“I just love kid-chaos,” says Erica Gandomcar-Sachs. “I want to fill up the Denver Polo Club with kids, parents, grand-parents – every generation represented. I don’t see enough multi-generational activities here, or at all in the United States. I wish that were more common here.”
Gandomcar-Sachs has the Iranian-born influence of her father, John, to thank for that multi-generational perspective. He and her mother, Chris, founded the Denver Polo Club (DPC) in 1986 and raised their daughter on horseback. Today she manages that club.
“I was on a horse by the time I was two, playing polo by age eight and competing at USPA events by age 10,” she says, speaking from her home in Denver. Her daughter, Sydney, now 8, shares a love of horses with her mother, but also recently asked to join a soccer club. “I was so thrilled – I don’t know anything about soccer or soccer clubs, but I did some asking around and signed her up for a great club,” Gandomcar-Sachs says. “The most important thing for me as a mom is to let Sydney choose her passions… let her try everything and hook into what she loves, whether or not that’s horses and polo.”
That’s not to say that Sydney doesn’t have a daily exposure to horses and the Sport of Kings. The pair regularly hit the barn together, ride together and play stick-and-ball. Gandomcar-Sachs is determined not to the let the pressures of the world of polo or secondary extracurriculars get to Sydney. “She’s a kid first. I’ll teach her about the world and let her decide,” Gandomcar-Sachs says. “The pressure from outside is unnecessary.”
Still, Sydney is now old enough that some of her peers have social media and have snooped on Gandomcar-Sachs’ background. “Sydney came home one day and asked if I’m famous,” she says. “The easy answer is, ‘No,’ right? But the cat’s already out of the bag. It’s a hard conversation to have with your child, but it’s important to be proactive about it – or as proactive as possible.”
Club members of all ages and backgrounds come to DPC to fulfill their dreams, says Gandomcar-Sachs. “In that atmosphere, the kids are listening to everything (the adults) say and watching everything (the adults) do. Since kids don’t have a filter, it can be quite humbling to hear their feedback. Our children are our mirrors, and to engage with them means setting aside our ego much more often than with adults.”
Gandomcar-Sachs’ family of three is completed by her husband, Ian Sachs. Ian doesn’t share the affinity for the barns and chores, but he certainly enjoys a day at polo. He’s known to gently tease the family equestrians after a day in the barn. “Sydney and I will come home straight from the farm and Ian will wrinkle his nose at the smell. I just laugh and reply, ‘But you didn’t even notice my manicure is looking amazing today!’ I’m a polo mom, keeping a nice manicure is a feat unto itself!”