West-Coast Polo-Advisor, Deborah Deutsch visited the event in Los Angeles for Equestrian Quarterly.
Sir Winston Churchill famously said, “A polo handicap is a passport to the world.” As interest in the sport increases both at home and abroad, polo players have seen greater opportunities to travel, to play, and to connect to a growing global community.
British Polo Day, which began as a celebration of British luxury and heritage in the United Kingdom is now the only global polo network, with events held in Abu Dhabi, China, Russia, Germany, France, Singapore, Thailand, Mexico, India and Great Britain. In addition, British Polo Day events are being added in Australia, South Africa, Brazil, South Korea. 2014 was the inaugural year for British Polo Day USA, held on May 31 at Will Rogers Polo Club in Los Angeles.
Presented by Land Rover and hosted by Lord Frederick Windsor & Sophie Winkleman for the benefit of the Prince’s Foundation & Homeboy Industries, the event’s American debut was considered a resounding success.
The weekend kicked off with a launch party, followed by a visit to the famous Getty Villa.
Saturday’s events began with a rigorous game of bicycle polo, played by several of the day’s star polo players, followed by polo matches pairing local and visiting players. Each British Polo Day event features British polo players from some of Britain’s leading institutions such as Eton, Harrow, Oxford, Cambridge and The British Army who compete head to head with local teams. The inaugural British Polo Day USA was attended by the Duke of Argyll, representing Royal Salute, and many Britons who arrived especially to join local polo enthusiasts for the day’s event. Afternoon tea punctuated the day, and an after party for the event’s VIP took place at Sound, a nightclub in Hollywood.
The aim of each British Polo Day is to ensure the tradition of playing high quality amateur polo against friends in host countries, while also acting as a platform for British businesses in emerging markets. The shared love of the sport of polo is used to build a network of diplomatic and commercial opportunities to showcase British brands and promote British Polo Day philanthropic efforts. The success of the British Polo Days has been largely due to word-of-mouth endorsement from many guests and supporters including key figures in government, the aristocracy, diplomats, military, fashion and popular culture. In partnership with the host family or Club, British Polo Day divides the fundraising proceeds from every international leg equally between local and British Charities. Thus, the ties between two nations are reinforced further through shared charitable ambitions. Over $500,000 USD has been raised at British Polo Days so far.