Add to history at Midland Polo Club

MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Just north of the 250 loop you will find the Midland Polo Club.

The current 30-acre facility has hosted professional polo matches since 1965, but you can trace Midland’s history with the sport back to the early 1900s.

Playing on a field about three times the size of a football field, polo requires two teams of four, all on horseback.

In polo, all players use one in their right hand and teams must hit a hard plastic ball between the goal posts to score. Depending on the league level, polo has four or six seven-and-a-half-minute periods, called chukkers. The team with the most goals and the end of the last chukker wins.

A full team is made up of four players who all roll in a vertical line trying to kick the ball closer to their goal as the opposing team tries to push the ball away.

Setting up a season requires a lot of logistics, often handled by club manager Violeta Escapite. Escapite plans the league year while securing referees and players for the season. She’s been a manager for about two years, but got the help she needed to run a polo club that’s smaller than most.

“All the sponsors have to put effort and time and be accommodating to make it work because it’s such a small club,” Escapite said.

“With the bigger clubs you have other factors that come into play. But as we are so small you need all the help from everyone.

All professional players registered with the US Polo Association (USPA) are graded on their skill from -2 goals to 10 goals, with 10 being the best.

One of the club’s best players, Daniel Galindo, also known as “Cacho”, played polo at Texas A&M and won a national championship in 2016 after watching his father Carlos play for years.

He has competed nationwide, but says the Midland community makes playing in West Texas special.

“It’s definitely unique here where it’s just a small community, but it’s a growing community,” said Galindo who manages the Brushy Creek team barn.

“Really authentic connections between all the players and just here to be competitive while having fun at the same time.”

It takes a lot of skill to be good at polo, but it’s just as important to know who you’re playing with.

“The first thing is that you need this horse. Horses. What are horses? They make up 75% of the game,” said Daniel’s father, Carlos, who plays and teaches polo at the club.

“If you have a good horse, you will eventually win this game. You become a [player] when you are on horseback.

Players typically use one horse per chukker to avoid burnout requiring at least six horses per player for each game.

Providing quality horses was the reputation of the basin in the world of polo in the mid-1930s, which the current management would like to restore.

“We’ve worked very hard to bring in some really great horses to continue to be a source for the United States of great horses,” Daniel said.

Lately, instead of horses, Midland has become known for producing players who develop quickly. Many went on to compete overseeing the establishment of a different but solid reputation for Midland in the global polo community.

“You go all over the world and see and hear about people like in London, England and many ten-goal players who were there and this summer made their debut here in Midland,” said the President of the Midland Polo Club, Jenni Hord.

“I want to honor the history, the heritage and the roots that so many people have experienced here and Midland is held in high esteem in the world of polo.”

If playing with a horse sets polo apart from most traditional sports, so does the game’s primary means of growth. There’s social media, but more than most sports, polo relies on contact. face to face, especially here in the basin.

The club hopes to attract new members and continue the tradition of polo in Midland.

“A lot of people who lived here for 30 years didn’t know it was here,” Carlos said.

“It’s word of mouth, people coming here and starting to talk. I think in the last two years we’ve actually had double the number of people who have come to watch [from] 30 years ago. I think we are recovering what we had before.

To find out more about the Midland Polo Club, visit their website for contact information and how to get involved with the club.


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