The Players of Polo
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Martin Pepa in action
With its origins dating perhaps as far back as the fifth century BC, polo has had a long time to earn its reputation as the sport of kings. While initially a training exercise for the royal cavalry (think swords instead of mallets), polo has evolved into today’s game of grace, speed and tremendous athleticism—for both its two- and four-legged participants. Fortunately for us Hamptonites, we have an ideal locale to host the thrilling sport with as bright a future as it has a storied past.
Two Trees Farm in Bridgehampton is once again the venue for a summer of world-class polo, and it also happens to be an absolutely breathtaking place to spend a summer afternoon. The sprawling 115-acre facility is lush and stately, a spectacularly appropriate place to watch handsome young men “hook” and “bump” through the chuckers, putting majestic ponies through their paces. Here are just a few of the game’s finest you will have the pleasure of watching this season.
|Marcos Garcia del Rio and Martin Pepa|
Originally from South America, Martin Pepa has been playing polo in the Hamptons for the past five years, so he could easily pass for a local. Last year his team was a runner-up in the Mercedes Cup in Bridgehampton, and it won both Southampton’s Independence Cup and the Hamptons Cup. A globe-trotter who has played everywhere from France to Brazil to Uruguay, Pepa is primed and ready for another summer season out East.
HAMPTONS: How do people react when they find out that you are a professional polo player?
MARTIN PEPA: For most people, it is amazing for them to see what we can do with a horse—or, better yet, what the horse can do with us. It is like hockey, but on a horse. It is really, really, really hard, but I love it.
H: Polo is a sport where fans tend to follow players more so than teams. How do you feel about that?
MP: I understand it, but really, you don’t compete by yourself; you compete along with the other players on your team, plus your 10 horses and the five guys on the side helping you. It is a pretty big effort.
H: With all of your travel to the world’s most beautiful and exclusive places, what do you most look forward to here in the Hamptons?
MP: For me, this [area] is amazing, and I really love to be here. You have the best beaches in the world, nightlife, lots of amazing art, nice people. For a polo player, this is the perfect spot—it is a really fun life.
PHOTOGRAPHs BY JUAN LAMARCA (pepa; del rio and pepa; del rio on horse); PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID LOMINSKA (GRACIDA); LILA PHOTO (KAMPSEN)