Tag Archives: women in sport

Amazon PR1 Hazel

THE BEST FEMALE POLO PLAYERS IN THE WORLD COME HEAD TO HEAD FOR ‘AMAZON POLO’

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Wellington, FL – March 22, 2019 – Following on from the success of the launch of the 2019 Gladiator Polo season last week, now it’s time to bring on the women. This Sunday night, for the first time in history, the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, FL, will showcase six of the top ten female players in the world in the launch of Amazon Polo™. This stellar gathering of female talent will include Dawn Jones, wife of Tommy Lee Jones, and Captain of the San Antonio franchise. Having seen last week’s Gladiator Polo™ spectacle she is delighted to be promoting the all-female version this weekend.
“There was so much energy and amazing entertainment, featuring polo at the highest level last week and we can’t wait to have our turn. This is the modernization of the sport that fits perfectly with the explosion of female professional athletes,” said Jones, who is also playing in the Susan G. Komen U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship. 
Gladiator Polo™and Amazon Polo™ are ushering in a new era for the sport, which focuses on the promotion of the athletes, as well as the development of high quality sport and entertainment that targets a broad audience including millennials. The events will significantly leverage social media and live streaming to promote both the events and its commercial sponsors. 
 
This Sunday’s teams line ups include:
Team San Antonio 
Nina Clarkin 
Dawn Jones 
Sarah Wiseman 
Team London 
Hazel Jackson 
Lia Salvo 
Hope Arellano 
When asked about her participation, World Number 2 Player Hazel Jackson-Gaona commented, “This is the most exciting thing to happen to women’s polo to date.” 
Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, renowned and respected for being a game changer in horse sport, introduced his Gladiator Polo concept to Wellington in 2017 and it proved an instant hit, attracting huge crowds and diverse new sponsorship relationships. In 2019, with the hosting of the Susan G. Komen U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship to IPC, he thought it was a perfect time to introduce Amazon Polo™.  
A full profile of the players, sponsors, and vision for the league will be introduced over the weekend.
“A very exciting addition to women’s polo and one that I am extremely looking forward to participating in, it will be so much fun to play against the best women in the world!” commented Nina Clarkin. 
The inaugural Amazon Polo™ game will take place on Sunday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the U.S. Polo Assn Coliseum at IPC. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with a Kid’s Game, featuring two chukkers, beginning at 6:00 p.m. prior to the start of the match. General admission and parking are FREE!
Female teams in association with Horse Scout PR
To learn more about Amazon Polo™, follow us on Instagram at @amazonpolo.
To learn more about the International Polo Club Palm Beach, please visit www.internationalpoloclub.com
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TEARS AND BEERS AT CHELTENHAM

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Magners Cheltenham Festival Roundup

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The Cheltenham Festival never fails to throw up emotion tales but this year set a precedent in the “weep stakes”. The magnificent Al Boum, provided Irish trainer Willie Mullins with a first victory in the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. Mullins who is the Festival’s most successful trainer with 65 winners over several decades, has made 26 attempts to win the Gold Cup, finishing second six times.

 

“I had resigned myself to never winning a Gold Cup,” said Mullins, whose father Paddy Mullins trained Dawn Run to win in 1986.  It was also a first Gold Cup win for Irish jockey Paul Townend who has ridden for Mullins since he was 17 years old.

 

It was a number of formidable efforts by women which really stirred the souls this year. There was the winning owner of Klassical Dream, Joanne Coleman, whose husband had died from bone marrow cancer just nine months earlier. John Coleman who sadly never lived to see his horse race and had never had a Festival winner was there “in spirit” though. Joanne carried his ashes in her handbag. Another widow is the spotlight was trainer Kayleigh Woollacott, who had taken over her husband’s trainers license after he took his own life last year. Despite being one of the favourites, sadly it was not Lalor’s day to shine but we hope to see him back next year.

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Bryony Frost was our favourite winner of the week and had the crowds in rapturous applause, after making history as the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 (top-level) race over jumps at The Festival. The 23-year-old claimed one of the hardest fought battles to win by little more than a length over Charlie Deutsch and Aso, trained by Venetia Williams.

