As the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to the final stretch run in Wellington, Florida, Omega Alpha continues to promote superior horse care by recognizing outstanding horse-rider pairs with the Healthy Horse Award. Although this award was made to recognize healthy horses competing in all disciplines, for most of this winter season the majority of winners have been Hunter/Jumpers and Dressage horses. However, the polo season stretches well into April and Omega Alpha changed up the game a bit and selected a very special polo pony, and a very special human to receive the award.
Brittany Halstead is the Executive Director and Founder of Replay Polo, a non-profit organization dedicated to re-purposing and re-homing retired polo horses. “We save polo ponies and transform people,” Halstead describes, “Retiring polo ponies are far from the end of their usefulness. In fact, they have the experience and character to be repurposed for continued usefulness in important new capacities.” She goes on to say that polo horses have everything it takes to make successful amateur show horses or therapy horses. “There is a viable business in advancing these horses from their professional sport lives to productive second careers,” she continues, “and, in many circumstances, contributing directly to the transformation of people with disabilities, or who are on the mend, or otherwise in need of a mature equine partner or therapeutic manners.”
Halstead founded Replay Polo in 2016 after her own, extraordinary experience with a polo pony in Argentina inspired her do to so. In 2014, Halstead was in a near fatal car accident while in Argentina and suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma. She miraculously recovered, and a few months after she was discharged from the hospital, her friend gave her a retired polo pony to help her heal. This polo pony, named Fanta, became the first Replay polo pony and started Halstead on her journey to connect these amazing horses to people in need. Halstead grew up with horses and has worked in both the hunter/jumper and polo worlds. Twelve years ago she earned her certification as a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Instructor, and six years ago she became a certified PATH Mentor. She makes the perfect liaison between the worlds of high performance competitive horses and beloved equine partners. “We owe it to these wonderful equine athletes to express our gratitude and pay it forward in a way that satisfies the original owner and rewards a new owner, but most importantly, allows the horse to actualize itself in a productive and happy new situation,” Halstead states.
Omega Alpha was excited to recognize Halstead’s dedication to keeping horses healthy and happy from the inside out by selecting a Replay Polo horse, Esperanza, to receive the Healthy Horse Award. Esperanza is an 18 year old mare who stands at 15.2, and she is described as a total sweetheart. She has played low, medium and high goal polo for most of her life, and now deserves to retire. Esperanza, whose name in English means”Hope”, is very accommodating and could become a beginner lesson horse for any discipline. She is still well suited for an interscholastic polo team, but she would greatly enjoy becoming a trail horse or a therapy horse. Over a year ago she was accidentally hit with a mallet on her right front but she has no issues and will remain sound by stepping into her new career. Renowned polo player, Luis Escobar knows Esperanza very well and has ridden her in many chukkers over the years. “She has been with us for about 10 or 12 years,” Escobar explains, “and she has played anywhere from 4 goal and 16 goal. She went to Europe in 2008 and played in the Portugal Open which was a 16 goal tournament, and ever since, she’s been here with us.” He adds, “She is a great mare, a noble mare, a fantastic mare.”
Halstead was grateful to receive the Healthy Horse Award which included an Omega Alpha cooler for Esperanza, a commemorative ribbon, and an assortment of all natural equine health products with ingredients like marshmallow root, slippery elm, licorice root, and ginger root.
In addition to recognizing horses in optimum health, Omega Alpha, a Canadian-based company, offers an extensive line of all-natural products for humans and other animals as well. Clients everywhere have experienced the benefits of Omega Alpha to help improve and maintain respiration, digestion, joint health, hormonal balance, immune health, detoxification, muscle rehabilitation, endurance, and performance. To learn more about the company, visit www.OmegaAlpha.com or call 1-800-651-3172.
Photo: Replay Polo Pony Horse, Esperanza, and Replay Polo Founder & Executive Director, Brittany Halstead, Accept the Omega Alpha Healthy Horse Award, along with Elvis The Golden Retiever Who Can Benefit from Omega Alpha Products as well! (Photo JRPR)
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