Henry Porter Interview
Photographs by} John Russo
Interview by} Ken Waller
Grooming by} Holly Logan
Styling by} Benecio Ambrosio wearing Matchless London, Louie Vuitton, Naked Cashmere, Gucci
Location} Santa Barbara
Q: What a “ride” it’s been so to speak! You started riding horses at five years old and playing Polo at eight. Can you tell me where this drive and passion came from at such a young age?
A: I’ve always felt a connection with horses and I am an animal lover in general. However it wasn’t until I had my first polo lesson in Dubai when I was 8 years old, I became absolutely hooked on what is now my career. I practiced every day after school. I am just as passionate about the sport today as I was when I started.
Q: Looking back on your childhood, was Polo a curse or a blessing? Meaning did all of the hard work, practice and dedication prevent you from having a normal childhood?
A: I’ve never looked at polo as a curse, It’s been such a passion for me that I’ve loved every minute of it. Obviously it comes with its sacrifices as does all professional sports, missing out on family vacations, birthdays and social events. Weekends I was at the stables rather than hanging out with my friends. I travelled for tournaments and had to continue with school work at the same time, however it was all worth it.
Q: At seventeen years old you won the European Championship gold medal. I can’t even imagine how proud both you and your family must have been. Did having this taste of victory add more fuel to your fire to be the best you could be?
A: Winning the FIP European championship was a huge achievement for me, it qualified us for my first World Cup representing England. I completed that year with a European Gold medal and a Bronze from the World Cup in Australia. These big wins always add fuel to the fire, it keeps you highly motivated to get better and keep climbing the ladder.
Q: You were the youngest person to be on the English National Polo team. What was the acceptance level like by the other players? Were you treated differently because of your age?
A: Although I was the youngest on the team, I had a great relationship with my teammates, I had previously played with all of them in different tournaments, we had a great team spirit and we all got along very well with each other. Our chemistry definitely helped the team excel.
Q: At the ripe young age of nineteen you won the East Coast open. How did you handle the pressure and expectation? I mean people are now probably expecting you to win more and more and that can be a lot of weight on a young man’s shoulders.
A: There’s definitely always pressure in every game, it’s something all athletes have to deal with one way or another. Being one of the youngest I felt had a little extra pressure because I wanted to prove myself every game, but this is the kind of pressure I like, it motivates me to perform the best I can every game. Pressure in sport is definitely healthy in my opinion, as long as it’s not too much that it becomes haunting.
Q: You had the honor to play in several charitable tournaments with Prince Harry and Prince William. Tell me about those experiences.
A: I’m very honored that I’ve had the privilege to play alongside both Prince William and Prince Harry. They have been for charity matches, which all turned out to be highly successful events for all charities involved which is fantastic. They are both a lot of fun to play with, and they both give as good as they get on the field.
Q: You are THE ONLY non American global ambassador of the US Polo Association. That is pretty impressive. What is your involvement with the association?
A: I’ve been very fortunate to sign with U.S POLO ASSOCIATION as a Global Ambassador since 2019. We have created a great partnership over the past 2 years and they have been very generous and supportive, kitting me out with the best polo gear on the market and really good apparel. I love the brand, it is very comfortable to wear.
Q: What is the name of your favorite horse for competition and why is this horse more special than the others?
A: It is always hard picking a favorite horse since I build such a close relationship with them all, the more I know the horse, the better we both perform together on the field. However I would have to say my favorite is Macacha, she’s a 12 year old chestnut mare. Macacha has always played her absolutely heart out every time she gets onto the field, she has incredible acceleration and speed yet very agile. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep her blood line going and breed her in the future.
Q: You and your family are very big on philanthropy and giving back. You are an ambassador for 4Ocean which helps purify the ocean by removing plastic. Why is this charity so special to you?
A: 4Ocean is a charity that is crowd funded through selling plastic bracelets. These representing each species 4Oceans are striving to save and every bracelet sold ‘pulls a pound’ of trash from the ocean, most of which is plastic and fishing lines. This issue has always been close to my heart, I love the sea and I’m always looking at new ways to get involved to help fix this crisis in the oceans. Plastic is climbing the food chain through the ocean killing hundreds of thousands of fish,turtles, dolphins, whales, all species are effected. Including us. Go to www.4ocean.com and use my code HENRYP to get involved! Wear a bracelet.
Q: Tell me your ultimate career goal?
A: My ultimate career goal is to reach a handicap of 10 goals. There are only currently 5 players worldwide with this handicap, and there hasn’t been a British 10 Goal player in over a 100 years. This has been a goal since my day one of playing polo and everyday I aspire through training on and off the field to climb this ladder.
To learn more about Henry Porter follow him @Henryporterpolo