Taking in a game at the Calgary Polo Club is always an exciting way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but when Team Veuve is playing, look out.Welcome to the 2013 Veuve Clicquot Calgary Polo Classic.As mallets clashed on the field, the Ranch House morphed into Maison Veuve. Signature orange umbrellas served a vital dual purpose — protecting the beautiful people from the sun while keeping the champagne cold.Power player clan of the day: Bill Lloyd of Black Watch Property, Bev Jarvis of Urban Development Institute, Margot Seaman and Josh Morrissey, recently scooped up by the Winnipeg Jets in the NHL draft.Just in case there wasn’t enough on the field, Maserati and Ferrari had extra horsepower ready to roll.Patronus president Cathy Butler, polo apropos in her Ralph Lauren tank, with South African polo pro Warren Lurie, taking a brief bubble break from his hectic summer match schedule in the 6 goal league.It’s all in the details: you can never have enough equestrian-style accessories, as evidenced by Cathy’s covet-worthy gold Gucci.Meanwhile, there was a game to watch and more champagne to drink. Remax’s Gordon Ross reminds us he’s both a gladiator on the polo field and in his sandals. Beside him Lawrence Roeck, director and producer of Diablo, starring Clint Eastwood’s son Scott, takes time out from pre-pro to take in Team Veuve.Polo fans were too polite to tell me to get out of the way while I seized the limelight, courtesy portrait photographer Barbara Blakey. Perhaps they realized the world would be a better place with my farmer’s tan recorded for posterity. Sunglasses, Dior. Dress, American Eagle. Hat, random Jysk offering for $3.50.At halftime, the genteel and well-heeled are put to work. And when a divot stomper is this dedicated, you know a future polo patrona can’t be too far away.In the yellow jerseys, Team Veuve went on to win the day. ¡Enhorabuena! to Roberto Foster, Chris Fochuk, Daniel Roenisch and Pedro Orellano.Polo and champagne, the perfect pairing. Vive la Veuve and carpe diem at the Calgary Polo Club!
The only female polo pro in Canada, Manitoba-born Dayelle Fargey started swinging a mallet at age six. Currently playing at the Calgary Polo Club, it’s just another stop on her yearly circuit. If it’s not Indio, Santa Barbara or Houston, it’s a tournament in Singapore. But forget about how accomplished she is in a sport where both genders of all ages play against each other, on thousand-pound steeds — let’s get to the fashion. Dayelle took a timeout just before this match to talk to me about her sense of style. On the field, it’s all about the monogram, from tack… to mallets…to this belt she had handmade in Argentina, the motherland of polo. Off the field, she favors Gucci handbags and shoes, for the horse bit details, and Ralph Lauren. “It’s money well spent to get some timeless, classic pieces that you can dress up or dress down,” says Dayelle. “Rather than going with all the latest trends.”One of Dayelle’s go-to Guccis.Even her string of ponies is stylish, accented in red — her father’s color. Mixing the white into her equine style scheme signals the three times she has played for Team Canada.But her biggest fashion coup could be the time she was in charge of buying the prizes for the 2011 Women’s Polo for Heart Tournament in Calgary. She blew the budget on trophies that would keep up the white pants of the winners — rose gold belt buckles designed by Craig Becker. Meanwhile, the consolation prizes were basic gloves and whips. “I had a pretty good team that year,” Dayelle laughs. “We had a really good shot at winning.” The gamble paid off, but she was never asked to shop for the prizes again.Seen here during half time, Dayelle talks strategy with the rest of the Gordon Ross Remax Team, in a game they would win. The last thing the polo-ess with prowess is thinking about right now is fashion, but one of the perks of her job means she can rock a pair of white jeans.“One of the good things about polo is you’re outdoors,” she says. “You’re tan, you’re fit, you’re athletic. Clothes in general just look good on polo players because they have the body to support it.” Of which she is a prime example. Play on, Dayelle, play on!
