By Alejandra Ocampo
Facundo Pieres is not only one of the best polo players in the world, but he is also an expert when it comes to horses, a passion h and his brothers inherited from his father, the legendary Gonzalo Pieres. Most of the horses Facundo rides or has ridden come from the Ellerstina breed – one of the most prestigious and powerful organisations in the world – and have been prized in countless international tournaments.
Facundo Pieres, who is currently in England preparing for his first high goal season with Park Place (where he will play alongside brother Gonzalito), spoke to PoloLine about his secret to success: horses.
Can you describe your ideal polo horse?
The ideal polo horse must have good temperament, and be smooth to ride. I like powerful horses, ones that have a good mouth and good sides. A horse with those characteristics is perfect for me.
What do you think is the most important characteristic for a polo horse?
There are many, but a good mouth is essential, and also that they stop when one ask them to. You can improve many things that perhaps don’t work that well on a horse – for example, if a horse is not quick enough, you can find a solution. But it is very difficult to play a horse that does not stop at the right time.
What is your ideal number of horses for a string?
It depends on the season; it could range from 15 to 20 horses.
On average, how many horses should a player have coming into their string each season?
That’s the most difficult challenge for the breeders. It is not easy to make one good mare, and it is even harder to make more than one. Regarding this specific issue, I believe that Ellerstina does it better than anyone else, and on average has the most mares playing at Palermo. In our string, about 20% of the horse are the new ones coming in each year. That is a high number, which is great.
What is the most important stage in the training of a horse?
I think every stage of training is of equal importance. They all complement each other. It is something very difficult to do, because if you fail in one stage, you can ruin a horse. The last part of the training may be the most important – you have to be very careful.
Which is, or has been, your favourite horse, and why?
I’ve never had one favourite horse. I have been lucky to play plenty of great horses, such as Mecha, Chequera, Candy Kiss, Moscú, Claret. Those are perhaps the best horses I have even ridden.
Which is the best polo horse you have seen play, and why?
Definitely, Dolfina Cuartetera. I think she is the ideal mare – very explosive, with a good mouth, smooth, with a gentle gallop. She was the perfect mare.
Is there any horse you saw play that you would like to try?
There’s one horse playing today that I would particularly like to try: Facundo Sola’s Cachiyuyo Sportiva.