Polo ponies and players have become a familiar sight on Shelburne-Hinesburg Road. That’s because the Sugarbush Polo Club began playing on its new field, across from the CSSU Buccaneer practice fields, last September.
The Sugarbush Polo Club, founded in Waitsfield in 1962, added the Shelburne-Hinesburg Road field a year ago. “Before that, we rented a field in Middlebury, but that field was too far away and it had no public visibility,” Sugarbush Polo Club President Brendan Tetreault said. “Our membership numbers started to dwindle.”
With only a dozen active members, the move to Chittenden County was important to the club. Modifications were made to introduce people to the sport, either as spectators or as participants.
Weekend matches, held most Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm, are free of charge and open to the public. Spectators are encouraged to pack a picnic lunch and bring family and friends.
In June, the club offered a United States Polo Association beginner’s clinic that attracted 15 attendees. Six returned for polo lessons given by professional instructor Mario Dino Di Salvo of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Di Salvo is the owner of the Saratoga Polo School and a member of the Professional Polo Circuit.
On Aug. 15 the Sugarbush Polo Club held a match to benefit the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. About 250 people attended. “It’s important to give back to the community,” Tetreault said.
The club hopes to have a repeat performance at the 802 Fall Classic, a benefit for the University of Vermont Cancer Center, on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1pm.
The Sugarbush Polo Club is also preparing for the future, and would like to expand to offer lessons, riding, and playing opportunities. “We work closely with the USPA to obtain the funds necessary to grow the program and club,” Tetreault said. “We will also organize more community-related activities to create awareness about the polo club and its available opportunities to learn the game and become directly involved with Sugarbush Polo.”