The joy of playing in the women’s league comes from the fact that we can bring our best game to a space that is competitive yet full of camaraderie; relaxed yet challenging. Our league is a reminder of what polo once was for many, not just women. A fun game that’s enjoyed best among friends and with the best ponies we can mount. That’s why I started the league two years ago at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Having started to stick and ball at the age of 7 and then playing competitively at aged 15 in Wellington’s Palm Beach Polo, I’ve witnessed the emergence of women as serious players and am honored to have played a part in that movement.
Decades ago, I began to notice a lot more women paying around the world, however, the only time US women’s players came together was when there was a tournament. Many of us felt like there needed to be a comfortable and casual setting where women could work on their skills, the ability of their horses and improve both. Thus the women’s league was born.
For me, it’s been a place where I can enjoy the game for what brought me to it in the first place, the joy of being on the field. I don’t have the luxury of playing three to four times a week anymore, but I know I can still go out there in the league and have a great time. It feels great to see my ponies play well, when I make a tough shot, and especially when I see my whole team walk off the field a little happier than when we walked on.
Thanks to Grand Champions owners Melissa and Mark Ganzi, who embraced the idea of the women’s league and have put their full support behind it. We’ve been able to create and maintain a place for women to come together and just play. In the league we’re taken seriously as amateur and professional players that are there to improve our game, work our ponies and win. New friendships and playing relationships have evolved as a results as well.
Other clubs around the country are starting to try out the idea of hosting a women’s league. New Bridge Polo club in Aiken, South Carolina was generous to donate the use of one of their fields this fall. The women were keen, but due to such a hectic polo schedule of neighboring clubs and weather, they were able to only have two games. The feedback from the participants was so positive. They loved having a place that was for them only; a safe but competitive environment. There was also opportunity for participants to try out umpiring and for the younger less experienced players, to captain a team.
The Denver Polo Club is on board to host a league in the summer of 2019. There are 20-25 women players at that club who are itching to get on the field. The key to the women’s league is to make it fun, affordable and competitive.
The Grand Champions League will continue during winter 2019, January through march. We meet every Wednesday at 10:00 am at Santa Rita. Inquiries email Alina Carta at email@example.com