Polo Pony of the Month: McLovin

We will be featuring 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!

McLovin, or affectionately known as "McMuffin", steals the spotlight for April's Featured Polo Pony of the Month! Muffin is a chestnut, Quarter Horse gelding. He is also our smallest school horse at Franklin Polo Academy, barely reaching 14.3 hands tall (about 59 inches) and also our youngest at 6 years of age. He has a cute white star, partial stripe, and snip on his face, and two hind white pasterns.

Stevie Orthwein Jr. plays McLovin in the USA vs. Mexico match in July 2016. 

Stevie Orthwein Jr. plays McLovin in the USA vs. Mexico match in July 2016. 

Originally owned by FPA co-owner, Stevie Orthwein Jr., you probably saw the pair playing in the Tractor Supply Co. Arena numerous times last year at Harlinsdale. When Muffin came to us, he had recently been transformed into a polo pony after being trained as a ranch horse in Texas. He took to polo very well but because of his young age, we tend to put intermediate to advanced riders on him for the time being. 

With his small, compact size, Muffin is extremely handy, meaning he is great at stopping and turning faster than other horses. He is a joy to use as a lesson horse since he moves correctly on his own; students can really begin to understand how a polo pony is supposed to move. Muffin spent the winter in Okeechobee, Florida gaining some more polo experience to bring back to Tennessee. He should be back next month and ready for lessons shortly after. 

Facts about McLovin:
*Stevie named him after the character in the movie, Superbad.
*He oddly does not like treats like the other horses do. 
*He is so small, most of our mallets are too long to use while riding him.

We hope you've enjoyed learning about McLovin/Muffin and look forward to next month's feature polo pony! Have you had a special moment or the chance to ride him? We would love it if you shared your experience! Comment below or on our Facebook page

Lessons are starting up and our first event at Harlinsdale is just around the corner (June 2nd)! Be sure to contact us if you'd like to participate in either! Email us at info@franklinpolo.com or give us a call at 615-800-2268. 

Polo Pony of the Month: Taco

We will be featuring 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!

Taco gains the spotlight for March as our featured polo pony! She is an 18 year old, bay, Thoroughbred mare with a unique "C" shaped star on her forehead and big, bright eyes. Taco originally came from our good friend and former polo player, Ed Silva. Ed played Taco for many years at another polo club here in Franklin and we are grateful to have gotten her when he decided to retire from the sport. Taco is a spunky girl with a goofy attitude that everyone seems to fall in love with.

You can find Taco playing multiple roles around Franklin Polo Academy. She serves as a lesson pony from beginner to advanced students, she plays in practice and game chukkers by some of our club members, and she can be found leading the kids around for pony rides at our public matches. She is an "all-around" wonderful asset to our string of polo ponies.

Franklin local and club member, Jamey Parker, plays Taco the most in practices and games. He exclaims, "Taco's a handy and nimble horse with a knack for knowing where I want to go before I do! She wants to be in the right place at the right time for the right play as much as me." You will most likely see them together this Summer competing in our arena polo matches at Harlinsdale Farm! Check out the schedule here to save the dates!

Fun facts about Taco:
*Did you know "Taco" means "mallet" in Spanish? So as a polo pony, her name is very fitting!
*She is one of the best "bumpers" that we have in the barn. Shown below in the first photo, you can see how she really pushes the other horse and rider off the line of the ball. 
*Taco loves treats almost as much as Nala! You can see her stretching as far as possible over the fence for a treat from one of FPA's students, Connor, in the photos below. 

We hope you've enjoyed learning about Taco and look forward to next month's feature polo pony! Have you had a special moment or the chance to ride Taco? We would love it if you shared your experience! Comment below or on our Facebook page

Polo Pony of the Month: Nala

We will be featuring 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!

The first Polo Pony of the Month for 2017 is our simple-looking Thoroughbred mare named Nala. Nala is a bay and doesn't have any white markings on her legs but has the smallest trace of a white star between her eyes. She is so quiet that you will often find her napping at the trailer before playing a chukker or being ridden in a lesson. However, if you bring her a treat, this cookie monster will wake up with eyes wide, ears perked forward, and tongue stuck out until you give it to her! 

Nala was actually Franklin Polo Academy's first official polo pony purchased for the school in October of 2015. After a few riders tried her out in chukkers over a couple weeks, Nala easily proved that she would be a great foundation for our polo pony "string" we hoped to build. We know Nala was trained as a polo pony after a short career on the racetrack. She is now 9 years old and one of our most quiet horses. We tend to put beginners without riding experience on her because she has no problem going a slow, safe speed. However, for our advanced riders, she perks right up when asked correctly and can be a great mount to have during a game. We can also (as seen below) fly a flag off of her so our umpire has used her for this during the opening ceremonies and then umpiring the matches with her

Yes, Nala was named after Simba's best friend in The Lion King.
She also won the Best Playing Polo Award at Poloween last year. (shown below)

We hope you've enjoyed learning about Nala and look forward to next month's feature polo pony! We would love to hear about your personal horses and how they're special to you so please comment!

Franklin Polo Academy's Instructors Pass Certification

Last week, James Armstrong and Sammie Uys spent three days in Aiken, South Carolina completing the Certified Polo Instructor Program with the United States Polo Association. This program is designed to educated polo professionals by setting industry standards of teaching and managing the sport of polo. There is a great emphasis on sportsmanship and safety to ensure a lifelong love of the sport by newcomers. To learn more about the Certified Polo Instructor Program, click here.

Photo by: Elizabeth Hedley

Photo by: Elizabeth Hedley

During their field testing, they fine-tuned their lesson planning and unmounted/mounted teaching techniques by covering multiple topics, receiving critiques from certifiers and fellow aspiring CPI's, being the "student" in mock lessons, and being graded overall in order to pass. James and Sammie are now considered Level 1 Certified Polo Instructors and brought home some great teaching skills while training with top instructors, Mark Prinsloo and Scott Weir. Prepare for some great polo lessons in 2017, these two have a lot of new information up their sleeves!

Photo by: Elizabeth Hedley

Photo by: Elizabeth Hedley

Check out their "congratulations" from the USPA here!