“Every stage of a horse’s training process has to be well organised and coordinated”

Lia Salvo is the leading female player in Argentine polo. Recently recognised as an Outstanding Sports Personality by the city of Buenos Aires, Salvo, who is rated at 9-goals and originates from America, in Argentina, continues winning and taking huge leaps in her career.

She is currently competing in the Women’s Argentine Open for a third consecutive year, this time alongside El Overo UAE, the highest rated team of the championship (30-goals). Last year, Salvo fell at the final hurdle, losing the title to La Dolfina Brava; this season, she hopes to have another chance to claim the prestigious trophy.

Meanwhile, Salvo spoke to PoloLine about a topic she is passionate about: horses.

Can you describe your ideal polo horse?

I prefer a horse with a low action, near the ground, with great sensitivity, a good mouth and great sides.

What is the most important characteristic of a polo horse?

Considering my style of play and the type of player I am, I really look for a good mouth. I think it is fundamental for horses to have a good mouth; we can work from there.

What is the perfect number of horses for a string?

At the moment, with the new rules, playing shorter chukkas, but more of them, the ideal number of horses for me is between six and eight. I think that is a good number.

On average, how many new horse should enter your string every season?

I still don’t have horses abroad, so I can only talk about my string in Argentina. I always try to bring one or two new ones in each year, and make sue that they really improve my string.

What is the most important stage to consider when training a horse?

I think they are all important, no stage can fail, from the training to the rider who continues with the horse until it is ready to play. I would say that players in general can really ruin horses. I think there are few players who do not ruin a horse when they play them. That is why I think that everything within the training is important and the chain of events has to be functional and it has to flow well. That when that process is supervised and organised, it is quite an achievement, because if one stage goes wrong, it can ruin everything and you won’t get the desired results.

Which is, or has been, your favourite horse, and why?

I have had several favourite horses over my career, depending on my age and the level I was playing. I have had very important mares; perhaps they were not so good in terms of attitude, but they gave me a lot, like my mare América, a tall grey, that I used to play several times a match. Once I even played her three times in one game. She was great. But luckily, the horses I play get better and better as the years go on. Today, my best horse is the Malapata Annie, a mare from Horacito Heguy’s breed. She is fantastic, very sensitive, has a good mouth, body, is soft, and is explosive. She accelerates without you realising.

Which is, or has been, the best horse you ever say play, and why?

I have seen a lot of good horses that I would like to try. Thousands. The ones I have seen play the Open, the Triple Crown. I don’t think I could name just one.

Of the horses you have seen play, is there one in particular that you would like to try?

Well, considering this new team that has debuted in the Argentine Open, La Natividad, there is a mare I like a lot, called Federica, played by Bartolito Castagnola. I always tease him, because I think she is a beautiful mare, and very good. I would love to try her.

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