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.

Simon Keyte – Polo Manager

Sly has worked for the Schwarzenbach family for 25 years and divides his team between Lower Bolney Farm, Garangula in Australia and his home in New Zealand. Part of an illustrious polo playing family, it is virtually impossible to go anywhere in polo without bumping into a relative of his! A legendary six-goaler in his own right he also has a very keen eye for a horse and knows exactly how to produce them so that they play at the optimum level for Black Bears.

Miles Properjohn – Head Groundsmen

Miles is another very long-term employee who has honed his skills at Black Bears. Responsible for keeping all 5 pitches 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.

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.

Lisa Hughes – Polo Secretary

Although Lisa’s background is in eventing and hunting rather than polo, she hugely appreciates being in an office in such a beautiful setting with ponies and polo creating a busy bustling environment. Responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the facility on a day-to-day basis she is always at the end of the phone or email to find solutions to any problems that may occur.

Tim Keyte – Tournaments Manager

Former 4 goal player and experienced Polo Manager, Tim joined the Black Bears team in 2018, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and experience having previously managed the historic and prestigious Cirencester Park Polo Club as well as being one of the UK’s most senior umpires. Tasked with helping Black Bears to find its feet as an affiliated polo club, Tim is responsible for putting together a series of tournaments to create opportunities for patrons and players to enjoy playing on our superb fields that cope with whatever the weather throws at them!

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.