POLO LADY magazine is proud to share that we had an exciting chat with Sarah Wiseman. Not only has Sarah been nominated multiple times, but she has also won the title of The Most Outstanding Female Polo Player.
She is a role model for all woman polo players and is always keen to inspire new lady players to play in this male-dominated sport. Sarah supported POLO LADY from the very beginning and is still helping us to promote women’s polo worldwide.
We’ve partnered with Falcon Helmets for a giveaway, read through the article to know how to join.
First of all, please tell us about yourself.
I am from the UK. My mum always loved riding, so I started riding when I was 2 years old and have always had horses. No one in my family ever played Polo, though. Now, I work full time in Polo. I set up and run a polo club in the UK called Aspect Polo. We run summer polo at Knepp Castle Polo Club and arena polo at Hickstead.
How did you get into Polo?
I started playing polo when I was 12 years old in the pony club and I was addicted from the start. I just tried it one day at a demonstration on my little, fluffy pony and I haven’t looked back since!
What is your handicap right now?
Now, I am 2 goals in mixed handicap and 7 goals in ladies.
Please tell us about the time when women’s polo was introduced to you?
Fairly early on. My first team in the pony club was an all-girls side playing against the boys. In the UK, there was a big tradition set up by the Grace family at Ascot Park of running a huge annual ladies’ tournament, so I played in that every year.
You work for the polo club and organize many polo tournaments. What are your plans regarding women’s polo?
We already host a very popular ladies’ tournament which always features a pool of international players. We run a 6-12 goal and a 13-18 goal level. In the last two years, we have had six teams participate. We also run a battle of the sexes match whilst the tournament is on.
I want to grow the tournament as much as possible. This year, we were supported by Falcon Polo and they gave us some great prizes including a helmet for the MVP.
I would like to eventually get the matches live-streamed so that the international players can get their friends and family overseas to watch their games and cheer them on from afar.
I think little things like that will help women’s polo grow and get the kudos it deserves.
How do you look for players for the tournament? How do you find them?
So far, it has come through word-of-mouth and social media. I play a lot around the world, and wherever I go I always invite people to come and play.
What would you like to change in women’s polo?
I would like to see more sponsorships of players and tournaments. I think women’s polo has grown massively in the last three years, and it has enabled a lot of lady players to make a living out of playing polo. However, if we can get more sponsors behind the sport, that will result in more global publicity, and the sky would be the limit!
Thankfully, a lot of lady players are starting up in the game and supporting professional ladies in tournaments, so hopefully, this will continue. With this growth, more countries are hosting ladies’ tournaments and the sport will gradually get the recognition and support it deserves.
What has been your greatest triumph to date?
Representing my country and winning in Women’s International events such as against the USA in 2014 and against Argentina in 2016.
Who has been your hardest opponent?
Wow, that’s tough. Can I cheat and have two? Sunny Hale and Nina Clarkin. They are two of the best lady players in the world, and a huge inspiration to me. I have played with them both many times and it has always been a challenge, but I loved every minute of it, win or lose as they are super competitors and ambassadors of the game.
What dreams do you still want to achieve? What are the things you still want to improve?
I have a new dream every day! I just want to keep improving, playing great polo with great people. I have been so lucky in my career but if I can reach a few goals higher that would make me really happy! I would like to improve in every area that would make me a better player.
I find the hardest thing in the UK is horses. I have had some great ones over the years, but they are all getting old so I’m working hard bringing on the next generation.
Can you share your thoughts on the special handicap for ladies?
I think it’s great. A lot of people have been skeptical about it, but if you look at the countries that it has been launched in, most recently in the UK, it has really worked.
There is a huge difference in handicaps in mixed polo, especially at the bottom levels of -2 through to 0. We have now got rid of those discrepancies in women polo, so that more balanced teams can be put together which has made for a better standard of women polo.
I think it has also made governing bodies of polo take note that women in polo and Women’s Polo is a viable sport and commodity in its own entity. It is valuable, exciting, should be looked at, and invested in. Some funding should now be put into promising young lady players that will represent all around the globe and that can reach 7,8,9 or even 10 goals.
