Interview: María Paula Fernández
During the Argentine Open in Palermo, Argentina, María Paula Fernández from POLO+10 interviewed Richard Le Poer Beresford (+5), English polo player and one of La Martina’s international brand ambassadors. Now in his sixth year in polo, Richard is a rising star. Born in 1987, he has polo definitely running through his veins: the Beresford family is one of the oldest polo dynasties in the world.
POLO+10: Please tell us your story, how did you become a brand ambassador for La Martina?
Richard Le Poer Beresford: It is very recent, it happened in the last three weeks. One friend of mine, Malcolm Borwick (+6), has been an ambassador for the brand for nine years, and as La Martina is opening a store in the UK, they were looking for more British ambassadors, and very luckily they chose me.
POLO+10: Do you feel the brand represents you?
Le Poer: Being a polo player, one of the things that you need to do is find sponsors. And I feel very privileged to be sponsored by La Martina, because for me what the brand represents is something on which we have a lot in common and I feel it is going to be a great relationship.
POLO+10: We know about La Martina’s high-tech polo equipment, how do you see it from a polo player’s point of view?
Le Poer: As a polo player, I am on a horse pretty much my whole life. And I play polo probably six days out of seven of the week. So I am putting myself in risk very often, and obviously because this is my profession and my way of living, if I have an accident, I will suffer, badly. So every bit of protection you can get helps, and La Martina provides the best products available. Technically, they are the best, and very comfortable as well.
POLO+10: In which club are you playing currently? We would like to know more about your polo career.
Le Poer: I am a 5-goal player, and a member of Cowdray Park Polo Club, where the British Open is held. I keep my horses in Ascot and I travel around most of the country playing in many different clubs, in many different tournaments. I’ve started playing when I was nine years old in the British Pony Club and then I went through school and finished, playing every summer. I started riding at a very early age, I could practically ride before I could walk! Then at 18 I left school and have been playing polo since that time.
POLO+10: From the technical point of view, a polo player needs a lot of practice on the saddle, but is there extra practice that you can do to enhance your performance?
Le Poer: I have a personal trainer, and I work with her two or three times a week. I practice a lot so I cannot do that much otherwise, I would get tired. But we work mainly on flexibility, core training and staying light, and then after most games I stretch and get massaged. Looking after your body is crucial.
POLO+10: What about your horses, how do you feel about them?
Le Poer: Horses are a very personal thing for a polo player, they are like our babies. Our girlfriends and our wives… unfortunately sometimes come second! They are my whole life, it is the main reason why I do this. It makes me happy being around horses, I cannot live without them, that is how passionate I am about the matter.
POLO+10: Do you feel a special bond with one of your horses? Is it different with all of them?
Le Poer: Yes. It is a relationship, like a marriage. Either it works or it does not. I have some horses that are not my favourite, and I do have a special one. With some horses I do not get on so well, but during time if you work with them, it gets better. But definitely, with some horses you click.
POLO+10: You are 26 years old, so you have a long way to go. Tell us about your plans for the future.
Le Poer: My plan is to play professionally for as long as I can. I work a lot with horses as well, for example I train horses, so there is definitely a long way ahead. For the upcoming year I have got a lot going on, I have got a very good year lined up, and I am very excited about it. I will play at very good teams in England in the medium-goal category. Unfortunately I still have not reached the high-goal category, but I am pushing to change and get there. I foresee a very busy season. During the English summer, I like to stay there. During the winter I travel a lot, I am going to China, Barbados, and as the English season starts at the end of April, I need to be back and prepared by then.
POLO+10: What do you feel about the globalization of polo? Now we have Dubai, China and even Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have started doing tournaments now!
Le Poer: Polo is still growing and it is amazing. If you think about it, it is a very addictive sport and travelling and playing from a polo player’s point of view is a real privilege. I always remember one of Winston Churchill’s great quotes: „Polo is a passport to the world“ and I think is very true what he says. I think the growth of polo is fantastic, and we should absolutely promote it. The more accessible we can make it for the people from different backgrounds, the better. Horses are very special animals and they can improve one’s lives amazingly. So to make polo accessible gets people closer to horses as well.