top of page

WOMEN+POWER 2023: Hope Arellano

At 20 years old, polo player Hope Arellano is the youngest woman featured in WOMEN+POWER this year. And at 20 years old, you might expect her to, I don’t know, act like an irresponsible 20-year old. Instead, she’s solidly grounded and family-oriented, focused on polo and ponies and the upcoming U.K. season.

When we spoke, she was in Santa Barbara with her mom, Meghan, and they’d just been on one of their morning walks prior to heading to the ranch to ride. She’s spending part of the early summer playing in Santa Barbara’s 12-goal tournaments to get ready to play in the United Kingdom shortly and then Argentina this fall.

“I’ve always wanted to play (polo) in Santa Barbara,” the up-and-coming star said of the picturesque club and renowned polo scene. “I’m loving every moment.” To get to Santa Barbara from their home base in Aiken, S.C., she and Meghan drove across the country for five years, 12 hours at a time, with 11 horses, often starting as early as 3 a.m. to avoid the heat of the day. “We spend hours on the road just looking for suitable horse hotels off the main roads. You can’t take polo ponies to just any K.O.A. (Kampground of America),” Hope joked. “Luckily, the traveling rodeo circuit that exists has paved the way for ranches that will host you and your ponies overnight.”

In Santa Barbara, she maintains the same schedule as in Aiken, Wellington or Buenos Aires: stretch, train, exercise, eat, ride, stretch again and sleep. It’s a pattern that works for her – case in point, she’s projected to be rated as a 10-goal player by early fall, per the U.S. Polo Association. Hope declined to brag about that honor when pressed. “It’s not always perfect, but I have so many amazing opportunities in front of me right now, I don’t dare complain,” she said.

She looks to Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and the late Kobe Bryant for inspirational athletes. Williams, of course, has been a featured Women+Power profile, too. But before anything else, she said, it’s family first. “We all play polo. We’re all in the same profession. It may be unusual but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”


bottom of page