Whether the day calls for a powerful offensive play or quietly cruising down an open field during a stick-and-ball session, 11-year-old Dolfina Jordie (Machitos Chelo x Josie) is equally up for the task. Competitive at every level from 2- to 26-goal polo, this Palomino stallion’s versatility knows no bounds, easily adjusting his high-goal gear to meet the needs of lower-goal polo and even beginners. Although considered by J5 Equestrian standards a late bloomer, Jordie’s delayed maturity has produced the full package for Rob Jornayvaz: a fast, athletic and quiet stallion as unique as his brilliant golden coat.
Frequenting the fields of Hobe Sound (Hobe Sound, Florida) and Port Mayaca Polo Clubs (Okeechobee, Florida) during the 2022 winter season, Jornayvaz’s girlfriend Pamela Flanagan has already taken full advantage of the opportunity to add Jordie to her string. Helping her to win the 22-goal Tabebuia Cup with Hawaii Polo Life (HPL), Jordie is the star of Flanagan’s offense, inspiring the same confidence that enables Jornayvaz to trust him on steep mountain trails in Colorado. With the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship® in the balance, the USPA spoke to Rob and Pam about how the addition of Jordie may soon lead HPL to their third title, and his upcoming appearance in the XII Federation of International Polo (FIP) World Polo Championship.
Jordie is the full package for Rob Jornayvaz: a fast, athletic and quiet stallion as unique as his brilliant golden coat.
Tell us about his breeding.
Rob Jornayvaz: “He’s out of Josie, a palomino Australian stock horse from Ellerstina. Glenn Gilmore found her originally and brought her to the United Kingdom. Pelon Stirling played Josie quite a bit when he played with Adolfo Cambiaso in the UK. His sire Machitos Chelo (Sportivo x Machitos Jazz) is a very popular and proven stud in polo lines.”
“I play my best on Jordie, he definitely makes me play a goal higher.” – Rob Jornayvaz
How did Jordie come to be in your string?
Rob: “Jordie was originally gifted to my dad [Bob Jornayvaz] because he had a palomino mare named Merry Christmas that my mom bought him as a Christmas present. My dad really loves western films so she spent a year and a half looking for a palomino horse he could use to play polo. Merry Christmas turned out to be one of his best horses and he played her in the 26-goal for four or five years.
Jordie was born in Argentina and my mom shipped him to the United States as a three-year old with the sole purpose of gifting him to my dad so he could breed with Merry Christmas. It took Jordie a while to mature and become a really solid polo horse around six or seven years old. I always enjoyed riding him because he was a comfortable horse, but there wasn’t anything that special at first. In 2018-2019 he really started to mature and he just became spectacular.”
What are his greatest strengths on the field?
Rob: “He has a lot of speed and really learned how to use his body. He is a really strong horse – if you bump him, he’s not going to go anywhere. He also is very sure-footed and has an incredible mouth.”
Pam Flanagan: “He’s very powerful but really light. Although he’s not a big horse, he plays like one. I can easily hit the ball off of him and get back to the ball quickly. I can go hard into a play and he bumps beautifully. But the minute I need to check and turn around, he spins on a dime. Playing Jordie in the fourth chukker, I get all of the power without losing or sacrificing any of the handiness – I get the best of both worlds with him.”
How did his training impact his development into a versatile polo horse?
Rob: “When we brought Jordie up from Argentina and he played in the U.S. he was the horse everybody used to fill out a chukker. We would say, “Okay we’re missing one chukker, someone jump on Jordie,” and so for three or four years he was ridden by everyone. Although he arrived with a very chill temperament, he became used to a lot of different players early on.
He was trained by Fabrizio Garcia at La Picaza, the farm where we do all our breeding and training with La Dolfina. The horses do not normally come to the U.S. until they are five, but they sent Jordie up early.”
Jordie is the star of Flanagan’s offense, recently helping Hawaii Polo Life win the 22-goal Tabebuia Cup at Port Mayaca Polo Club in Okeechobee, Florida.
Describe his personality and temperament.
Pam: “Jordie is super chill both on and off the field, but he’s also an intense competitor. That horse does not let anyone else win a ride off. He’s super competitive, but really relaxed at the same time – his disposition is a 10/10 especially for a stallion. It’s easy to find mares and geldings that are relaxed, but to find a stud with the same disposition from my experience is really unusual.”
Rob: “He can even go on sets with the other horses. If I have somebody who’s going to be stick-and-balling and needs a quiet, easy horse, I always give them Jordie.”
“Jordie is very handy and has a lot of speed, but at the same time he’s so quiet. He’s a horse any player can jump on and have fun.” – Diego Cavanagh
How would you describe Jordie in one word?
Rob: “Dependable. I like to start on him in the first chukker because if I need to I can bring him back. I’m so confident on him because he’s solid and it’s a great way to start a game.”
Jordie’s dependability and flexibility allows him to easily transition between beginners and high-goal polo.
What qualities of Jordie have you seen in his offspring?
Pam: “Last year Rob and I went to visit Isinya HDC [in Aiken, South Carolina], Owen Rinehart’s polo breeding and training facility where the J5 Equestrian babies are born. Beth Skolnik dared me to jump on Jingle Bell’s [Dolfina Jordie x Merry Christmas] back in the pasture just to see how she would react. She was only a year and a half at the time, but she was so relaxed and just stood there munching hay. That’s where you see Jordie’s disposition, he’s also very relaxed and it transfers to his offspring.”
What are the plans for Jordie after the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship®?
Rob: “He will return to Denver, Colorado, and play in some smaller tournaments there this summer before returning to compete in the XII FIP World Polo Championship this October in Palm Beach County. Also we will definitely continue to be breed him and hopefully get more babies just like him.”
Jordie and Pam can currently be seen competing for Hawaii Polo Life in the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship®.
Watch Jordie compete in Hawaii Polo Life’s second game of the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship® on Saturday, March 12, exclusively on Global Polo TV.
All photos courtesy of ©David Lominska.