What was the biggest audience you have to play in front of?
I think it was about 11,000 in Scottsdale, Arizona in a Battle of the Sexes exhibition match.
What are the most important things playing polo taught you?
To be humble and thankful for every opportunity presented to you. Not to give up on a dream, because anything is possible and the world of polo is an amazing place! I have made some great friends all around the globe and I wouldn’t change my polo life for anything!
You used to have a series of polo lessons on video, what happened? Why don’t you do it any longer? We would love to feature them on our website!
Yes, I did some series on YouTube many years ago. I would be happy to do more, I just need to find someone to come and take a video of me, and a keen student that would be happy to take part in the videos!
How can women improve their game outside of the polo field?
I think the best thing to do is to watch the game. Watch as many matches as you can, live or online. You really get a feel for the sport and see how the game is played and the moves players make. The other thing is to talk to players, always ask questions, advice is so valuable.
You are a leader in women’s polo, your opinion is respected and we would really like to know how you achieved this success?
I just love the game! I am so passionate about it that it drives me. I want to be good at it and that in itself pushed me to succeed. I got to where I am now from working hard, playing a lot of matches, and getting recognized. It’s also about networking and being sociable, making friends on and off the field.
Do you think a regular city girl can achieve something in polo if she works five days a week, has a family, and only has time on weekends for polo?
I think anyone can enjoy polo. Everyone has different goals and dreams. Some want to be the first lady 10 goaler, others just love the sport and the sensation of riding a horse flat out down a polo field. That’s the beauty of polo, with a handicap system, it allows everyone to play at any level and enjoy themselves.
Is polo a passion or work for you? Can you please describe polo in 3 words.
Polo is a passion and it’s my job. I am very lucky to work with what I love the most. Polo in three words: Beautiful, Exhilarating, Fun.
Are you superstitious before a game?
I used to be. I used to never let anyone do my horses’ bandages, I had to do them for every game. Now I’m a bit more relaxed! I occasionally think I have a pair of lucky socks!
Tell us about a time when you had a really bad day in polo but had to perform well. How did you get through it?
I think there have been so many bad days over the 20 years I have played polo, but there have been many more good ones. I think the best advice is to take things back to basics when it is all going wrong. Simplify everything from your swing to your strategy.
What has been your happiest day in polo?
Winning the Women’s US Open in 2014 and winning MVP. There was a lot of pressure on me, and I felt I really stepped up to the challenge and thrived on it. It was a great fun final and will always be very special to me.
What are your weaknesses and your strengths?
I have a lot of those! I think I always try to hit the ball too hard. I am also a bit of a “watcher”. I like to take a step back and assess the game, and in women’s polo tournament, sometimes I think that isn’t the best option!
For strengths, I read the game pretty well which means I can cut corners. I like to think I can adapt my game pretty quickly depending on opposition and field conditions, so I can play a short or long game.
If you couldn’t play polo, what would you like to do in life?
Polo has been my life, so it is hard to imagine doing anything else. I love sport and I love animals, so I guess it would be something involving either of the two!
Do you have a holiday from polo sometimes?
I don’t really. As soon as the UK summer season finishes, I start traveling to play Women’s Polo around the world. Then when I’m back in the UK, I play arena polo to bring on some young horses.
You, Nina Clarkin, and Hazel Jackson supported the new POLO LADY magazine from the beginning and that proves that you are the real supporters of women’s polo. Do you have any advice for us?
I think Polo Lady is doing a great job!!! Building awareness about what is happening in women’s polo around the globe is huge. I think if you can show the world what everyone is up to, the growth of women polo, and the opportunities available to young, up and coming lady players then that is superb!
As I said, I think it is great that you are producing a product that highlights the success of women in polo and telling everyone what is going on around the world. These are exciting times for lady players, and having Polo Lady as a portal to showcase these exciting times is truly fantastic.
Thanks for talking with us, Sarah!