A Personal Statement
I joined the NSWPA as a full playing member in 1966. Since then I have remained full playing member almost continuously till now. The NSWPA that I joined was based on a strong Club base and had ultimate control of levies on members and the conduct of the game. The APC was a committee of review that enabled the Australian polo community to connect for national events and international association. Through the club vote (and in those days I don’t recall private patron clubs) we affiliated players controlled the game.
With virtually no community discussion we now find that the APF has absolute power over what levies are paid to the APF and ultimate control of the conduct of the game in conjunction with the NSW Sport and Recreation. We affiliated players don’t have our democratic right (NSW has 45% of financial contribution and 20% of the vote) to control our game yet we almost exclusively fund the game.
The APF is interested in events, international polo, connection with FIP the HPA and other international bodies. My strong disagreements with our two Presidencies are well documented. I strongly disagree with where the APF particularly is taking the game and I strongly disagree with its power under its new Constitution to levy players and effectively be unaccountable to players for the way it spends player money. Last year I offered the NSW polo community an opportunity to alter our relationship with the APF but it was not supported. That is democracy at work. I accept it.
I will not be re-joining the NSWPA for the season of 2014. I am currently creating the Tarlo Hill Equestrian Club. This club will be affiliated with no one and will offer equine pursuits from Trail Riding to Dressage to Polo.
I will ensure that all Tarlo Hill Equestrian Club members and players hold the correct insurances and give the correct undertakings with regard to hold harmless agreements. I see no reason Tarlo Hill players could not be invited to play in NSWPA tournaments. We would not have automatic right of entry as we don’t belong to the NSWPA but should we be asked to play then we will play if it works for us. In the same way I will be inviting other polo clubs to play with us and enjoy the horses; the competition and the camaraderie of our game.
I would be sad if Millamolong and Goulburn did not invite my players and me to their tournament as I have a long history with these clubs. If they invite me I will go. I will be disappointed if Garangula doesn’t invite me but that is Garangula’s choice. Beyond that I am relaxed and interested to see how everything pans out.
Tarlo Hill Equestrian Club will be an option to the existing Polo Administration. We will be run at Club level and offer none of the benefits that flow from the APF. We will play our polo, pay for our own polo and be the absolute master of our own destiny. Any tournaments we run will be unofficial. International handicaps will be recognized but if altered for the purposes of our local games such changes will have no effect worldwide. We will not be a member of the NSW Sport and Recreation and our only codified horse and player behavior will be "common sense". Every additional “rule and regulation” makes polo that little more difficult and expensive to play.
I am all about choice and giving players a low cost option to keep polo going. Australia is a wonderful country that promotes diversity, freedom of choice and ensures by law a right to a free market place.
I am interested in talking as Polo has got to re-create its self. It is suffering a real down turn partially as Kerry Packers dollars are no longer flowing into the game here.