Polo match pays tribute to Army history

| October 17, 2015 | 0 Comments
Spc. Clinton Peterson (right), a native of Genola, Utah, and a cavalry scout with 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, makes a defensive play during a polo match Oct. 8, during a game held to conclude Tropic Lightning Week. Polo was introduced into TLW to help Soldiers honor the Army’s history of horse riding. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

Spc. Clinton Peterson (right), a native of Genola, Utah, and a cavalry scout with 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, makes a defensive play during a polo match Oct. 8, during a game held to conclude Tropic Lightning Week. Polo was introduced into TLW to help Soldiers honor the Army’s history of horse riding. (Photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

Story and photos by
Sgt. Ian Ives
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — A group of select Soldiers played polo on the last day of the 25th Infantry Division’s yearly Tropic Lightning Week, Oct. 8, to honor the Army’s history of horse riding.

This is the second year that polo has appeared at TLW week, and it seems to be an event that will continue on as tradition.

Soldiers with past riding experience were asked to learn how to play polo and then compete against each other in front of the division. The players played in three matches known as a chukka, which is seven minutes of nonstop play.

A Soldier from 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, makes an offensive play Oct. 8, during this year’s polo match during Tropic Lightning Week. Polo was introduced into TLW to help Soldiers honor the Army’s history of horse riding. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

A Soldier from 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, makes an offensive play Oct. 8, during this year’s polo match during Tropic Lightning Week. Polo was introduced into TLW to help Soldiers honor the Army’s history of horse riding. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

“Brigade put it out that they needed Soldiers with riding experience to represent our battalion in the polo match,” said Peterson. “Since I have been riding most of my life I stepped up and volunteered.”

Spc. Clinton Peterson, a native of Genola, Utah, and a cavalry scout with 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regt., 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID, was one of five Soldiers who was selected to represent his unit. Peterson has a long past of riding horses since he was a child. He mostly partook in mountain trail and rodeo riding, but had never played polo before.

“To be honest, I hardly knew anything about polo at all before this event,” said Peterson. “Mr. Hoe, however, was a great teacher. He basically taught us the entire game in almost two weeks. It was pretty difficult to play at first. There are many tedious tasks that you don’t notice, but once you practice it like we have, it becomes second nature.”

Allen Hoe, a native of Kailua, Hawaii, who has more than 30 years of experience playing polo, was asked to teach Peterson and other selected riders to play. Last year was Hoe’s first time playing a part in TLW by teaching Soldiers to play polo.

Division Artillery Commander, Col. Christopher J. Cardoni, takes a photo with Soldiers from his brigade Oct. 8, after winning this year’s polo competition during Tropic Lightning Week. Soldiers with past riding experience were selected to represent their units by playing three chukkas of polo to conclude 25th Infantry Division’s TLW. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

Division Artillery Commander, Col. Christopher J. Cardoni, takes a photo with Soldiers from his brigade Oct. 8, after winning this year’s polo competition during Tropic Lightning Week. Soldiers with past riding experience were selected to represent their units by playing three chukkas of polo to conclude 25th Infantry Division’s TLW. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

Originally asked to hold a demonstration of the game himself last year, Hoe suggested teaching Soldiers themselves to play the game for the unit. This year under Hoe’s coaching, Soldiers practiced six days a week for more than three hours a day, two weeks leading up to TLW.

“This was not my first time teaching polo to Soldiers,” said Hoe. “It is a long arduous process, because even though all of the players have more than 10 years of experience, there is a difference between riding horses and playing polo. So, a lot of the players who came out learned that there is still much to be desired when learning to ride and play polo.”

Hoe said that, at first, the Soldiers were unsure about the game, but after some practice began to fall in love with the sport. This showed at the event as Soldiers galloped up and down the field playing with much enthusiasm and pride.

“It was amazing to be able to represent 2-14th Cavalry out on the polo field,” said Peterson. “Riding horses played such a strong role in the history of the Cavalry. Playing polo is not exactly what they used to do, but the notion is there. I am very happy I was able to represent the Squadron in front of Division.”

At the end of the three chukkas that were played, Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regt., 2nd SBCT, came out on top as the overall victors. With this year’s turn out, Soldiers can look forward to seeing polo in the future to continue honoring the Army’s heritage.

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Category: News, Observances

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