Museum of Polo

Museum of Polo (USA).

If you are fortunate to be playing polo at Palm Beach Polo & Country Club this winter the Museum of Polo is well worth a visit. Tucked away in Lake Worth, on the border of Wellington, the museum is a stones throw from Palm Beach Polo Club. Open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and during the polo season (January – April) it is also open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Find the museum at 9011 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, FL 33467. (http://www.polomuseum.com)

The Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the sport, its history, development and traditions by acquiring, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting collections, as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport. Founded in 1984, the museum opened in its current location in 1997 and is the only polo museum in the world.

The Museum is a rich repository of documents and physical treasures from the US Open. It includes works of art, historic trophies, artifacts, books, statistics, periodicals, films, videos, recordings and memorabilia. The Hall of Fame honors the heroes of the sport, each year inducting icons of the past and eligible living heroes of polo. The Hall of Fame Induction Awards Dinner Gala takes place each year on the Friday of President’s Day weekend in February.

This year sees the induction into the Hall of Fame of Hector Galindo, William “Billy” Post, Richard Riemenschneider, Russ Sheldon and polo ponies Toy Moon and Califa.

Hector Galindo: He was at his pinnacle as a 9 goal player and won numerous major American tournaments, including the 30-Goal World Cup, the Silver Cup on four occasions and 26-goal Hall of Fame Cup, C. V. Whitney. He also won the Polo Excellence Award in 1999. Although aggressive and fast on the field, his good nature and sportsmanship have endeared him to his fellow players and fans. Part of a large polo playing family, Hector in a 2008 interview credits his father and brothers as his mentors and said that they taught him to “train hard, play the game fairly and take good care of my horses.”

William “Billy” Post: Posthumous Hall of Fame inductee, he was born into a polo family for whom breeding ponies was its principal business, so it is little wonder that as an 8-goal polo star Post made his mark as a stellar horseman and formidable hitter. For his talents he was lauded as one of the greats, engaged in battle with the other American heroes of the golden age of polo in the 1930s, part of a “band of brothers” along with the likes of Hitchcock and Milburn. He ably notched wins in the most important contests of the era both in the U.S. and abroad, but with his career cut short with the onset of WWII, he continued his interest in horses and became a successful breeder and trainer of race horses.

Richard Riemenschneider: The Iglehart Award winner is being honored for his dedication to the sport since 1949. An early champion of polo in Virginia, “Remo” continued his service to polo as a driving force within the F.I.P and by serving with the USPA as a Governor, Treasurer, Executive V.P., President and eventually as its Chairman and most recently as a supporter and current Chairman of the Polo Training Foundation.

Russ Sheldon: He is being honored posthumously with the Iglehart Award. For over 25 years Russ dedicated countless hours to the sport. He has been recognized with numerous awards that are a testament to his contagious passion and excitement for polo, a love that he eagerly passed on to his children, grandchildren and countless others. He started Poway Polo Club and was a champion of “grass roots polo” in California, a passionate promoter of Arena Polo and a devout mentor and supporter of youth polo programs. His contribution to the USPA Intercollegiate-Interscholastic program and the initiatives that he put in place will continue to benefit the sport for decades to come.

Toy Moon: Will be honored as one of the Horses to Remember. Bred in Hawaii (circa 1931) by noted breeder Walter Dillingham, she made her way to the mainland and into the string of Hall of Famer Elbridge “Ebby” T. Gerry and was played with distinction, winning the coveted Prince Friarstown Cup two years in succession, 1940 and 1941. This was awarded to the best playing mare suitable to produce polo ponies, the judges basing their decisions based on her play in both the U.S. Open and Monty Waterbury cups. For this and her long career of excellent and exceptional performances in which she was described as playing “top flight polo”, she was recognized by the experts of the day as one of the great polo ponies of her era.

Califa: A bay gelding foaled in 1996 is the durable war horse played by Mariano Aguerre in many memorable contests. Gathering a number of best playing pony awards along the way, he ultimately earned the Hartman Award for BPP for his gritty and intense play for two chukkers under Aguerre in the 2004 U.S. Open. Aguerre called on Califa again for the 2005 high-goal season and the gutsy gelding didn’t disappoint as they fought together through numerous crucial games helping the team take all three 26-goal tournament victories. He was recognized as Horse of the Year in 2006.

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