Tag Archives: San Diego

USPA Rossmore Cup & Salute to Military


On Sunday, September 8, we kicked of the USPA Rossmore Cup and honored our military, veterans, and first responders with a special ceremony.  We warmly welcomed all military families, veteran support groups and charities who work hard to support our veterans in the community.  Among them were Horses Joining Forces, a therapeutic riding program for veterans with PTSD.  President of Horses Joining Forces, Former Major Glenn Cunningham, described the program and it’s benefits, giving the audience great insight what horses can do for our mind, body and heart.


Tens of thousands of our young combat veterans are unemployed, underemployed, homeless, in support programs, and or despondent due on no small part to the cause and effects of PTSD and combat trauma.  Vets 360 invites recently separated combat veterans and their families into an on-going program of engagement, education, employment, and healing.  Their goal is to help them understand that asking for support is a sign of strength… NOT an inability to cope.  We were thrilled to have Vets 360 involved with our annual Salute to Military event.


The day kicked off with a match between Twin Palms/San Fernando and Star Meadow/Monteverde.  Diego Velarde started off hot, leading Twin Palms/San Fernando with 3 goals in the first chukker and2 more in the second.  Gaston VonWernich also put a couple through in the first and fourth chukkers.  Star Meadow/Monteverde started slowly, building momentum in the third chukker.  At half time, the score was 5 to 4, Twin Palms/San Fernando in the lead.  In the fourth chukker, Graham Bray scored two and Martin Ravina one for Star Meadow/Monteverde.  In the 5th chukker, they did the same: Bray with two, Ravina with one.  Twin Palms/San Fernando fell back in the second half to play defense.  They weren’t able to score on the opposing team in the 5th and 6th chukkers.  Star Meadow/Monteverde came out victorious, 11 to 6.


During intermission the Poway Valley Vaulters, consisting of 6 girls, 2 trainers and a 13-year old Percheron/Welsh pony, showed us their talents.  Equestrian Vaulting is a unique International sport that combines elements of gymnastics and dance on the back of a moving horse. And is a wonderful and fun way to develop coordination, balance, strength, flexibility, teamwork, harmony and creativity.

Vaulters of all ages and abilities showcase their talents in compulsory movements and choreographed freestyle routines set to music, with up to 3 vaulters on the horse at a time. Vaulting’s history is said to have begun thousands of years ago in ancient Minoa as ‘bull vaulting’. In fact, every horse culture around the world practices a variation of this sport.  The sport’s most modern ancestor was as a cavalry training tool for horse-mounted soldiers, and it was also a recognized Olympic sport in the early 20th century. It is one of the FEI’s 8 recognized sports, and is a regular feature of the World Equestrian Games.


Our Salute to Military Ceremony was led by emcee and polo announcer Steve Lewandowski.  Steve welcomed Glenn Cunningham, president of Horses Joining Forces on to the field to speak about the therapeutic riding program and services for veterans with PTSD.  A representative from Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office presented certificates to many groups and people who made the event possible, and also gave a special flag to Steve Lewandowski for his exceptional effort during the planning of this event, and also to the San Diego Polo Club for hosting the event.  These special flags were once flown above the capital and considered a honorable gift.  Veterans and active military were invited on to the field for the recognition ceremony.


CV4C2441Karen McBride sang the national anthem in front of a huge American flag and the teams paraded on to the field for the featured match.

Team Hanalei Bay and Team Adeptus battled it out on field one in front of the crowd.  Ashton Wolf, who fell and had to get face stitches on Friday afternoon, scored the first goal of the match for Hanalei Bay, followed by teammates Mariano Fassetta and David Samaniego.  Jesse Bray and Dan Juarez of Adeptus scored one each in the second chukker and an additional 3 in the third chukker.  By half time, the game was tied up 5 to 5.

Guests enjoyed a taste of Korbel California Champagne during the half time classic Pretty Woman Divot Stomp.

Krista Bonaguidi and Ashton Wolf scored for Hanalei Bay in the 4th chukker, and Jim Wright was able to score one for Adeptus.  Jesse Bray scored 2 in the 5th chukker and teammate, Dan Juarez scored another for Adeptus.  Mariano Fassetta was able to get through Adeptus‘ defense to score two for Hanalei Bay in the 5th and 6th chukker, but it was Dan Juarez’s last goal that lead Adeptus to victory.


Trophies were presented by the nieces of founding member and owner of Daou Vineyards, Georges Daou.

Daou Winners

2-Goal Tournament Series for 5 Weeks in September


The San Diego Polo Club is pleased to offer a 0-2 Goal Tournament Series for the 5 weekends in September.  Tournaments consist of 4-chukker games on both Saturday and Sunday.  Fees for Non-Members are $400 per person and that includes tournament fees, stabling and EMT.  To sign up, please contact our polo manager, Graham Bray at graham@sandiegopolo.com or 760-774-2583

From the Arena to the Grass, San Diego Polo School is starting off on the right foot.


