Seeing Luis Escobar through both countless victories and a serious polo injury in 2015, 17-year-old Jasmine’s (King’s Gent x Julia) unwavering consistency on the field has created a unbreakable bond unrivaled by any other horse in Escobar’s string. After his top mare Julia sustained an injury and entered retirement, Escobar decided to continue her legacy as a broodmare, resulting in Jasmine and her full sister Julieta. Born at C-Spear Ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming, Jasmine was trained by renowned American breeder and trainer Julie Boyle, returning to Escobar as a three-year-old to start her budding polo career. Proving to be a champion just like her mother, Jasmine’s longevity in the sport has earned Escobar’s unconditional trust, the pair playing together in tournaments across the United States for over a decade.
Receiving many Best Playing Pony blankets throughout her career in high, medium and low goal, Jasmine’s enduring achievements at the highest level and quick recovery rate were most recently recognized as the 2019 Wembley Award* recipient. As Santa Clara geared up for another competitive season, the USPA spoke to Luis Escobar about his timeless companion, a horse who will undoubtedly carry the team through the rigors of the 2020 GAUNTLET OF POLO™.
Where was Jasmine bred and trained?
“Jasmine was born at C-Spear Ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming. Her mother Julia was an incredible polo horse, but unfortunately due to an injury I decided to turn her into a broodmare. The first foal I got from her was Jasmine and the second was Julieta. They have the same father and are very similar horses. I played Julieta for a while and then Facundo Pieres bought her. Now she’s with Valiente and in 2018 she won Best Playing Pony with Adolfo Cambiaso’s son, Poroto. I kept Jasmine and she has been one of my best horses ever since.
Unfortunately, I was only able to get two foals from Julia which was a shame because she created champions. However, I got two incredible mares that I’ve been lucky to play throughout my career.”
Tell us about her breeding and training?
“I had an arrangement with Julie Boyle, one of the best breeders and trainers in the United States who is very well known in high goal. She’s from Wyoming and at the time she was based out of C-Spear Ranch and she trained both Jasmine and Julieta. She sent Jasmine to me as a three-year-old having played some slow chukkers and I finished training her and started her polo career. The rest is history.”
Did you always know she was going to be a champion?
“Even when she was really young, she was always easy, gentle and noble. Her mother and sister were the same. I knew that she was good and that she would be a strong addition to my string, but I think you never really know if you’re sitting on a champion until you’re playing tournaments and until they start winning. As soon as I started competing her I realized just how talented she was and I never wanted to get off her!”
“She always recovers quicker than all the other horses even despite her age.” – Luis Escobar
What are her strengths on the field?
“She has everything; she’s a winner. She has an incredible mouth, good balance and she’s easy and comfortable. She never gets tired and always gives you more than any other horse in the chukker. Also, she always recovers quicker than all the other horses even despite her age. You can feel that maybe she doesn’t have quite the same power as she did when she was younger and in her prime, but she still has that fantastic recovery rate and she’s got an insane work ethic. If you ask her for a little more, she always gives it to you.
She’s consistent and you can always count on her to play well. She’s been there with me and played in everything I’ve played for the last 12 years. She’s been my best horse ever since she was a four-year-old and started playing green horse chukkers.”
How do you feel when you’re riding her?
“When I’m on her, I feel likeI could conquer the world. When you ride her, the chukker is yours, the game is yours! She gives me the momentum to keep going and she always gives me confidence because I know she will be playing her heart out and will never let me down.”
Luis Escobar and Jasmine play for SD Farms in the 2018 Carlos Gracida Cup. ©David Lominska
What have been your most memorable moments with her?
“I have so many amazing memories of playing her and then one unfortunate one. It was with her that I had an accident four years ago that left me with a brain injury. I was riding her in the 20-goal when we had a crash. Luckily she was fine, got up like nothing had happened and stood by me. I started playing polo a year after and I played her again. This is only my second year back playing high goal and she’s been with me every step of the way.
She was fantastic during the 2019 winter high-goal season in Florida. In the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Polo Championship® she entered the field four times and she played amazing and exactly the same in every chukker.”
What chukkers do you normally play her?
“She is definitely a second-half horse and I normally bring her out in the fifth or sixth chukker, although sometimes I bring her out a few times early on in the game as well. Sometimes she will play a few minutes in three or four different chukkers. Depending on the game or the importance of the game, sometimes I start her in the first or second chukker and then I bring her out again in the second half.”
Have you tried to breed from her?
“I have tried a few times to breed from her, but she couldn’t get pregnant, so we are sending her to a specialist. They’ve actually offered for me to clone her so I’m looking into that at the moment. She is an incredible mare and she’s never had a day off due to injury so I’ve always wanted to breed from her, especially since we lost her mother. She’s the perfect horse to breed from and I think will make a great cloning candidate.”
Does she travel the polo circuit with you?
“Everywhere I play, she plays, and she has since 2008! She travels all over the U.S. with me, especially in California. I play in Florida in the winter and then in the summer I’m in California. Then I turn her out in South Carolina September through November to rest before I start the circuit again. This past August I played her in Santa Barbara with Santa Clara in the second two tournaments of the 16-goal season, the America Cup and Pacific Coast Open. When the season ended she went out for a rest and then came back to play with me in the GAUNTLET. She is 17 now so I like to look after her. She has been playing a lot though and she is still going amazing.”
Watch Luis Escobar and Jasmine in their next GAUNTLET OF POLO™ game Wednesday, March 4 at 4:00pm ET as they take on Daily Racing Form. Games will be livestreamed exclusively on Global Polo TV.
*The Wembley Award is named after the legendary Valiente polo pony Wembley. The award was created in 2013 to honor some of the great older ponies, to recognize and reward horses that have shown greatness of performance and longevity throughout a career in high-goal polo. Wembley retired in 2016, still having played high-goal at the age of 22.