New Polo School in Turf City

ANZA Members Janine and Patrick Furlong have opened a new polo school, Colts, in Turf City, aimed at encouraging kids and adult beginners to give the exhilarating equestrian sport a go. Janine tells us about their new venture.

Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Australia and Patrick is from Argentina. We met in the UK in 2001 where we were both working and traveling; we got married and lived there for 10 years. Our first two children, Lucas (12) and Matias (10) were born there. Patrick was transferred to Hong Kong in 2009 and we moved there before even knowing the place! We lived in Hong Kong for five years, where our third child Amelie (6) was born, before moving to Singapore in 2015.

What’s your ANZA connection?
We joined ANZA when we first arrived in Singapore and within a couple of months I took on a volunteer role with ANZA Soccer as an Age Group Coordinator (AGC). Along with my friend Michelle Wheeler I’m AGC for the U14’s. Patrick has been an ANZA coach for both Lucas and Matias’s soccer teams every year and we attend various ANZA events.

Why did you want to set up Colts?
Patrick has been involved with horses and polo all his life. He was the driver of the children’s polo program at the Singapore Polo club, which grew from a handful of kids to a large group of over 20 children in a short period of time. We thought there was a great opportunity to introduce new riders to polo. Singapore has a large equestrian community and a number of kids that were taking riding lessons wanted to try polo. They loved it! Riding and polo are great sports to learn from a young age. Our riding school provides not only a sports experience, but also an educational one – kids have to take responsibility for the care, welfare and performance of the horses. There is a lot more to riding than just riding!

Who is the riding and polo school for?
We are targeting children from age five and onwards, but we also invite adults of every experience who would like to try polo. We aim to make Colts a more inclusive riding school, and grow a community of riders in a fun, safe and family-friendly environment.

Does anyone else in your family play polo?
Lucas and Matias have been learning to play polo for about two years now, taking lessons at the Singapore Polo Club. Amelie will start riding now as well. I need to get over my fear of horses (after being thrown off when younger), before I’ll attempt to ride again!

Is this a change of direction for your family?
Patrick was a corporate banker with more than 20 years of experience. He left banking earlier last year to set up other sports-related ventures. It was a natural transition as he’s always loved sports and is passionate about development of youth sport in particular. After being a stay-at-home mum for the past 12 years, I’ve gone back to the workforce as a teaching assistant. I’ll be involved in the riding school out of school hours, and leave the riding to the experts!

What were the challenges of setting up a riding school in Singapore?
Setting up a company is actually really easy in Singapore, but the equestrian side is a bit more tricky. Most of the horses at Colts will be from overseas (Argentina and UK), so we had to go through the process of sourcing and buying the horses, quarantine in the country of origin, then shipment and quarantine again in Singapore.Overall, the experience has been great.

What is fantastic about being around these beautiful animals?
Horses are indeed beautiful, noble animals. Understanding their personalities, behaviours and how to make them perform is something that’s learned over time. But when it happens, it’s an incredible experience. We encourage everyone to give it a try!

Fast facts!
Location:
Turf City (104 Turf City Road)
Classes available:
• Mini Riding lessons for 5-8 year olds,
• Children’s Lessons for 9-14 year olds and
• Adult Lessons for 15+
• Group and individual lessons
• Regular practice ‘chukkas’ for kids and adults (Chukkas are the time periods a polo match is divided into)
• School holiday polo & riding camps