Hazel Jackson and Lia Salvo
Hazel Jackson and Lia Salvo Hazel Jackson and Lia Salvo

Hazel Jackson and Lia Salvo

Ladies Polo Analysis by two of the top players

July 6, 2017
July 6, 2017
They are two of the best Ladies polo players in the world, and they gathered last weekend at Saint Tropez Polo Club to compete in the Polo Women Cup. One of them is Argentine, and the other, English; rivals on the field, friends off the field: Lia Salvo and Hazel Jackson analyse female polo and its steady growth. 
On the continued growth of Ladies polo:
Lia: "Personally, I think it's because the number of girls involved has increased. There are more players and better competitions. There are better riders and players are better mounted. These are the main reasons Ladies polo has improved."

Hazel: "I think everyone is taking it a bit more seriously. It’s really competitive now, and I agree with Lia that the horses are ridiculously good, as are the fields; we have the opportunity now to play in the most amazing places on the most amazing fields. So, there are no excuses for us not to improve. And everyone is wanting to play; it’s becoming more popular and the whole thing is growing."

Lia: "There was also a greater acceptance of Ladies polo in Argentina; especially among men players and non-players. They have understood it and accepted it - now their daughters and nieces are playing. They are born knowing how to play polo."
On the amount of patrons and sponsors around:
Lia: "As Hazel said, it's a pleasure to play in some of the best clubs in the world. We always play better on good fields, as is the case when we play better horses as well. It started growing in England a couple of years ago; in Argentina it is now resurfacing, and in the US there is a good level, but it will not be easy to find another Sunny Hale - she was such a fantastic player. In France it is also good; we played against an Italian team there (Team Italia Equitatus) - four women that have been playing together for several months and are always improving. They travel around Europe with their horses. I think this is an important time for female players, organizations and sponsors."

Hazel: "We’ve just started a Victor Ludorum Tour in England for Ladies tournaments, so we have five female tournaments at an 18-goal level. This is the first year we are going to do it, and I’m sure it will take off. But in general women are loving it because it’s great for us - we learn a lot and it’s ideal. It’s really nice for us to take control of the team and put more pressure ourselves. I also think that in Ladies polo we have to work harder, so everyone’s really enjoying it. The number of female players in England is absolutely incredible, there are a lot."
On ladies handicaps:
Hazel: "I think it’s an excellent idea and it makes the tournaments really fair. Most tournaments have been very close and it’s really nice to finally realize that we are taking it a lot more seriously. I think it’s ideal for future sponsors. It’s really attractive to play an 18-goal with ladies." 
On the changes they have seen since they started playing:
Lia: "I see a big difference, a big change in the way girls play and also in their horses. I remember when I was younger we rode whatever horse we could, we were rather underestimated, so we jumped onto an easy mare and that was enough. But now the horse has to stop, run, have a good mouth. We are also better organized. That's what we are after: to ride well, play good polo, be well mounted. That is how you improve. It has changed a lot in the last 5 years. It's a real pleasure now."
On the necessary steps to keep growing:
Lía: "I always liked the idea of having at least one open tournament per year, where players of all handicaps can get together and keep growing. At least one open tournament per year and then continue playing different tournaments around the world with our respective handicaps, which are starting to adjust in every country."

Hazel: "I agree with Lía. The idea of an Open in Argentina is absolutely incredible and I think that’s really going to take off. I also think it's a good idea to set up test-matches, so countries play each other. It's great that ladies tournaments are becoming established - almost like a circuit. They are getting better organised and there are a lot of people supporting it."
  On the possibility of having tournaments in parallel to the major men's tournaments:
Hazel: "I think it’s going to happen next year. Everyone’s taking about it seriously, and you notice now that important Ladies finals are happening on the same day as an international test-match or after the Gold Cup final in England. In Argentina it is going to be hopefully working at the same time as the Argentine Open, so I think it’s happening now."

Lía: "It would be fantastic, I love to compare it with tennis; but it has to be an attractive show, with good horses, players and teams. It has to be a great event."
On the support received by different Associations:
Lia: "We have been organising ourselves well with other girls over the last few years. Now I see great support from Union de Polo, from the new management, so we will strongly follow that line."

Hazel: "We have to thank Sunny Hale for that, she is the one who started this whole idea, and it’s really taking off. Everyone is coming on board; the level is getting higher and it will keep on growing. We must thank Sally for that."