Jared Zenni has grown significantly as a young player over the course of the last few years, playing in Santa Barbara, Palm Beach and Argentina during 2017. Now, he dreams big, but at the beginning, unlike many others, he wasn’t in love with the sport. “I started playing polo due to my dad,” Zenni revealed. “When I was younger I was drawn to horses and accompanied my dad to stick and ball or practice. I didn’t really like polo at first; it took me some time to get into it. I was initially more attracted to traditional American sports like basketball, football and baseball, which I played with my friends; but around the age of 10 or 11, I started to feel more interested in playing polo.”
Zenni’s busy 2017 schedule started off with Villa del Lago polo team in Palm Beach. “The winter season was really good for me. I played in a bunch of tournaments from January to March and only lost the first two games,” Zenni said. “The summer season in Santa Barbara, with Lucchese, was a great experience. It was very well organized, but unfortunately despite making it to the semifinals, we didn’t achieve our goal of winning the Pacific Coast Open.” He closed the year out with the Argentine season. “It was enjoyable and a tremendous learning experience. I was able to play ‘Municipalidad de Pilar’ and ‘Camara Diputados,’ and ended up finishing second in our bracket. Overall, it was a great year of polo.
Reflecting on his accomplishments over the past year, Zenni had a very positive outlook. “My objective when starting a year or season is to improve as much as possible as a player,” Zenni commented. “Obviously winning tournaments and getting promoted in handicap is a plus, but as long as I learn more about the game and better myself as a player, I’m pleased.” Zenni’s 2018 schedule promises to have even more polo.
Actively involved in the American polo scene, Zenni has the authority to comment on the recent changes to the handicap level of the U.S. Open Polo Championship™. “I believe that lowering the tournament from 26- to 22-goals is a good start to equalize the teams, but perhaps more balance is needed. I don’t know what that solution could be…there have been discussions about implementing a salary cap for teams, limiting the combined handicap of two players, or horse regulations. I think these ideas could be put into effect somehow moving forward. I also think it would be great to promote polo more frequently on television to gain more corporate sponsorships and draw a larger audience. That would help the sport to grow as a whole.” Zenni also views the recent directive changes within the United States Polo Association as having a positive impact. “I am looking forward to what the new USPA leadership is going to do. It looks like they are making a huge effort to develop the sport in all levels, from high-goal to low-goal polo. I am really looking forward to being a part of it.”
Taking part in the Argentine season this year, Zenni recently witnessed La Dolfina’s victory in the Argentine Open. “This was my second year playing the full season, but my first time being well organized and mounted. Last year I played in ‘Copa Presidente’ and ‘Copa Sojo’ and this year I participated in ‘La Copa Metro Alto, Municipalidad de Pilar and Camara Diputados.’ I’m planning to play in Argentina every year because I believe the Argentinian style of polo helps you to progress as a player.”
As a rising player, Zenni admires and tries to adopt the characteristics that will help him raise his game. “I don’t know how I would describe myself as a player, so I will let other people do it. I just know I have to play with attitude, confidence and try to keep a cool head from the first to the last chukker. I love the way Marcos Heguy played in his days with Chapa and Pilara. I am also a big fan of Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martin Nero’s style of play.”
When discussing his career goals, Zenni dreams big. “My dream in polo is to ultimately reach 10-goals and win the Argentine Open. These are obviously very steep goals, but perhaps one day they will come true, you never know.”