Interview: Diana Beata Krüger
At the age of nine years Patricio Lalor started to play polo, at 13 he played his first tournament in Buenos Aires and at 21 he became a professional polo player. Today the 3-goaler is playing for the Polo Escape in Thailand. POLO+10 met Patricio Lalor at “Polo Escape” and spoke to him about the everyday life of a polo player, Polo in Argentina and his future plans of going to England and the United States.
POLO+10: When did you start to play polo?
Patricio: I spent my childhood on my father’s farm. He was a player and is breeding polo horses in Argentina. He was a 5-goaler and he’s the reason why I’m playing polo. I started with stick and ball when I was nine or ten years old. My father always coached me and he was helping me a lot. I had my first polo match with thirteen in Buenos Aires and it was fantastic. In Argentina you have a very good level of polo, good polo horses and good fields.
POLO+10: Do other Argentinean players also start with polo at this young age?
Patricio: They start even earlier! They have their first tournaments with six or seven years. In Argentina there are a lot of tournaments with children. And this is very important, because they are the future of polo. It is a good idea to give importance to them.
POLO+10: When did you start to play as a professional?
Patricio: I have started with tournaments at age of thirteen, but not as professional player. I started as a professional two years ago with 21, now I am 23 years old. I was playing in Centauros Polo Club in Pilar near Buenos Aires, when Christopher Kirsch came to me and asked me if I would like to go to Germany and play polo there. That was three years ago. For the last two years I was playing all around Germany.
POLO+10: How did you come here to Thailand and especially Polo Escape?
Patricio: That’s kind of funny, because it has nothing to do with polo. I came here to Polo Escape because of my girlfriend. One day when I was playing polo, my girlfriend Elena took a picture of me and sent it to Facebook. Actually, Mercedes Albisetti who is the vet at Polo Escape, saw me on this picture on Facebook. She realized that I was playing polo and she asked my girlfriend if I want to come to Thailand and play here. So the connection came about.
POLO+10: When did you start to work here?
Patricio: I started one month ago and my contract lasts until June. Maybe I will go to England in July, that would be my dream. I would love to play in England or in the United States.
POLO+10: What do you do everyday and do you have a coach here?
Patricio: I train everyday and improve my skills. You cannot stop on a level, you always have to grow! My friends here are coaching me. But where you really learn to play polo is in Argentina. There you play polo to earn money. In Argentina you have the better players and horses. All the Argentinian professionals are playing outside of Argentina to make money. And back in Argentina they play polo to improve. In the spring season from September until December I will also go back to Argentina. There I want to play all tournaments I can.
POLO+10: Is there some kind of connection between a polo player and his horse?
Patricio: Yes, as a polo player you must have a connection to your horse. You have the better connection with your own horses just because you know them since they were foal. I think if you have a connection with your horse you are going to play better. The horse is going to help you.
POLO+10: How do you handle a strange horse? Do you have some kind of recipe for success?
Patricio: You always have to relax on the horse, because they can feel it. They are very sensitive. In a match the horse and you have to be one. I love horses since I was a child and so my father and my family do. In my family there are a lot of players since many years. I have a lot of cousins and they are all playing polo, but there is only one female cousin, who is also playing polo. I don’t know why, the girls in my family love the farm and the horses, but they don’t like to play.
POLO+10: Do you have a dream or vision that you would like to accomplish during the next couple of years?
Patricio: My dream is to improve and to grow up my handicap and to earn money with polo so that I can live from playing polo. And I would love to play in Palermo like all the players and I would like to play in England and the United States. It’s very difficult to live from just playing polo, but if you can make it it’s beautiful.
Dear Patricio, thank you very much for the conversation and good luck for the future. We are looking forward to see you soon in tournaments in England and the US.