transitioned from one horse to many.
At first, she felt guilty dividing her attention; however, she
learned a polo string forms a herd where they socialize with each
other and are quite happy. The horses are turned out together.
“On game days, the horses get trailered together and tacked
and untacked at the same time,” says Zinta. “Often they get exer-
cised together with one rider leading two to three horses on each
side, which means five to seven horses all cantering at once.”
Jeffrey decided that Zinta’s first horse, Mac, should learn polo along with
her, so he began to train the gelding for the new adventure. “He really likes the
sport—and he still loves to run,” says Jeffrey. Even though Macaroni didn’t start
playing until he was 14, he has become one of their best horses.
Pluto was Zinta’s first experienced polo pony—the one she learned to play the
game on. In addition to polo, Pluto also models. “He knows how to pose for the
camera and makes frequent appearances on my Instagram and in magazines, and
has even been booked on his own jobs, one of which was with Nicole Richie.”
Another one of Zinta’s ponies, Ferrari, lives up to his name. “He’s always been
the fastest in every game we’ve played him. He had previously been an expensive
horse due to his bloodlines and athleticism, but the owners were trying to resell
him because he had developed a reputation for being uncontrollable.”
Wally, a formerly abandoned horse, and Breezy, the most recent addition, make
up the rest of the string.
Zinta is hooked on polo and would recommend it to any horse lover that has
ever considered it. “The relationship with the horses is absolutely the best part.
The feeling of galloping down the field and hitting the ball is exhilarating. That
moment of impact is very satisfying and invigorating.”
Find Zinta on Instagram @zintapolo.
SUSAN FRIEDLAND-SMITH is a school teacher who blogs at Saddle Seeks Horse (www.
saddleseekshorse.com) about the everyday equestrian lifestyle and her off-track Thoroughbred.
playing polo as
an adult and
Growing Up a Horse Girl
When the horse bug first bit Zinta as
a child, her parents and step parents
encouraged her to pursue her passion.
The biggest challenge Zinta had
to overcome as young horse lover
growing up near Chicago was a lack
of money for riding lessons. When
she found a barn with a work-to-ride
program, Zinta was in! For every 10
hours worked, the young equestrian
would get to take a 30-minute lesson.
The only way she could get to the
barn regularly was by taking the bus.
Her mom accompanied her for the
first couple of trips, but after that,
14-year-old Zinta traveled alone.
“In the beginning I was scared and
didn’t want to do it, but it was the
only way,” she says. Zinta would walk
a few blocks to the bus stop, take one
bus across town and then transfer to
another bus. Her drop off point was
a half-mile from her barn, and she
would walk the remaining leg. The
total journey was about an hour and a
First Love, First Horse
In those days, the hunter/jumper
trainer Zinta worked for got a bay off-track Thoroughbred named Macaroni
(Mac) who captivated the teen.
“I was there during his retraining
process, and we got along very well.
After several months I wanted to buy
him, and I convinced my dad and
grandfather to pay for half, and my
trainer let me make payments for the
balance with money I earned.”
When Zinta later moved to Los
Angeles to pursue modeling, she
brought Mac with her. The pair com-
peted in a few hunter/jumper shows,
but due to cost, mostly explored the
In time, Zinta’s modeling career took
off and she began to learn polo, which
led to meeting her husband. At that
point, the grownup horse-crazy girl