About the Virginia Polo Cavalier Award
Our Cavalier Award recognizes a person who has made significant contributions to the development and success of Virginia Polo. Awardees dedicated their time, their resources and their skills to develop and enhance the Virginia Polo program and all have been major drivers of the program’s success to date.
The inaugural award will be presented to Richard C. Riemenschneider on Saturday, October 30, 2021.
About Richard C. Riemenschneider, a.k.a. “Dick” or “Remo”
Dick embodies the spirit of Virginia Polo—a program built by the students and local horsemen, specifically students as hard working and entrepreneurial as he, to perpetuate students’ access to playing polo.
Prior to selecting a college Dick wrote to the USPA to find out what schools had polo teams, the USPA told him about the newly started VA Polo program. He flew to Virginia to check out the club and met Edward H. Carle, who had a parking space at the college polo club. Mr. Carle took Dick under his wing and showed him around the new club.
Dick came to Virginia Polo in 1955, only a few short years after the club began at Oglesby’s Field. Thanks to the trusted University of Virginia honor system the club benefitted from credit anywhere to build the program. When Dick arrived, the club owed nearly $10,000. Dick and his teammates raised money locally, in part by starting a magazine that made $3000, selling parking spaces at games, and raising around $6000 from Easters and Openings Weekends. They would also go to horse auctions in Front Royal and buy 2 horses for $300. They would bring the horses back to the club, train them, and sell one to pay for the purchase of other horses for the team’s polo string.
Some of Dick’s favorite memories at VA Polo are teaching others to play and working with the horses; at the time there was no coach and his experience and talent in polo helped others to learn and improve their skills. Dick worked to build the polo team and organization for incoming polo players but also to provide an environment where students could be brought into the sport of polo.
He remembers fondly a horse named Dictionary, donated by Peggy Augustus, who would be used to “evaluate” incoming students’ riding abilities and spirit. If a student arrived claiming they “knew how to ride,” the club members would put them on Dictionary with the simple request of cantering him to the field and around it twice. Like clockwork Dictionary would drop the rider after the first loop and come back to the barn—the unlucky rider would then buy a case of beer for the team and have their first shared VA Polo memory. Many alumni of VA Polo started riding and playing polo under Dick’s tutelage and continued to play for many years in their adulthood.
During law school at Virginia, Dick lived on Rodger Rinehart’s farm. Rodger started his sons (Rob 4 goals and Owen 10 goals) in polo at VA Polo and later sent them to stay with Dick to groom, play, and learn more about the game. When Dick finished law school he and Rodger began formally fundraising through the UVA Alumni Association and created the nonprofit 501c3s.
Dick is the first recipient of the Cavalier Award: not only for being a founding member of Virginia Polo, a driving force in creating the endowment fund, continuously securing donations for the program, but also for his contributions to creating polo players through countless hours of sharing his knowledge and love of polo and horses with his fellow students during his time on the team.