6th Annual Stanford Alumni Polo Tournament

We are thrilled to invite you to the 6th Annual Stanford Polo Alumni Tournament! This is one of the year’s fastest and most exciting polo games, featuring some of the best players to go through the Stanford Polo program. The event will be held on May 31st at the Horse Park at Woodside. Chukkars will start at 1 pm.

General admission is free, although donations are always greatly appreciated. BBQ and drinks will be available for purchase at the game. Come join past and present Stanford polo players for an eventful evening!

Stanford students are invited to buy Eventbrite tickets prior to the game, which include shuttle service from campus to the horse park, as well as free access to concessions.

Date: Saturday, May 31, 2014
Time: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Place: The Horse Park at Woodside, 3674 Sand Hill Rd, Redwood City, CA 94062

Please contact us at stanfordpoloclub@lists.stanford.edu with any questions.

New Members!

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The Stanford Polo Club is excited to welcome the incoming new members to the team! After three weeks of intense tryouts, riding lessons, and practices, the men’s and women’s teams finalized their rosters on Monday night last week. While our new members range in ability, their overall energy and enthusiasm are undeniable and we eagerly wait to see what contributions they will make to our team.

The Stanford Polo Club would like to thank everyone who came out for tryouts this year. We were pleased by both the excitement and commitment seen during tryouts and cannot wait to see our new members continue to grow and advance in their polo abilities. As tryouts come to an end, we are now looking forward and preparing for the upcoming season. This weekend marks the first of many scrimmages, with both teams traveling to the Mustang Madness tournament.

Newbie Tryouts!

The Stanford Polo Club is excited to start off our new year strong! After returning from China and an overall intense summer of polo, we are thrilled to begin recruiting new members! If you’re a Stanford student and interested in joining the Stanford Polo Club please send us an email and/or come talk to us at the activities fair this Friday! There is no experience necessary! The first day of tryouts, also known as “Newbie Day,” will take place this Sunday at Webb Ranch. To sign up and get more information on pickups and the overall schedule for the day, please come to our booth at the activities fair or email Laura Kurt at lkurt@stanford.edu. Tryouts will be hosted the first three weekends of the quarter. During tryouts we will give a polo demonstration, talk about what the club is like, and give prospective members a chance to get to know current members. We can’t wait to see you out there!

If you are not able to make it to Newbie Day, please email us or stop by our booth at the activities fair! The first practice is not mandatory but serves as a great chance for us to get to know you better! We will continue to have tryouts throughout the first three weeks and will finalize members in mid-October!

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Summer Continues and Belated Spring Update

Now that the team has fully decompressed from the excitement of the China trip, we have time to give a few summer updates and an extremely belated recap of happenings during spring quarter!

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During spring quarter, the Polo Club welcomed Dr. Sherril Green (pictured above) and Stanford’s Horse Medicine Class for a hands-on practicum with the polo ponies. The students were able to practice the knowledge they’d been learning throughout the course, and we’re proud to report that our horses were very patient and willing subjects. After learning more about horse medicine the students also had the chance to try polo.

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A few Stanford Polo Club members were also enrolled in the class and furthered their knowledge of horse medicine and care. With a thriving herd of nearly twenty horses, we’re sure they will have the chance to put this knowledge to good use! Photographer Merrie Asimow came out to photograph the event and generously shared her pictures for posting on our website. Thank you Merrie! To wrap up spring quarter right before final exams, the team went to Half Moon Bay to do a work day at Square Peg, a foundation that simultaneously helps both horses and people. We strongly believe in Square Peg’s mission and the services they provide, and it’s always a pleasure to help them in any way we can.

