Whether you are an absolute beginner or a full-fledged player – the La Tarde Polo Club close to Buenos Aires offers unique polo holidays including Spanish lessons as well as trips to Buenos Aires and to polo tournaments. Three professional coaches care for the needs and improvements of each single guest at La Tarde. Coach Juan Martin Sarli explains the concept of the club: “It is very important to us that each guest has the opportunity to improve his or her playing style and has fun. We are sure that the more time you spend riding and playing polo, the more you improve. It is not for nothing that our slogan is called „As much polo as you can take“. Here at La Tarde the guests can take as much time as they want for practising polo.”
Juan Martin Sarli virtually cut his teeth on polo: His father Alfredo, who founded the La Tarde Polo Club in 1991, was an enthusiastic polo player – and the junior was also succumbed to the fascination of polo at an early stage and at the age of eight he played his first big tournament. “The horses, the speed, the team work and the atmosphere of sports – all this makes polo the most exciting sport in the world.” Today the 33-year-old plays with a 4-goal handicap and has a ten-year experience as a polo coach (for six years he is a HPA qualified polo coach). “It is great fun to me to teach playing polo and to share my passion for this sport,” tells Sarli, “the best thing for me is to see how guests improve during their stay and how they accept the tactics and tips we teach them and implement these during the training.” Sarli is supported by two more coaches. Ignacio Boronat (29 years, hdc +3) is not only one of the pros and coaches of the club, but also one of Juan Martin’s best friends. The two of them know each other from an early age and have been playing polo together for many years. The new member of the La Tarde Team – Alejandro Bengochea (34 years, hdc +2) – is an old family friend and plays polo enthusiastically ever since he was a child.
“As much polo as you can take” – polo training at La Tarde
Thanks to the unique possibilities and the personal care at La Tarde, each guest has the opportunity to improve his or her playing style significantly in a minimum of time. According to his or her playing level, each guest receives an individually arranged polo programme. For that reason, the polo skills of the guests are inquired via a form before their arrival at the club. But the real analysis does not take place until the guest sits on top of the horse and hits the ball. Juan Martin Sarli: “During the first stick & ball sessions we can already estimate the riding and hitting skills as well as the fitness of each guest, the way he or she can handle strain and stress and how good his or her playing style really is.” This way the coaches can analyse the strengths and weaknesses precisely and adopt the training to the personal needs. The morning begins with two hours of Stick & Ball, in which the guests, together with the coaches, work on their respective weaknesses. Due to the constant feedback and the tips of the coaches, progress quickly sets in. In the afternoon, the guests can immediately apply what they have learnt during the club chukkas, together with three more pros and Argentinean club members. Throughout the training the guests are filmed by the club using cameras, GoPros and drones – this way each guest can see his or her riding and hitting skills and his or her posture on the horse.
Juan Martin Sarli: “We specially concentrate on the riding. This is the most important part when playing polo. A polo player needs to be a very good rider. In addition to that, it is very important that the player understands the game and is able to read it. This is why we not only train skills, but also tactics. Playing polo is not all about hitting the ball. Everything else you need for playing polo is also extremely important, such as riding, the positions towards the ball and on the horse, to develop the ability to read the game and of course team work. The guests need to speak to each other on the pitch and to work as a team.”
Many guests have already been delighted with the club’s extensive range of polo training, individual care and its typical Argentinean and family atmosphere and most of them returned to La Tarde Polo Club, located close to Buenos Aires. There even are regular guests, who come two or three times a year. Some of the guests have come here for five years and each time they bring their family and friends. Juan Martin Sarli: “La Tarde is not only a polo club, but also an international social centre, where people can form new friendships and meet old and new friends.”
Non-polo players also get their money’s worth at La Tarde
La Tarde Polo Club offers an extensive recreational programme for families and non-polo players. Of course, polo players can also make use of this in case they need a break from the training…
By no means, you should miss the trips to Buenos Aires, which go past all main sights of the Argentinean capital city – Cementerio de la Recoleta, the Obelisco de Buenos Aires, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Casa Rosada, Floralis Genérica , Plaza Dorrego or the pitches of Palermo. In addition, La Tarde Polo Club organises trips to several polo tournaments (for example to the Palermo, Hurlingham and Tortugas Open) as well as to Pilar for polo equipment shopping (custom-made polo boots, polo sticks, stick bags, saddles etc.) and to famous polo clubs (for example Ellerstina Polo Club). A trip to the city of Lujan, which is famous for its basilica and attracts pilgrims from all over Argentina, is also recommended.