The sun is shining here in Rancho Santa Fe, the horses are coming in with their long winter coats, and our heads are down trying to produce a fantastic polo season.


We are excited to welcome back Hawaii’s finest polo player, Kimo Huddleston, to the San Diego Polo School. Kimo is here at the barn getting things organized with his assistant and 3 year old daughter, Uakea.  Kimo will be teaching all levels from beginner to advanced.  We are hoping to surprise you with guest instructors such as New Zealand’s Graham Bray, the Argentine Assassin, Mariano Fassetta, and perhaps even our new general manager, Bob Puetz!


This year, the arena will operate 4 days a week with Level One Lessons on Tuesday at 5:00pm and Saturday at 10:00am, Level Two Lessons on Tuesday at 6:00pm and Sunday at 9:00am, and Level Three Lessons on Thursday at 6:00pm.  We will have Riding Lessons, which are scheduled every other week, and supplemental classes such as Learning to Buy a Horse, Fouls & Penalties, and Rules.  These supplemental classes will be held at the Clubhouse with our instructors and will have a suggested donation to attend.  Riding Lessons will begin immediately.


We will be continuing Cancha Pequena every other Friday.  Cancha Pequena is a great introduction to grass play.  This course is for Level Three students and above.  School horses are available for rental.


Something new this year will be the Coaching League which will be played on the grass fields.  When you’re ready to step up your game, the Coaching League is the next step.  The Coaching League will be on a regulation sized polo field, accompanied by a polo professional (coach) on each team.  Participants will be required to provide their own horses. Please see Graham or stop by the office if you need assistance in finding the right horse(s).


Club Chukkers will continue as scheduled, but with more new faces.  Club Chukkers are for those players with two or more horses, have excelled in the Arena Program and Coaching League.


In addition to (and at times in place of) Club Chukkers, we are going to add a little competition this summer with weekend Low Goal (0-2 goal) Tournaments.  These weekend tournaments will be 4 chukker games and will be available to and included in all Provisional club memberships. Non member teams and players will be welcome to join in but will be subject to tournament entry fees and stabling fees.  Graham will organize the tournaments and help form teams. Keep an eye out for our 0-2 goal tournament schedule as it will be posted soon.

Remember, all polo players start somewhere and that somewhere is at the San Diego Polo School. We hope to see you soon!

Photos by Dominick Lemarie, Siegel & Thurston and Neens Marketing.

Meet Colton Bancroft.

Meet Colton Bancroft.

SDPC: Colton, you probably get asked this a lot but, why polo?

Bancroft: I love polo because there is no other sport like it. I started playing when I was 10 and haven’t stopped since. I love it.

SDPC: Do you have any rituals you perform before a match?

Bancroft: Not really, I always try to stay relaxed before a big game.

SDPC: How do you feel about playing in front of such a large crowd on Polo Sundays?

Bancroft: I love having the crowd there, however, when I am playing I do my best to just ignore them.

SDPC: Tell us about your horses! Any funny memories or stories come to mind?

Bancroft: I love every one of my horses and i am so grateful to be able to play them.

SDPC: When you aren’t on the field, what other hobbies or sports interest you?

Bancroft: I play lacrosse for my high school, but polo is much more serious for me.

SDPC: You and Jesse Bray are good friends, how long have you two been playing polo together and how did you first meet?

Bancroft: Haha, I met Jesse on the field when I was 12 and we have been playing ever since. He and his dad, Graham Bray, have taught me everything I know.

SDPC:  Were you born and raised in San Diego? If so, what is your favorite way to spend a “day off” here?

Bancroft: I was born in Utah, but I was raised in San Diego.  I love to go to the beach or hang out with friends.

SDPC: Do you have any long-term aspirations for your polo career? If so, tell us about them!

Bancroft: I would love to eventually go pro and get paid to do what I love.

SDPC: With this year’s summer polo season winding down and school starting back up, what gets you most excited looking forward to the 2013 polo season and your upcoming school year?

Bancroft: I can’t wait for next season. In the mean time, I will focus on my grades and practice polo as much as I can so that I am ready for next season.

SDPC: What is one of the most important lessons you have learned either from playing polo or your fellow players?

The most important lesson I have leaned from polo is to be grateful for everything I have and never take any of it for granted. I am extremely lucky to be able to do what i do.

Meet Krista Bonaguidi.

