WAGENER — When Clint Nangle found himself in a position to pursue his passions, he had to make a decision.
Boating or horses?
The love of the game
Horses won out. It was something he could share with his daughters. Nangle had a passion for polo, something he had a sniff of in college, and it was at the Myopia Polo Club in Hamilton, Mass., that Nangle learned about the sport and increased his knowledge about horses and horsemanship. He was able to secure a small farm in Hamilton next to the polo barns, while working for the major national advertising agency, Kenyon & Eckhardt, at their Boston office.
“The polo group in Hamilton couldn't have been nicer,” said Nangle.
The horses in Nangle's barn weren't suitable for polo, and the first polo pony in Nangle's string came from a respected horseman.
“I got my first polo pony from Doc Roberts, who was a veterinarian at the veterinary school at Cornell,” said Nangle, who was associated with Myopia for nearly two decades. “I got a real polo pony from him, and that's when I started having a lot of fun.”
Royal Palm Polo Club
Nangle had an opportunity to relocate to Florida, to the Royal Palm Polo Club, a place he spent 20 years, where he would direct his energies toward his involvement with the sport.
“The Oxley family owned the club, and encouraged me to get involved with the things having to do with the USPA (United States Polo Association),” said Nangle, who owns Overbrook Farms in Wagener. “They made me the club delegate. I went to my first meeting, and I joined the old club polo committee.”
The continued growth of the USPA created a unique situation as the decision was made to split off Florida and the Caribbean from the Southeast circuit.
“It just got too big,” said Nangle. “I talked with Allan Scherer, who was the USPA executive director at the time. He said, ‘I think you ought to run for this new position.' I said, ‘I haven't thought too much about it.' He said, ‘Don't think about it, just get out and make yourself known to the various clubs. You'll probably get it done. And that's what happened. I ran against a couple of other guys, and I was fortunate in getting elected. I was a circuit governor of Florida for 12 years.
Nangle would rise within the USPA infrastructure, eventually being elevated to the club polo committee chariman. A great deal of emphasis was being placed on high goal polo rules and high goal polo umpiring at the time, but individual members at the low goal level were paying the same dues, he said.
“People don't remember, but we voted in the early days that we were an organization of indivduals,” said Nangle.
Strong programs and committees
It's important to have an aggressive and proactive low goal program, to get those one or two sponsors that want to continue onto the high goal programs, he said. Nangle had taken early retirement and devoted his energies to being a circuit governor full time. Nangle would later become a governor-at-large, a capacity he served in for nine years. It was during that time, the horseman had an opportunity to concentrate on issues related to equine welfare. Nangle was appointed to head up the equine welfare committee group, by USPA chairman Steve Orthwein.
“It's certainly for the care and the benefit of the horse to place an emphasis on improving one's riding,” said Nangle.
The first meeting was composed of Nangle and 13 veterinarians, but the composition of the committee changed to include representatives from all over the country and at all levels of polo. Mark Sedacca succeeded Nangle as chairman of the committee.
Nangle received the 2013 Hugo Dalmar Trophy for sporstsmanship and long time contribution to polo and the USPA. The horseman was also the initial recipient of the Equine Welfare Award, a trophy bearing Nangle's name.
“Mark Sedacca came up with the Equine Welfare Award, to be presented on a national and regional basis,” said Nangle. “He said, ‘Can we name it after you', and I said, ‘I would be overwhelmed.,'” he said, “There's going to be a Clint Nangle Equine Welfare Award, and the 2013 recipient of the Clint Nangle National Equine Welfare Award is Clint Nangle.'”
Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004.