When 10-goal, Argentine-born, polo legend; Barto Castagnola (AKA Lolo.) Invited Matias Zavaleta to compete in qualifying for the Argentine Open with team La Natividad, he accepted the invitation without hesitation. "It was my first time playing in the Argentine Open, and I thought it was an excellent opportunity to play with excellent players and excellent people," said Zavaleta.

Sponsored in part by the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, La Natividad team, the youngest of the league, consisted of Camilo Castagnola (16), Bartolome Castagnola (18) Matias Zavaleta (29) and Ignacio Duplessis (30). It was the first time La Natividad Polo Club qualified for this prestigious tournament. 

Having qualified 5th in the Open, these four pros battled multiple teams until they finally came face to face with two of the best organizations in the world, Ellerstina, and Monjitas. 

"The games between Ellerstina and Monjitas were tough games and was the fastest game I have ever played. With Ellerstina, we were down by 2/3 goals for the entire game, and we lost the seventh chukker by four goals." Zavaleta continued, "We ended up losing by seven goals, but we played very well, and I think this team has a lot more to give." 

For all of you who might be new to polo, Ellerstina has been a top competing team since 1992 and have some of the best horses in the world. To even qualify to play in the open is a success that few players share. 

"The game against Monjitas started fairly challenging; for the first chukker and half of the second chukker, we started 6-0 down, and we ended up losing by 2," said Zavaleta. 

As Zavaleta looks towards 2020, his strategy is simple, "I think if we can improve a bit more in our organization and we improve a bit more in a few details, we can beat some of the big teams. We are close." 

In the meantime, you can track Matias with Hawaii Polo Life as he continues to compete around the globe. NEXT STOP...NEW ZELAND, CHILE & BACK TO ARGENTINA .

June 21, 2021 — Lehua Kai