“Tee-shirts?” “The book Marco Polo?” “Real horses?” These are some of the comments heard among the students at C. O. Greenfield School, as they waited patiently for a special presentation on Friday, November 1. The curious chatter turned to oohs and ah’s when the Work to Ride Polo Team arrived.
Work to Ride is a non-profit from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which, among other activities, teaches inner-city youth polo at Chamounix Equestrian Center (CEC) is a full service equestrian center in the heart of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. The team of high school polo players is in town to compete at the Third Annual Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower, November 1-2, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Last year, they defeated the Harvard University Team at the event.
The Work to Ride team (Kareem Rosser, Brandon Rease, Sheree Harris and Shariah Harris) talked to the Greenfield students about the game of polo, demonstrated some moves on horseback, and helped the kids learn how to swing mallets.
Principal Stuart Starky beamed as he watched students line up to take turns mounting a wooden mechanical polo pony. Starky, a New York City native, who has taught at the school for many years, became Principal two years ago.
“We have been striving to expose our students to many new experiences in music, sports, and other activities,” said Starkey. “Today was yet another opportunity to provide an eye-opening experience for youth in southern Phoenix.”
Most Phoenicians do not realize that there are many horse properties still left in South Phoenix. Many of the children raised their hands when asked if they had even ridden a horse. That makes the 30 vacant acres behind the school an ideal place to build a polo field. Starky, with the support of Robert Nickerson (Executive Director of Student Support for the George B Brooks Sr Community School) and others, is working with Daniel Coleman, from the Arizona Polo Club, to develop 10-12 acres into a polo field.
From the enthusiasm displayed by the students at C. O. Greenfield during the two-hour visit from Work to Ride, it is easy to imagine a future Cougars Polo Team competing at the annual Scottsdale Polo Championships.