It’s as if the sport chose her and not the other way around. Meghan Gracida, women polo player and wife to Memo Gracida, didn’t see polo galloping towards her life—it just happened. And when it did, it took her away, far from the point of turning back.
“Women’s polo became my favorite thing in the world,” the La Herradura power player beams. “I was hooked that summer about four years ago. Then, I started riding, played six months later in the women’s league, and now, I’m in my third year in polo.”
Meghan has always been an active person, playing and snagging a scholarship for her volleyball competence back in college, which led to a professional career in beach volleyball. But she was young, and as someone transitioning to the adult world, she later gave up hitting spikes for a taste of the corporate arena.
Though eventually, she had to quit her job in finance. “It was completely not for me. So I went home to visit my family, unemployed—then bumped into a friend of ours, equine veterinarian Dr. Doug Herthel, who started a company called Platinum Performance. He asked me to join his team,” she narrates.
From there, Meghan found a passion for horses—and along with it, the love of her life. She was tasked to meet Memo for business, but little did she know that it would be the beginning of a beautiful love story with her now-husband and, of course, polo.
While they were dating, Memo had impressed her with the majestic sport. “I thought polo looked amazing, so I got on a horse, and he gave me riding lessons, then stick and ball, and I loved it,” Meghan recalls. However, an accident occurred on her second try which left her traumatized.
A year after getting married, Meghan was diagnosed with cancer, which she considers her life’s turning point. “I was very ill for a while. But I told myself, you know what, if I can get cancer at the age of 30, I’m gonna get over this fear of horses. I really wanna play polo. It’s our life,” she shares.
She recovered in time and healed the scars caused by that horse fall a few years ago. Meghan fit herself in the saddle, began her training, and fast forward to the present; she’s playing polo and staging tournaments herself. What’s more, this passion formed an advocacy she feels so deeply for—to provide better opportunities for women in this sport of the kings.
And the polo player is now closer to fulfilling her cause. Just last summer, she spearheaded a ladies polo league for La Herradura, which was well-received despite the ongoing pandemic threat. Meghan is also recently named as the Chairwoman of the United States Polo Association’s (USPA) women’s committee.
She might be at her prime, but Memo’s wife has decided to dedicate her fervor and energy to polo. When people hear the name Meghan Gracida, she wants to be remembered as someone who’s always honest and genuine on and off the field.
She continues spilling her plans to POLO LADY. “If I can help get the United States back to being the best producer of women players, that would be the goal of mine. I also think, as a player, I want to make it to 6-goals in women’s. I’ll work really hard, practice, and ride everyday.”
Of course, a little help from her life partner wouldn’t hurt. “Being married to Memo, I have the best coach there is,” Meghan confidently says.
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Mariel Abanes is the Managing Editor of POLO LADY Magazine.