great weekend of polo. A good portion of the people have played every year and we can see how everyone has improved their game. The new people are impressed with how fun polo is and its always a lot of fun to host because I get to catch up with players and the community. We can see how these events have made polo in the state grow. It is a satisfaction and privilege to be a host.”
The 6- to 9-goal division saw the last of the bracket games played in the National Arena Delegates Cup, with Chandler Ranch, Dallas Polo Club and Bar-Spur all finishing with a 3-0 record. In the C-Flight, seven teams competed in beginner level competition that keeps growing every year.
In the 0- to 3-goal division, play continued in two USPA tournament semifinals – the General George S. Patton Jr. and Southwestern Circuit Sportsmanship Cup. Horsegate and Evergreen Equine will continue to the Legacy Sports sponsored General George S. Patton Jr. Final, which started with 12 teams. Frank’s Friendly Firearms and Bar-Spur will advance to the Southwestern Circuit Sportsmanship Cup Final. All other teams in the 0- to 3-goal classic division will continue to play TAL points games at the final event at Legends Polo Club.
In the 3- to 6-goal division, Horsegate and Dallas Polo Club will be moving on to the General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller Final, which also started with 12 teams. Elite Motion & Performance and Legends will compete in the Southwestern Circuit Sherman Memorial Final. All other 3- to 6-goal teams will be playing TAL points games at the last TAL event.
Kelly Coldiron, an event sponsor and competitor on 10X, shared, “There is no arena polo in Oklahoma, so were happy to be able to come down and have great competition in the 3-6 goal. Competition has risen in talent since the first arena league four years ago. It is also such a great opportunity to find and purchase horses.” She continued, “I really enjoy this time in the winter to get myself in shape prepping for Oklahoma field season. People often forget about the fitness of the athlete but riding and conditioning in the season makes it much easier to continue. ‘Taking massive action’ in this way means joining the Texas Arena League to compete.”
It is only through the combined efforts of tournament coordinators and participants that the Texas Arena League has been able to run so smoothly. Joss Leufrancois, member of team Visage.Jobs and Clear Creek, participated in the league and provided support for the event outside the arena. Visage.Jobs created the online entry portal system for electronic entries in conjunction with the TAL Committee.
Texas Arena League has proved to not just be an event for the players, but one that is made possible by the players too. Amanda Massey, a member of the Elite Motion & Performance team, also contributes to TAL’s success. Elite Motion & Performance sponsors the Most Improved Player award. The Most Improved Player award has a special significance in that it celebrates not only ability, but also dedication to growing skills in the sport of polo. Although there are many players who grew up around polo, there is also a more significant number of players that had never held a mallet prior to just a few years ago. Some participants in the Texas Arena League even started out in polo in college or high school. No matter the experience though, it is clear that players are always working to improve themselves as both players and riders.
Massey shared, “I wanted to give an award that up-and-coming players can use to help keep their bodies safe and encourage recovery between games. Texas Arena League has facilitated close friendships and helped grow my business over the past eight years. I love playing each season with and against new players every year.”
Similarly, the sport of polo is constantly growing to accommodate the ever-changing base of players that come into the sport. Despite having many players of different skill level, Texas Arena League has worked out an accommodation so that players of all skill levels are welcome. Multiple flights ranging from C-flight to 6-9 goal are held throughout the weekend to give everyone a chance to compete.
There are also awards such as Galvin Agency sponsored Most Valuable Player, which recognizes the hard-won accomplishments of a variety of players. These players provide significant value to their team and often include highly dedicated individuals. Tiamo Hudspeth* won MVP over the weekend while playing for Frank’s Friendly Firearms - a sponsored team proud to back such strong individuals.
Hudspeth remarked, “Playing for Frank’s Friendly Firearms has been super special, I have been playing with my good friend Lisa Yanskey and my boss Alston Beinhorn. It has been extra special to play some of our 4-year-old homebreds in their first games and they have done exceptionally well. I’m so thankful that F3 supported our team. Not only is it a fun and friendly team, [but] we are also very competitive and holding our own against some tough competition during Texas Arena League.”
The Texas Arena League also provides an opportunity for equine athletes to shine. Polo horses, being among the most skilled animals in the world, also come with their own variety of skill sets that players must learn to adapt to every time they mount up. It is not uncommon for players to take some time to adjust to their mounts since the sport, by nature, results in many matchups with both players and horses. There are times, however, when the player and horse just click and work together as well as their three-person team. James Glew is one such individual who saw the value in his horse Josie. During that same game, Josie won Nutrena Best Playing Pony. At the conclusion of the event, James then bought Josie from San Ysidro Polo through trainer Tiamo Hudspeth.
Glew explained, “We purchased Josie because she floated around the arena and had great lateral movement, and we saw her future potential as she gains experience each season. She is super light in the mouth and has some excellent schooling and playing experience under her previous owner, Tiamo at San Ysidro Polo. Her lateral movement in the arena and ability to move around players helped her to stand out as Nutrena BPP.”
Every game in Texas Arena League has an MVP, Best Playing Pony and Sportsmanship award. Here are the individual award winners for the third weekend of TAL at Legends Polo Club.
Nutrena Best Playing Pony
Andi – Chad Bowman
Sunny -Tomas Tejera
Bailey – Megan Rahlfs, owned by Paul Corkery
Marlboro 2x – Joss Leufrancois
Esmerelda – Christina Cantu
I’wii – Mark Osburn
Lady – Ariel Mancebo, owned by Horsegate
Moxie – Tiamo Hudspeth, owned by San Ysidro
Josie – James Glew
Uncle Lucious 2x – Megan Flynn & Shane Rice, owned by Hidden View Farm
Blue Duck – Mark Osburn
Collette – Zak Coleman, owned by Victor Aguilar
Mongha - Josie Dorsey, owned by TAMU Polo
Paniolo - Brady Williams, owned by San Ysidro
Stephanie Massey Colburn*
Polo InterActive Sportsmanship
Stephanie Massey Colburn
Galvin Agency MVP
Mark Osburn (2x)
For more information on Texas Arena League, visit www.texasarenaleague.com. You can also follow Texas Arena League on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
*Tiamo Hudspeth and Stephanie Massey Colburn are Team USPA alumnae. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
All photos courtesy of ©David Murrell.
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