 

Frost’s reaction to her win was one of humility and empathy and made the front pages of several newspapers. Interviewed after the race, she reflected all the glory on her horse Frodon. “I can’t explain how much I love that horse. He is the most incredible battler. When he got overtaken two out, most horses would quit, but he grabbed me by the hands and said don’t you dare give up, don’t you dare not send me into the last, I want this more than you, now come on!”

 

“He would not lie down. It’s a lesson for us. Sometimes you might go down but you’ve got to get up and get going again, and at the last, he was just magic. Then when he got to the front he did his usual and took it all in. Just like I did.”

 

An hour later, Paisley Park claimed the G1 Sun Racing Stayer’ Hurdle, for female trainer Emma Lavelle and the horse’s owner Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth. The following race of St Patrick’s Thursday was won by a bold front-running performance from Lizzie Kelly who said “I watched Bryony and thought ‘that was my game plan’. When Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore claimed another Grade 1 race, making that her second win of the week, it reminded us that, in the words of leading trainer, Dan Skelton “I think it is about time we stopped talking about lady jockeys and just call them jockeys”.

 

Indeed the sight of Blackmore on the winners podium in Ireland is a weekly one. The 29-year-old has claimed an incredible 84 winners in Ireland and currently sits a close second behind Paul Townend in the stake to become Irish Champion Jockey. Speaking after Blackmore’s victory in the G1Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, the winning trainer Henry de Bromhead said of the jockey; “We’ve been so lucky to have her. She’s a brilliant rider. What can you say- she just wins.”

 

There were record crowds every day for this year’s Festival with 266,779 people attending over four days. Willie Mullins won the Leading Trainers’ title whilst Nico de Boinville finished the week as leading jockey with three wins. Rachael Blackmore finished in an impressive sixth place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Murphy Racing

FEMALE FOCUS AT THE FESTIVAL

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We are proud of the fact that Horse Scout is an enterprise run by women. We not only love what we do both in business and in our equestrian pursuits, but we have never seen our gender as a limitation. So you could say that for us, every day is International Women’s Day. We also go to great lengths to provide as much coverage of great female equestrian athletes as we do. This week we will be championing the great female jockeys heading to The Magners Cheltenham Festival. Last year history was made when there were four female winners at The Festival, which really is the Olympics of Jumps Racing. The jockey entries have not yet been confirmed but we are expecting to see more girls on the cards than ever before including Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker who all won last year as well as Bryony Frost, Lucy Alexander and Rachael Blackmore who lies second in the Irish jump jockeys table. Will they go beat last year’s record by scoring even more Festival victories and take a share of the? Can Bryony Frost be the first ever woman to win the Gold Cup?

 

National Hunt Racing has always been a sport contested by men and women. Yet of all equine-related activities, it has been the most challenging for women to make their mark in, over sports like Eventing, Dressage or Showjumping. There have been World Champions in all three Equestrian disciplines but there has never been a female Champion Jockey, in either Flat or National Hunt.   Maybe this is because racing is a sport where the boys massively outnumbered the girls. Some say there have been fewer opportunities for women to excel, with many trainers and owners favouring a male jockey over a female for reasons that include physical strength or because they don’t like seeing girls get hurt. Or maybe the female jockeys have simply not been as good as the men.

 

In the last five years, the tide is has turned and since Lizzie Kelly shot to fame in 2015 when she became the first female jump jockey to win a Grade One race when she won the Novices’ Chase on Tea for Two at Kempton Park in 2015. It is now a regular occurrence to see women first past the post. Furthermore, trainers are giving them rides on good horses and there are more female jockeys turning professional than ever before. It is perhaps significant that 10 time Champion Jumps Trainer, Paul Nicholls employs Bryony Frost as one of his leading stable jockeys.

 

There have been 14 winning female jockeys at The Festival in total but with 23 winners between them. The first woman to win at was Caroline Beasley who won in 1983 on Eliograty and Gee Armytage was the first woman to have two winners in one year. The first professional female jockey was Lizzie Kelly last year on Coo Star Sivola who she plans to ride again this year. Whilst the most successful female jockey to date is Nina Carberry with six winners in total.

