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WINDSOR: "The Sport of Kings" and Philanthropic Endeavors are Both Important Parts of its Heritage

Written by Carrie Alexander, Equestrian Living ( Photos by Julie Skarratt

Even when the rain threatens overhead, the Windsor Charity Polo Cup knows how to shine. The world-class polo match on February 17 was cut short by one chukker due to rain and tied with a final score of 6-6. But the game was exhilarating, and happenings off the field also engaged event goers.

Since 2012, the Windsor Charity Polo Cup has been a highly anticipated biennial event hosted by the private Florida residential sporting club community of Windsor. The 2024 event, chaired by Windsor’s co-founder, The Hon. Hilary M. Weston, did not disappoint.

The gates opened at 10 a.m., allowing attendees a rare glimpse inside this exclusive seaside enclave, which features award-winning Anglo-Caribbean architecture, a charming New Urbanist town center, and bougainvillea-draped green spaces.

A specialty retail village set up for the event gave guests an opportunity to browse pop-up shops by fashionable, upscale retailers: J. McLaughlin, Lili Bermuda, Nosetta, Seaman Schepps, and more.

Car enthusiasts admired a selection of coveted automobiles presented by the Space Coast Region Porsche Club of America, with an intoxicating halftime luxury automobile parade.

More than one kind of horsepower was in attendance.

Under an elegant tent, about 600 stylish guests sipped French champagne and nibbled on canapes before sitting down to a sumptuous luncheon prepared by Windsor’s chef Justin Schreiber.

Vero Beach resident John Walsh, a founding member of the Windsor Charity Polo Cup, returned this year as luncheon emcee. The award-winning TV personality, whose career spans more than three decades, recently returned to Fox Network’s “America’s Most Wanted” as co-host alongside his son Callahan Walsh.

John Walsh and Jane Smalley

Susan Perren and The Hon. Hilary M. Weston

Over on the sidelines, a spirited group of tailgaters put on quite a show, motivated by the chance to take home prizes and bragging rights for the best-decorated section. This sold-out zone featured more than 85 cars filled with eventgoers dressed up to represent “Fashion Trends through the Decades.

A vintage Volkswagen van set the stage for the winning tailgate’s “Peace, Love and Happiness” theme featuring a groovy group in bell bottoms and flowery dresses.

Judges were also captivated by the second-place winners’ theme, “Truman Capote Black & White Ball.” Dressed up in fabulous attire with playful masks, these tailgaters sought to capture the glamour of the famous author’s memorable 1960s masquerade ball in New York City.

In third place was “Windsor Acrop-Polo-is of Fashion,’’ with tailgaters dressed in togas, sandals, and gladiator armor.

Polo fans were thrilled to find Hope Arellano and Nacho Figueras among the top-notch players on the field. A fourth-generation player, Arellano is a superstar in women’s polo. At just 20 years old, Arellano became the first American player to win the prestigious Women’s Argentine Open. Arellano’s PNC Bank team included Mackenzie Weisz, Manu Calafell, and Finn Secunda.

Hope Arellano

Nacho Figueras, Mike Lyons, Hope Arellano

The opposing team of PNC Private Bank – also named for presenting sponsor PNC Bank–included Figueras, Lucas Criado, Felipe Viana, and Sebastian Koga. A leading polo player, Figueras has been equally famous for being the face of Ralph Lauren’s Black Label since 2005. Recently, he collaborated with another giant of the polo world, Casa Fagliano, to produce a line of limited-edition sneakers. The high-end retailer was represented in the Retail Village.

Luxurious prizes including a Seaman Schepps necklace valued at more than $20,000 and a Tuscany getaway valued at more than $2,000, enticed attendees to purchase tickets at the raffle stand. Silent auction bids were accepted for an original artwork created for the Windsor Charity Polo Cup by equine artist Jeaneen Barnhart. The Windsor event may have felt like a glamorous affair, but its purpose was to raise funds for three local organizations that focus on educational and enrichment programs for youth.

The Homeless Children’s Foundation of Indian River County, founded by Windsor Members, supports families experiencing homelessness by funding year-round enrichment activities for children.

The Indian River Land Trust preserves environmentally essential land and water resources and helps local youth connect with nature.

The third beneficiary, Ballet Vero Beach, has received national attention for its unique educational and community engagement programs, which focus on the area’s underprivileged children.

Ballet Vero Beach, Beneficiary

As a thank you for Windsor’s support, Ballet Vero Beach dancers in flapper dresses, feathered headpieces, and glittery costumes surprised guests at the Players Reception the evening before the polo match by performing a delightful Charleston number.

On match day, Arellano was named Most Valuable Player, and an 8-year-old dark bay named Nicki, played by Mackenzie Weisz, was named Best Playing Pony.

Alexander Hepburn, Nadja Swarovski, Rupert Adams

Chelsie Eddings, Daniela Cardona, Michael Flickinger, Kate Henrich

A charity event featuring polo is fitting for Windsor, a community where “the sport of kings” and philanthropic endeavors are both important parts of its heritage.

To read the digital magazine version of the 2024 Windsor Charity Polo Cup, click here.


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