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Making Polo Dreams Come True in Atlanta

Polo, a sport traditionally dominated by men, is undergoing a transformative shift due to the unwavering resilience of women committed to gender inclusivity.

Despite historically facing challenges such as limited opportunities, unequal resources, and societal biases, women in polo have not only overcome these hurdles but also thrived. Earlier this year, Shariah Harris became the first Black woman to compete in U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship, a testament to her indomitable spirit. The emergence of women's polo teams is a beacon of hope in this change. These initiatives not only empower female athletes but also address the challenges they face, laying the groundwork for a legacy of equity and opportunity. They are a testament to the potential of women in polo and the future they are shaping for themselves in the sport.

In the small suburb of Milton, approximately 30 miles outside of Atlanta, Georgia, Jared Schatz watched his daughter, Noa Carter-Schatz, enjoy a cherished birthday gift—a package of horse riding lessons. Three years later, Noa picked up a mallet for the first time and took it to the field with innate fearlessness and grace. As an onlooker, Jared saw more than just his ten-year-old enjoying her favorite pastime; he saw her potential.

Recognizing this, Jared knew that traditional paths and resources available to wealthy patrons of the sport were beyond his reach. Nonetheless, he was undeterred. Leveraging the knowledge shared by other players and online videos, Jared helped build a program for Noa to develop quickly. In 2023, determined to allow Noa to compete on a more advanced level, Jared created the Atlanta Women’s Polo Team (AWPT). Unlike other teams, AWPT allows up-and-coming players to play with more seasoned ones—this teaches flexibility and adaptability as different players bring varying styles and strategies to the field. For example, this Spring, Noa played with her mentors, Fátima Balzano and Kimberly von Stade, along with youth rider Ava Rose Hinkson; Lucas Arellano trained and coached this team. The team’s growing reputation has bolstered excitement among other regional players eager to sign up, develop their skills, and play.

Jared credits the Atlanta polo community with helping him get started by teaching him the intricacies of polo, locating affordable equipment and horses, and securing fields for practice. AWPT has successfully functioned as both a training ground for Noa and a community hub for other aspiring female players. “Noa is a shy kid, but opens up when she plays polo,” Jared recalls. “I knew I had to do everything I could to support her passion and create a platform for other girls like her to excel in this sport.”

Noa has emerged as a standout player, gaining recognition in local tournaments, and earning praise for her skill and sportsmanship. Now, at thirteen years old, her journey is still unfolding, but the foundation laid by her father and AWPT has already made a significant impact. This year, she has participated in the Youth Polo Training Foundation (PTF), the National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS), and the La Bourgogne Women’s Invitational, showcasing her talent and dedication. Her proudest moment was when her pony Lucy won Best Playing Pony at PTF. Later this year, Noa is scheduled to play in the Aiken Polo Club Women’s Challenge and the Atlanta Women’s Challenge, further demonstrating her commitment to the sport and the team’s potential for success.

Ultimately, Jared’s greatest reward is not the accolades Noa may achieve but the strong, compassionate, and determined individual she is becoming. His story is an enduring legacy, inspiring others to recognize and nurture the potential in those they love, regardless of their obstacles.

Jared’s aspirations extend far beyond creating a polo team as a competitive platform for his daughter. He envisions a future where polo is a sport of equal opportunities, where gender is not a barrier but a strength. His efforts are not just about his daughter, but about sparking a broader movement, inspiring other parents, and young girls to take up polo, expanding the network of young female polo players, and advocating for more women’s tournaments and better support for female players at all levels of the sport. His vision is a beacon of hope for the future of polo.

As Noa and her teammates continue to ride towards new horizons, they do so knowing they are part of something bigger than themselves—a movement that champions equality, breaks down barriers, and paves the way for future generations of female polo players. AWPT is a testament to the power of commitment and the potential for change.

For more information about the Atlanta Women’s Polo Team, contact


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