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Welcome to the Orange County Polo Club!

2009 Desert Series II:  GPL and Friends in Indio

Twelve GPL members took to the field at the Desert Training Series II on March 7th and 8th, 2009 – with many of the same players returning for this second of three series. As before, the morning started with a “chalk talk” session – this week’s topic: “Effectively Riding Off An Opponent” here for the Winter Training Series II story and photos

Local Execs Bringing OC Polo Club to Coto By Sherri Cruz Orange County Business Journal Staff
Arena polo: described as hockey on horseback
Arena polo: described as hockey on horseback
David Schuberth wasn’t expecting polo lessons from his daughter for his 49th birthday. Now seven years later, he doesn’t expect to stop playing any time soon. Schuberth, owner of Point West Financial Inc., a small mortgage company based in Huntington Beach, plays arena polo—a game played on horses with a mallet, similar to a hockey stick, and a leather ball the size of a grapefruit.
Arena polo is played in a dirt corral about the size of an ice hockey ring, as opposed to the classy, grass-field matches portrayed in movies. Three play against three with two umpires on horseback.
“It’s not hoity-toity polo,” Schuberth said. Players are more likely to crack open a beer after the game than pop open a bottle of sparkling wine.
For three years, polo players in Orange County have been without a local arena to play. The Orange County Polo Club started in Anaheim in the 1980s and moved to Huntington Beach for about 15 years, before moving to the former El Toro Marine base. The club, which is as much a social gathering as a sport, was forced to move again after the base was closed and cleared to make way for the Great Park.
Many players have kept their horses in Indio, where they sporadically play at nearby clubs.
“That’s no way to build a club,” said Denny Geiler, owner of Newport Beach-based SoCal Self Storage and cofounder of the OC Polo Club.

Coto Arena
Geiler, who describes himself as a “good amateur” player, is paying to build a new arena at the Coto de Caza Equestrian Center. The project should open in May.
Geiler declined to say how much it would cost. The arena has been three years in the works. Though the area is zoned for horses, there were a number of obstacles,
including county permitting and convincing Coto residents that the polo field wouldn’t be disruptive. The arena should help boost club membership. Geiler said
he’s already got a list of Coto residents interested in joining in addition to club members who are excited to move their horses back from the Inland Empire.
At the height of its membership, the OC Polo Club had about 20 members, typical for a polo club. Today, it has about half of that. Members pay an annual
$1,500 membership fee. The club will pay a monthly maintenance fee to the equestrian center. Members also pay to board their horses, which will allow the center
to make improvements to the property. The center has stables for about 300 horses. Both residents from inside Coto and outside the gated community keep
horses at the center.

High Costs
Keeping a horse is relatively expensive. Horse care fees include those for food, vitamins, veterinary services and boarding and exercising the animal. Horse
upkeep can cost upward of $1,200 a month. “A lot of people are excited to see (the arena) go in,” said Robin Borders, co-owner of Cinnabar Equestrian Operations
of Trabuco Canyon. She and her business partner Ozzy Gonzalez manage the 32-acre property owned by Silver Bronze Corp., also of Trabuco Canyon. Not all in
Coto were excited about the polo club at first, Geiler said, largely because they weren’t familiar with polo arenas. Some people thought there would be a lot
of traffic, nighttime lights and noisy people watching the game in giant stands. Geiler spent time meeting the residents of Coto, quelling their worries. “We
just want to get it built and be quiet and be good neighbors,” he said. That family-oriented attitude is what helped bring the club in and what keeps it running.
Heather Schuberth, Dave Schuberth’s daughter, runs the club and gives polo lessons. She also plays polo with her father. Cindy Schuberth, Heather’s mom,
is terrified of horses, but she still participates. “She’s the official timer,” Heather said.

Birthday Gift
Denny Geiler got into polo from a 40th birthday gift in the 1980s, right about the time he was transitioning from being a will and trust attorney into the self
storage business, which now helps fund his hobby. His daughter, Shelley Geiler, who started in horse sports as a young girl, also plays arena polo. Geiler knew
he was hooked when he found that polo was something he could do with his daughter, who was a teen when he started playing. “We were in this game and
she’s in front of me and we’re going down the field and I have the ball and Shelley turns around and yells to me: ‘Hit it to me dad,’” he said. “And at the point
 I knew I was going to play polo for the rest of my life,” he said. Besides playing, most members help operate the club. “We have one guy who likes to
barbecue,” Geiler said, so he’s in charge of barbecues. The club has a member bookkeeper. Eric Munk, marketing director for a large corporation, helps promote
 the club. Munk signed up for polo lessons in 2003 although he had no prior horse riding experience and was hooked. Players need an adventurous bone because
horses get up to 35 miles per hour and there is some physical contact, he said. “It is a little bit like hockey on horseback,” he said. “The true athletes out on
the polo field are the horses.”

The Game
Players get to recognize other players’ horses. “When Denny is on a certain horse, you now he’s going to be a formidable force,” Munk said. Polo involves
teamwork between the player and his or her teammates and the player and his or her horse. “It’s teamwork between you and your horse,” Geiler said. “If you
don’t communicate with your horse, the horse isn’t going to get you to the ball. The horses learn the game and they love to play.” People who play polo often
talk of being addicted to the sport. “You’ve got some speed and you’ve got some danger,” Geiler said. Typically, people start playing polo when they’re older
because it’s an expensive hobby with polo ponies costing $3,000 to $12,000 and hunter jumper horses costing more than $50,000. Schuberth, who in 2008 had his worst year in 25 years in the mortgage business, didn’t play most of last year. He “turned out” his three horses for the year. Usually a horse is turned out to roam a pasture for about two months during the year to rest. But he expects to be back on the dirt. “It’s a blast. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before,” Schuberth said. “I never thought I’d be doing it at my age or ever at all.”




Polo on a boot string
The absolute essentials for entering the game of Polo 
Article by Peter J. Rizzo reprinted courtesy of POLO Players' Edition magazine

Not everyone who desires to play polo can go out and buy a trailer load of well-made ponies and begin competing with a couple of 10-goal players in the 26-goal U.S. Open Championship.  For some, polo may seem like a great idea until it starts costing money.  Where does the eager polo novice start?  The first thing any beginning player needs is...full story