Originally known as the Winston Polo Club, the OC Polo Club was established over 30 years ago in Anaheim, California, near the Anaheim Stadium. It was there that Denny Geiler first became involved in polo and would later take on the role as the club president. The club has moved locations several times over the years due to development squeezing horses out of each area. But recently, Geiler jumped at the chance to ensure that OC Polo will always have a place to call home in Orange County. In 2015, Denny and his family purchased an older stable in Silverado Canyon and built a brand-new state-of-the-art polo facility—the Rancho Silverado Stables.
The ranch showcases two polo arenas, a Jumbotron, a stable for over sixty horses, a member locker room and a gorgeous clubhouse intended as the central gathering place for family and friends. Members not only have access to these on-site features, but also the opportunity to trail ride directly from the ranch into the Orange County Parks in the Silverado Canyon.
OC Polo’s clubhouse is designed as a gathering place for family and friends.
The OC Polo Club has roughly 25 current playing members and continues to grow each year, with a waiting list for lessons. Members have come from all different socio-economic backgrounds with a varying degree of horse and polo experience. The club features a polo school run by USPA certified instructor, Heather Perkins. Students of all ages and experience levels can utilize the equipment and polo horses provided to try their hand at the unique sport. The polo school teaches over 200 lessons each month. Riders range in age from 6 to 80 years old. Many players who started at OC Polo have gone on to play high-goal outdoor polo all across the West Coast.
The club’s number one goal is to support players in a safe, fun and competitive playing environment.
Arena polo is often labeled as rough and hard on horses. “At OC Polo, we are striving to change those perceptions. We encourage our players to invest in horses and manage their care as if they were headed for the U.S. Open. We umpire our games tightly and expect our players to play in a way that is competitive, while still being safe and enjoyable for everyone, the horses included. In our world, horses always come first,” the club says.
OC Polo has invested in special arena footing that is low dust, safe and grippy for the ponies, and creates a smooth playing field.
“Arena polo is evolving and we are on the forefront of change. For the spectators, our venue is like no other. We have invested in special footing that is low dust, safe and grippy for the ponies, and creates a smooth playing field. The Jumbotron helps keep guests focused on the game. In an arena setting, spectators can be up close to the action in a way that gets them fired up and piques their interest. The excitement of arena polo often leads them to give it a try themselves in the polo school.”
POLO AT OC POLO
OC Polo offers year-round turn-key polo for all levels. While the club does not offer horse rentals for club chukkers, they have lesson horses for the polo school. “We have found that this method creates polo players who are invested in the sport. Players must purchase their own horses and we provide full-service horse care. We manage all of the grooms, horse care, exercise, vet work, etc., so that the owners know that the horses are well cared for without the headache of self-management,” the club states.
OC Polo also curates a number of trips throughout the year for their members to play and watch polo at other clubs around Southern California. “We recently purchased a property near Eldorado Polo Club in Thermal, California, in order to expand our members’ playing opportunities. In addition, we do a lot of fun, non-polo related activities with our horses – like cattle sorting, beach rides and local trail riding. We look forward to returning to Argentina for the Open this year.”
The OC Polo Club has roughly 25 current playing members and continues to grow each year, with a waiting list for lessons. Members have come from all different socio-economic backgrounds with a varying degree of horse and polo experience.
THE SEASON AT OC POLO
OC Polo has organized the Pacific Coast Arena League for many years, working in conjunction with other local clubs. They also hosted the National Arena Amateur Cup in 2019, with local teams competing with players from Texas. Other smaller USPA tournaments post-COVID also took place and the club is looking forward to 2022 being their best tournament season to date.
This year, two major USPA tournaments are relocating to the West Coast and will be hosted at Orange County Polo Club. This year’s edition of the National Arena Challenge Cup was played last weekend, featuring four teams, including OC Polo, Top Guns, HYT Polo and Lakeside Polo Club. The finals match was played in front of a Memorial Day crowd, with HYT Polo taking the win over OC Polo. The Pacific Coast Circuit Arena Challenge Cup ran concurrently with this tournament and hosted an additional four teams.
OC Polo will host the national USPA Women’s Arena Open, September 23-25, 2022.
OC Polo will also host the national USPA Women’s Arena Open, September 23-25, 2022. This is the first time this tournament will be played on the West Coast. “This will be ladies 12- to 14-goal team handicaps and we are hopeful that we will get some women from out-of-state to come join the fun and competition.”
The marquis event of the 2022 polo season is the first annual Silverado Cup, which will be played October 21-23, 2022. It is a United States Polo Association (USPA) sanctioned arena polo tournament played with both amateur and professional polo players in a Calcutta format. The format has its roots in a tournament originally hosted by OC Polo Club in 2006, when OC Polo was located at the El Toro Marine Base. “We affectionately named it the Shady Lady Invitational and Jockey Lovers Cup, referencing our clubhouse bar—at the time located in a Tuff Shed.”
OC Polo’s stables.
“More than 15 years later, participants from the Shady Lady still talk about what a standout event it was, so we knew we had to bring it back in a new and improved format.” On Friday night, the teams will be finalized with a draw at the VIP Party and sold in a Calcutta format. There will be three straight games on Saturday. On Sunday, the three teams with the best record will battle it out in the Silverado Cup Finals before a large crowd. Following the finals match, VIP guests will gather at the clubhouse for a trophy ceremony and champagne toast. The Silverado Cup is an opportunity for the players to get to play with professionals who truly care about player development. The focus of this tournament is to bring the amateur players into the action supported by the expertise of professional players.
OC Polo’s Tackroom.
The Silverado Cup perpetual trophy is a stunning 102.3 ounce sterling Sliver antique cup made in the United Kingdom in 1911. It currently sits in the clubhouse waiting for the 2022 winners. All who see it are hoping to be the first names engraved. The Silverado Cup will benefit Surf and Turf Therapy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides therapy services targeting traditional, functional goals using non-traditional approaches, like surfing, horseback riding and community-based activities.
All Photos courtesy of ©OC Polo Club.