2016-04-14_07.40.21A will of steel in the quest of excellence

Polo remains an unrecognized sport. And yet, it is the oldest team sport, invented 600 years before Christ. Most of people have an idea that is distorted by the prism of preconceived ideas while, behind the scenes, there are passionate horsemen and women. At top level, players are above all riders, young horses trainers or even breeders. They also are athletes as the speed of the game and the physical effort require a perfect condition. Brieuc Rigaux is, today, the best French player. He will be the leader of the France team which, for the first time of the history, will face an Argentine team in a top level test match next May 22nd, in Chantilly.


Brieuc Rigaux (32) is a “pure product” of the Polo Club of Chantilly. This kid from Apremont saw the Polo Club get settled on the grounds of “The Farm” and, at its 14, attracted by horses, he went to offer his services to brush some of them. To thank him, the club has put him on the back of ponies and soon, it turned out that the kid had talent. As much on horses as with a mallet in the hand. So much that the club’s team captains got interested in this young prodigy and took him under their wings. Quickly, the young man progressed and ended up engaged in the main French teams: In the Wings (André Fabre), Castel (Philippe Fatien with whom he won the French Open) or La Palmeraie (Patrick Guerrand Hermès with whom he won the mythic Gold Cup of Deauville alongside one Gonzalito Pieres). He soon became the mainstay of the Team France with which he became European champion in 2002 and played the third-place play-off of the World Championships in 2004.

To remain competitive, the young player had to get a clear organization over the years and especially build up a team of performing horses. At first, imported horses from Argentina and gradually, thoroughbreds he prepares himself alongside his Argentinian petisero and domador, Luciano Martinez. Because above being a “player”, being a “rider”, Brieuc is first and foremost a passionate horseman. In Chantilly, he knows every single one of the horses in the club (“An advantage when I have to play against them”) and when he goes to Palermo, to attend the Argentine Open, none of the horses present on the field is unknown to him and for some, he even knows the short stories.

In Chantilly, he daily oversees and visits himself his horses when they are resting in the fields, even in the coldest time of winter.

Brieuc is currently playing with two great teams: Lynx, Switzerland Cyrille Costes’s team with which he won last year, in June, the Charity Cup in Chantilly and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polo Masters of Geneva; and Sainte-Mesme, Strom’s team with which he dreams about winning the French Open, tournament they have been finalists of in 2014.

Promoted handicap 6 this year, this new rank offers him new perspectives, especially the one of playing for example the Copa Camara de los disputados, antechamber of the Argentine Open. A real challenge for which he has to build up a horse team in Argentina, where he will spend three months. To do so, he rented a stable with a playground on the polo lands of Pilar, 50 kilometers north away from Buenos Aires, where all the great teams are gathered during the season. A region where there are no fewer than 70 clubs and almost 300 polo fields! In short, with this new handicap, our French number one has set new ambitions, news goals and provides himself the means to do so. Meanwhile, the first major event is this France-Argentina on May 22nd, where the France team will face the “gauchos” for the first time in history, in a top-level match.

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