If you were to look at the genetic makeup of Agustin, Lucas and Hope Arellano, you might find a polo mallet.
The sons and daughter of the nation's highest-rated polo player Julio Arellano are not only following in their father's footsteps, but those of their mother, grandfathers and great-grandfather. If you were to say that polo is a family affair for the Arellanos, it would be an understatement.
Julio Arellano, has enjoyed great success at the highest level of the sport, winning the Seymour Knox Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the U.S. Open finals, has represented the U.S. in international competition on a number of occasions, and wanted to see his children become involved with the sport. However, it was Megan Arellano, Agustin's, Lucas' and Hope's mother, an outstanding player in her own right, who took an extremely active role in the children's involvement, said Julio, in a phone interview on Thursday afternoon.
“Megan would take them to pee wee polo,” said Julio. “They would stick and ball and ride after they came home from school.”
The Arellano children find themselves in a unique situation, having access to two outstanding polo players, who just happen to be their mother and father. Parental influence takes on a whole new meaning in the Arellano home, as it transcends to the barn and the polo field. The parents often critique their children's performances, providing sound feedback and guidance.
“Megan is a big influence and will tell them what she thinks, helping them to improve their play,” said Julio. “They listen well and have been very good and open to their parents coaching.”
Polo is often a topic of discussion at the dinner table as the family takes great interest in their father's career, but, because now the children are actively playing, conversation often focuses on the games, tournaments, teams and, of course, the horses.
“They love spending time together,” said Julio. “They ride together, and they help one another. They're very enthusiastic about the sport, and I love talking to them about it. We're now having family scrimmages. I enjoy playing with them. We're very blessed. I joke around with Agustin that it won't be long before he's playing on his own circuit.”
Agustin and Lucas had the opportunity to play together this spring with Phillip Staples and Omar Cepeda. The siblings often compare notes as to what age they played in particular tournaments. Hope, the youngest of the three children, who started playing at an earlier age and wants to be a professional, has progressed at a faster rate at her age than her older brothers, who are now playing tournament polo.
“They all want to be professionals,” said Julio.
Megan's grandfather played, and Julio and Megan's fathers both played, and the opportunity to share their passions for the sport with their children is something that they've enjoyed as parents.
“I ask them all the time when they play if they've had fun,” said Julio. “We're very lucky to be able to participate in something we all love and to be able to do it together. It's a blessing.”