Wakefield Country Day School launches polo program

Wakefield Country Day School (WCDS) is pleased to announce plans to establish a WCDS Polo Team in conjunction with Liberty Hall Equestrian Center in Rixeyville, VA.

The program will be led by Daniel and Sarah Coleman of Liberty Hall. Dan is a former member of the US Polo Association Board (USPA) of Governors, a professional polo umpire, active player, and coach of both youth and adults. Prior to relocating to Virginia, the Coleman’s established a successful ‘work-to-ride’ program for youth players in Phoenix, called Being the Change, that has produced many high-quality equestrian professionals and athletes.

Liberty Hall visited WCDS last spring, with both two and four-legged players, to teach students about Polo and answer questions about the game. Students learned several fun facts about Polo during the demonstration:

• Polo is the world’s oldest team sport, with a historical record of the first polo tournament dating back to the 6th century BC, and was played predominately as a way to train for cavalry warfare.

• The USPA was established in the late 19th century with its first major tournaments pitting the east coast ‘elite’ with the rough Texas cowboys; forming a partnership that still binds these two distinct equestrian cultures today.

• Polo is a unique sport, with teams based solely on handicap (merit): men and women of any age and background regularly play together in tournaments around the country.

• A polo ball can travel well over 100 mph (make sure to wear your helmet.)

• Winston Churchill was a world-famous polo player!

The Liberty Hall Youth Polo Program notes: “Students do not need to have polo or riding skills to try out for the program. Our program has a minimum age of eight years old and extends into adult students. Typically, we are able to bring students from beginner to competitive within a year: sometimes less, depending upon the determination of the student.”

WCDS students have the opportunity to earn Physical Education and Sports credits through this new platform. “The Liberty Hall program is much more than a polo school, with activities intended to explore new ways of engaging participants in significant educational, social and cultural experiences. Students build relationships and develop problem-solving skills through teamwork and cooperation. Students are challenged to create self-awareness, gain confidence and build leadership skills. It is our intention for all graduates of LH programs to have marketable skills, the ability to lead and support their community as well as being accomplished horsemen and players. Students become involved in everything related to horses; equine maintenance and care, stable management, nutrition, and feeding schedules as well as facility improvements and maintenance. There will be many opportunities to travel, learn and work throughout the equestrian community.” Reads the LH Youth Polo Program Guide.

Photo by JuLong Zhai

Photo by 22gates.com Gibson Photography

WCDS is thrilled to establish a Polo program— not only does work with horses builds confidence in students but around 75 colleges and universities have polo teams: UVA, Harvard, Yale, Texas A&M, Cornell, Cal Poly, and many more, creating yet another unique opportunity for WCDS students.

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