Stanford Polo has kept very busy since our trip to Tianjin. The team trailered down for a weekend at Central Coast Polo Club to play in a PCal arena tournament. This was a great chance to get back into the arena after a summer of primarily field polo and catch up with friends from other clubs in the area. Stanford fielded two teams, an A flight and a B flight team. The A flight team, consisted of coaches Heather Lake and Russell Field, and team member Eric Birdsall. This was Eric’s first A flight game and he did a great job keeping up with the level of play. The first day, the A flight team played a close game against the Roark Winery team and lost by a few points. Stanford’s pony Elvis won a well-deserved best playing pony. The second day the team was victorious, finishing 3rd in the Tournament overall. The pictures below were shamelessly stolen from Erin Malen.

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The women’s team was able to play our first arena game together all summer in the B flight! The girls were very happy to be playing together again and put in a strong performance, finishing with 11 or 12 points on the board, Shivani Torres as MVP, and Olivia Cords winning a sportsmanship award. The second day Ellie Redding won her game with other Poway players. Shivani, Russell, and Olivia had a tougher time in their game. Playing greener horses and trying new additions to the Stanford string made it tough to keep up the consistency in each chukker.

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Finally, the Stanford women made trip north to play at the Women’s Tournament in Santa Rosa this past weekend. This tournament was a great chance to show off some girl power! We had a great time playing on this beautiful field. Thank you to returning alumni Russell for trailering and coaching! Thanks also to former women’s team captain Laura Hansen for her help during the game, and special thanks to Bonnie Magill for organizing, providing great prizes and camaraderie, and accommodating student players. The Stanford women were the winners of this round robin tournament as a result of a balanced team effort. Goals were made by Shivani Torres, Ellie Redding, and Olivia Cords. Elizabeth Lake in the number four position played strong defense and fielded many passes. As always, there is plenty of room for improvement, but the Stanford women were able to complement each other’s playing styles and strengths.

The students on summer team have been incredibly motivated and dedicated to improving our game, which has not waned since the trip to China. We’re looking forward to making the most of the last few weeks of summer!

Stanford Polo Goes to China!

Stanford Polo was invited to participate in the 2nd Annual Intervarsity Polo Tournament at the Tianjin Golden Metropolitan Polo Club. SPC sent nine players and coach Heather Lake to the club located a few hours north of Beijing. We had a fabulous time and are really grateful to have had the opportunity to play at this world class facility.

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After playing four games and a practice match in 100 degree heat and humidity, we’re returning a little weary and a lot wiser. The tournament included six schools from the US and the UK, with University of London being the eventual winner of the tournament. Our practice match against University of London was our first chance to get a feel for the twenty horses we were given for the span of the tournament. The horses were top quality, and thanks to the hard work of the staff of the Metropolitan Polo Club the string had plenty of range to safely accommodate all of our players.

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We played our first game against Harvard. Harvard came out strong in the first chukker and this well-coached team played a smart and fast game. Former president and men’s team captain Erich Schloss did a great job directing our less experienced team to match Harvard’s intensity. Our next game was against Cambridge who also played a relentless game. Although the final score differential of 17 to 4 indicates the carnage that occurred, it is clear from the video footage of the game the Stanford team had a few brilliant moments and improved tremendously over the span of the two games. Our final two games were played against Yale. Overcoming a handicap differential of 2.5 goals, the first game resulted in a decisive win for Stanford. Yale rallied in the last game of the tournament and put in a very solid performance that resulted in their final victory.

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In addition to the four matches, we were unbelievably lucky to have two patient and well-qualified umpires in the 9-goal player Santiago Arraya and resident horse manager John Fisher. Santiago also coached the team through riding lessons, wooden horse sessions, strategy, and stick and ball. It was an honor to be coached by such an amazing player and good teacher. We also had the opportunity to help with the Junior Equestrian and Polo Program that Metropolitan Polo Club was running concurrently with the collegiate tournament. We had a lot of fun with these young future players. We’re sure that in a few years time the Metropolitan Polo Club will be fielding its own local team, and it will be very exciting to see the expansion of the sport in China.

