The polo world lost one of its most dedicated and esteemed members on the afternoon of April 3. Alan Corey III, 73, has been a part of Aiken Polo Club for decades. He was playing the first practice of the year in Aiken, where he collapsed after the fourth chukker of apparent heart failure.
Alan grew up playing polo in Aiken and on Long Island. He was from a distinguished polo family: his father, Alan Corey Jr, was a legendary 9-goal player who was inducted into the Museum of Polo Hall of Fame in 1992. Alan had polo in his blood, playing through his teenage years and going on to be a member of the intercollegiate team while he was a student at Yale.
Alan Corey as a young player.Alan Corey as a young player on Long Island.
After college, Alan entered the world of Wall Street, but continued to pursue the sport. Playing off a 4-goal rating, he competed in high and low goal polo at clubs up and down the East Coast. He was a quick and clever player with a sense of humor and a deep respect for the game and its traditions. He especially loved his horses and had a sincere regard for horsemanship and proper horse care and training. He paid close attention to the horses other people rode, and you could always count on him to have something to say about everyone’s string. Perhaps this was because he was always on the lookout for a good pony: he liked them small, handy, and fast. The shortest route to his heart was probably to compliment a horse he was riding.
Alan and his wife Pat moved to Aiken full time in the 1980s. There, Alan became indispensable to Aiken Polo Club, where he played and served on the Board of Directors. His most recent project was the construction of an elegant viewing pavilion at the club’s historic Whitney Field. Last month, this project earned a leadership award from the Historic Aiken Foundation.
Alan Corey III playing polo.Alan Corey III playing at Whitney Field.
In his later years, Alan remained an enthusiastic and competitive player. He enjoyed schooling his horses every morning in the Hitchcock Woods, both to keep himself in shape and to ensure that they would stop and turn the way he liked them to. He was very competitive by nature: when he arrived at the field, he was always there to play and he always played to win, whether it was in a practice, an exhibition or a tournament. He was gracious and friendly to new and old players alike, and always made visitors to Aiken’s fields feel welcomed and appreciated. He will be missed by Aiken, and by the entire polo world.
Alan CoreyAlan on his great old horse Perla
Images by Gary Knoll