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Why People Play Polo in Pittsburgh


Polo has a long history in Western Pennsylvania — and it’s not slowing down.



Polo Sport Shutterstock



You may be surprised to learn polo is played in the Pittsburgh area more than once a year.

The Family House Polo Match, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, is a well-known fundraiser where local celebrities and other patrons gather in their finest hats and engage in well-mannered frivolity for a worthy cause.

But polo is also a growing sport that has been around the Pittsburgh area since the early 1900s with fields at the Hunt Armory in Shadyside, Firemen’s Memorial Park in Fox Chapel and even the airstrip at the Zelienople Airport.

In the 1940s, “As the original landing strip was grass, it also provided an excellent field for polo matches,” according to the Zelienople Airport’s website.

Ople Farms, one of the Pittsburgh region’s five local polo clubs, is located not far from the airport in Fombell. When Libby and William Kofmehl purchased their farm, Libby knew it was the perfect location.

“I was like, this is incredible, this is exactly the location to make this club come alive being next to this history in Western Pennsylvania,” Libby says.

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Libby, a certified instructor with the Polo Training Foundation and a coach with the United States Polo Association, started playing the sport when she was 7 growing up in Florida.

“I feel like it’s a really great sport and a lot of people aren’t introduced to it, and once they are they’re like ‘wow,’” she says, noting people love the social aspect and team spirit involved. “Polo has really grown in our region. It’s exciting.”

Polo is played on horseback with riders hitting a ball with a mallet. It can be played indoors or outdoors.

Other local polo clubs are Pittsburgh Polo Club, Northpointe Polo Farm, the Ligonier Polo Association and the Darlington Polo Club.


Clubs compete in tournaments locally and across the United States and can offer private instruction, camps and youth programs.

Libby says people will come to her farm to try riding and they’ll fall in love with riding the polo ponies. From there, they fall in love with polo.

“Polo becomes a lifetime passion for people who really get into it,” she says. “It’s always exciting to take a complete beginner and turn them into a player.”