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We feel unbelievably lucky to have had this experience and can’t thank the Tianjin Metropolitan Polo Club enough for inviting us to play and for all the effort that went into making the tournament a success. We’ve returned home all in one piece and we had a lot of fun meeting players from other II programs and the UK. After this tour on the international stage, I think it’s safe to say that the entire team has a little more fire in our bellies to keep pursuing this crazy sport.

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The majority of the photos posted were taken by the photographers at the Metropolitan Polo Club. Please visit the tournament’s website for more pictures and press releases, and check back on the Gallery page soon for an updated album of the trip!

6th Annual Stanford Alumni Polo Tournament

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Several weeks ago the Stanford Polo Club hosted it’s 6th Annual Stanford Alumni Polo Tournament at the Horse Park at Woodside! The event is a recent tradition geared towards reconnecting current members with past members! One of our favorite aspects of the Alumni Tournament is getting to meet members who helped make the Stanford Polo Club what it is today. Every year the club encourages alumni to join in for a fun and free day of polo and chance to meet new members. Alumni came from all over the nation and state to meet with old friends and play polo again! This event continues to grow each year and this year 20 alumni saddled up for a total of 5 chukkars!

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Gathered under the sun of a perfect Saturday, all those in attendance enjoyed fast polo and delicious BBQ. The team was even able to provide transportation service for Stanford students to come join in the festivities! We would like to thank all the alumni, family and friends who joined for our 6th Annual Alumni Tournament! The event was incredibly successful and we could not have put it together if it were not for the help of all those in attendance! It was touching for all of us to see the talent and passion that has helped keep Stanford polo alive and well for all these years. We cannot wait to see everyone again at next year’s alumni tournament!

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The Stanford Polo Club would also like to thank the Field family for hosting the traditional Grilled Cheese formal after the tournament. During the formal, alumni joined current members for gourmet dishes, appetizers and grilled cheese prepared by the club. The event gathers old and new members together to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions made throughout the year. This year the Red Boot award for the Most Improved Player was awarded to Sophomore, Ellie Redding, for her dedication and advancement! The Most Valuable Player for the men’s team was given to Senior, Erich Schloss for his incredible talent and hard work during his time in the club. The women’s team Most Valuable Player award was given to Katrina Pura, Co-term, for her aggressive playing and tenacious spirit. And finally, the awards for the Most Outstanding Contributors were given to Laura Kurt and Laura Huntley for their immense dedication to the club. After awards were given, alumni shared stories from their time in the club. Alum and current newbie coach, Laura Hansen, even prepared a slideshow to aid her in sharing some of her stories from the club.

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Overall, the Alumni Tournament and Grilled Cheese formal were a great way to end another successful season and year for the Stanford Polo Club. We would like to extend our thanks to all those who were able to come out for the tournament and formal, and to those who continue to show their support for the club today. This has truly been a great year for the club and we are excited to see the team continue to grow and flourish as we move into summer!

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Intraclub Tournament

To celebrate the end of the year, members from all levels of experience gathered last weekend for an intraclub tournament. Dividing into four teams of varying skill, old and new members played together to win the ultimate title and bragging rights. The intraclub tournament is an annual tradition and provides members with an opportunity to showcase their skills acquired throughout the year and also to challenge their teammates. This year teams were closely matched and all games ended within a several point difference. The blue team, headed by Coach Mike, scraped a win against the red team, headed by senior player Erich, and won the championship!
 The Stanford Polo Club would like to thank the Hansen family  for hosting a team BBQ after the tournament. During the BBQ awards were given to the most improved player from the women’s and men’s team to recognize the improvement in their riding ability and tactical polo skills. This year’s most improved awards went to Ellie Redding and Eric Birdsall. Both of these players have been very dedicated to the team and the time they put in really shows! The team also began saying goodbye to our seniors by recounting embarrassing stories from their time on the team. We will sorely miss our graduating players, Erich Schloss and Elizabeth Lake, both of whom have been very involved with the club for many years.

