Polo: Big Hats and and Jodhpurs

The marvelous thing about polo--probably the oldest of all equestrian contests, dating from the 1st century AD A.D. when, according to legend, the first games were played with the heads of enemies as balls--is that watching the people can be as entertaining as watching the game. On or off the field, polo requires an attitude. The ex-wife of a former player once confided, "He wasn't too good on the field, but he loved the way he looked in those jodhpurs and boots!"

And what other sport imposes a dress code on the spectators that demands Hedda Hopper hats and garden party frocks for the ladies and Astaire blazers, ice cream flannels and Panamas for the gents?

The Golden Mallet Tournament at the Santa Barbara Polo ∧ Racquet Club sponsored by the 18-member Pre-School & Kindergarten Auxiliary of the Assistance League of Southern California last weekend drew nearly 200 guests. Vintage hats were everywhere. Katie Osterloh, league president, warned guests not to get "too chummy with those ponies. They've been known to munch on the millinery." Rozi Heredy, who resurrected a lilac bridesmaid's confection, made sure she stood clear. So did Virginia Kazanjian, who set off her gold and diamonds with a tulle and feather-trimmed horsehair number she found on sale on Rodeo Drive.

The pre-tournament luncheon was served beneath white umbrellas on the club's rolling lawns. The scene looked like a dress-extra call for "Pretty Woman."

For their longtime support, Gloria and Glen Holden, former U.S. ambassador to Jamaica and an avid polo player, were presented with the auxiliary's Angel of the Year Award. The Holdens established the event in 1984 to benefit the league's Learning Center for Young Children located in Hollywood. Event chairwoman Gloria Seiff made the presentation.

A large contingent from L.A. always turns out for the doings. Guests included Annie and Roger Wacker of Bank Julius Baer, who co-sponsored the event;, L.A. County Dist.rict Attorney. Steve Cooley's wife, Jana, and their daughter, Shannon;, Leslie and Pat Sajak;, Eva and Charles Elkins;, Yvonne and Ed Cazier;, Geannie and Michael Sheller;, Beverly Thrall, Karen Reese and Richard Seaver, along with a platoon of adorable tots from the learning center who sang the nNational aAnthem. From the Santa Barbara area came Dorothy Mitchum, Robin and Robert Fell and Elizabeth Skene. Holden--his Gehache team edged out the Bank Julius Baer team 6-5--said he's reducing his stable from 41 to 30 ponies. "They eat every day and must be reshod every five weeks, [but] it's not the hay and the shoes," he said. "It's the vet bills that mount up. But I love polo and want to bring it back as an Olympic sport. So I'm off to China in September to convince them."


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