21 Ultimate Gifts: A Horse Breeder Apart
- A visit to Ignacio Figueras’ horse farm in Argentina, where the renowned polo player and horse breeder will help the recipient select a polo pony from the farm’s stable.
- A private polo lesson from Figueras.
- Head-to-toe polo clothing and equipment: a bespoke Asprey leather saddle, a pair of custom-made Casa Fagliano boots, and a set of polo shirts, pants, and gloves from Casablanca.
- First-class round-trip airfare to Buenos Aires for the recipient and a guest, and a suite at the Alvear Palace in Buenos Aires.
- A weekend for two in London in May 2012 to watch Figueras compete in the St. Regis International Cup. The trip will include first-class round-trip airfare, a presidential suite at the Lanesborough, a St. Regis hotel, transportation to and from the polo matches in a chauffeur-driven Bentley, and a full day in the tournament’s VIP tent.
Ignacio "Nacho" Figueras might be the world’s most famous polo player, thanks more to his modeling work for Ralph Lauren than his play on the field—although he is ranked among the sport’s top 2 percent. But in the polo community, Figueras is equally renowned as a horse breeder.
About a decade ago he began breeding first-class polo ponies at his Cria Yatay stud farm outside Buenos Aires, selecting from the bloodlines of the world’s top-ranked mares and stallions to produce his Thoroughbreds. He is involved in rearing the ponies and works closely with his team of trainers as they prepare each foal to achieve its full potential on the playing field.
In addition to breeding horses in the traditional fashion, Figueras’ farm performs state-of-the-art embryo transfers, enabling it to produce more ponies using surrogate mares. When the horses reach 3 years old they are gently broken in and then transferred to Figueras’ second farm, El Yacare, which includes four polo fields where the horses are eased into the sport.
Figueras presently has about 350 horses at the two farms and breeds about 60 ponies a year. "We’re buying the best American mares and Argentine stallions and combining the best bloodlines to breed these ponies," he said recently during a conversation at the St. Regis New York. (He serves as an ambassador for the hotel brand.)
Figueras explained that acquiring such horses sometimes poses a challenge. He described how, before finally succeeding this year, he had spent nearly a decade trying to convince American polo player Adam Snow to sell him Pumba, Snow’s award-winning pony.
The recipient of this gift will have no such trouble taking possession of a pony from the Argentine. Figueras will host a Robb Report reader and guest at Cria Yatay, where he will show them how the horses are bred and reared and then assist them as they select a polo pony from his stable. Indeed, so that he can help choose an appropriate horse, Figueras will conduct a private polo lesson and assess the gift recipient’s skill level and playing style.
In addition to a horse, the gift recipient will acquire a pair of custom-made boots from Casa Fagliano, which is operated by an Argentine family that for four generations has been outfitting the world’s top players. The gift also includes a polo outfit from Casablanca and an Asprey horse saddle.
Before the gift recipient leaves the farm, he or she will play in a casual polo match with Figueras and some of his friends. Such a match might be a common occurrence at the farm, but it still promises to be a memorable event for a visiting player.
Meg Connolly Communications, Meg Connolly, 212.505.8200, www.mcc-pr.com
The date of the visit to Figueras’ farm will depend on his availability. The price of the gift does not include the cost of transporting the polo pony from Argentina to its destination. The price of the gift might fluctuate depending on the price of airfare.