We would also like to thank everyone who has supported the Stanford Polo Club in time, resources, and support! To reconnect with those who helped make the Stanford Polo Club what it is today, we are hosting an alumni game on May 31st at the Horse Park at Woodside. Please look for updated posts as the event draws nearer and address any questions or concerns to stanfordpoloclub@lists.stanford.edu.

Regionals!

Over the first weekend of spring break, Stanford Polo played at the Western Regionals Tournament hosted at CalPoly. This tournament determines which teams in our region will go to Nationals, and is much anticipated every year.

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The Men’s team put in a strong showing. Led by team captain, Erich Schloss, the team beat Idaho University to make it to the finals. Although the men lost their final game to last year’s National Champions, Westmont, we are really proud of their improvement over the season. The men’s team had a less consistent group of players than usual because of a variety of polo and non-polo related injuries over the course of the season. We were really impressed by the work put in by Eric Birdsall and Jack Cook to get back into playing shape, as well as freshman Ehson Kolbehdari’s willingness to jump into varsity chukkers.

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The women played a tough first game against a very determined Oregon State. The Stanford women held their own through the first part of the game, but Oregon State picked up momentum in the second half to win the game. All of the team really fought hard, and with many of the more experienced players returning next year, we are looking forward to a competitive next season. We’re especially glad that co-captain Katrina Pura was able to stay around one more year and lend her strong presence on the field.


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Compared to many of the other collegiate polo regions, the western region is fairly small. Regionals is always a fun time of camaraderie as we reconnect with teams and players from all over the region. Thank you to our coaches Heather Lake and Mike Zeliger for helping us improve throughout the year! The level of polo was very impressive this year, and we’re looking forward to next year! Congratulations to Westmont Men and Cal Poly Women and good luck at Nationals!

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Stanford Polo is looking forward to a fun but productive spring. All of the horses got the first week or two of spring quarter off. We have trail rides, scrimmages, Grilled Cheese, and the annual inter-club tournament planned. We’re looking forward to it and hope to see our alum at Grilled Cheese! Stay tuned for the date!

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Lucky Helmets!

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Thanks to the generosity of Tom Shanahan, a long-time supporter of Stanford Polo, the new helmets have arrived! The helmets are safety approved and certified, and a massive step up from the club’s old ones. After having the old “crash helmets” in the club for decades, we’re thrilled to have these new helmets! A secondary benefit is that the matching red helmets complement the Stanford jerseys, making us look extra smart and intimidating. Tom Shanahan has truly helped bring Stanford Polo up to modern standards and times, and we can’t thank him enough for his continued support.

Although the helmets didn’t have their first christening game until two weeks ago, since their arrival, Stanford has won nearly all of our games and tournaments. Three weeks ago, the Women’s Team played USC. The game was a little sticky and slow, but Stanford cruised to an easy victory, with goals made by all members playing for the team.

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That Sunday, Stanford fielded lower and upper flight teams for the Horse Park’s Valentine Tournament. New members Raquel and Kathryn did a great job in their first arena tournament! The upper flight team, consisting of seniors Erich Schloss, Laura Kurt, and Olivia Cords, battled it out to win their flight. Their last game against the fierce Sutter Butte team resulted in a tie. Thanks to two true penalty shots made by Olivia Cords (the author herself was pleasantly surprised), the team of Stanford seniors won the tournament! The upper flight’s team success in this fast game had the coaches lamenting over Erich Schloss’ inherent ineligibility to play for the women’s team. Should Erich have been born “Erica” we would surely be on our way to nationals. Other highlights of the day included a bareback chukker. The chukker, enjoyed by all, resulted in only one minor casualty in the very last thirty seconds, as Martini’s rider (we won’t mention names) slipped of her pony. We really enjoyed the camaraderie of what we hope will become an annual event put on by Horse Park Polo, and are very thankful that we were invited to participate.

