2016 Inductees for Polo Hall of Fame

October 14, 2015
Hector Galindo

The chairman of the nominating committee for the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, Dr. Horace Laffaye, is pleased to announce the following to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in February of 2016: Hector Galindo, William “Billy” Post, Richard Riemenschneider, Russ Sheldon, and the polo ponies Toy Moon and Califa.

Hector Galindo was at his pinnacle as a 9-goal player and has raised the winning trophies of numerous major American tournaments, including the 30-Goal World Cup, the Silver Cup (four times), the 26-goal Hall of Fame Cup and the C. V. Whitney. He was a winner of the Polo Excellence Award in 1999. Although aggressive and fast on the field, his good nature and consummate sportsmanship have endeared him to his fellow players and fans. Part of a large polo-playing family, Hector in a 2008 interview credited his father and brothers as his mentors, and said they taught him to “train hard, play the game fairly and take good care of my horses.”

Posthumous Hall of Fame inductee William “Billy” Post was born into a polo family for whom breeding ponies was the principal business, so it is little wonder that Post made his mark as a stellar horseman and formidable hitter. For his talents, he earned an 8-goal rating and was lauded as one of the greats. He engaged in battle with the other American heroes of the golden age of polo in the 1930s, part of a “band of brothers” along with the likes of Hitchcock and Milburn. He ably notched wins in the most important contests of the era both in the U.S. and abroad. When his polo career was cut short by the onset of WWII, he continued his interest in horses and became a successful breeder and trainer of race horses.

Iglehart Award winner Richard C. Riemenschneider started playing at Joy Farm, earning his way from hot-walking to playing practice games at the Milwaukee Polo Club. At the University of Virginia Polo Club, he was Captain, President, Intercollegiate MVP, and Coach (while in Law School). A great supporter of youth, he started many players in the VA/MD area. With Rodger Rinehart, he instituted and managed the 501(c)(3) fundraising for VA Polo, resulting in the program’s facility and success. Currently he is the Chairman of their Endowment Committee. He has played in 16 states and Canada, and represented U.S. teams in England and Pakistan. “Remo” has been a USPA Circuit Handicap Chairman, Governor, Tournament Committee Chairman, Treasurer, EVP, President and Chairman. Presently he is Chairman of the PTF.

Russ Sheldon is being honored posthumously with the Iglehart Award. For more than 25 years, Russ dedicated countless hours to the sport. He was recognized with numerous awards that are a testament to his contagious passion and excitement for polo, a love that he eagerly passed on to his children, grandchildren and countless others. He started Poway Polo Club and was a champion of “grass roots polo” in California, a passionate promoter of Arena Polo and a devout mentor and supporter of youth polo programs. His contribution to the USPA Intercollegiate-Interscholastic program, and the initiatives that he put in place, will continue to benefit the sport for decades to come.

Toy Moon, a remarkable mare, will be honored as one of the Horses to Remember. Bred in Hawaii (circa 1931) by noted breeder Walter Dillingham, she made her way to the mainland and into the string of Hall of Famer Elbridge “Ebby” T. Gerry. Played with distinction, she won the coveted Prince Friarstown Cup twice, in 1940 and 1941. This was awarded to the best playing mare suitable to produce polo ponies, the judges basing their decisions on her play in both the U.S. Open and Monty Waterbury cups. For this, and her long career of excellent and exceptional performances in which she was described as playing “top flight polo,” she was recognized by the experts as one of the great polo ponies of her era.

Califa, a bay gelding foaled in 1996, is a durable war horse played by Mariano Aguerre in many memorable contests. Gathering a number of Best Playing Pony awards along the way, he ultimately earned the U.S. Open’s Hartman Award for BPP for his gritty and intense play for two chukkers under Aguerre in 2004. Aguerre called on Califa again for the 2005 high-goal season and the gutsy gelding didn’t disappoint; they fought together through numerous crucial games helping their team take all three of the season’s 26-goal tournament victories. Califa was recognized as Horse of the Year in 2006.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony, a gala event, will be held at the Museum of Polo on February 12th, 2016. If you would like to join in the celebration to welcome the new inductees into the Polo Hall of Fame, you may purchase seats for the dinner up to a week in advance. Reservations are $200.00 each (tax deductible portion $100.00).

This is the most important fundraising event for the Museum each year, so we hope you will help support your Museum – a 501 (c) 3, not-for-profit organization. Contact Brenda Lynn at the Museum of Polo, (561) 969-3210 or (561) 969-7015, e-mail: polomuseum@att.net for further details, information, or to make your reservations.

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Photo credits: Photo of Hector Galindo from the collection of the Royal Palm Polo Club; photo of Califa by Marcelo Bianchi; photo of Toy Moon with Elbridge T. Gerry up, by Harry Freudy.