The Harvard Polo Club has enjoyed a revival over the past six years, following a 12-year hiatus. Since the husband-and-wife coaching team of Crocker and Cissie Snow took the reins in 2006, the program, which dates to early in the 20th century, has blossomed to include both men’s and women’s varsity and junior varsity squads.
The club is a blend of the competitive and the collegial. It faces off against some of the top college teams in the country and welcomes all skill levels. Beginners start by swinging a mallet while standing on the ground, then graduate to a wooden polo pony, and eventually to the real thing.
“What’s most gratifying for me is working with so many interesting, sharp, and committed undergraduates,” said Crocker Snow ’61, who, like his wife, is an accomplished player. “Unlike many college teams, most of our players have no polo experience at all, and some have no riding at the outset. Those who get hooked put in a lot of hard work riding and practicing to the point that the varsity teams now have winning records.”
At a practice in Hamilton, Mass., last fall, the more experienced riders and players helped the newcomers to ready the horses, and rode in tandem with them in an enclosed outdoor arena.
“I have a longer way to go than most people on the team,” said freshman Ethan Samet, who had only ridden a handful of times before signing up. “But I feel like I have been getting better and better each time.”
Recently the ponies hobnobbed on campus with polo enthusiast Tommy Lee Jones ’69, the recipient of this year’s Harvard Arts Medal. An avid polo player, Jones regularly hosts members of the polo club at his Texas ranch and at his home in Florida, and has donated numerous ponies to the Harvard program. The actor took part in the “Adopt a Horse Auction” held at the Murr Center to support the club’s efforts to purchase a permanent base, a small farm with a barn and riding ring adjacent to the Myopia Hunt Club in Hamilton, where the club has its home competitions.
This summer, members of the club will head to Europe for a series of matches in Italy, Switzerland, France, and in England, where they will compete at the famed Guards Polo Club against a team from Yale University.