“Polo is a unique sport in a way that if you want to be good, you have to give it your all,” Sarah Siegel-Magness begins in this interview with POLO LADY.
The Hollywood film producer and active woman polo player, who’s become a rising name in the field in her half a decade of playing, is a competitive spirit who sees that she gives her best in every match. She believes that her driving force to reach for the top is the all-encompassing need and desire to get better—something that both filmmaking and this sport offer this power femme.
Even before officially committing to polo, Sarah already had a polo dream in her head. But her desire to hop on the saddle and play with a mallet had to take a backseat for a good ten years before the opportunity to finally play came into the picture. From there on, there’s no turning back. “Once I had the opportunity, there was no doubt in my mind that this was my future,” she says. “I think with polo, you can be one of two people—you either try it and find it fun, or you try it and then it is all you can think about. Kind of like a wave that overtakes you when you’re swimming in the ocean. It just blankets your entire being and you have no choice but to flow and let it take you.”
The lady player credits Costa Careyes Polo Club’s polo director Susan Stovall, who leads the ‘learn to play’ program, in making her beginner experience simple yet enjoyable. “She really makes it easy to show up and learn,” Sarah shares.
In the years that followed, her dedication led her to seek mentorship from the creme de la creme in the polo scene. Sarah met Memo Gracida, Joe Henderson, Mariano Fassetta, Nacho Figueras, Robert Zedda, Nico Millan, and Adolfo Cambiaso. All of them have shared valuable lessons she utilizes whenever she’s out in the field for a tournament.
“Each pro has a different perspective and a different specialty they are good at,” this creative relates. “Memo’s attention to the seat and riding; Joe’s calm grounding leadership; Mariano’s techniques for hitting like a pro, and; Robert’s overall knowledge of how the game is played, strategies for creating a team, and keeping morale going. Adolfo, he is obviously good at everything. He told me to use a 53 size mallet on all my horses, and it has been incredibly helpful. And investing in my string by buying high-quality horses has been a huge change for me!”
“I would also like to say Melissa Ganzi and Bob Jornayvaz have been so generous with their clubs, advice, and knowledge which, as a new sponsor, you need. I am grateful to them,” Sarah adds.
She admits that it will take more years to be a master in polo, but she’s dead set on making it work. “I am incredibly focused on improving. My son makes fun of me because pretty much everything that comes out of my mouth is about polo,” Sarah tells POLO LADY. Driven by the need to make up for the lost time that she isn’t in the sport, she always feels like there is a running clock she’s up against.
Concentrating on her training is inevitable—tuning in better play, finding players with similar mindsets, and keeping her horses strong and safe have become part of her everyday life.
Good thing that incorporating the sport with her family is not a problem, as the whole brood is a fan of polo! “We play family polo all the time. It was great playing against my son in the 12-goal in Santa Barbara because I could always practice against his team. On holidays like Thanksgiving, we do a family match. It is really nice just to be able to ride together—we love to trail ride and take beach rides,” the polo lady reveals.
Determined to carve her name permanently in polo, Sarah aspires to win in the major games globally, like the US Open, the Women’s US Open, and the Pacific Coast Open, to name a few.
“I want to climb the ranks to be one of the best female players in the game. I am willing to work for it,” she declares.
Inspired by fellow lady players like the late Sunny Hale, snow polo queen Melissa Ganzi, and even young players like rising star Hope Arellano, Sarah has set her heart in helping other women be part of the sport. Thus, she makes it a point to showcase her support in female tournaments and raise its visibility to the crowd.
Such publicity, especially in the women demographic, could seek help from a film pro like herself. When asked if she sees herself producing a film about polo, she doesn’t hesitate to answer. “For me, this is something that would be a dream—polo and film combined. I have not found a script that is quite ready, although there are a few player stories that interest me a lot,” she says.
For now, her priorities lie in improving her game and being a better teammate, along with balancing it with her family life. On the side, an upcoming TV series and a feature film are in the works, same as playing in the winter season in Costa Careyes, too. By January, she’ll transition to Florida for another game.
“Every time you achieve some type of success, you realize that you are only as good as the game you play today or the film you make, so there’s this never-ending desire and drive to do better. There are only a few types of people who can handle that type of pressure and resilience from the highs and lows of each success and failure,” Sarah shares.
It’s safe to say, at least, that Sarah’s got that power to incorporate these passions successfully and thrive in it—thanks to her natural talent, her will, and hard work all put in.
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Mariel Abanes is the Managing Editor of POLO LADY Magazine.