Georgie French runs La Brava Polo with her fiancé which runs a polo school, events and organises polo for people who want to play. She’s currently working on the upcoming Gaucho Polo Tournament at The O2 on Tuesday 21st May. This means ensuring that 51 polo ponies get to The O2 arena safely, play and then return home OK. It’s not just the ponies though – she also has to make sure all 12 top polo players are in the right place at the right time, including England Captain Jamie Morrison and Argentinian Captain Nacho Figueras. As Georgie says, “this is often the hardest part!” Here she describes a typical work day for her.
Most mornings I get up at 7.30 and drink some Matés with my fiancé Oscar Mancini, a professional polo player, and feed our black lab Luna. Maté is a traditional drink from Argentina, a bit like green tea. It is an acquired taste but is an absolute must have for most Argentines. We are very lucky in the fact that we live on the farm in Winkfield, near Windsor, where we run our polo club so I don’t have to commute to work, it’s a short walk from our front door! Together we plan the day ahead and then I usually go for a run in Windsor Great Park, it is absolutely beautiful, much better than being in the gym.
Before sitting down at my desk, I usually go outside and check on the horses. We have over 40 horses so it is nice to check in with the grooms (Polo grooms look after horses on a day-to-day basis) to see how they are. I then head back to my desk and check my emails, it is amazing how quickly they pile up! I then check my day’s schedule, it is always different depending on whether Oscar or I are playing, it keeps it exciting and different every day.
Most days I speak to polo players from all over the world. England, Spain, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and USA are the most popular haunts for polo people so this involves international phone calls in both English and Spanish and checking and double checking time zones, it is NEVER acceptable to wake someone up! We also give lessons and play polo with a lot of private clients and a few celebrities, it can be quite difficult to coordinate timings with them as they have such busy schedules, but they always try to make time to come and see their horses or ride in-between meetings and flights. We also spend a lot of time in meetings planning corporate events, polo is an amazing team sport so we have many brands that bring clients, staff and board members together to play polo and get out of the office! These events require an enormous amount of planning but it is so worth it, everyone really enjoys the day’s entertainment in the countryside and lots of people get completely hooked on the sport and come back to play at weekends.
Today we have a photoshoot at The O2 arena for the launch of the annual Gaucho International Polo Event. We go to hair and make up and get ready, then it is time to go on set and pose! It is a fun shoot with models and other polo players. It doesn’t take long to get the right shot and then we rush back to Windsor as Oscar has a match at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club. I love watching him play, it gets a bit hairy sometimes, but it is so nice to sit in the sun and watch the games. I never go anywhere without my phone so I am constantly sending emails and speaking to clients even when I am not in the office. After his match we go back to the farm and we play a practice with some of our club members. It is great fun. I love every aspect of polo – the horses, the teamwork, the adrenalin and the eclectic mix of people that it attracts.
This evening we have a friend’s birthday party in Mayfair so we rush quickly to get changed out of our now very dirty white trousers and our polo gear and we head of back to London. Most evenings however we spend at home with friends. I love to have people over and cook, especially Argentine food. They love meat so it is a great excuse to have lots of barbeques with delicious steak! We also attend many opening parties and launches for polo events and brands. It’s a nice change and we get to go to some amazing places but my favorite evenings are spent curled up on the sofa watching films!
It is difficult to draw the line under your working day when you live at work! It’s great fun working with your other half, we get to spend a lot of time with each other but I love to go out and have a glass of wine with my girlfriends to escape from the world and not talk about horses and work.
If you have ever dreamed of a polo career, here are Georgie’s top tips for getting a job on the polo circuit:
1. Learn another language, it is amazing how important it is to be able to speak with international clients. Spanish is more used in polo than English so it is most useful to learn.
2. Always keep a notebook with you to make sure you never forget anything, especially when organising events, it’s all in the detail.
3. Make sure you take time differences into consideration when calling people abroad, it is never good to wake someone up.
4. Scheduling meetings is really important. Be organised and use a diary to keep track of appointments. Never double book.
5. Learn to listen to people, especially clients.
6. Read the weather reports, polo can be cancelled at the last minute if it rains.
7. Always have business cards with you, it is really important to make new contacts.
8. Try really hard to remember people’s names, it makes a great impression if you do and is embarrassing when you have to introduce people if you have forgotten!
9. Believe in yourself and in what you have to offer, if you don’t, why should anyone else?
10 Work hard, it always pays off in the end.
Argentinian Captain Nacho Figueras goes mallet to mallet with England Captain Jamie Morrison at the upcoming Gaucho International Polo Tournament at the O2. Tickets are priced from £20 and are available from www.gauchopolo.com