 

Female trainers have had their fair share of Festival winners. There have been 27 winning female trainers over the years with 68 winning horses between them. The first was Jackie Brutton who trained Snowdra Queen to win in 1966. The most successful so far has been Irish trainer Jessica Harrington, with 11 winners in total, including training Sizing John to win the Gold Cheltenham Cup in 2017. Jenny Pitman was the first woman to train a Gold Cup winner, when Burrough Hill Lad won in 1984, one of two Gold Cup victories for Pitman. The second success came in 1991 when Garrison Savannah won, ridden by her son Mark Pitman. She was also the first woman to train the winner of the Grand National courtesy of Corbiere in 1983. Once again, an achievement she would repeat when Royal Athlete who in 1995.

 

One of the most popular female trainers of all time has to be Henrietta Knight, who trained the legendary horse, Best Mate to three Gold Cup victories and had seven Festival winners in total and over 700 winners throughout her career.

 

This year, there are a number of female trainers presenting some promising horses to the mix. Emma Lavelle saddles Paisley Park, one of the favourites for the Stayers’ Hurdle and Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae will be a decent contender in the same race. Small time trainer, Kayley Woollacott’s Lalor is a strong hope for the Arkle Trophy. Also seen on the entries list are Venetia Williams, Sue Smith (wife of Harvey Smith), Lucinda Russell, Rebecca Curtis and Horse Scout’s ambassador Amy Murphy.

 

Last year’s Festival really reinforced the Women’s Revolution in racing with so many female winners. You can see three of those Festival winners, Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker on this video, discussing what the sport and the win really means to them.

https://youtu.be/F0NOgtvXPCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HORSE SCOUT REAL: YAZMIN PINCHEN- riding the storm of life and circumstance

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Once the starlet of the British showjumping, Yazmin Pinchen has ridden the storm of life that took her from regular team appearances, a string of exciting horses to the doldrums of losing her funding, her yard, and her family. She talks to Horse Scout about falling from hero to zero and most importantly, her dogged determination to rise back to the top. 

 

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25-year-old Yazmin Pinchen has been a winner on the international showjumping circuit since the age of 10.

 

She competed successfully in pony jumping and at the age of 12 years, she had her first major success when winning the Gold medal for England as part of the International Pony Team. At 14 Yazmin went on to represent the British team at the European Championships in Children on Horses, where she won Team Gold and Individual Silver medal.

 

As a Senior rider, Yazmin made her 5* debut at 18 years, becoming one of the youngest riders to be selected for a Senior FEI Nations Cup team. She was competing in Abu Dhabi alongside Peter Charles, Tina Fletcher, Robert Smith. “I jumped clear until the last fence when my horse stopped and we got eliminated. It was devastating at the time but I learned so much from that” she recalls.

 

Yazmin went on to compete on several on FEI Nations Cup teams and in Gijon, she helped the team win silver with her homebred, Ashkari. With the same mare, she competed in a number of FEI World Cup qualifiers with to gain a wealth of experience at the highest level and all before the age of 20.

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From childhood, Yazmin had aspirations to be the best showjumper she could and spent time working with some of the world’s best riders. “I started with Michael Whitaker when I was 16 and then when I was 18, I moved to Belgium to base myself with Ludo and Johan Philippaerts. I learned so much out there, which set me up for the future. Johan was an amazing teacher but sadly I had to come home because my dad was critically ill. When I was better I went to Simon Delestre, but it was really tough and after everything that had happened I felt I needed to be at home.”

 

Alongside her showjumping career, Yazmin is a mother to two-year-old son Harry. “I am really lucky because he is the easiest baby and he’s very independent. From the day dot, he has got used to entertaining himself. I am so fortunate that I am with my mum and she is a huge help both with Harry and the horses. We all live on the same property. My partner helps with childcare as does my groom who is trained nanny, so between us we are a good team.”

