The Ladies Open de France was a big success and we congratulate the Chantilly Polo Club for this great event.
Great Britain Huntington, led by the brilliant Tamara Fox, won the Ladies’ Open de France against France Maryland despite a huge work of Caroline Anier (4-2). The Trophée Castel, opposing two German teams, was dominated by sisters’ Schröder Las Hermanitas supported by solids Santo Anca and Ignacio Tejerina (8-7).
Polo Lady chats with one of the best women Polo players, Hazel Jackson, about her experience in playing polo in France just before the start of the Ladies Open de France.
Can you describe yourself, tell us how you came to Polo, and the highlights of your career?
“I began playing Polo when I was 9 years old, growing up through a pony club which is a children’s league in England. I always had old little ponies from my brother or my sister. They were passed through the family.
“The highlight of my career was captaining the England Ladies team (myself, Sarah Wiseman, Tamara Fox, and Claire Brougham) this summer against Argentina (Mia Cambiaso, Lia Salvo, Paola Martinez, and Mummy Bellande) and we went on to win the match on home ground.”
What is your handicap today (men and women) and what was the way and the reasons to reach this handicap?
“I am 1 in England, and 2 in France in mixed Polo. However, I am 7 in England and 8 in France in women’s handicap. I have worked very hard for this over the years, learned a lot from my boyfriend, Ivan Gaona, and spent six winters in Argentina. I have learned a lot from many influential people, too many to name. As Facundo Pieres said, “you can never stop learning.”
In which countries did you already play? Which is your favourite Polo country and why?
“England, Argentina, France, Italy, Dubai, America, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Barbados, Thailand, Ibiza, Ireland, South Africa, and Zambia. I love Barbados because of the beaches and hospitality. However, Chantilly in France is one of my favorite tournaments because there is so much going on that specific week of the year plus the fields are phenomenal.”
What about France? Which place is your favorite?
“I love Paris! Every time I play this tournament, I spend a few days in the beautiful city. It is true, the place is very romantic. Furthermore, I love the French accent.”
You play your fourth French Open in Chantilly, how important is this tournament in your opinion?
“This will be my fourth time playing this tournament and I have won it twice before. It is a very competitive tournament in my eyes and very popular. Especially this year as the level has risen to 16 goals in female handicaps. The standard is growing every year and I am thoroughly looking forward to playing in Chantilly again.”
Did you hear about Chantilly in England? What reputation does this club have?
“The club is known for its stunning location and incredible fields. Each year, more and more English players are bringing over teams. It’s great to see that. I think it is one of the largest clubs in Europe.”
With which horses/organization you’ll come? What’s your aim for this tournament?
“I am coming over this year with the Tom Tailor team again. I love playing with the girls because they are super well-mounted and very well-organized. I imagine I will be renting horses from Pierre again. I have asked him this year to make sure I am even better mounted than before as the competition has improved dramatically. The girls coming from England this year are extremely well-mounted, so I have left it in his hands. And of course, my aim is to win again, 100%. I am really quite competitive!”
What do you like the most about Polo?
“The pressure, and intelligence of some players, and of course, the speed and the horses are exhilarating. Realistically, I love everything about the sport. Don’t we all?”
What would you like to change?
“I would love to see more girls playing the high level of mixed Polo in the future. This is my dream.”
Your friend Lìa Salvo plays in the Jockey Club in Buenos Aires with La Dolfina, replacing Pelon Stirling. How does this inspire you? Is that a new recognition for the female Polo? Would it be a dream for you to do so?
“This is the most incredible opportunity for her, and she will make history for women players. I look up to Lia. She has taught me so many things over the years. I feel that Adolfo Cambiaso is really helping the Women’s Polo in general, especially now Lia is playing. Let’s hope this happens more often in the future. It is a dream for all of us to play alongside the most talented players in the world.
“I would love to play alongside any of the high goal players one day. A few of my favorites are Hilario Ulloa, Negro De Lusaretta, and Alfredo Capella.”