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Off The Horse: Omar Mangali

Name: Omar R. Mangali
Age: 34
From: London, England
Playing For: Farmers & Merchants Bank Too

When did you start playing polo?
I started playing in my mid 20’s after playing squash at the national level and in college. A friend introduced me to the game and it turns out it’s a pretty similar motion - just swapping a racquet for a mallet. Pretty soon thereafter it became a big part of my life.

What do you love most about the sport?
I love everything about it — from the incredible horses, to working as a team with other players, to the sheer difficulty of trying to control or hit a ball at high speeds while maneuvering a horse. It is a constant challenge and I will always remain a student of the game.

What’s the most challenging aspect of polo?
Understanding how to be best positioned at all times. The ball is secondary to marking the man - and that takes great discipline to absorb and effectuate that in the heat of a game with so much going on around you. It’s easy to rush - it’s harder to think.

Tell us about your horses (or your favorite horse)?
Rufina is a grey I absolutely love — bred from Fina Nevado’s lineage in Argentina. I play her mostly in the last chukker of each game - she’s fast, incredibly handy and can stop on a dime.

Favorite pre-match meal?
Bulletproof Coffee, a banana and a lot of water.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Santa Barbara when you’re off duty?
The whole area is stunning - but exploring the restaurants in town has been great fun.

Where will polo take you next this year?
Polo is an incredibly global sport (and obviously one that follows all the good weather - though this year the rain seems to have followed me). This year instead of England, I will play in Santa Barbara for the summer, and then head to Argentina during the autumn and winter.


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