The military played polo. Polo, really, started as a game to train for war.
I have to say my relationship with the horses is the biggest thing, and it grows. I love horses more and more every day, and I’m breeding, so when I’m playing a horse that’s the son of a horse, the daughter of a horse I used to play, it’s like bonding. So I think that’s the most amazing part of it. It’s the passion that we polo players have for the horses first, and then the game and the strategy of the game and winning and the team and your teammates, all of those things are a big part of it, but the horses are my favorite part.
In the beggining of I was getting all this feedback from people saying, “What are you doing? What is this?” But I thought to myself, “This is a great opportunity. This is a perfect bridge to help me achieve my dream and my vision of polo becoming a bigger, more visible sport.” So I used the money that I was getting from modeling to buy better horses and to become a better player. So I really believed that if I could elevate my game and show that I was serious about it, then the work I was doing with Ralph Lauren would become that bridge that I was looking for to take the sport further.
I’m a really lucky guy, I have a good wardrobe of suits and things, and I have a wife that gives me a direction if I’m doing something wrong. I live a great life and I do what I love, which is wonderful.
When I say my mission is to make polo bigger, I don’t expect it to be baseball, but for sure to bring the attention of a lot more people to the sport.
I’m honored and I think the relationship with Ralph Lauren brand has been so long because it goes beyond the face or the guy. I don’t feel that I’m a model at all, because I’m not. I’m a professional polo player that endorses a clothing company.
I think that my relationship with Ralph Lauren has given me a lot of recognition; the photo is everywhere. You open a magazine and there’s a photo of me in a fragrance ad. I think that brought me recognition and made me be able to talk more about the sport of polo. I think it has done a lot of great things for the sport.
A friend of mine had this idea a few years ago. We thought it would be a great way to promote the sport and to put polo in front of a lot more people in an unexpected place: the romance novel. There’s a lot of people that care about those kinds of stories, especially women, and it would help people to know what the polo life is all about. It’s not just what you see in the newspapers or on Pretty Woman. There’s a lot more to it: the time spent in the barn, how much we love the horses, the relationship with the horses and with the family, etc.
Prince Harry is a great guy, very competitive; he’s been playing polo all his life. Riding is in his blood. His grandmother loves horses, his grandfather played polo, his father played polo, his brother plays polo, so it’s in his blood. He likes to play hard, we joke about it and it’s great.
One out of four kids in Lesotho has AIDS, and the idea of the charity is to help the children first fight the stigma of living with HIV and then teach them how to live with it and survive and get an education so all these children can have a normal life. When you’re changing the life of so many kids – one out of four is a big number – you change the direction of an entire nation.
When polo is used as a platform to give back, then it becomes much more beautiful, I think.
I also believe that using polo as a platform to give back is a very humble way to position this sport, because people sometimes look at this sport as a little bit snobby. So I love to use polo as a platform to help.
Charity is another passion of mine and I think it’s important to give back. I’m a lucky guy, I’ve had a great life, I have a great family. I’m very blessed that way, so I believe in giving back a lot.
I started playing polo when I was nine years old. I’m from Argentina, so in Argentina polo is more of a common thing. We have a lot of horses and a polo tradition and it’s something that goes from generation to generation.
When you have a kid your life changes completely, it’s not about you anymore.