Soon.Soon these barns at the Calgary Polo Club will be full of ponies. Soon the grass will be green. And soon I will be wearing my helmet and using my mallet. But if I’m going to show up at the club like a hop-along groupie, at least I can do it in style. French Connection’s Nix Nights Block Dress has a discreet side zip and a subtle stretch in the fabric, giving anyone a flattering look that will fend off all Pretty Woman types.After a working winter in California or surviving the subzero temperatures of being put out to pasture in Alberta, many of the horses have returned, enjoying their last few days of hay and relaxation before summer prep begins in earnest. Reassuringly structured and boxy, French Connection’s Westbourne Bag could tote a healthy selection of carrots……which would catch the attention of this guy. Enjoy that mane while you have it, buddy! You’re due for a haircut.With the distance between all the paddocks and fields, it’s good to have alternate transportation at the CPC, especially if you’re moving slower than usual. Paired with their Polly Plains daisy white tank, French Connection’s floaty floral maxi skirt flows pleasantly in the breeze, allowing for easy pedaling.The official polo season hasn’t started yet in Calgary, which means there’s still time to get your perfect divet-stomping dress. The styles seen here are available at French Connection.
I. Can’t. Wait.
We finally had t-shirt weather in Calgary today, which got me all restless and dying for polo to get started. Last year we played right through September. These are my photos from the final day of the season: September 30, 2012.Hair before the match is looking halfway decent, which is nice, because it won’t after I put my helmet on. Meanwhile, Lobo catches a pre-game snooze and misses his first photo op of the day. On the other side of the trailer, groom extraordinaire Andres Felix uses his trademark move to get the tail braid just right. I made it my goal last summer to learn how to do this, thinking I was setting the bar a little low for my polo achievement of the year, but it is so damn hard. However, by the time the leaves started turning my tails were staying together through the games… usually with a lot of tape. And never as pretty as the ones pictured here.Speaking of pretty, see if you can spot the pair of bipeds having a tandem pre-game pee on a tree.Back to Andres! Besides being able to prep a pony with effortless efficiency, most grooms are usually skilled players themselves. Andres often gets recruited to round out a team in Kyle Fargey’s coaching league. If he doesn’t have a pair of boots handy, he’ll MacGyver up some vet wrap. And why not, if the color matches the helmet?I was too busy playing to take any action shots. Looove saying that! But after the final game of the year, I had to take some time for a little love-in with Lobo.It may not have been totally mutual… But he managed to PR the moment eventually. Shirt and pants, both US Polo Association. Boots, Friedson Brothers.The matches in Indio have wrapped and the horses are on the road, heading back to their summer home. The countdown to the Calgary Polo Club 2013 Season is on!
Wondering where the ferris wheel is? Recognize this view without the crowd? In honor of Coachella’s final weekend, I thought I’d post my own moment here. It was last year, after spending an afternoon watching high-goal matches at Empire Polo Club, the week before the desert music festival was scheduled to begin. Following the final game and the final glass of champagne in the field-side cabana, it was time to cross the grass to the players’ party on the other side. Just before sunset, the view was so pretty, I had to stop for a minute to take it in: a shape-shifting oasis for both polo and music fans alike.
Spring is officially just a few days away but the Calgary Polo Club is still under a blanket of snow. The JC Palmer field is beautiful. And a little lonely. No horses anywhere. Good thing I brought my own.It’s pink and purple. And nuzzling my muzzle. When you’re in the equestrian mood, a My Little Pony bandage by Elastoplast fits the bill. Or the nose. Those purple unicorns kinda remind me of my snowboard.Wait a minute… I think I see something down there. Hi guys! Only a couple more months til your vacation is over. With that in mind, I should hit the hitting cage. Compared to the arena in the background, the cage seems weather proof. However, it turns out I should have brought some orange snow polo balls… To negotiate the drifts inside the cage.They’d probably get stuck in the snow as well, but at least you could see them better while you have a good laugh. And I dream of summer.
Hitting the ol’ hitting cage with temperatures hovering around freezing was a new experience today. I’ll pause while all of my friends in Indio, CA have a good laugh. Yes, I’m wearing a toque, but it was good to get up on the wooden horse and practice my swing. And the open chicken wire windows were conveniently covered to block out the wind. Thanks, Calgary Polo Club! Outside, the school field is covered in snow. Only three months til June! My sporty nose polka dots are courtesy Band-Aid:
Polo style starts with a pair of white jeans, which is oh-so-decadent since they’ll be dirty as soon as you start playing. A white pony ups the fashion ante.