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Equestrians acquaint Aggies with Polo Club

Free Riding Week provides students chance to learn sport

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 23:01

Polo

Shelby Knowles

Polo Team members Lara Straussfeld (front from left), sophomore animal science major, and Amber Telscher, junior animal science major, warm up their horses.

The Texas A&M Polo Club will open its barn to campus Monday through Jan. 24 as it hosts its annual Free Riding Week. Students can ride a horse and learn the game of polo for free from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

The club will have areas for the riders to walk, trot or canter the horses. Members will also instruct students on the equipment they use and how they prepare their horses for the game.

Among the stations is a stand devoted to answering any questions guests might have about horses or the rules of polo and an area devoted to playing foot polo to get a feel for the polo mallets.

Hollie Boggess, senior English major and Polo Club president, said the event gives students an unusual opportunity — riding a horse for free. Boggess hopes the event will get students interested in Polo Club.

“We want to give everyone at Texas A&M the opportunity to come out and see what we do as a club,” Boggess said. “It gives them the chance to learn about the sport of polo and to even play if they want to.”

Boggess said the team had around 40 members last semester but looks at Free Riding Week as a way to seek out new talent.

Kyle Hamilton, junior accounting major and Polo Club vice president, said both men’s and women’s teams compete in the national championships.

“There will for sure be teams competing in the regional tournament in March and then hopefully the national championships after that,” Hamilton said. “This is the second year we as A&M will be hosting nationals, regionals and tournaments.”

Hamilton said the event is open to students with all levels of horseback riding experience and they will have different groups for beginners and advanced riders.

As an equestrian for 12 years, Ashley Falls, sophomore kinesiology major, said the event is a great way to share the passion for horses with those who have had little to no exposure to horses.

“Polo is a discipline not many have had the chance to watch,” Falls said. “As someone who loves horses, I think this event is a great way to share the passion.”

Renee Holmes, junior biomedical science major, has been a horse trainer and equestrian for 11 years and said this event sounds like a great opportunity for intermediate riders.

“Admittedly, as equestrian-heavy as this school is, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for intermediate riders,” Holmes said. “There are the advanced A&M riders, the equestrian team and then the beginners who just want to pet the horses. This event sounds like a great event for the intermediates.”

 

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