Our equine athletes are our most important teammates. Texas Arena League awards Nutrena Best Playing Pony honors at each game during the League. The Nutrena BPP wins during regular League competition and BPP considerations during those games calculate into the awards.
Equine Nutritionist Sharon Choney works for Cargill/Nutrena and visits most Texas Arena League events, ”Nutrena is honored to be part of the Texas Arena League BPP program – keeping the polo ponies in prime shape and peak performance starts with a great nutrition program and we are excited to be part of the this team to help educate and provide well researched products to keep these high powered athletes performing at optimal performance and healthy year round. We have had the pleasure to meet life-long friends both four leg and two leg and look forward to continuing this journey with the Texas Arena League.” Cargill sends equine nutritionists and Nutrena reps to Texas Arena League events for education and Q&A.
This year TAL added another award for horses Best Playing Thoroughbred. To be considered for the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TJCTIP) Best Playing Thoroughbred awards horses must be Jockey Club registered and have a TIP number which is attained online through using either the horses JC name (if known) or tattoo number. TJCTIP has other programs including its recreational riding program which all TB owners should check out.
0-3 Goal Nutrena Best Playing Pony – Platinum owned by Brady Williams
“I was really excited for Platinum to win BPP in the 0-3 goal division because she played very well this season during TAL, frequently for 2 chukkers during a game. Winning BPP is important to me because I put a lot of effort in my horse care trying to make sure they are playing the best that they can for each game. I appreciate Nutrena giving back to TAL buy sponsoring the BPP prizes for each event and the season overall. I use several of their products in my feeding program,” says Brady.
0-3 Goal TJCTIP Best Playing Thoroughbred – Demi owned by Kelly Coldiron
0-3 Goal Superior Equine Sports Massage Therapy Best String – Owned by Wyatt Myr – Burgundy, Ichiban, Whiskey, Romeo and Foxy
“After playing last year on borrowed horses, I was excited to play on my own string this year. I’d like to thank James Glew for helping me prep my ponies and making them look good during the tournament. We split my string and doubled many of the ponies. After an excellent winter showing I’m looking forward to the grass season as my ponies and tuned up and ready to go,” says Wyatt. “I very pleased to have won the nice halters from Superior Equine.”
3-6 Goal Nutrena Best Playing Pony – Nugget owned by Trey Crea
“Nugget was owned by Ursula Pari at that time we were playing Texas Arena League. Nugget and I were working well together, so I have since bought her. I am grateful that Ursula trusted her with me,” says Trey.
3-6 Goal TJCTIP Best Playing Thoroughbred – Wild owned by Wendy Stover “I bought Wild from online photos from Trista Reynolds in New York. Wild was a well bred, unbroken TB when I bought her. She was super easy to break, she has always been kind and willing, and she LOVES to have the inside of her ears scratched. She is unlike any Thoroughbred I’ve ever known. She wears a grazing muzzle for 8-12 hours a day, and she still looks like she might be preggers! Wild loves to eat!
She is super consistent to play in any game, whether arena or grass. She is rather awkward feeling when you ride her at home, but she is totally different to play. She is very quick for a “chunky” girl. I trust her completely to make any play. Bump, run, quick moves, and she is very bold. I once made a play where I asked her to “thread the needle” going between a goal post and a horse coming at us at an angle. She never blinked, squeezing through the narrow gap without question.
On top of her polo skills, she is a love. I love to just go hang out with her in the field. She loves scratches and she is always sweet to humans. She’s a tad grumpy to other mares, but she still will respond to my sharp, “WILD!” command when she pushes too far. She is one of a kind. I love her to pieces,” says Wendy.
3-6 Goal Superior Equine Sports Massage Therapy Best String – owned by Nacho Estrada – Kika, Zama, Frijolita, Panela, Gemma, Strega, Chartreuse, Mezcal, Muneca and Nirvana
“I feel very happy and it is very rewarding to win the Best String. We love our horses and I spend lots of time with them,” says Nacho. “My polo ponies are like my family and we spend amazing time training, caring and trying to bring the best out of them. Thank you to the Shaylers for being the Best String sponsors.”
TJCTIP Best Playing Thoroughbred Overall – Rocket owned by Stephanie Massey
Rocket, probably the most seasoned horse participating in TAL for the 2020 season, was formerly know in the thoroughbred racing industry as “Moon Is Up”. After a mere five starts, Rocket transitioned to a new career in polo. In 2009, Rocket was donated to the Texas A&M University Women’s Polo Team by Katherine Campos. Rocket won the BPP award for the Central IS tournament in 2012 and was a part of numerous Best Playing String Awards during her stent at Texas A&M Polo. In 2012, Rocket was retired from I/I polo by Stephanie (Massey) Colburn (who is now a DVM). Now, at the ripe, old age of 27, Rocket continues to successfully compete as she was pulled out of pasture to participate in the Texas Arena League.
A good horseman is conscientious of their horses’ abilities and limitations and plays/directs them for maximum effectiveness with minimum efforts. Good horsemanship includes riding, playing and horse care.
In addition to recognizing exceptional horses, Texas Arena League awards exceptional horsemen and horsewomen with awards including some amazing Australian saddle pads from Jackrabbit Tack and photo books with images of Texas Arena League from David Murrell/Murrellphoto.com.
0-3 Goal Jackrabbit Tack Horsemanship Award – Stephanie Massey
0-3 Goal Murrellphoto.com Best Presented – Brady Williams
“The Best Presented season award is new this year to TAL, and I am honored to be the first recipient,” says Brady. “I take pride in my horse care, but this award means more than just having good horses. I know the people choosing the winner for this award were looking at my whole operation. This means that throughout the season, my team, my clients, and all the horses at my trailer were well put together and ready to play polo. It has been fun having the Murrells at the TAL events and the book they put together for the prize for this award has some great pictures in it!”
3-6 Goal Jackrabbit Tack Horsemanship Award – Wendy Stover
“I am honored to have won the horsemanship award!”
“Ever since I was a little girl, horses have been my passion. I can’t think of life without them. Even on days when it’s impossible to ride, I just love spending time with my “besties”. They can make a bad day all well again. The very best part of playing polo is the enjoyment I get from my horses. I’m so proud of them! Thank you to Jackrabbit for sponsoring this very special award.”
3-6 Goal Murrellphoto.com Best Presented – Elite Motion & Performance team
Murrellphoto.com Overall Best Presented – Horsegate team