 

Taking time out to have a baby came with pros and cons. “Everything was going really well, I was jumping 5* and then I fell pregnant. I rode and competed until I was 4.5 months and I actually won more than ever when I was pregnant. I insisted on a C-section because I wanted to get back to riding as soon as I could and I was back on a horse two weeks later. But it wasn’t as easy as I expected.”

 

“I remember going to a show and turning about 100 circles because I was so scared.”

 

The feeling soon passed and she was back to her winning ways. However just as Yazmin was building her string up and planning her season, she was faced with the devastation of family breakdown.

 

“My dad who had been a big financial support to my career left my mum. It was a difficult time for all the family and he announced he did not want to be involved anymore. So we had to sell most of the horses and give up on all our plans to compete internationally. It was a horrendous time, I pretty much lost everything I’d worked for overnight.”

 

“I had to start all over again. Set up a yard and fund it all myself. Everybody assumes I am just this rich girl who is being supported by her parents, but that is not the case. Yes, I had help in the past but now I am having to fund the whole thing. Most of my horses are young and I have two of my own who have all the potential to be CSI 5* horses. What I need is owners to invest but it is difficult if you’re not at the top of your game. I am in a bit of a hole because I can’t prove myself without the backing. Even the good horses I have are just sitting there because I can’t afford to go to the international shows.”

 

Naturally bubbly with a positive outlook, Yazmin refuses to look back with any remorse. “It’s just life I guess and having a baby was the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s amazing being a mum and Harry is so much fun, he comes everywhere with me. It’s always been important for me to take time out to be a mummy too so I make sure I have the afternoons off to spend with Harry.”

 

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“I just want to make my son proud and do my best for him”

 

Yazmin feels that the adversity and change in circumstances she has faced have improved her outlook. “ I have had to learn to run a business, balance my accounts and be super organized. I think having Harry has actually made me more motivated because I want him to see me do well”

 

“It’s not easy, of course, you have your breakdowns”

 

“But everyone does. I sometimes get frustrated and give way to tears by thinking “I’ve become a nobody”. Luckily I shake myself out of it quickly enough and I would never let my son see that. I just always make sure I am a happy, positive mummy”

 

 “My goal is to get back on British teams and make the Olympics.”

 

“I know I have the ability and the drive, I just need the support. What I have learned from being in the doldrums is that it is important to be ambitious but enjoy the sport. I want to make everyone who supports me proud but I also want them to enjoy the ride.”

 

Yazmin is looking for sponsorship and owners at all levels. For more information contact Horse Scout:

Lucie@horsescoutpr.com

07752319988

 Photography by Events Through A Lens

 

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Jessica Springsteen wins Leading Lady Award at the Winter Equestrian Festival

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In the seventh week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida, Jessica Springsteen was named the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award. The prize was awarded on Saturday, February 23, during CSI5* week of WEF, where she was presented with champagne, flowers and a shopping spree at Hunt Ltd. What more could a girl need huh?

 

It was a successful week for 27-year-old Jessica who rode the 10-year-old Selle Français mare, Volage du Val Henry, to sixth place in the 7thround of the $134,000 CSI5* Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup. This qualified her for Saturday evening’s main CSI5*. She again earned a top-10 placing in the $391,000 CSI5* Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix, this time riding RMF Zecilie, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Rushy Marsh Farm.

 

“It’s really exciting to be named Leading Lady!” said Jessica. “My horses jumped great all week, and winning this award is a great finish to a lovely weekend.”

 

The Martha Jolicoeur Overall Leading Lady Rider Award will be presented to the female rider who accumulates the most points throughout the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival,. So far this year, Erynn Ballard, Laura Chapot, Margie Engle, Tiffany Foster, Lauren Hough, and Beezie Madden have claimed weekly awards and in contention of the overall title.

 

A leading South Florida real estate broker and part of the elite Douglas Elliman Real Estate Sports and Entertainment division, Jolicoeur has supported WEF as an integral sponsor for the past nine consecutive years. Throughout WEF, the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award, given in memory of fellow realtor and horsewoman Dale Lawler, is presented weekly to the high-score female rider based on performances in the weekly WEF Challenge Cup Series and Grand Prix events.

