byKristin Stine| Jul 20, 2016
Polo, a glamourous, high speed, and athletic sport, features beautiful horses—and the equally as gorgeous men (and women) who ride them. One English player, in particular, has captivated our thoughts, and his name is Richard Le Poer.
Currently in his 8th professional year, he continues to make a name for himself in the sport of Polo, in addition than the family name, Beresford, the ‘Earl of Tyrone’. At 29, he’s business savvy, hardworking, down to earth, and not too hard on the eyes, either.
The endeavor to push his own boundaries to better himself as an athlete, while aligning his keen passion for the horses, is what gets him out of bed every morning—which is exactly the kind of determination and commitment to the sport that will have you enthralled with this rising young polo star.
Here’s what makes Richard Le Poer one to keep watching for the future:
1. He’s got the title… But what does it mean?
Who’s ready for some history?!
The title of Earl of Tyrone is one of several titles of nobility derived from places located in what is now the Republic of Ireland. The English monarchs in their capacity as Lord or King of Ireland bestowed upon their ‘peers’ the ranks of Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron.
With us so far?
The eldest son of the Marquess is given the title Earl of Tyrone and the Earl’s eldest son is Lord Le Poer. Henry Nicholas de la Poer Beresford, 9th Marquess of Waterford is our polo prodigy’s father, thus our heir apparent is Richard John de la Poer Beresford, Earl of Tyrone also addressed as Richard Le Poer.
As part of one of the oldest polo playing dynasties in the world (Richard’s ancestor, Lord William Beresford is said to have been the first Beresford to play polo in the 1920s), Richard continues to distinguish the Beresford family on the pitch, continuing his family’s legacy via his incredibly successful career, thus far.
2. He’s a passionate guy
Richard has expressed on multiple occasions how he can’t live without horses. Being around horses brings him joy, and it’s the main reason why he’s involved in the sport of polo.
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After growing up, watching his father play the game, in addition to breaking and training polo ponies, Richard developed a passion for polo and from there, an ambition to become a professional himself. At the young age of nine, Richard joined the Berkeley Polo Club in Gloucesteshire, in southwest England and within his first year, won the National Under-11 Jorrocks Championship. By 12, he was rubbing elbows and ‘bumping’ into players like Prince William and Mark Tomlinson at the renowned Beaufort Polo Club.
Beginners luck? Not a chance.
3. He’s a natural born leader and team player in every sense of the word
Richard attended the prestigious boarding school, the Harrow School, in northwest London, where he competed and captained the school polo team from 2003 through 2006, leading them to a victory over rival Eton Polo Team for the first time in over a decade. At age 18, he left Harrow to fulfill a year’s contract with Kerry Packer’s high goal team.
Showcasing his leadership qualities yet again, Richard later captained the English Under-21 National Team from 2007 to 2009, traveling all across the globe, which leads us to our next point…
4. He’s well-traveled man who knows his way around the world
During the English season, Richard’s horses are based at the Emsworth Polo Grounds in Berkshire and is a member of Cowdry Park Polo club in West Sussex and the Guards Polo Club, also in Berkshire. When he’s not competing in the UK, he’s a bit of a globetrotter.
One of the great Winston Churchill quotes that Richard always remembers is, ‘Polo is a passport to the world.’ With the growth of the sport opening new doors and the support of multiple personal sponsorships, Polo has taken Richard to many locations throughout his career including Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Germany, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland, and Thailand. He also competed in China at the 2014 FIP World Cup, which he won—in the snow, naturally.
Just a few of the luxe brands that Richard has represented throughout his career include Cartier, Audi, Julius Bar, Jeager-LeCoultre, Hackett, Tshwene Lodge, and Rock Energy.
5. He has a 6-goal handicap on grass. If you speak polo you know that’s impressive. If you don’t, here’s why:
Not to be mistaken with a golf handicap, a polo handicap is a comparative rating of a player’s skill relative to another’s, expressed as ‘goals’ that range on scale from -2 to 10. A -2 handicap would be given to a player at the beginner level and a 10 to the most skillful. These ratings don’t take into account the data on a stat card but encompasses a variety of factors such as skill, horsemanship, sportsmanship, strategy, knowledge of the sport, and team play. So when Richard Le Poer is referred to as a ‘6-goal player’, this means he has a handicap of 6. Currently there are only nine polo players worldwide who play with a handicap of 10+ goals—so, six out of ten; not too shabby, Le Poer.
6. He’s got the brawn and the brains
Richard’s not just a pretty face folks but a successful business man, as well. Lepoerpolo Consultancy(http://lepoerpolo.com/?page_id=1343) aims to provide first-hand program management and consulting experience to the polo patron and novice members. Richard also offers a range of lessons and course opportunities for teams or individuals to learn from him and his multiple years in the sport. What better way to meet the man than by scheduling a private, polo lesson?
7. He takes care of his body
Richard is in the sport of Polo for the long haul and knows how important it is for an athlete to take care of oneself for the longevity of a career.
In an interview with Polo +10, Richard explains how he meets with his personal trainer two to three times a week to work on flexibility, core training, and staying light. Post-game particulars also include stretching and massages.
8. He’s also kind of a cowboy
Not a traditional cowboy that dons the hat and sprus like you see in the old Westerns, but a cowboy in the sense that he has a knack for breaking and training young horses.
Richard believes that just like any relationship, you have to put the work in. Taught by some of the best polo pony producers in the industry (including Ellerston and Carlos Gracida), Richard has since developed his own unique style and program of breaking and training his own horses and young prospects dubbed appropriately, the Young Horse Academy.
Happy to take on and work with ponies of all levels, Richard lives his personal ‘Le Poer Theory’ that every horse should be treated and trained as an individual and applies three main rules of trust, dominance, and reward when working with horses to set the tone for building an understanding between horse and rider. Yep, totally swoonworthy.