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Two weekends ago, Stanford hosted three games in a row, beginning with the Women’s Team victory over Westmont on Friday. The women played their second game of the weekend against Oregon State on Saturday. The Stanford Women’s Team got off to a slow start in this game, which was tied through halftime. Re-energized during the second half, the Stanford team pulled ahead during the third chukker and maintained a generous lead for the rest of the game. We’re glad that Oregon made the long drive down to play us, and would like to commend the Oregon girls for their very determined ride offs.

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The men’s team played a fast game against the Idaho Vandals. Both the Stanford team and the Idaho team are lead by strong captains, Erich and Mason, and the game was very competitive through the first half. The Stanford Men’s Team quickly pulled ahead in the second half, resulting in a hard-won victory. We’re glad that we could reciprocate Idaho’s generosity in hosting the women’s team and want to thank Idaho for making the trip down! We’re pleased that we finished off our last few home games with multiple victories, which we’d chalk up to the new helmets if we were superstitious.

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The recent rain has resulted in several cancelled practices, but we’re thrilled to have the arena back this weekend. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the much-needed rain will hold off over the next two weeks, as we practice and scrimmage in preparation for Regionals at Cal Poly.

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Games and Rain

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Stanford Polo Club has had a very busy few weeks! Two Saturdays ago, the women played Cal Poly. Due in part to an unfortunate number of penalties, the score was overwhelmingly in Cal Poly’s favor. However, the Stanford women’s teamwork improved over the game, and the fast chukkers helped highlight things to work on. We’re glad we had the opportunity to play such a strong team on our home court! Rain on Sunday almost forced the men’s team to cancel their game against Cal Poly. Luckily, the team was able to trailer down to an indoor arena in Gilroy. Led by team captain and club president Erich Schloss, the men’s team handily won their game. We’re particularly proud of freshman Ehson Kolbehdari for his first appearance representing Stanford polo!

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This past weekend, the women’ team travelled up north to play Washington State University and University of Idaho. After taking an early morning flight up to Washington, the team played WSU. The challenges of adjusting to frigid weather, a smaller arena, and new horses caught the girls a little off guard, and the team trailed behind WSU throughout the first half. However, despite her hurting back, co-captain Katrina Pura rallied the team for a much more competitive second half. Sophomore Ellie Redding made several penalty shots and had some great hits to goal. Although the game resulted in a loss, we’re proud of how the team rallied and especially of Ellie Redding’s strong shots and great defense. Thank you WSU for hosting us!

Saturday the women played University of Idaho. Despite some frozen dirt clumps in the arena, the footing played amazingly well and the game was very competitive. The two teams were roughly tied for the majority of the game. A tough third chukker resulted in Stanford being down by three. Despite a few more goals made in the fourth chukker, it was not quite enough to win the game. Sunday, Idaho again hosted and we played fun chuckers with mixed teams. Everyone got a lot of playing time in and we were really impressed with the Idaho Team’s hospitality, and the Idaho string and facilities. Thank you to University of Idaho for hosting us and for helping with transportation and lodging! Despite being unused to the cold and the snow, we had a fun and polo-packed weekend! We’d also like to thank the Furrer family for all of their help on this trip, including providing four-wheel drive transportation, handwarmers, a jacuzi spa, and lots of love. These trips really wouldn’t be possible without the help of our polo parents and we’re so grateful for their support!

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Back at home, there has been nothing but rain, which is good for the drought but bad for polo. The men’s double header against OSU this past weekend was sadly cancelled and the arena appears to be just dry enough for practice this week. This upcoming weekend the women will play USC on Saturday and then the club will field a team for the Horse Park’s Valentine’s Day Tournament on Sunday. Next weekend, the women are playing Westmont on Friday, OSU on Saturday, and the men’s team will play University of Idaho on Sunday. We are looking forward to the upcoming games and especially the chance to reciprocate the generosity of the Idaho team. Hope to see you out there!