 

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LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE MARES AT THE LONGINES WORLDS BEST RACEHORSE AWARDS

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Just as women are changing the game in today’s world of sport, business and politics, you may have noticed that the “fairer sex” of the four-legged variety, are making headlines in the equine world. A number of leading mares have claimed world titles prestigious accolades recently. And at the end of last month, the winner of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Awards was announced as Winx. The Australian flat race mare has won 29 consecutive stakes races including 22 Group 1s.

 

Winx is not the only mare to dominate the racing scene. The British thoroughbred Enable, who featured eighth in the 2018 Longines world rankings, has been one of the most dominant middle-distance horses in Europe for several years. Last year, after winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the second time she went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Making history in the process, as the first horse to achieve this feat.

 

2018 was also a great year for mares as well as girls in Equestrian sport. The 15-year-old mare Classic Moet, won Badminton under Jonelle Price- the first female rider to win in 11 years. Whilst show-jumper Simone Blum riding DSP Alice and Dressage stars, Isabel Werth on Bella Rose were individual winners the showjumping and dressage world titles at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon.

 

But back to racing and the grand affair that I was lucky enough to be invited to. On Wednesday, January 23, Longines and its long-time partner the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), hosted the 2018 Longines World’s Best Racehorse, World’s Best Horse Race and World’s best jockey ceremony in the Landmark Hotel, London. With an equal rating of 130, Winx and Cracksman were together declared the 2018 winners. Frankie Dettori celebrated the leading jockey award, a clear leader with the highest number of points. It was a French victory as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was chosen as the best horse race in the world.

 

For Winx, this was the third year in a row that the nine-year-old has won the award. In addition, she has been the highest rated filly/mare in the world since 2016 as well as the top-ranked turf horse. In 2018, her season culminated in her becoming the only horse in history to win the Ladbrokes Cox Plate four times. What is also significant about this tough mare, is her longevity in a sport which is rarely a long career for horses. Winx has consistently won over five seasons and is going into her sixth with no immediate plans to retire. Yet she has proved her versatility, speed, and staying power, by winning over a range of distances from 6 ½ furlongs (1300 metres) to 11 furlongs (2200 furlongs).

 

What is also unique, is that unlike many elite racehorses, Winx does not have a particularly long stride. Her stride was measured at 6.76 metres compared to 8.5 metres for other horses of similar calibre. Instead, her success has been attributed to a freakish stride rate that allows her to take 14 strides for every 5 seconds, compared to 12 for her rivals. According to Dr. Graeme Putt, who has studied the science of racehorse success, this is a unique advantage. “This means she can settle or accelerate at any time during a race.”

 

Winx was sold as a yearling for 230,000 Australian dollars (just under £128,000) at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast sale. She has already amassed around A$23 million dollars (around £12.74 million) in prize money under trainer Chris Waller and her principal jockey Hugh Bowman. She is owned by Magic Bloodstock Racing, Richard Treweeke, and Debbie Kepitis. Most of her connections came over to collect the Longines prize and we were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Debbie Kepitis about the courageous mare who has changed their lives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JopbA-fjSwM&feature=youtu.be

 

Photo from hopedeamer1-4

Meet the Cinderella of the Polo World

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Photo from hopedeamer1-4

You could say British polo player Hazel Jackson has the world at her feet. The 27 year old  is ranked equal second in the World amongst her female counterparts. She is rated with a nine goal handicap for Ladies and two goal handicap in mixed polo. She has also captained the British Ladies polo team. But far from the VIP lifestyle we envisage polo players to lead, Hazel explains that the reality for her, is somewhat different and even the most talented women are still alienated from the higher levels of the sport.

 

Her passion for polo started in the Pony Club at just nine years of age. “My family were horsey but it was hunting and point-to pointing, we weren’t serious polo players” she says. She grew up in the New Forest, attended the local school and then Brockenhurst College where she qualified as a personal trainer and sports masseuse “After college, I moved to New Zealand for six months for a polo grooming and playing job and then spent every winter in Argentina but I have always worked. I think this has been a good thing though. I’m not sure I would have got this far if it had all been handed to me on a plate.”

