Polo is a Coveted Component of Equestrian Estates

The regal sport of polo is enjoying broader acceptance throughout America, but still thrives on its exclusivity.

The game of polo appears to date back to 600 B.C. in Persia, but the modern era began at clubs established by British officers in 19th century colonial India. The game earned a following amongst equestrian communities throughout the nation and has since become a coveted component of equestrian estates around the country.

Nestled in Santa Barbara Wine Country is Montecito paradise — a 20-acre estate featuring manicured landscaping, a Polo field with state of the art irrigation, and 17-stall horse stables with full amenities. Equestrian estates are being elevated with the inclusion of polo fields that give the homes an exclusive touch and endless entertaining opportunities.

The game is an undeniable social event with fashionable attire, delicious food, and plenty of opportunities to engage while enjoying the game. This $65 million Bella Vista Polo Ranch is ideal for entertainers that want to enjoy the game from the comfort of their own home and share the experience with their guests.

The home also boasts Santa Barabara’s largest private residential wine cellar and tasting room, top-of-the-line finishes, full spa and gym, and speakeasy-esque ballroom that adds to the estate’s refined and classic atmosphere. The Polo Ranch exudes the luxury that Nest Seeker International’s — a full-service residential and commercial luxury real estate brokerage firm — clientele has come to expect.  

For more information, and to view a full list of the home’s features and amenities, visit: https://www.nestseekers.com/1099490/single-family-summerland-los-angeles-ca.

Playing Polo

Field: Polo is played on a field measuring 160 yards wide and 300 yards long (approximately 10 acres), with eight-yard- wide goals at each end.

Field: Polo is played on a field measuring 160 yards wide and 300 yards long (approximately 10 acres), with eight-yard- wide goals at each end.

Field: Polo is played on a field measuring 160 yards wide and 300 yards long (approximately 10 acres), with eight-yard- wide goals at each end.

Game Duration: A game typically consists of six seven-minute “chukkers” separated by three-minute breaks, and a 15-minute halftime. Fresh polo ponies — despite the name, they are full-size horses — are constantly rotated into the game.

Game Duration: A game typically consists of six seven-minute “chukkers” separated by three-minute breaks, and a 15-minute halftime. Fresh polo ponies — despite the name, they are full-size horses — are constantly rotated into the game.

Game Duration: A game typically consists of six seven-minute “chukkers” separated by three-minute breaks, and a 15-minute halftime. Fresh polo ponies — despite the name, they are full-size horses — are constantly rotated into the game.

Line of the Ball: Established for orderly play and safety, the path of the ball may not be impeded and the player who last hit the ball has the right of way.

Line of the Ball: Established for orderly play and safety, the path of the ball may not be impeded and the player who last hit the ball has the right of way.

RESOURCES

Empire Polo Club, www.empirepolo.com International Polo Club Palm Beach, www.ipc.coth.com Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, www.sbpolo.com United States Polo Association, www.uspolo.org

Photos by Dmitriy Hanuka – Three D Media

Roger Grody contributed to this story

Therapeutic horseback riding is changing the lives of physically and developmentally disabled children and veterans.

Appreciating the profound relationship between horse and rider, Sissy DeMaria-Koehne founded Give Back for Special Equestrians in 2013 along with Dr. Heather Kuhl and Isabel Ernst. The organization raises money to provide therapeutic horseback riding scholarships for children and veterans suffering from physical or developmental disabilities — whether it be autism, cerebral palsy or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — so they can enjoy the benefits of horsepower that heals.

“I was approaching a milestone birthday, and even though I raised three wonderful daughters, I was thinking about how else I might want to be remembered,” says DeMaria-Koehne, president of Kreps DeMaria Public Relations in New York and Miami. “I’m proud to be a good mother and grateful to have enjoyed success in business, but I believe we’re called upon to do more to pay forward our blessings.” When DeMaria-Koehne, whose love of horses began at an early age, saw how individuals with physical or developmental disabilities responded to therapeutic riding, she knew she wanted to play a role.

