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CSU equine polo turns chukkers into chuckles

The+Colorado+State+University+polo+club+team+celebrates+a+win+over+Montana+State+Universitys+polo+club+following+a+chukka+Feb.+16.+CSU+won+16-6.
Collegian | Aria Paul
The Colorado State University polo club team celebrates a win over Montana State University’s polo club following a chukka Feb. 16. CSU won 16-6.

In order to foster a familial relationship, one must first understand the art of horsing around.

For the Colorado State equine polo club, at least, that’s the most effective strategy they’ve found.

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“You’ve got to have some screws loose to do this,” said Rhys Farber, the equine polo club president.

“This has been my little (safe space).” -Elyse Warren, equine polo women’s varsity team member

Working with people in a similar situation is truly what fosters that family environment for CSU polo. 

The welcoming atmosphere becomes immediately apparent just by walking into the stables. 

“It sounds really cliche to say, but CSU polo really is like a family,” said Sara Eggenberger, a horse manager for the team. “The horses only have us, so we really feel a lot of responsibility to them and to each other.”

While Eggenberger said she grew up kind of “yee haw” — knowing how to at least ride a horse — but she didn’t know what polo was.

While it’s turned into lifelong friends and memories, she said she originally joined as a joke.

“(I) was kind of like, ‘What is this?'” Eggenberger said. “I had no idea what it was. Joining the beginner program, (I) kind of fell in love with it. I ended up getting a job my freshman and sophomore year summer working training polo horses and made varsity my sophomore year, and I’ve just been in love with it ever since.”

Elyse Warren, who is a graduate student at CSU, joined the team last year after attending Oklahoma State for her undergraduate program.

Warren definitely knows a thing or two about polo, having been part of two different teams.

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But what sets the CSU club apart from the rest? 

“We have two really strong competitive teams,” Warren said. “So I think just going (into regionals) with a huge presence, even from being 13 hours away, we’re going to have more fans and more supporters than teams that are only an hour away from regionals.”

Every sport fosters some healthy competition. Yes, the humans are as competitive as can be, but the horses might be even more so, and that’s ultimately what makes a good polo horse.

Because a rider has to change horses every chukker — a 7.5-minute period in a game — they need horses that look to chase that physicality.

“I love how physical it is,” Eggenberger said. “It’s very intense; my stepdad equated it to MMA. … I love how intense it can get, but also, you have to be working as a team, or it doesn’t work at all.”

Sometimes when life becomes stressful, people might go to a gym or find a different outlet for their stress.

For most of the team, that outlet is their horses and the polo team.

“This has been my little (safe space),” Warren said. “It lets me have a little moment to myself where I don’t have to focus on study, I don’t have to focus on school. … Polo is really just a place where you can go hang out with friends, hang out with horses and go blow off some energy and just be with a family community.”

That support certainly cannot be overstated.

“It’s one of those things that you meet everyone — a lot of them come in as beginners or freshmen,” Eggenberger said. “You don’t know them, and I feel like it’s such a unique way to get to know somebody through sport and taking care of something.”

With so many expenses, including taking care of the horses, it’s vital that the equine polo club fundraise.

One way the CSU polo team is able to make money is through their donations. Anyone interested in helping the team out can donate through their website

“It’s a completely student-run organization,” Warren said. “All funding is based off of donations and all the fundraisers that we do through the university as well.”

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

Interested in more sports content? Sign up for Ram Report here for weekly CSU sports updates!

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About the Contributor
Damon Cook
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.

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    Charlie CoteApr 3, 2024 at 7:37 am

    The CSU polo team is here today, in Los Osos, California, to play in the USPA Division II National Intercollegiate Polo Championship tournament. Today (Wednesday, 3Apr2024) we will watch the women’s quarterfinal match between Texas Tech and Wisconsin-Madison. The mighty CSU Polo team will take on the winner of that match on Thursday in the Women’s Semifinal match. On Saturday, we hope to watch the CSU Women’s Polo Team thrash an oponent in the Finals match and become the National Champions!
    Best regards,
    Charlie Cote and Ellen Nelson, CSU alumni (and cheering CSU polo fans)

    Reply