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!