By Alejandra Ocampo
Gracida is one of the most traditional surnames in polo. The family has been linked to the sport since the 1950s; from Guillermo Gracida, one of the best players in Mexican polo history, to his sons, the legendary Memo and the unforgettable Carlos - they have all left their mark on the sport, breaking records and winning tournaments around the world.
The Gracida legacy continues today with the children of Memo and Carlos, in particular, Carlitos, who inherited his father’s passion for the sport. Based in Palm Beach, both Carlitos and his brother Mariano have become professional polo players. PoloLine got together with Carlitos to talk horses.
Can you describe your ideal polo horse?
Comfortable and fast. The perfect horse must also have a good mouth.
What do you think is the most important characteristic a polo horse should have?
Fundamentally, they must be comfortable around the ball.
What is your ideal number of horses for a string?
I would say ten, but they must all be great quality horses.
On average, how many new horses should you have coming into your string each season?
If you have one amazing mare coming into your string, I would say that is enough. But it must be a mare that makes your top three.
What is the most important stage in the training of a polo horse?
The horse has to trust you. It is important for them to be docile and not have ticks on or off the field. Horses are like children, a bad experience really marks them.
Which is or has been your favourite horse and why?
Of my father’s horses, I would say Legend. And out of the ones belonging to me, it’s Norteño. I like them because they run fast and turn quick. They always come through.
Which is the best polo horse you have seen play and why?
Undoubtedly, a mare of my father’s called Noni Noni. She was on auto-pilot the whole time. She won the British Open five times and was named BPP on several occasions.
Is there any horse you saw play that you would like to try?
Carla! She is priceless.