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Easy Rider

All-American polo champion Jeff Hall plants permanent roots in South Florida as he gears up for yet another season of the sport of kings in Palm Beach.

Polo pro Jeff Hall with one of his thoroughbreds, Smooth, at his barn in Wellington

Although Argentina is well-known for producing the legends of the polo world, recent South Florida transplant Jeff Hall proudly wears the stamp “Made in America.” Like many of his chosen sport’s fabled greats, the Texas native’s fate as a championship polo player was preordained. Born into a family of expert players, Hall picked up his first mallet at age 7, and five years later at age 12, he was already playing professionally. Now, after winning nearly every important trophy in his sport, the 33-year-old has relocated to Palm Beach County with his family and thoroughbred horses, immersed in the thick of the action as another polo season takes over the Gold Coast starting this month.

Palm Beach is fortunate to have him. Hall’s list of high-goal trophies and accolades has branded him a true polo celebrity. From the Pacific Coast Open to America’s Cup, his career has held steadfast to a common theme for nearly two decades: winning. The secret to his success? Good old-fashioned dedication. “Polo isn’t just a sport for me,” he says. “It’s a way of life, a daily commitment. I’m in the barn with horses by 6am, riding by late morning and off to practice races by the afternoon.”

When he’s not riding, Hall checks in on his horse-breeding operation in Texas. Much like their owner, his steeds are champions, too. One of his favorites, Sparkles, was awarded the Best Playing Pony Award at the America’s Cup in 2011. “You get what you give,” Hall says, regarding his 75-plus stallions. “They work hard on the field, but they’re completely pampered when they’re not racing. I think they’re treated better than 99 percent of humans… I mean, they’re groomed twice a day!”

Hall is as equally committed when it comes to game time. “When I’m on the field it’s an adrenaline rush,” he says. “I am completely focused.”

He deftly describes his style as “a delicate combination of power, calmness and speed,” an approach that has him ranked with an esteemed 7-handicap, a score he plans on upping very soon.

“I’ve actually been an 8-handicap before,” he says, “and I plan on getting it back again this season, with hopes of eventually reaching a nine.”

In non-polo speak, he’s already a 10 in our eyes.