Polo is one of the world’s oldest known team sports, and one of the Australian Polo Federation’s aims is to grow the sport by promoting it to riders of all levels and ages. So, who could be better ambassadors for the game then brothers Jack and Cody Grimes?
And if you’re thinking that this must have something to do with genetics, you might be right! Fifteen-year-old Jack, and Cody, 14, are sons of none other than Matt Grimes, a top polo player whose many accolades include captaining the Australian team. Younger Grimes brothers Blake, 12, and Lucas, 10, have already started playing polo, and will no doubt make their own mark on the game.
The Grimes family hails from Ellerston NSW, where Jack and Cody grew up around the sport, helping dad Matt with his horses, and getting into the saddle themselves at an early age. Jack was nine years old and Cody eight when they competed in their first tournament.
Last year, the boys played on the victorious Australian team (which, like father, like son, Jack captained) in the Australia v New Zealand Schools International. More recently they have been busy playing for several clubs in a variety of competitions, including the J. K. Mackay and Ellerston Spring Tournaments.
With five polo players in one family, you’d think ponies would be at a premium! But as Jack explains: “We have a lot of horses right now. We have our own breeding program and produce three or four foals each year from our Thoroughbred stock. I have two favourite horses, Disney, a nine-year-old mare, and seven-year-old Malita, also a mare. I like Disney because she’s very quick and correct. She doesn’t do many things wrong and I’ve bonded with her well. Malita has lots of power and gets me around the field fast.”
And Cody has his own favourites: “I ride Larry, an eight-year-old gelding. He’s big and very powerful. My other horse is a ten-year-old mare called Asset. She’s fast and really easy to move.”
Given the Grimes breeding program, training is obviously big on the agenda.
“Our youngsters are sent to the breakers as two-year-olds, then we take over their training when they turn three. We don’t start playing tournaments on them until they’re about five-years-old. It’s really rewarding when they get to an age where they’re playing polo,” says Jack.
For Cody, training is a very real passion: “I love helping with the training. You’re always learning new things about the horses.”
So what does the future hold for this talented pair?
Jack says he hopes to become a professional polo player and travel the world. Cody says: “I want pretty much the same, but I want to train horses for polo too.”
Both boys recognise that they’ve had a lot of help along the way.
“There’re so many people we could thank,” says Jack, “but in particular, our parents; our granddad who drives our horses all over the country; Rob Teague and the Packer family, they’ve accommodated our horses and helped in lots of ways; Anto White who taught us how to play and lent us horses; Ben Jones and the Jones family; John and Lucy Price; Mr and Mrs Pursehouse; and Jim Gilmore, the Metcalf family, and Cooch and JJ Lynch, who’ve all lent us horses that we’ve been very grateful for.”
With no doubt many more chukkas to play, HorseVibes wishes Jack and Cody every success – we hope all your dreams for the future come true.