Stella – an off the track thoroughbred - may be 8-years James’ senior, but that hasn’t stopped them from forming a brilliant bond and becoming a formidable force on the polo field.
We caught up with Andrea Reid, James' mother, to learn a little more about the pair.
When did James start riding?
James has ridden horses all his life, mostly competing in A&P shows - jumping and hunting. His family have a long affiliation with horses. James’ grandfather Graeme Munro was an amateur jockey and pre-trained thoroughbreds for John Parsons. James’s Mother Andrea rode ponies from a young age and enjoyed show jumping, hunting and helping with the racehorses. James’s sister Mya has been successful in showing, jumping and mounted games and is now working in the polo industry in the United Kingdom.
Tell us a little about ‘Stella’ and her career.
Stella’s first job was ‘racehorse’- she trialled but never raced. Stella started out her polo career with Brendan Bray when he got her off her breeder Johnny Askin. James Myers took her on as a polo pony in 2008, followed by Mark Hutchinson in 2014 and then Sam Broomhall before James Reid acquired her in 2020.
Stella is now 22-years old and has the biggest heart. She always tries hard out on the field.
And James’ career?
James has been playing polo for four years - two of which have been on Stella for Port Hills Polo Club. James is also part of South Island SUPA polo for school students.
He took up the sport when he was in Year 7 (aged 11) and has lessons at Waireka Polo School with Charlie Wood. He is now in a development group for up-and-coming young riders, having weekly lessons in the summer months.
James has been selected to attend a polo camp in Scone, NSW Australia in September this year, along with five other SI SUPA riders. They will be billeted with other Australian youth polo players and will attend a camp at Anto White’s polo farm. At the end of the week, they will play against an Australian youth side from the camp.
Stella and James have a special bond. Tell us about that.
Stella is quite selective about who she likes riding her – with James being her favourite! She’s great out in the open during game play and loves to gallop towards the goal.
James says “Stella looks after me and I look after her!”. She’s getting to be an old lady in the sport of polo – she’s a bit lazy during the week but still loves it on game day.
What does James love most about off the track thoroughbreds?
James loves that they are so adaptable. He loves seeing them enjoy their newfound sport after racing. They are quick learners and love the thrill, agility, and high-speed nature of the game. One day he would like to bring on his own young horses off the track - he thinks that this would be very rewarding.
Stella may be getting to be an ‘old lady’, but she’s still excelling in her career on the field! Tell us about this.
At the end of the 2021/22 season, Stella was awarded Best Playing Thoroughbred in the 0 goal at the Port Hills Polo tournament in March. Stella played her heart out that day and scored an amazing goal, taking the ball up from the other end of the field. James keeps the rug Stella won on the end of his bed. He is very proud of Stella’s achievements.
What are James’ goals for the upcoming season?
James’s goals for the coming polo season are to continue to develop his skills in the game, learn from others and seize any opportunities that the sport may present. He’s looking forward to playing his string of ponies - Stella, Max, Singer and Favourite.
His dream is to become a professional polo player and travel the world - Go get em James!