The successful low-goal polo league will return to the International Polo Club Palm Beach in late December, featuring eight tournaments for emerging amateur players and students of the sport. In 2018, the venue initiated the inaugural season of the amateur-friendly league, providing a safe and fun way for new players to participate in a true game setting.
“Wellington is experiencing a resurgence of the polo community, and we are extremely inspired by the record number of teams we expect to compete at the 22-goal level this season,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners. “We look forward to cultivating more interest in polo through the Polo School at IPC and the Gladiator Polo season. While the high-goal season is our first priority, we believe it was an important commitment, based on interest from last year, to expand the Polo School and low-goal tournaments operated by IPC, which will create more accessibility to the premier polo club in this country for those eager to get involved in the sport.”
This season, IPC plans to expand the program to host four-, six- and eight-goal tournaments. Matches will take place on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The first tournament is set to begin on Thursday, Dec. 20 and events will continue through the end of April.
Games will run four chukkers during the four-goal tournaments and five chukkers during the six-goal and eight-goal tournaments. Each team is guaranteed three to four games per tournament and there will be awards for Best Playing Pony and Most Valuable Player at the end of each tournament. All games will be umpired by USPA-certified umpires and officials and run consistently with USPA rules and regulations.
The Polo School at IPC is also returning for another busy season, serving students of all ages, riding levels and disciplines. In its inaugural year, the Polo School welcomed more than 40 students with lessons occurring three to five times a day. Students were from an array of competitive backgrounds, including hunter/jumper riders, amateur polo players or were completely new to equestrian sport.
In 2018, the program started with just six polo ponies and two full-time instructors. This year’s school will have more than 20 horses in the barn and three instructors, including USPA-certified instructor Gates Gridley, Ignacio Cabrera from Southampton, N.Y., and Clemente Zavaleta, a seven-goal professional and MVP of the 2014 U.S. Open Final.
Lessons are available seven days a week by appointment and will take place on Field 2 and in the new Gladiator Polo Arena. Introductory lessons start at $100 per hour. Students can purchase individual, hourly sessions or packages of 10 lessons at a discount. Group classes will be available and include mentoring and practice time with professional players.
For more information on lessons, the league or to inquire about entering a team, contact Gridley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (203) 232-6935.