Beyond that, the club offers riding courses, as well as horseback rides and guided tours of the club’s own polo pony breeding programme. The two pools of the club provide a wonderful opportunity for relaxation, including a great view onto the pitch. Is there anything better than relaxing in the sun, while the others bust their backs during the training?
The guests at La Tarde sleep in one of the twelve luxurious cottages. The cottages include one bedroom as well as an ensuite bathroom and one living room. The rooms are 40 square meters in size and come with one king-size bed or twin beds, a TV and WLAN. On top of this, the club provides a gym (including gym machines, which specially train the muscles that are needed for playing polo) and a sauna, where guests can enjoy massages after a long polo day.
In the boutique guests can buy typical Argentinean souvenirs and polo equipment such as polo sticks, polo shirts, gloves, polo glasses, helmets, white jeans and polo boots.
Argentinean Lifestyle inclusive
Many guests coming to La Tarde are in Argentina for the first time. To give the guests an understanding of the Argentinean culture and lifestyle, La Tarde offers Asado on a regular basis, mate after playing polo, Spanish lessons in case they are required and of course the original Argentinean polo feeling. At La Tarde, guests are no strangers, but part of the family and so can plunge completely into the Argentinean lifestyle.
Goodbye cold Europe – hello warm Argentinean sun
The best time for polo holidays at La Tarde is between October and end of April. During that period of time the weather is the best and lots of polo tournaments are held – the perfect time to escape from the cold winter in Europe and the USA. However, who wants to come at the time of the Palermo Open, the most important polo tournament in the world, should book on time, because the club can be booked out quickly during that period. The best is to book three months in advance. Apart from that, two months notice is sufficient. Most guests arrive at the international airport Buenos Aires-Ezeiza. From there they are fetched by an employee of La Tarde and brought to the club, which is located an hour away of the airport.
The La Tarde breeding programme: the best polo ponies for La Tarde, its guests and customers
For more than 20 years, La Tarde has a breeding programme. In 2008 Juan Martin Sarli also started to breed embryos. The character of the polo ponies is of great importance. They should be sensitive, but also strong, quick and tough, as well as calm but yet lively. The character is determined significantly by the bloodlines. This is why Juan Martin Sarli attaches great importance to combining good bloodlines when breeding embryos. The customers have the opportunity to assemble their dream polo pony and name which horses should be the father or mother of the embryo.
Immediately after the birth of the foal, the training starts. Juan Martin Sarli explains how the polo ponies are educated at La Tarde: “The training starts as soon as the foal is born. It is very important that the foal has no fear of humans right from the beginning. When the foals are one year old they receive their names (determined by their character and their bloodline). The breaking in of the horses starts at the age of two and a half years and lasts six to twelve months. Subsequent to this the actual polo training starts. At the beginning the young horses are used as referee ponies. This way they lose their fear of the speed and the other horses. Following this they are trained via stick & ball, so they get used to the sticks and lose their fear. As soon as the ponies have no more fear, the training continues with slow chukkas. Depending on the horse, it takes one to two seasons until the horse feels 100 percent secure. As soon as the polo ponies are about five years old, they are ready and completely educated to play tournaments.”
Each year, 20 polo ponies come into the world at La Tarde and the breeding programme continues to grow steadily.
About La Tarde Polo Club
The La Tarde Polo Club is located about one hour from Buenos Aires and 30 minutes from Pilar. The estate covers 180 hectares and includes three first class polo fields, 120 polo ponies, 60 horseboxes and two Sticking Cages. In addition the club offers its guests a luxury clubhouse, 12 private cottages, two swimming pools, sauna, gym and spa as well as a bar and a gift shop.
Originally the Sarli family comes from Buenos Aires, where they ran several super markets and travel agencies. Even back then Alfredo, passionate about polo and horses, bred polo ponies and searched for a place to train them. Then he found the former cattle ranch including a restaurant at the gates of Buenos Aires and in 1991 decided to use this place to build the La Tarde Polo Club. Ten years ago his son Juan Martin extended the club to a holiday accommodation – being the first one to offer polo holidays for tourists in the region of Buenos Aires.
The name “La Tarde” in Spanish means sunset and afternoon. The club is called like this because it offers a fantastic view of the sunset. The clubhouse has been built so that the guests can sit there in the evening and enjoy the panoramic view of the landscape and the sunset of Argentina.
For more information please visit www.latardepolo.com