Megan West says people are surprised to see her shy and humble demeanor melt away on the polo field where a bold, competitive spirit takes over. The sport does attract people with a competitive nature, but for West, playing polo is where she finds personal strength. “On the field someone’s got to take charge. I’ve learned that skill in a safe environment with people who are my friends. It’s a place where I’ve learned and practiced leadership skills,” she said.

When not on the field or in a barn, West leverages her doctorate in agricultural food chemistry for Mars Wrigley where she works on long-term research projects. “It’s basically a lab-based job,” she says of pre-COVID-19 times. A chemist by training, West works on projects such as product ingredient sourcing with consideration to sustainability.

Growing up in Glencoe, Illinois, West says hers was not a “horse family”. The earliest chance to ride was at summer camp in Minocqua, Wisconsin. “My first year at Red Pine Camp, I was eight years old and just one of those kids who wanted to take riding lessons,” West said. “I love the outdoors and the appeal of horses. I just gravitated towards them.” Riding at camp was a source of fun for West and her “barn rat” friends who helped take care of the horses there.

Read the full Quintessential Barrington feature story here.

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