Katie Johnson Joins Palm City Polo Club for the 2018 Winter Season

Boynton Beach, Fla. - October 4, 2017 - In preparation of an exciting winter season at Palm City Polo Club (PCPC), founder and owner, Joey Casey, is happy to announce Katie Johnson as the club's new seasonal polo instructor. Johnson brings over 20 years of experience to the position.

"Palm City Polo is very excited to welcome Katie to the team," Casey said. "She brings a fresh perspective and skill set to our polo school."

Johnson will focus on horsemanship skills and helping clients develop a strong foundation that enhances their overall experience in polo.

"It is important players have a solid foundation in riding that will carry them into whatever the next step or level might be," Johnson said. "My goal is to create a safe, friendly, and fun polo experience for players and to help them reach a level where they could go to any club in the country and feel comfortable."

Johnson grew up riding and showing competitively on the Midwest hunter/jumper "A" circuit from ponies through equitation as well as playing polo for the past 17 years - a testament to her well-rounded abilities. Johnson has worked with major polo organizations in Toronto, Canada, Orange County Polo Club in California, and is currently an instructor for her family's Meadowview Polo Club in Lowell, Michigan.

Johnson's extensive experience is rooted in her family's knowledge of the polo and equestrian industries. Her father, Les Johnson, is a former professional 4-goal polo player and has managed the Grand Rapids Polo Club in Michigan for the last 30 years. Together the pair started their polo school 10 years ago at Meadowview Polo Club which has since grown 140% in club membership.

Johnson will be available at PCPC from December until April as an instructor for the polo school and coaching chukkers. After working briefly with PCPC during the 2016 winter season, she is very excited to return for the opportunity to work for one of the greatest American polo professionals.

"After spending some time working at Palm City Polo Club last year and now with a spot opening up, I am happy to spend the winter in Florida," Johnson said. "I think it's going to be a great fit. I am looking forward to sharing my polo knowledge with other polo enthusiasts."

Taking a Swing at Polo: My First Lesson at Palm City Polo Club

Jewel Connelly and her colleagues at Phelps Media Group mount up and tell us what it's like to play polo for the first time.

I remember the day I fell in love with polo, sitting field-side and marveling at the best polo players and ponies in the world. How did they move so expertly, pivot so swiftly and navigate the chaotic cluster of eight thundering horses? After six months of admiring their athleticism, myself and three of my colleagues at Phelps Media Group (PMG) finally got to take a swing at polo. With our fearless leader/polo aficionado Chip McKenney and Max the whippet in tow, we headed to Palm City Polo Club in Boynton Beach, Florida, for our first polo lesson.

Guided by expert polo instructor, Carlos Baez, we each took a turn learning the basics in the hitting cage. The hitting cage is a great way to learn the fundamentals of the swing with the security of a stationary horse. Baez taught us proper mallet positioning and how to maximize hitting efforts. Swinging the mallet can be a physical challenge over an extended period of play if you don't allow the mallet to carry the weight and rest the mallet on your shoulder when you can. The number one thing I took away from that part of the lesson, always use gloves. I learned the hard way.

After we all got a feel for the basics, Baez introduced us to our polo ponies and made sure each horse was appropriate for each one of us and our unique needs. Once mounted, this is where we had to combine eye coordination with horsemanship. We missed many shots before finally making contact with the ball. We were encouraged to move around the arena and practice the swing we were taught in the hitting cage. After we got our bearings, we played a practice chukker where we were introduced to game strategy to get a taste of a real game. We practiced hooking our opponent and intercepting the ball, all while riding and maintaining the momentum to propel the ball towards the goal. The building blocks all came together here and I realized the importance of each step in the process.

It's safe to say that none of us have a budding polo career at this point but we're chomping at the bit to return to Palm City Polo Club for our second lesson! Continue learning and hear what my colleagues had to say...

Annan Hepner:
I have been training and competing dressage since I was 6-years-old, and currently school Prix St. Georges. When I was given the opportunity to take a polo lesson, I was really excited, but I was worried I would never hit the ball since I'm horrendous at golf.

Once Carlos taught us the basics in the hitting cage, it was so much fun to hop on their seasoned and well-trained horses. "T-Pain" was a champ helping me feel comfortable while learning how to hit the ball at the trot and canter. Once I got the hang of the timing and swing, it was so much fun and I can't wait to go back!

Barre Dukes:
I grew up riding in the pony hunters from an early age. I have since taken some time off from riding, yet getting up on the polo pony felt like I was picking up right where I left off. My horse at Palm City Polo, "Coppertop", was so sweet and knew to follow the ball wherever it went, which was helpful because I had a lot more to learn than I thought.

Hitting the ball was harder than I anticipated because my excitement would cause me to swing too early but the coaches were so helpful and I was even able to score a few goals. It required more strength than I realized and I was definitely sore, but had such a fun experience learning a new way to ride.

Emma Miller:
I've been predominately a dressage rider for my entire life so I've only ever watched a polo match before. Being in the saddle and holding a mallet made me realize how wildly different polo is from other equestrian sports such as holding the reins in the left hand and "upside down."

Learning how to hold and swing the mallet in the hitting cage was incredibly helpful, then getting on the horses to take shots at some balls was very exciting. It was even more exhilarating when all the tips and tricks came together and we were able to swing and hit at the trot and the canter. Truly a fun experience for anyone, even if you have never been on a horse before!

To see more photos from our lesson, click here

Palm City Polo Club Maintains Momentum for Fall 2017 Season

Boynton Beach, Fla. - June 17, 2017 - Coming off an action-packed 2017 winter season which featured exhilarating tournament play, Palm City Polo Club continues activity throughout the summer while preparing for an equally busy fall season. Owner and polo professional, Joey Casey, is excited to welcome everyone back in a few months for what promises to be a full schedule of high-octane competition.

“We had a great 2017 winter season, the best in the history of Palm City Polo. We also updated our facilities by expanding the clubhouse with a veranda for more comfortable seating. The level of polo was high-intensity and everybody had a great time. At the end of the season everyone was already looking forward to coming back in the fall and gearing up again,” Casey commented.

During the upcoming months of July and August, PCPC will focus on their lesson program through the polo school and playing arena polo. In September, conditioning and training will resume to make sure the horses are in their best form for the fall season, running October through December.

Highlighting the 2017 fall season at PCPC is the annual Gay Polo League (GPL) Clinic, a three day event held during the Thanksgiving holiday. Featuring prominent guest instructors including Jeff Blake, Hector Galindo, Charlie Muldoon, Mike Harris, and Joey Casey, the clinic has been steadily growing since it’s inception.

“This clinic is always a lot of fun and has continued to get bigger every year. It’s quite an event because it brings people from all over together to spend a weekend learning from great polo instructors.  In addition to polo instruction, the clinic also includes a farm-to-table sit-down dinner on the polo field, an asado and a tournament which makes the clinic great fun too,” Casey said.

November and December will also feature two USPA tournaments, as the players gear up for an electrifying 2018 winter season.

For more information about Palm City Polo Club visit their website here or contact Joey Casey at 561-289-9099.