In Memory of Pandora 1994-2016
PANDORA, born 1994, during the Final Game of the 1994 U.S. Polo Championships on Long Island, NY. Survived by mother, Antonia, of Argentina and uncle, Dracul, also of Argentina, both of whom I still have and play occasionally.
My beautiful, kind, talented polo pony, Pandora, died suddenly this morning while at rest in pasture in Virginia. This is devastating news since I raised her from birth, trained her, (she was naturally talented) and played her for close to 20 years. This is a big loss.
Some memories of Pandora.
Pandors's arrival was a complete surprise. I had purchased her mother, Antonia, in Argentina and brought her to the United States. My friend and polo mentor, Facundo Puch and I noticed that despite regular exercise Antonia was getting a little fat. Then we realized she was pregnant.
Apparently at the airport in Buenos Aires she was impregnated by a stallion that belonged to the Heguy's - one of the most famous polo families in Argentina. Thus, Pandora became part of a two for one deal and eventually became my best overall polo pony. She was born on Long Island at the Big E farm, not far from the site of the US Open Polo Championship finals, which were being played the day she was born.
Pandora spent her early years at Giant Valley Polo Club in Hamden, Conn. with her mother Antonia and uncle Dracul-both of whom I still have in semi- retirement in Virginia enjoying a horse's life in pasture.I used to tie Pandora under a shady tree fieldside while I was playing so she could watch the game and get used to the action. She was broken for riding in one day and took to polo immediately. I barely had to train her. In fact, the less i did the better. Somehow she just knew and understood the game and was fearless despite her relatively small size. She felt like a solid little tank going down the field with a low center of gravity that made you feel like you could just lean over a bit and scoop the ball up off the ground with your hand if you wished. In other words, she made polo easy and safe for anyone who rode her.
Early on she had a fear of the trailer. A clever player from Australia devised a distraction for her one day at Mashomack Polo Club and thereafter she loaded easily. In fact, now that I remember, Pandora broke loose, fully tacked up, from the trailer that day and ran out onto the field, riderless, to join the action. I laugh to myself writing this. It was so cute. She couldn't bear waiting her turn to play!!
I always thought it was nice that Pandora never left her mother's side for 22 years. They were always together and Pandora grew to resemble her mother (a spotted strawberry roan) more and more as the years rolled by. Eventually it was hard to tell them apart.
I don't wish to be maudlin or overstate anything, but Pandora was a great horse. I've played a lot of polo and ridden many horses, but aside from her mother who is terrific, no horse compares. She could do it all - run like the wind, turn so quickly that she could throw you out of the saddle if you weren't prepared, bump opposing horses, fight for the ball (I can't count how many times she would kick the ball through the goal for me when I missed the shot!!), and never fail me when called upon for that extra edge in the last seconds of a close game. She gave me confidence and I trusted her .More importantly, she trusted me. I miss her so much.
Dennis Banks 10/2/16 Wailea, Hawaii.