Polo Style with Mariano Gutierrez

IMG_1043The best thing about Britney Spears’ Radar video spent the summer in Calgary.

In the video, shot at the Santa Barbara Polo Club, Britney ditches the patron (played by an English model who exaggerated his riding abilities to get the gig) for polo pro Mariano Gutierrez. Good move, Brit.Guti gallopsIn real life, Mariano “Guti” Gutierrez spends much of his workday at a flat-out gallop…IMG_1148IMG_1149IMG_1089… so it’s no surprise that around the barn, he likes to enjoy his tranquilo time dressed casually. I figured his favorite fashion items would be trademark Argentine attitude, like the Alpargata shoes that Toms has appropriated, but the boy from Buenos Aires doesn’t wear much of his country’s traditional clothing.IMG_1063Still, when I join the 5-goaler at the back barns of the Calgary Polo Club, I find him at a table covered in the makings of the ubiquitous Mate, the must-have drink of Argies everywhere.

Mariano never planned on being a polo pro, even though he started playing when he was 7. It wasn’t till after he logged a few years in law school that he was lured away by the siren call of the white ball. After a dozen years of playing in places like Paris, Deauville and Aspen, the 34-year-old came to Calgary to play in Fred Mannix’s 20-goal league.

Meanwhile, he has several businesses back in BA. “Soccer there is like hockey here,” says Mariano. The polo player takes full advantage of that, renting synthetic turf fields by the hour. He also has a skateboard shop which sells surf and skater styles. But don’t expect to find him in a pair of board shorts any time soon. IMG_1083“I dress casual,” he says. “Very casual.” And he’s low-maintenance, cutting his hair only twice a year…IMG_1075…unlike his ponies, whose manes are shorn on a regular basis.IMG_1398At the game, his Converse are usually close by.IMG_1399Even his mallets are low-key. No flashy paint job on these babies.IMG_1388His only act of conscientious color coordination is a burgundy helmet to match his horses’ burgundy wraps — btw, buen trabajo Amanda!IMG_1476This pony switch could qualify as flashy, except it’s just part of the game for Guti.IMG_1491After riding into the Calgary sunset, Guti plays in Buenos Aires this fall and Indio this winter. Hasta luego, Mariano. Come back next year!

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