Sylvester Stallone is well-known for his Hollywood action roles, including boxer Rocky Balboa, but the Hollywood legend has a long association with the refined polo lifestyle. Stallone’s interest in polo was inevitable, given the rich equestrian history of his family. His father, the late Frank Stallone, was a professional polo player who rode horses in Italy before emigrating to New York in the 1940s.
“The name Stallone translates as stallion, or horse,” Stallone said. “So my family were horse people to begin with, going right back. But they weren’t rich people, they were peasants.”
He emigrated to the United States to pursue his American Dream, but also to get away from horses, to do something else that the Stallones hadn’t done; but he carried on playing polo. Stallone first picked up a mallet and played with his father when he was 11 years old. The late Carlos Gracida took credit for teaching Stallone, along with the young Princes William and Harry to play polo.
The father-son pair famously took part in an exhibition match at Palm Beach Polo and Country Club in Florida in 1990, which Stallone Senior said was “The thrill of his life.”
Stallone once stated that “Playing polo is like trying to play golf during an earthquake,” and he stands by that description.
“It’s weird, when you are on the horse, you think you look like Rambo and you should charge around, but that’s not what the game is about. It’s about being patient. I have to remember that a lot of the time,” he says with a smile.
This story originally appeared in Polo+10.