By Richard Westlund
For Progress & Innovation
Known around the world as “the sport of kings,” polo is also a great activity for families — at least on the Treasure Coast. In the past year, BG Polo & Equestrian established a polo school, hired one of the nation’s first certified polo coaches and brought polo tournaments back to Vero Beach.
Now, the growing equestrian facility is preparing for its 2016 season, which begins on Jan. 10 and runs through May 1. Matches will be held each Sunday at 2 p.m. at the polo grounds in Vero Beach, with plenty of family-friendly activities for spectators. Attendance at the 2015 matches ranged from 500 to 1,500-plus.
“We open the gates at 1 p.m., and families are welcome to bring a picnic dinner,” said Patta Conboy, equestrian director. “We have a competition, where spectators can climb up on a wooden horse, swing a mallet and hit the ball. We also encourage spectators to take the field and stamp down the divots in the sod before play resumes. It’s a lot of fun for novices as well as true polo aficionados.”
In August 2014, Bobby Genovese, chairman of BG Capital Group, purchased the former Atlantic Crossings equestrian facility and renamed it BG Polo & Equestrian Vero Beach. Located just south of the polo grounds at Pointe West, the36-acre facility includes 48 stalls, dressage and jumper arenas, a “stick and ball” recreational field, bridle path and 23 paddocks, as well as a clubhouse and lounge.
“BG Capital is honored to join the horse community in Vero Beach, as we expand our equestrian endeavors,” said Genovese in announcing the purchase. His other polo interests include BG Toronto Polo Club, BG Ocala Polo and Equestrian Club and BG Argentina Polo Club. “It is our goal to invest in both youth and adult equine programs, with the spotlight being on our upcoming professional polo school.”
Since then, BG Polo & Equestrian has brought in Max Secunda, a U.S. Polo Association-certified coach, to lead the equine education programs, including polo clinics. The facility supports all disciplines of riding, including dressage, hunter jumper, driving, and western pleasure. Kelly Quam is the facility’s barn manager.
This fall, BG Polo & Equestrian also launched a new branding program including a new logo with a tangerine color to represent Vero Beach’s citrus.
“We want to promote Vero Beach as well as polo,” said Conboy. “We know there is a great crossover impact as polo fans also enjoy the golf, great beaches and overall lifestyle here on the Treasure Coast.”
Finn Secunda, 8, riding ‘Sangria,’ brings the ball upfield with Blake Ashcroft, 18, riding, ‘Piper,’ with Polo Pro Max Secunda, riding ‘Mr. Business,’ as they play a two-on-two polo scrimmage at BG Polo & Equestrian in Vero Beach
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Treasure Coast Newspapers