Zoe Goldberg, Polo Captain

This week's Campus Celebrity actually spends a lot of her time horsing around as captain of the Penn Polo team. Today, she spoke to us about how she got started, her love of the sport and her favorite memories with the team. 

 
 
Name: Zoe Goldberg
Year: Junior
Major: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Favorite Restaurant: I really don't discriminate against food except for the fact that I'm vegetarian...Vientiane Cafe is one of my go-to spots.
Favorite Horse to Ride: So many good ones to choose from...of the ponies Penn practices on regularly, I have to give it to Ila. 
Spirit Animal: Hedgehog. We are kind of similar in personality, but not in a bad way. 
 
What are you involved with on campus?
 
I am the president and women's captain of Penn Polo, an associate graphics editor at the Daily Pennsylvanian, a research assistant in the Wharton Behavioral Labs, and a member of Sigma Kappa. 
 
How did you first become involved with polo?
 
Throughout middle school and high school I rode, volunteered, and worked at a barn called Thorncroft that specializes in therapeutic riding for the handicapped. I never really competed, so when I came to Penn I thought for sure I wanted to join the equestrian team. At the activities fair, I was looking for their booth when I ran into a friend from high school and asked if she knew where on Locust they were set up. She replied, "Oh yeah, I saw the equestrian team, but the girl was wearing a sling...you don't want to do that." I found the girl in the sling, but she also had a polo mallet in her hand. I was like, you have that here? And naturally decided to try polo instead. The team was brand new. During my first practice I could not believe what I had signed myself up for, but polo is truly the most fun you can have on horseback, and sticking with it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. 
 

 
Where does the team ride in Philadelphia?
 
We are coached by Lezlie Hiner, who runs the impressive Work to Ride team at the Chamounix Equestrian Center in Fairmount Park. We practice on her polo ponies there, and when we can, we trailer them out to the polo arena at the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne. 
 
What do you love about the sport? 
 
I really love everything about it — and what's cool is that polo takes riding from being a sport to being a game. The competitive aspect is great, but I'm much more satisfied feeling like I've had a great match and had fun than necessarily coming away with a win, especially since the team is still relatively new and everyone is still learning. I think it's clear that it is the horses I love most though, and they obviously drew me to the sport. This video puts it into words nicely. People have a tendency to knock riding and polo as not being "real" sports, and think that the horse does all of the work, but they are totally underestimating how much of a partnership it is. You kind of have two teams when you play... you and the people wearing the same jersey as you, and then you and your horse. And in collegiate polo, when I play a match at another school, I'll ride four different horses I may have never seen before. Some chukkers I will get off like "I want to own this horse," and others I will want to kiss the ground having spent seven and a half minutes just hanging on for dear life. I have so much to learn still, and every horse teaches something different, so it's really neat to get that opportunity. 
 
What was your best memory with the polo team?
 
My last match freshman year with Miranda and Meredith, who founded the team, was probably one of my best memories. We were playing Garrison Forest, a fantastic high school team who consistently whoops us to this day, and we were tied at the end of four chukkers. We went into a shootout, and I hit the winning penalty shot. It was the last time the three of us played together, but the first time we won together so it was a really nice ending to the year.  And honestly, I can't say for sure that I have hit another penalty shot since then...
 
How can people become involved with Penn's polo team?
 
Email [email protected]! We are looking for people who already have riding experience, but feel free to reach out regardless.