Franklin Polo Academy Heads to Regionals

In only their second season, Franklin Polo Academy’s Interscholastic polo team proves that hard work really does pay off by receiving a bye from preliminaries and advancing straight to Regionals. The team has worked diligently between the first two seasons and it is undoubtedly noticeable.

The US Polo Association Interscholastic Polo season starts September 1st of each year, and the teams have until mid-January to play at least two qualifying matches to seed them for prelims. Team FPA got four games under their belt before Thanksgiving, leaving time to give the polo ponies a little “vacation” before starting conditioning in the new year. With a 3-1 record, Franklin Polo Academy ranked second out of twelve in the Southeast region, granting them a bye to head straight to Virginia.

Southeast Regionals will be played at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA this coming weekend, February 22nd-24th. FPA is scheduled to play against a team from Aiken, South Carolina on Friday at 6:00PM EST. If they win, they will proceed to the finals on Sunday, however, if they lose, they will play a consolation match on Saturday. Coach and owner of the Academy, James Armstrong says, “The kids should be incredibly proud of themselves for making it this far. Between our first season and this one, they have improved tremendously and gotten further than most young teams accomplish in this short of time. Whether we advance on or not, they’ve won in my book”.

The team is comprised of four high school students; Zachary and Jacob Wallace (Gallatin High School, Gallatin, TN), Caroline Mooney (Creekview High School, Canton, GA), and Allyssa Morgan (Centennial High School, Franklin, TN), who is a new player to the team this year. They have been practicing endlessly to strengthen their skills and grow as a team. It is conclusive to say, they are all ecstatic at the opportunity to play at UVA.

The players, coaches, parents, and FPA community are extremely thankful for those who sponsor the interscholastic polo team. Tennessee Equine Hospital, Ironhorse Farms, Westlight Studios, Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance, James and Trish Munro, and Wallace Equestrian have all come together to help these kids compete in the sport they love most!

Spring Intro to Polo Clinic Dates Released

Franklin Polo Academy is back up and running for the 2018 season! Half of our school horses are currently available for lessons for the first time in "FPA history" this early in the year. Normally, the horses would be turned out to pasture from late November to early March. This is their break, or vacation, from having played competitively and/or continuously being used in lessons during the remaining months. Having a bit of a rest benefits them physically and mentally, and they come back willing and ready to work!

This year, we established Franklin Polo's first Interscholastic team. The "IS" season goes from September 1st through late March, during our horses' normal vacation. Four of our school horses received six weeks off and then started back into work to compete in the IS tournaments. Team FPA competed the first weekend of February, losing one game and winning another. We are planning for another tournament to be held here at Harlinsdale Farm in the next few weeks.

So, due to the Interscholastic season and the horses being in a routine of exercise, we are able to offer lessons starting this early in the year! We are excited to get going with continuing students and hope to bring the exciting sport of polo to many new people during 2018. Please contact us with any questions you may have pertaining to our clinics or lessons. See below for the 2018 Spring Schedule. Regular lessons are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Call to set up a lesson today!

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Polo Pony of the Month: Wrangler

We feature one of our polo ponies each month to share with you a little about their backgrounds and special roles they carry at Franklin Polo Academy. We hope you enjoy getting to know our horses and encourage you to seek them out at polo matches to say hello as they ride by! Or better yet, come take a polo lesson with them!

May's featured Polo Pony of the Month goes to our "warhorse", Wrangler. We compare him to a warhorse because he is one FPA pony (along with Nala) that just about ANYONE can get on and be compatible with. Moreover, he teaches many riders. Almost every client gets on Wrangler at some point in learning polo and they typically fall in love with him! He is great and quiet with kids and beginner riders, yet fun, fast, and handy when more experienced riders get to play him in chukkers. Everyone that has ridden him knows he has an astonishingly lazy side when you first get on, but as soon as he realizes it's time to work, he puts on his game face!

Wrangler has a different background compared to our other ponies. He was specifically bred for polo at a prestigious operation in Aiken, South Carolina. He was an embryo foal, meaning he was born out of a surrogate mare. His DNA are from a top playing stud and mare, but in order to keep that mare playing polo and not be "inconvenienced" by the pregnancy, the use of surrogates come into play. The subject of polo pony embryos and breeding is quite interesting. If you'd like to read more about the topic, click here

At 2 years old, Wrangler was purchased with a group of other embryo colts by the Orthwein family to be made into future polo stars. He was trained and played by Steve Orthwein Sr., the father of FPA co-owner, Stevie Orthwein Jr. Steve played him for several years but found that he wasn't quite "enough" for him. This resulted in Wrangler being donated to the academy as a lesson horse. He is 8 years old, a dark bay with a big white star and half stripe on his face, two hind socks, and the kindest eyes. 

Fun fact about Wrangler:
He is very vocal. He grunts a lot as if saying, "I can't believe you're making me work", even if we are just doing a simple task like walking. They way he portrays himself, you would think he is an ancient, should be retired old horse. However, he is a young, healthy gelding with a serious case of laziness. Yet, we love him tremendously! 

We hope you've enjoyed learning about Wrangler and look forward to next month's feature polo pony! We would love to hear about your personal experience with Wrangler so please comment below or on our Facebook page! If you'd like to come take a lesson on Wrangler, don't hesitate to call!