Kyle facility specializes in arena-style play
When Seth Bray saw a tract of land 2 miles east of I-35 off FM 150 in Kyle, he saw more than the shrubs and oak trees that dotted the landscape.
Instead, Bray saw a 150-foot-by-300-foot field with bleachers for spectators, a gazebo, a wooden practice horse and stables. Four years after that first vision, he launched County Line Polo Club, a first for Kyle.
"When you think about polo, you think about the real nice grass, Ferraris everywhere—but this is still polo," Bray said while surveying the empty field.
County Line specializes in arena polo, which Bray described as "hockey on horseback."
Each game consists of four to six periods, known as chukkers, with each three-person team attempting to put the ball through a 10-foot-by-15-foot goal.
In the year since Bray began the club, he has attracted the attention of many local polo enthusiasts and teams from Texas State and Texas Tech universities.
Bray's love of the sport started 400 miles from Kyle in Lubbock when he was a sophomore attending classes at Texas Tech.
He was working out at the student recreation center and saw a flier that simply read "Try Polo" with a phone number listed below.
Bray decided to take a chance and headed out to the polo field.
"I went out to this cotton field with a little shed and a few horses," he said. "They were just wild mustangs, it seemed like. I didn't have any riding skills, but I said, 'Let's go.'"
Bray, a lifelong surfer, described polo as "the sport for the adrenaline junkie." Once he found himself atop his "mustang," the deal was sealed. He had found his new obsession.
"I just got the polo bug, and once you get that, man, it's over," he said.
After graduating from Texas Tech in 2000, Bray traveled for the sport as far away as Hawaii, where he worked as a horse trainer.
Now he splits his time between his family, his landscaping business in Dripping Springs and County Line, where he said he puts in about 40 hours every week.
Seth Schoolcraft, vice president of the Texas State Polo Club, is a regular at County Line, where he practices with the university's team and coaches some of the lessexperienced players.
Schoolcraft only began playing the sport at the end of the spring semester, but like Bray, he has jumped in enthusiastically.
Schoolcraft described his time on the polo field as an escape, where he can "fall off the face of the planet."
"The riskiest thing you can do in life is play it safe," Schoolcraft said. "As long as you know the risk and respect it, I think you'll be fine."
Bray, who coaches Texas State's team, said he is looking forward to a match against his alma mater Sept. 8, a few hours before the universities' football teams meet for the first time.
Bray said he has a few more events in the works, including a big match the weekend of the first Formula One race in Austin in November.
"What I'm trying to do here is just grow it," Bray said of the club. "People think polo is just for the rich. But it's not. A polo horse is any type of horse that can play the game."
County Line Polo Club, 2324 FM 150, Kyle, 914-8490, www.countylinepolo.com