On the field, professional 8-goal polo player Nic Roldan is a force to be reckoned with, and he did not slow down for one second during the summer season in the United Kingdom. Roldan not only brought his sportsmanship to the La Indiana team, but also his horsemanship. During his sojourn, Roldan played alongside some of the world’s foremost polo players, winning the Jaeger-LeCoultre Trippetts Challenge, a warm-up tournament, then playing in both the Cartier Queen’s and Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup Finals. When not spending time in the saddle, Roldan, a Brooke USA Ambassador, has been volunteering with the organisation’s global headquarters in London to alleviate the suffering of horses, donkeys, and mules who work in some of the poorest communities on earth.
Nic Roldan: “It was an amazing experience, and it was pretty cool to get that close in the final,” Roldan said of his summer season. “There aren’t many teams who have done that, and a team with a part American line-up has not won the Gold Cup since 1972!”
The Cartier Queen’s Cup and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup are historically the most prestigious polo tournaments in the world. Roldan and the La Indiana team went head to head against the Dubai Polo Team during the Queen’s Cup, only narrowly missing the victory by one point. La Indiana then dominated the competition during the Gold Cup, first qualifying for the Semi-Finals and beating Zacara with a one-point lead, and then facing off against King Power Foxes, the 2015 title holder, to finish the tournament in second.
Nic Roldan: “I am at that point in my career where I want to play good polo,” Roldan said. “I got the lucky break to play this year with La Indiana. I knew it was going to be a good team. We didn’t know that we would go to both finals, but we knew that we would be competitive. Getting to both finals was pretty epic, and it is something to build on. The English season is an amazing season. They do a great job, and they are doing a wonderful job with all of the up-and-coming players. I met a lot of great people, and I was part of a really great team. We were really a tight-knit group. It was also the first year I was based at Cowdray Park Polo Club which I really enjoyed. It’s a pretty special area, the Cowdray Estate and Midhurst, of course we don’t have that sort of heritage State-side.”
During the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup, held at Cowdray Park in West Sussex, Brooke was named the official charity partner. Roldan was proud to be able to support the organization while within such close proximity to its home base in London.
Roldan organised four mini horses and donned them in orange Brooke blankets. The mini horses were escorted field-side, where people donated to Brooke. Roldan’s compassion did not stop there. He also participated in Cowdray Park Polo Club Academy Gold Cup Master Class Series, donating the funds raised from both adult and children’s lessons to Brooke. Roldan’s lessons included working with leading polo trainer Martin Perez (www.fitnessforpolo.com), and insight into Roldan’s winning tips. Participants enjoyed a mini chukka and a welfare-orientated lunch. The final personal touch that Roldan added to his stay came down to the final day, when he wore the Brooke logo on his whites, alongside the Jeep UK logo with whom he partnered for the United Kingdom High-Goal Season, during the heated Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup Final.
“We coordinated everything, which was really cool,” Roldan said of his charitable efforts. “It was great to be behind the scenes and within such close proximity to the headquarters. I want to bring more awareness to Brooke, and what it does. The equine welfare organization is very important not only to me but also the polo and equestrian world. It was a huge success, and also nice to get local kids involved helping with the minis and of course supporting La Indiana at the same time.”
Roldan has just played in Aspen and now is at Greenwich Polo Club to defend Audi’s title in the final of the East Coast Open, on 11 September. Only a few days after the open comes to an end, Roldan will board a plane with Brooke USA, and travel to Guatemala for his first on-site visit to a Brooke project. He will visit two of their projects there in geographically very different areas and to see how the funds raised are used to improve the lives of working horses, mules and donkeys and thus the lives of their owners and the communities that reply on them.
“Being at ground zero and getting the first-hand experience as to what exactly is going on, and what the issues are that are involved is priceless,” Roldan described. “For me, that is really important. I think it is good to witness the emotional side of it. I will be there for about six days. I am really looking forward to it, and I am really excited. It is one thing to support Brooke USA, but I think you really have to step over the edge and get the true experience of what you are raising awareness for.”
About Brooke USA
Brooke USA is a 501(c)(3) charity located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, which exists solely to support the overseas work of the Brooke, the world’s largest international equine welfare charity. For more than 80 years, the Brooke has been alleviating the suffering of horses, donkeys, and mules who work in some of the poorest communities on earth. The Brooke’s scientifically proven, practical, and sustainable solutions to enormous welfare challenges improve the lives of equine animals and the people who depend on them across Africa, Asia, and Central America. Last year alone, the Brooke reached 1.8 million equines, benefiting 10 million people in the developing world. To learn more visit BrookeUSA.org.
Buy a Donkey a Drink
Soon 13,500 working equines will have lifetime access to the water they so desperately need, thanks to a new project being funded this summer by Brooke USA donors. The “Buy a Donkey a Drink” campaign will raise support to construct five permanent water troughs in the Shala Woreda (district) of Ethiopia. These 50-foot-long concrete troughs will be located in very busy market areas where thousands of animals regularly gather. The troughs will allow as many as 340 horses, donkeys, and mules to quench their thirst with each filling, and will allow other livestock such as cattle and camels to receive life-saving water as well.
The fundraising goal is $98,000, which will allow construction of the water troughs to begin at once and be completed in phases by the end of the year. To donate now, or to find out how you can help, please visit www.buyadonkeyadrink.org.