Gabriel Gómez is the person in charge of the grooms and of the facilities of Puente de Hierro, that can host four polo teams, their grooms, managers and horses, and which has a training track and three regulatory-sized polo fields. POLO+10 has met him during its visit at Santa María Polo Club and spoke to him about his work.
POLO+10: You are in charge of Puente de Hierro and the grooms, how did you get involved with Santa María?
Gabriel Gómez: I was actually born in the estate of the owner of the club, “Las Lomas”. As a kid, I went to school here and my free time was spent riding the horses of the estate. Little by little, the estate was growing every season, we rented stables, then they built their own ones and a proper structure, and then we moved to Santa María’s houses, as I was growing up, I earned my place here, until now, that I got to run these facilities.
POLO+10: How is a usual working day for you?
Gómez: Speaking for my team and me, right now we are currently established in the estates, breaking the colts, adapting them for polo and for their first practices, and already organizing the horses for the Season Opening. I have a team of eight people that takes care of the polo fields and the stables, a rider and two cowboys.
POLO+10: Do you work like that on a daily basis?
Gómez: During low season, as there is not so much polo, we have a day off during the week.
POLO+10: Do you have an assigned horse, or do you need to work with different horses every day?
Gómez: To enable a better relationship with the animal, and to make him more confident, each rider has an assigned horse, until the training and breaking is completed.
POLO+10: How do you train the horses?
Gómez: We have a daily one hour training with the polo horses. Half an hour is dedicated to longeing the horses, and half an hour of trotting. Then stick and ball practices every two days. For the colts, the training is different: they have two months of a more intense training, and two months of resting on the meadows. During winter, the training is a little bit softer.
POLO+10: You are breeding horses in the club. Do you sell them as well?
Gómez: Yes we do sell them, we breed and train excellent horses and we should make the best out of it.
POLO+10: How is the process since a foal is born until he grows enough to be broken?
Gómez: It is a long process. When they are eight months old, they are taken from their mother, and we isolate them in the stables, so that they have their first human contact. Then, we release them in the meadows, in the pastures, so that they grow strong and beautiful, and every three months we get them again, so that they do not lose the contact with us. Step by step, we saddle them, ride them, make them jump till they are tamed and they are comfortable with the rider. When we sell a horse, he can already play polo.
POLO+10: Why do you think that Santa María Polo Club is the perfect spot for playing polo all year round?
Gómez: The weather would be the main factor, one can play polo all year round, the climate is so soft, that you will never be too cold here, we have a very mild winter. Moreover, the fields are prepared with a drainage system ready both for rainy days, and dry days. But you also have to add the facilities we have in Santa Maria Polo Club. For sure the new stables at Puente de Hierro, an ideal place to bring your horses, but also, all the facilities Santa Maria Polo Club has at Los Pinos, the headquarters of the club, Rio and Puente de Hierro fields. One of the good things you have in Santa Maria Polo Club is that, no matter if you never ride a horse or played polo, here you can come to learn, play and enjoy all the services and facilities of the club and an ideal place like Sotogrande.