By Lindy Steeves
The recent budget cuts at EOU affect more than academics. The budgets of small programs were cut to the point that many are struggling to find a way to survive next year. One of the programs with an uncertain future is the EOU polo team.
The polo team has bounced back from several hard years of leadership and enrollment issues. This year the team had a significant rise in membership and participation.
The team attended several tournaments at the beginning of the season before losing (out) (to who)in the Regional Prelims tournament in Wilsonville, Ore.
President Christina McCullough said, “The Wilsonville tournament was disappointing because we had really hoped to go further, but it was also exciting because we were finally able to use our own horses and they performed better than we could have imagined.”
The polo club is not exclusive to those who play polo; they welcome anyone who enjoys riding and being around horses.
“We try to mix it up for the horses, because if it’s just polo every day they get burnt out. So we go on trail rides, we’ve barrel raced a few times, we basically do anything to keep the horses in shape and happy,” McCullough said.
Unlike other sports, the home-team in a polo tournament supplies all the equipment for the match, including horses, and provides accommodations for the visiting team.
McCullough described the polo community as friendly and inviting. They have built relationships with polo players from all over the northwest.
McCullough said playing Polo is an experience like no other.
“Plus, the adrenaline rush when you climb on a 1500 pound horse to basically play croquet is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. You’re excited, your horse is excited. The whole thing is indescribable,” McCullough said.
With the uncertainty of next year looming over every practice session, the polo team is scrambling to put together a budget plan so that they can continue playing the sport they love.