Sunday, September 23 , 2018, 11:22 pm | Fog/Mist 61º

 
 
 
 

Learn Polo Basics From Club’s New Certified Instructor

Jeff Scheraga to head up Santa Barbara Polo Academy

Young players have fun learning polo.
Young players have fun learning polo. (Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club)

The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club has announced polo instructor Jeff Scheraga has joined its team to lead the new Santa Barbara Polo Academy, opening this spring. Scheraga is one of only two polo instructors in Northern California certified by the U.S. Polo Association.

The goal of the new Polo Academy is to increase accessibility of polo to the region, and enable all who are interested to learn about the sport and be a part of the club.

From novice players to who've never ridden a horse to polo enthusiasts who want to expand their love of the sport, the Santa Barbara Polo Academy will have programming for all levels.

The club will offer an Introduction to Polo clinic with Scheraga, 3-5 p.m. Saturday, May 13. Participants will learn how to ride a polo pony on one of the club’s safe and experienced school horses, tackle basic hitting skills and strategy, and get acquainted with the ins and outs of being a polo player.

Individuals must be age 10 or older to participate in the clinic, but no experience is necessary. Horse and tack will be provided; required attire is a comfortable shirt, boots with a heel, and long pants.

Participants will get a tour of the polo club and two free tickets to a Sunday polo match. To register, email [email protected] or call 315-256-5797.

The club recruited Scheraga and his wife Naima from their polo school in Gilroy, where Scheraga taught intercollegiate and interscholastic polo, adult lessons, and managed a string of 14 school horses, recent winners of Best String at the 2017 Western Interscholastic Regional Prelim.

Scheraga was born and raised in Central New York. His parents Janet and Danny Scheraga have been involved in the sport for more than 40 years and passed on a high standard of excellence in playing and horsemanship.

Scheraga played on the Cornell Interscholastic team as a youth, then went on to a successful college polo career at the University of Connecticut, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

In 2011, he founded Jeff Scheraga Polo in Portola Valley with only four borrowed horses and a handful of clients. In 2012, he created the first Interscholastic Polo Team in Northern California.

In December 2016, Scheraga co-founded the CSU Monterey Bay Women’s Intercollegiate Team, reviving the rich military, equestrian, polo, and cultural history in Monterey County. Scheraga has taught and groomed some 50 polo players in the U.S.

For inquiries and to sign up for Polo Academy programs and lessons, or to enroll in the Introduction to Polo clinic, contact Scheraga at [email protected] or call 315-256-5797.

The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club acknowledges the Polo Training Center Santa Barbara for their support of the new Santa Barbara Polo Academy initiative.

The 2017 Polo Club season opens May 5 and runs through Oct. 8. For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.sbpolo.com.

— Carrie Cooper for Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.

 

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