Today, we’re speaking with Mia Bray of the famed Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria California.
In this interview, Mia shares the fascinating history of the club with PoloWeekly and gives us the details on upcoming tournaments.
Can you give us a brief background on your club?
Over 100 years ago polo began in the foothills of Santa Barbara. Soldiers called the picturesque grounds their home during WWII when the club was used as a temporary training facility.
Following the war polo once again thrived at the oceanside venue with luxury amenities including swimming pools, tennis courts, stabling for 360 horses, an arena, and three turf fields being added in the 80’s.
The uniqueness of our club lies in the beachside fields nestled against the foothills of Santa Barbara. Playing polo in Santa Barbara comes with the unique experience of the many luxury amenities that come with a high end country club as well as a first class polo club.
What tournaments do you have coming up this year? And can international players participate?
The Santa Barbara Polo Club hosts tournaments at various levels from Pro-Pool through 16 Goal. The most prestigious tournament on the West Coast is held at our club, the Pacific Coast Open.
Many members of the Santa Barbara Polo Club are international players hailing from all around the world including, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, England and countless other locations.
Additionally, members from our club have competed in elite polo tournaments around the world such as the Argentine Open, the Queens Cup, the Gold Cup and endless other international tournaments.
How many horses does the club have?
The club has stabling for 360 horses. However, a few members stable at neighboring barns and private clubs while participating in our tournaments and utilizing our club amenities.
Are you seeing a lot of new people interested in playing polo?
Yes, the club takes pride in sharing the world of polo and growing the sport. We have established a polo school on site to cater to the new members with an interest in learning to play polo.
If someone is interested in coming and taking lessons at your club, what is the best way for them to get started?
The Polo Academy is a multi-level school designed to teach players of all levels. We have beginner safe horses suitable for first time riders and a lesson program with the goal of moving beginners from the arena to the grass. The Academy is run by a USPA certified polo instructor, Jeff Sheraga.