25 Things You Didn’t Know about this Spunky Blonde Polo Player

  1. I have too many shoes!
  2. Caroline is not necessarily my “favorite” horse.
  3. I keep saying I’m going to learn Spanish, but never do.
  4. I love to cook & the kitchen is my favorite room in the house.
  5. Birds as pets freak me out…. (those beaks!)
  6. My family gets fed whatever I’m craving, but Ron thinks he has a vote on the day’s menu.
  7. I love cats, dogs & horses (big surprise).
  8. I have a great family, but am finding out we are just as weird as everyone else.
  9. Skiing is my first sport, and I used to teach.
  10. I was blond as a child, but now require a lot of help.
  11. I still don’t recognize all of our horses in pasture (too many bays!), but I know who more are than my husband.
  12. I will probably always be the worst player on the field…. Ouch!
  13. During the polo season, I ride 2-3 horses every morning and then again in the afternoon.
  14. I love being in polo shape—there is nothing else like it.
  15. I like pink, but won’t make the team wear it on the field. (You’re welcome!)
  16. I can’t eat fresh ginger.  It upsets my stomach.
  17. I was born in Alabama & moved to Bellevue Washington when I was 7.
  18. When I was 8, I wanted to ride so badly that I found some horses in a pasture, made friends, and just got on! No saddle, so bridle, I didn’t even know if they were broke!
  19. I played the saxophone for 9 years, the piano for 6, and guitar for 2.
  20. I was in the marching band in high school before I was a cheerleader.
  21. I’ve climbed Mount Everest 2 times.  NOT! J I had to say it before Ellen did!
  22. I broke my left elbow when I was 7 so badly, the doctors said my arm might not grow properly, but it did. Whew.
  23. My parents still live in the house I grew up in, and I have one sister and one brother.
  24. I moved to Hawaii after college and lived there for 16 years.
  25. I have the cutest dog in the world.

Father’s Day: Fun in the Sun


It was another beautiful day in Rancho Santa Fe on June 17, Father’s Day.  We flew in a dozen antique biplanes, which took off after the feature match.  We also had an assortment of antique cars, from a 1931 Model A Deluxe Roadster, to a handful of Woodies.  The Del Mar Cigar Club provided imported cigars, just for Dad.


We kicked off the day with a match at 1pm.  Monteverde/H2 took the lead with 4 goals over Starmeadow/Southwind.  In the third chukker, Starmeadow/Southwind put 4 points on the board to tie up the match.  Points went back and forth in the next few chukkers, and by the 6th chukker, Monteverde/H2 won by 1 point.

Monteverde/H2                               Starmeadow/Southwind

Ellen Greenhill 0                                Colton Bancroft -1
Mariano Gutierrez 5                          Mike Kerley 3
Christopher Collins 2                        Graham Bray 5
Ron Bonaguidi 0                                Chris Collins 1

The Finals of the Father’s Day Cup was a tight one.  Chris Maloney of Twin Palms/La Pasion scored the two of the first 3 goals against Hanalei Bay/Adeptus.  But Hanalei Bay/Adeptus made a come back in the third chukker, taking the game into their lead 6 to 4.  Krista Bonaguidi and Colleen Wilson scored the two last goals for Hanalei/Adeptus, securing the win over Twin Palms/La Pasion.

Twin Palms/La Pasion                Hanalei Bay/Adeptus

Tracee Brunetti -1                               Krista Bonaguidi -1
Chris Maloney 1                                  Joesph Stuart 4
Gaston VonWernich 5                       Mariano Fassetta 6
Diego Cossio 4                                    Colleen Wilson 0

Opening Day at SDPC

The place to be on Sunday afternoon was the San Diego Polo Club in Rancho Santa Fe.  With perfect weather, gorgeous people, and majestic horses playing polo, there was no other way to spend the day.   The San Diego Polo Club had their most successful day in 26 years with a record breaking attendance of 2,000.

Riviera Magazine sponsored the event, along with BMW of San Diego and Mini of San Diego.  Riviera’s publisher, Jessica Cline, was our guest of honor and presented Hermes trophies to the winners, compliments of Neiman Marcus.

The San Diego Polo Club debuted their first fashion show, with dresses by Poppy, shoes by Shoes Me, accessories by Nomadic Fashion and shades from Raen Optics.  Corals and blues are the color of summer.  Fashionista, Michelle Guerin of the San Diego Union Tribune said it best in her recent article, this season offers a kaleidoscope of prints and pops of color.

The Feature Match between Jetsuite/Monteverde and Starmeadow/Adeptus was a riveting one.  Both teams were neck and neck throughout all six chukkers with Mariano Gutierrez scoring the winning shot for Jetsuite/Monteverde.

Thank you to everyone who came out for a glorious, sun-filled day of Polo!  Join us this Sunday for our Father’s Day celebration including antique biplanes, cars, and cigars.

Special thanks to Frank Tupas and Dominick Lemarie for photography!