The Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) and United States Polo Association (USPA) announced the winners of six awards to recognize Thoroughbreds that have excelled in a second career as a polo horse. Created and announced in October 2011, T.I.P. recognizes and rewards the versatility of the Thoroughbred through sponsorship of Thoroughbred classes and high-point awards at sanctioned horse shows, year-end performance awards, a recreational riding program, and non-competition awards.
HIGH-GOAL HORSE: CUBANA
Cubana, registered with The Jockey Club as “Total Regs”
Cubana is owned by 8-goaler Nic Roldan. “Cubana is a key horse in my string and a bit of a favorite in the barn due to her super kind demeanor,” Roldan said. “I played her in spring and fall polo at the Grand Champions Polo Club (Wellington, Florida), getting her used to the game before she graduated to high goal, where she is now a firm fixture in my string.”
Nic Roldan playing Cubana.
LOW-GOAL HORSE: CAJUN COLONEL
Daniel Arnold out in front on Cajun Colonel. ©Douglas J. Vergara
Cajun Colonel is owned by Cheryl Arnold and now played by her son Daniel. “Cajun Colonel embodies what amazing athletes Thoroughbreds are and demonstrates how the breed can successfully transition off of the track to becoming winners on the polo field,” Daniel said.
ARENA POLO HORSE: WILD 2 ME
Wild 2 Me.
Wild 2 Me is owned by Wendy Stover and was purchased as an unraced two-year-old. “She has excellent bloodlines, and she can play both arena and grass polo with equal prowess,” Stover said. “I can always count on her to give me an awesome chukker.”
INTERCOLLEGIATE/INTERSCHOLASTIC HORSE: ANNIE
Annie. ©Cheryl Polk Photography
Annie, registered with The Jockey Club as “Grada a Annie”
Annie is owned by Sherry Sheldon Gibson/Polodeo Ranch LLC. According to Zachary Cobbs, an interscholastic polo player, “Annie is an exceptional multilevel equestrian athlete. She tops the charts with her speed, agility and her intuition regardless of which level rider she is carrying. Annie is the best babysitter for beginning riders while effortlessly transitioning to a skilled polo player.”
Interscholastic player Zachary Cobbs on Annie.
LESSON HORSE: DOLLY
Dolly (left) competing in the arena.
Dolly, registered with The Jockey Club as “Little Doll”
Dolly, owned by Laura Goddard, has been used as a lesson horse for nine years. “Dolly continues to be one of our staple beginner horses and has traveled to play USPA arena tournaments, field tournaments, and USPA interscholastic games across three states,” Goddard revealed. “Dolly’s calm temperament, endless patience, and athleticism are a perfect fit for our polo school.”
Dolly (center) in arena action.
WOMEN’S POLO HORSE: ROCKET
Stephanie Massey Colburn on Rocket. ©David Murrell
Rocket, registered with The Jockey Club as “My Mom’s Pretty”
Rocket, a little bay mare, is owned by Stephanie Massey Colburn. “Rocket has not only shown that Thoroughbreds can transition into a career as a polo horse, but she has also shown that they can be completely phenomenal as polo horses,” Colburn said. “In my heart, Rocket is the best polo horse; she is brave, courageous, fast, strong, dedicated, and completely in tune with her rider.”
As part of T.I.P.’s effort to encourage the retraining of Thoroughbreds for careers playing polo, it will be offering awards at up to 50 USPA tournaments in 2021 and at the National Arena Amateur Cup at Legends Polo Club (Kaufman, Texas). “Our inaugural class of winners of our polo awards demonstrates the success that Thoroughbreds can have as polo horses,” said Kristin Werner, senior counsel of The Jockey Club and coordinator of T.I.P. “When individuals are considering careers for their Thoroughbred beyond the racetrack or breeding shed, we hope they add polo to the long list of potential disciplines in which their horse can excel.”
“Thoroughbreds are proven talents on the polo field, and we are excited to expand our partnership with T.I.P. to reward these athletes,” said Justin Powers, Executive Director of the United States Polo Association’s Polo Development, LLC.
Additional information about T.I.P. is available at tjctip.com and on The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program Facebook page.
*Annie poses for a photoshoot. ©Cheryl Polk Photography