Tue | Feb 18, 2020

Bettering lives with the love of polo

Published:Monday | April 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Gillian Zacca
(From left) Gillian Zacca, Mark Wates, Jae Edwards and Davion Bell at the Caymanas Polo Club in St Catherine, March 27, 2018
Caymanas Polo Club in St Catherine, March 27, 2018
Caymanas Polo Club in St Catherine, March 27, 2018
Caymanas Polo Club in St Catherine, March 27, 2018
Caymanas Polo Club in St Catherine, March 27, 2018
Caymanas Polo Club in St Catherine, March 27, 2018


Henry Ford once said to do more for the world than the world does for you, that is success. This historic quote aptly describes the movement organised by Spry Training in collaboration with the Kingston Polo Club in aid of the non-profit organisation, Eve for Life. It is a charity that assists women and children who have been diagnosed with the human Immuno-deficiency virus (HIV). By rallying together, the two organisations have opted to have a charity polo match on Sunday, April 15.

For over 17 years, lovers of polo, Mark and Suzanne Wates, have been operating the Kingston Polo Club. The two have been training the Spry team, who have had no previous knowledge of playing the sport. In just under eight weeks, the two are very surprised and remarkably pleased with the progress of their pupils. "First and foremost, you have to learn how to ride, which is a very critical part of the sport. From there, you will learn how to control and move with the horse," explained Mark Wates. Having some form of athletic ability is a plus when playing polo, as this will help greatly with being able to hit the ball with the mallet while riding.

"When Jae approached me, I thought this was going to take magic to make this happen. However, because these Spry guys are such athletes, their improvement has been remarkable," said Wates. He also guarantees that people will be impressed with the Spry ladies and gents at the polo match.

At the Kingston Polo Club one can get riding lessons which are made available for anyone who is enthusiastic about playing. "It is not a cheap sport, but we make it available and encourage students and other persons who are interested in playing the sport," said Wates.

Jae Edwards, founder of Spry training is excited and committed to making this event a memorable occasion for all in attendance. Spry training started in 2012 in London, and is a training facility which specialises in unconvention styles of training. The company moved to Jamaica in 2015 and has been excelling and expanding since. "We like to do audacious types of training. Polo is a sport that I have been involved with in the UK. Since I have been to Jamaica, I have been to the polo club a few times and thought what a great idea to do something for charity," said Edwards.

"Eve for Life is in aid of women who have been molested, of no fault of their own, and have been diagnosed with HIV, and I wanted to bring awareness to this. It is something, culturally, that has been frowned upon and we want to help the situation," explained Edwards.

Members of the Spry team are persons who have a knack for adventure and are willing to try something new for a cause. "The experience has been good, challenging, and a bit scary sometimes," said Lani Jones-Walsh. Member Gillian Zacca admitted that some of the challenges associated with the sport involved learning to ride the horse. "Most of us have never ridden a horse before," said Zacca.

The charity polo match at the Kingston Polo Club on April 15, is definitely an event to look out for and be part of for a worthy cause.