You are known as ‘’the best polo player in England’’, what kind of pressure does this bring? And does it affect your performance at all?
That’s nice to hear, but it’s not true. There is a group of us – and we are all doing our best to be right at the top of polo in the UK. There’s always pressure on us when we play – wanting to do our best for our patron, our team and of course country.
How did you first become involved with Polo?
My father and Grandfather played and I started through the Pony Club.
Was it (and is it) an easy sport to get in to?
It’s important to be able to ride well before starting playing. For children there are plenty of opportunities in the Pony Club and through schools’ polo and then universities. Many of the polo clubs offer taster sessions and lessons for adults. It’s definitely easier to get into than get out of – I don’t know anyone – male or female – who hasn’t found it extremely addictive once they’ve started!
Do you have any other passions aside from Polo?
Art – especially Old Masters and Old Master drawings.
How popular can you see the game of Polo becoming in the near future?
By all accounts it’s growing hugely in popularity. There is far more television coverage, Polo in the Park, British Polo Day, the O2 Arena and London Global Champion’s Tour in Horse Guards Parade, are all new additions to the calendar, and spectator numbers are increasing every year. I think people are beginning to appreciate the game itself rather than the image of polo. It is an extremely competitive, adrenaline-fueled and fast game, which combines team play, ball skills and equestrian skills, danger and of course the performance of the horses, who are the real stars of the show.
Do you have any business or political role models?
I admire anyone whose passion and commitment has grown a business from scratch. Bill Gates is obvious, but more because of the way he is using these skills to distribute his amassed wealth through his philanthropic donations, which are having such an enormous impact on the quality of life of so many people in poorer countries.
Are there any particular Polo events that you really look forward to playing in or spectating at, perhaps more than others?
The British High Goal tournaments – the Queen’s Cup at Guards and The Gold Cup at Cowdray are the most exciting to play in. Of course, I would always rather be playing than spectating but the best tournament in the world to watch is the Argentine Open at Palermo.
Throughout your career, which horse has been your favorite to play with?
Marmalade – an English thoroughbred.
Do you think Polo will always be seen as an ‘elitist’ sport and closed to the majority of ‘possible spectators’?
I very much hope not, and if so we need to try to change that perception. The game has become much a more professional and serious sport in recent years. There are only a handful of day where it’s celebrities, champagne and everyone looking glamorous. Most of the time, it’s a far more relaxed atmosphere (off the pitch at least!) and people come to enjoy the sport itself in some of the most beautiful surroundings such as Cowdray Park, Windsor Great Park and Cirencester Park.
Looking towards the future somewhat, what would you like your legacy to be?
To be part of a group of English players who could show they can hold their own with the Argentinean players.
Do you support any charities?
Travelling around the world as I am lucky enough to do, it’s impossible not to be moved by the contrast between ourselves in the polo community and the lives of locals in those countries. So yes, I do – usually children’s charities such as Hope and Homes for Children and Save the Children, although as yet I haven’t chosen one particular one to focus on.