Equestrian entrepreneur Dave Savage of Asia World Polo has been instrumental in the sport's return to Hong Kong
When you initially considered setting up a Hong Kong polo club, did you envisage it would take as long as it has?
The Hong Kong Polo Team was founded out of our pure enthusiasm for the sport, toward the end of 2013, by Asia World Polo; we played our first friendly in November that same year in Thailand.
At the time, we realized that because of the lack of polo facilities in Hong Kong, it was the only major city in the world without a polo club or polo team. I knew from the outset that this was going to be a long process, as I had heard stories of others who had tried and failed.
It's also a case of having to start from the ground up and win the hearts and minds, find the land, gain the support of the equestrian community and secure the funding. In our mission, #bringingpolobacktohongkong, the magic ingredients are belief, resilience and patience.
Tell us about the soon-to-open facility in Sai Kung. What can we expect?
If we can find the funding or secure investors, the plan is to build an equestrian center that not only caters to polo enthusiasts, but also to the wider community to genuinely make polo and riding available to all. There are already large numbers of people on waiting lists to join riding schools in Hong Kong, so I guess there will be a little demand.
How many horses would you keep there, and can you give us a sense of the facilities or setup?
We plan to accommodate around 100 horses, a polo arena, stables, a riding school, and facilities for the Riding for the Disabled Association and other worthy charitable organizations that could benefit, such as disadvantaged children's societies. We also plan to introduce a program to retrain and rehome retired racehorses.