 

In order to play full time, Hazel still has to work for her keep and balance the books, despite her impressive accolades and obvious talent. “I have never owned more than four horses myself and base myself with a patron, looking after, riding and schooling their horses and they cover my costs in return” she explains. In the UK, Hazel is based with Roger White and rides for his Coombe Place Polo Team. “I am on the yard every day, schooling and mucking out. I love polo but sadly not all of us are millionaires.”

 

Hazel plays the UK polo season, which runs from May to September. Then she spends October to December playing the Argentine season but is travelling around the world to polo hotspots, throughout the year. Sounds glamorous right? But what this really amounts to, is her days off are spent on a plane or in an airport lounge and often driving a lorry full of polo ponies. “The top pros are paid millions and are flown around the world with their whole families. I have never even flown business class in my life and still haven’t found time to take my honeymoon” she laughs.

 

Hazel got married to Polo Manager Ivan Gaona last September but since their wedding, has spent just two weeks at home. Other than the UK and Argentina, Hazel plays in locations such as Thailand, Barbados, Singapore, America and Switzerland but her favourite place to play is the Club Ampurdan in Barcelona. “I play a tournament over there that is just so much fun. It is a family run club and has a lovely atmosphere.”

 

There have been many highlights so far. “Captaining the England Ladies team in Zambia in 2016 was a amazing. Partly because we have family there and they came to watch. Then in 2017 we made the finals of the first ever Argentinean Open. It is the highest Ladies Tournament in the World, held in Palermo in the middle of Buenos Aries.”

 

Playing in both Ladies and Mixed teams has its advantages according to Hazel. “I learn more from playing with men, it challenges you, makes you work harder and pushes you to your physical limits. But I would never usually be the main player in the team. Then I can put what I learn into practice in Ladies polo. When I am playing Ladies, I am usually running the team so have more responsibilities which I enjoy.”

 

As a woman in a heavily male dominated sport, naturally there are challenges. “It is a brutal game and you get shouted at but everyone gets heated and I can cope with that. What is frustrating is that there is a lack of opportunities to play high and medium goal polo even for the best ladies. You will never see a lady play medium or high goal in the UK, for example, it would be nice to see more girls getting a chance”. Hazel explains that whilst many patrons who own the teams, pick men because they are physically stronger, polo is 75% about horse power. So if you are never given access to good horses by patrons, then it is harder to prove yourself.

 

“To buy a top horse, you would probably need £200,000 and the bloodlines in Argentina go for crazy money It costs millions to run a high goal team. I paid £5000 for my best horse and a lot of my horses have been gifted to me by friends.” Like most of us, Hazel favours a certain type of horse. “I like them slightly bigger- around 15.3 hh (polo ponies are notoriously small to allow you to be closer to the ball). They have to be super fast, agile  and quick off the mark to “win the play”. But with a soft mouth and they have to be really tough”

 

Polo is a physically demanding game and of course it comes with risks. “I have been lucky to escape serious injuries but I have fractured my collarbone and had a hole through my lip from a stick. But I have friends who have lost eyes and had falls so bad they have had to retire and of course there have been fatalities.” Hazel highlights that protective gear is a must. In a game, she will wear goggles, a gum shield, protective gloves, knee pads and a helmet.

 

Outside of polo, Hazel says there is a little time for much else but she enjoys Yoga and surfing and her perfect holiday would be a beach one. “I am also starting to do more fitness. During the season, I am playing two or three matches a week so you need to be fit and strong and I want be at the top of my game. The aim for me is to get up to a 10 goal handicap. Then I would love to play in a medium goal mixed game one day too.”

 

“Horse Scout is the complete answer to networking for the future of equestrian. I love working alongside them and it has already opened many new doors for me. Horse Scout is a company which offers so many contacts and platforms throughout the equestrian and horse world. They are always working with new products, the right people and looking to the future for ideas to benefit the horse world in general.

I am excited to see what comes next.”

 

Written by Ellie Kelly