From Stock Horses to Polo Ponies

Host: Myroodah Station
Written by Pam Daniell – Manager, Myroodah.

The game of Polo, the Sport of Kings, you don’t expect to see
Being played by two Indigenous Stockmen, in the Kimberley
But as luck would have it, for two of our blokes that particular chance came round
To spend three months with world class players, they were New Zealand bound.

The Pinctada Cable Beach Polo Club organise an event each year in May on the beach in Broome which attracts International Polo Players and many spectators keen to be part of such a unique event in a pretty special location.

2.1View of Broome’s famous “Cable Beach” transformed in to a venue for International Beach Polo.

Tournament Director Marilynne Paspaley launched a new initiative last year which was to offer Polo scholarships for deserving Indigenous men or women. Two of those recipients were Myroodah Station employees Carl Manfong and Byran Malay. Their scholarship included three months living on New Zealand’s North Island at the Opiango Polo Farm and learning all aspects of the Polo game under the watchful eye of renowned NZ Polo trainer Harriett Kuru. Carl and Byran contributed to their travel costs through their wages and support was also given from their employer, the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC).

The pair trained each day with the Mongolian National Polo team and also had an English Polo player, Cody Jones, mentoring them while they were there. They absolutely loved the experience of making new friends, learning about other Indigenous cultures, and seeing such a dramatically different landscape and life to that of the Kimberley. This was the first overseas trip for both young men.

2.2Byran Malay training at Opiango Polo Farm, New Zealand.

2.3Our boys amongst NZ Polo legends John Paul Clarkin and Cody Forsyth and English player and mentor to the boys Cody Jones at the BMW NZ Polo Open.

They returned to work at Myroodah at the start of the 2014 mustering season and recently spent a week in Broome leading up to the annual Beach Polo carnival, using their new skills to compete in the competition. Alongside them was another Myroodah Stockman, Ian Long. Ian played in the Carnival last year and was keen to have another go. The trio have excellent horsemanship skills which many onlookers commented on. They helped the organisers of the Pinctada Cable Beach Polo Club set up for the event and after competing on the Saturday, were there to help for the duration of the weekend.

Media followed the three Indigenous Stockman throughout the week, as well as over the Carnival weekend. They were interviewed many times for print and television media, and photographed and filmed. They really enjoyed being part of it, but were quietly glad to return home to Myroodah at the end of it all. These men are not used to being the centre of attention, but they really represented themselves and Myroodah in an exceptional manner and made us very proud.

Carl and Byran are planning to return to NZ at the end of the year to continue their Polo education. Ian has also been invited to join them and is excited about doing so. Another Beach Polo event is held around New Year’s Eve in NZ, which the trio are looking forward to being a part of. It will no doubt be another highlight in the lives of these three young men so far.

And they’ve made us proud, from all reports, the effort was worthwhile
For the ILC and others involved who went that extra mile
If you come to Broome an event will be held on the beach at the end of May
You’ll see Polo international champions alongside our Myroodah stockmen play

2.4Carl Manfong and Byran Malay competing against each other at the Pinctada Cable Beach Polo Carnival last month.

2.5Carl, Ian, and Byran during yet another media photo shoot.