DeMaria-Koehne, who reports equestrian therapy dates back to the ancient Greeks, originally named the organization “Give a Buck for Special Equestrians,” because her initial fundraising effort encouraged equestrians to give as little as a dollar every time they paid their boarding fees.

Give Back for Special Equestrians currently provides funding for therapeutic facilities including Good Hope Equestrian Center, Stable Place and Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast in Florida, and Gallop NYC in Queens. DeMaria-Koehne hopes to eventually expand her organization nationally.

These remarkable facilities offer extraordinary services for special needs equestrians, but often do not have the resources for effective fundraising. DeMaria-Koehne’s organization holds regular galas in the Hamptons, as well as at the Winter Equestrian Festival outside Palm Beach, Florida each year. With influential board members like Georgina Bloomberg (world-class equestrian and daughter of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg), the organization continues to grow and attract high profile sponsors like Rolls-Royce.

Last summer, prominent real estate developer Don Peebles hosted a fundraiser at his Bridgehampton, New York estate that raised $50,000 for Give Back for Special Equestrians. Inspired by his daughter Chloe’s love of horses, Peebles reports, “She helped us learn about the compassion, strength and courage of horses and how horses having these qualities can heal humans and bring joy to their lives.” He adds, “Hosting a fundraiser for an effort with such beneficial outcomes is very rewarding!” According to DeMaria-Koehne, everybody in the organization, from graphic artist to accountant, is a volunteer. “Nobody takes a salary, and, beyond minor operating costs, all funds raised go right back to serve these special needs riders,” she says.

Some riders are children who are totally non-verbal, explains DeMaria-Koehne, but recounts moments shared by Dr. Peggy Bass, executive director at Good Hope Equestrian Training Facility, who has seen the miracles of this therapy at work when young riders, previously non-verbal saying the words “giddy up” to their mounts. She further reports, “After spending their life in a wheelchair, when they get onto a horse they feel like they’re on top of the world. They’re literally walking and standing tall!” Horses selected for special needs riders are quiet, docile and patient, and tend to be older. “People with autism are often non-verbal, but so are animals, who communicate through their energy,” explains DeMaria-Koehne.

“I still get excited about helping our clients succeed,” states DeMaria-Koehne about her highly successful career as a public relations executive, but says of her nonprofit work, “This is different … this speaks to my soul.”

Photos courtesy of Give Back for Special Equestrians. 

This story was previously featured in the Winter 2019 edition of Unique Homes Magazine.

Follow the Poplar trees along the long driveway of the manor featured on our cover, and you arrive at a perfectly executed example of Georgian architecture. Surrounded by gardens, fruit trees, pastures, a riding arena and a six-stall barn, it could be mistaken for an East Coast hunt country classic, but this stunning estate occupies approximately 5.8 acres in Los Ranches Estates in Orange County’s Coto de Caza.

Inside, the residence represents the historical aesthetic but with a refined and decidedly Southern California interpretation. Spaces are sunny and airy with stunning appointments, premier craftsmanship and indulgent finishes. Here, new and old come together to create a home that is current but timeless.

A curved stairway with inset panels lends a charming flourish to a dramatic entry. Often treated as a fifth wall, the ceilings enhance the singular ambiance of each room. The library features a stunning fireplace and an ebony glazed wood paneling, intricate wood ceiling treatment and heavy iron glass doors opening to adjacent outdoor spaces. Walls clad with rustic stone lead to a subterranean wine cellar and tasting room.

The spacious family room with a detailed metal coffered ceiling, fireplace and French doors leads to a secluded garden with a fireplace, covered pavilion and outdoor kitchen. Formal living and dining rooms increase options for entertaining. A covered cabana adjoins the swimming pool. The architecture is significant and the interior spaces dazzle, but what makes this estate special is that it is as entirely-fenced total refuge. A separate guest house includes three bedrooms, two baths, gourmet kitchen and large deck. The six-stall barn with turnout includes tack, office and storage for grain and hay.

Mariann Cordova with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is offering this estate for $15.9 million, a price that reflects value more than cost.

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Unique Homes Magazine. 

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