Northeast championship to be held Feb. 11 in Georgetown
By Greg Phipps Staff Writer
GEORGETOWN — Holding a polo competition in the winter may seem odd, but not to Boston Polo Club owner and manager Mark Tashjian.
“Snow polo events are held in other parts of the world, such as Aspen (Colorado), Montreal and Czechoslovakia. They’re really great events,” said Tashjian, who, in August, moved the BPC from South Hamilton to its present location at the Twisdenwood Farm on Andover Street. “Our facility is really geared to do this type of event.”
The club, which has 80 horse stalls, three outdoor arenas, an indoor arena and a polo field, will host the Northeast Snow Polo Championships on Feb. 11. The facility is one of the largest equestrian centers in New England.
Tashjian said the indoor, open-floor barn is adjacent to the playing field and this allows for spectators to view the proceedings in comfort despite the wintry conditions.
“This is the first (snow polo event) in the Northeast,” Tashjian said. “We expect around 250 people. We definitely think there will be at least that many.”
Polo in the snow is not much different from the sport as it would be played under regular conditions.
“It’s similar to regular polo except there’s a smaller field and it’s three-on-three instead of four-on-four,” Tashjian explained. “Polo is the centerpiece of what we do, but there are a lot of other activities (at the event).”
Tashjian said people can meet and have pictures taken with the horses, and kids can practice hitting balls with practice mallets. There is also food and music. He said the club has held four events since it moved to Georgetown.
“There’s not much polo in the area, so we’re a central location in New England. It’s worked out well. People from all over the Northeast and beyond come to our events,” Tashjian said.
Club marketing director Andrew Gotthelf said the attraction is as much social as it is entertainment-driven.
“The real draw is that the event is extremely social and fun for the community,” Gotthelf said. “People enjoy the ability to connect with both the other spectators and with the polo players and horses, which occurs at halftime and after the event.”
The winter aspect plays a role as well.
“By mid-February people are tired of the winter, and it’s great for them to get away from hibernation and interact with each other,” Tashjian added.
Gotthelf said the Feb. 11 competition is a way to keep the club vibrant into the new year after a strong conclusion to 2016.
“We’re scheduling a full slate of events for the coming year, and wanted to build on the momentum we gained with our last couple of events of 2016,” he said. “The community really came out and showed their support, so we want to make sure that they feel we are reciprocating and doing our best to create as many of these events as we can.”
Tashjian said he started the club four years ago to give people an opportunity to learn and play competitive polo without the financial commitment of owning a polo pony. He first got interested in polo while at the University of Connecticut and has managed other polo clubs around the world. Tashjian said he is also a certified US Polo Association umpire and licensed Massachusetts riding instructor.
For more information on the snow polo championship event and other activities, call 508-735-6416 or visit www.bostonpolo.org.