My Favorite Place to Compete: Big Horn Polo Club by Carter Nix
Every summer for the past four years, I have been fortunate to travel to Big Horn, Wyoming where I play polo at the local polo club....
This place is unlike any other in the world. Not only are the fields impeccable but the the club sits at the foot of the Big Horn mountains which gives an immaculate background. The people here are just as amazing as the view. Big Horn Polo Club is one of the few places where you can play a green horse in practice chukkers with some of the biggest names in polo such as Miguel Astrada, Julio Arellano, and Sugar Erskine.
Whether you are on a $100,000 horse or a $1,000, you are treated with the upmost respect and kindness by all members of the club. Next door is the Flying H Polo Club which is owned by Coca Cola. This club showcases some of the best polo in the United States. Teams travel from all over the states to come play at this club. I’ve been fortunate enough to play at this club before and it was nothing short of amazing. When I’m not playing or enjoying an asado at the club house, I am hiking in the Big Horn mountains. These mountains house a great variety of wildlife which always makes for an exciting time. The horses that come out of Big Horn are unlike any others. You have some of the best trainers and breeders in this area for almost all disciplines. Coca Cola has a spectacular breeding and training operation located in Big Horn.
Many of the trainers start all of their horses in the mountains due to the many lessons they can teach the horse which are applicable to almost every discipline. The trainers will teach stability and balance by working the horses up, down, and around the mountains. For young polo prospects, these trainers start by teaching the horses to work cows in the mountains. By pushing up against cows, the polo prospects are taught to be comfortable with something else being in their personal space. By throwing a rope off these youngsters, they are learning to be okay with something being thrown around within their peripheral vision. A well known saying in the polo world when it comes to purchasing a prospect is “if you can throw a rope off it, you can hit a mallet off it”. Along with amazing horses and players, comes a unique level of polo.
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Typically, the teams are 4 goal teams but the speed of these games is unlike any other typical 4 goal games. I know that each game I am challenged in news ways but I am more thankful to be challenged and to learn from the best. I typically spend two months in Big Horn, competing and working for professionals. my favorite week out of the whole season is rodeo week. The Wyo Rodeo in Sheridan, Wyoming is the coolest experience. The Indian Relay Races are my favorite event. On Sunday, after the last day of the rodeo, Big Horn Polo Club hosts the Wyo Rodeo Cup which brings in almost two hundred spectators. The level of polo that is played that day is the most intense of all season. Everyone rides their best and fastest horses in order to claim the title of Wyo Rodeo Cup Champions. I have also gotten the chance to be mentored by several astounding horsemen and players. Two years ago, I was mentored and coached by Steve Dalton. Steve’s resumè includes playing the national Canadian team and holding a 5 goal handicap. Last summer, I was mentored by Troy and Joscelyn Lequerica.
Troy and Joscelyn are a married couple who train young prospects for all disciplines. They helped me with my young mare Ophelia and helped me tune up my other made horses. With the help of Troy and Joscelyn, my horses have never played so great. In exchange for my horses playing at their best, I was also able to perform at my best. Your horse is your most important teammate so if they are unable to perform then you will not be able to either. I have traveled all across the United States but competing in Big Horn is unlike anyone could ever imagine. The lessons I have learned, the opportunities I have been given, and the stories I have will always be held near and dear to my heart. Big Horn, Wyoming is unlike anywhere in the world. If you ever have the chance to go, whether to compete or just visit, I highly recommend it.
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