PoloStars® Annual

At this time, in the world of American polo sport, there is a movement to recognize the horses in the sport. Begun in 1999, by the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame and myself, we are working toward this common goal. Back in the ‘heyday” of polo in America during the twenties and thirties, the polo ponies in the sport were documented and celebrated in photos and artwork. Sometime after the war in the forties, the records became scarce at best and many of the great horses went largely unrecognized through the rest of the century. Each year since 1999, the Museum has inducted polo ponies to the Hall of Fame, with a project known as Horses to Remember. Displayed, are a series of original portraits of the inductees by Melinda Brewer.

Melinda has been involved in painting many of the great horses of polo since 1994 and through this research has also been able to document many of their considerable achievements and awards. These artwork portraits, photos and documentary are collected in the annual POLOSTARS® book publication.

This is the only publication worldwide to focus exclusively on the polo horse and in so doing lends credibility to the importance of the horses in the sport of polo. These polo horses are great athletes and have remarkable talents as the great racehorses of our time. So many of them play well into mid-age and will play the equivalent of the Kentucky Derby several times a year, year after year. Some of the horses playing will continue to dominate the high goal rosters over several years.

A Best Playing Pony award is given to a pony for an outstanding performance or for making a significant contribution to the outcome of a match, game or tournament. There are numerous criteria upon which the judges base their decisions and the United States Polo Association Judging Rules have a detailed outline and list some of the criteria upon which award decisions are based. A pony’s ability, speed, handiness as well as overall conformation, fitness and condition are some of the factors considered. It is a tremendous honor to receive a Best Playing Pony award as it reflects the devotion, care and conditioning of the grooms and handlers as well as the patience, expertise and knowledge of the breeders and trainers and the combined partnership of the player and pony as a team and with the team.

In some tournaments, there are special trophies dedicated to the Best Playing Ponies, of course foremost in the United States is the U.S. Open tournament which has a dedicated a trophy for the honor, The Willis Hartman Award. The National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame has the Babs Haas Memorial Trophy. In 2013, International Polo Club Palm Beach dedicated an award specifically honoring older ponies that have shown greatness in performance and displayed longevity and talent over a career in the sport with the Wembley Award, named after the great polo pony Wembley. For more information on the tournaments and trophies as well as the exciting history of polo, visit the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame.