Specialised experience

The Staff

At Black Bears Polo Club we are fortunate enough to not only have a wealth of experience and expertise amongst our staff - whether that be on a permanent or seasonal basis – our team is also blessed with a 'can do' attitude and an attention to detail that ensures that Black Bears Polo Club deservedly enjoys its reputation as being amongst the finest polo clubs in the UK.

Rob Cudmore – Polo Manager

A third generation polo player and former Australian international, Rob Cudmore brings a wealth of his experience to the role of Polo Manager at Black Bears. Responsible not only for the Black Bears ponies but also for the smooth running of all the polo that takes place at Lower Bolney Farm, his twenty six years in the business of running polo clubs and teams will stand him in very good stead as he helps steer Black Bears towards a new period in its history.

Miles Properjohn – Head Groundsman

Miles is another very long-term employee who has honed his skills at Black Bears. Responsible for keeping all five fields and the arena in immaculate condition, as well as the overall upkeep of the facility. Miles lives on site and is to be found rolling out the irrigation system during the night when we get periods of dry weather. He is ably assisted by the rest of the grounds maintenance team – Chris Smith, Alistair Prentice, Ian Precious, Neil Properjohn and David Aitken.

Lisa Hughes – Polo Secretary

Although Lisa’s background is in hunting and eventing rather than polo, she hugely appreciates being in an office surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a busy polo yard – especially when the setting is as beautiful as Lower Bolney Farm! Tasked with the smooth running of the facility she is always on the end of a phone or email ready to resolve any problem that may occur.

Sara Riesgo – Groom & Office Administrator

Sara has worked for Black Bears ever since Mr Schwarzenbach had his first string of ponies back in 1988. Although she took some time out from grooming to have a family, she continued to work in the office and is now happily combining both roles – although her preference is definitely for being hands-on with the horses. Sara can look at any of our ponies in the paddocks and give you 3 generations of breeding for each one.

Laure Bonte – Head Groom

Laure’s experience and knowledge of polo ponies and their needs means that the polo ponies living at Lower Bolney Farm are kept in optimal condition at all times. Having previously followed the polo season around the world, Laure has now agreed to be based at Black Bears full-time. Working closely with Sara Riesgo to ensure that the ponies being wintered out thrive and are in great condition by the time that the new season starts, she also oversees any livery ponies that are here for the arena season. Her meticulous approach to preparing ponies and making sure that they are always well-presented, upholds the values and vision of Black Bears Polo Club.

Sam Gravestock – Young Horse Trainer & Driver

Sam is a very versatile member of the team! He has the job of riding the young horses and helping to turn them into civilised polo ponies, but is also responsible for driving the Black Bears ponies to tournaments. When he is not doing that he is to be found either on a tractor carrying out routine paddock maintenance, or fixing and repairing something around the property.