Whether you are an avid polo fan, own an equestrian home where you ride all the time, or simply love sports in general, a great film to watch is The Polo Kid, directed by Nathaniel McCullagh. The film is a documentary profile of renowned polo player Santiago “Santi” Torres, who is currently ranked number 12 in the world, with a 6-goal handicap. The Polo Kid is a coming-of-age story about a boy who fulfills his dreams without all the financial advantages that most polo players enjoy, such as growing up on a ranch or equestrian home.
Torres’ story is a very compelling one, as it’s a true portrayal of a boy achieving the American dream. Known as one of the oldest, fastest and most dangerous team sports, polo is typically associated with luxury and privilege—many believe one must be born into the exclusive world to play this challenging sport. Yet Torres hailed from an immigrant family in an ordinary Santa Barbara home. That didn’t stop him Torres from leaving home at only 13 years of age to become a professional polo player and ultimately one of the sport’s biggest stars.
Both of his parents played polo, and Torres started riding horses at the tender age of three and playing peewee polo at age four. By age eight, he was riding and caring for eight horses. At age 10, he officially turned professional.
The Polo Kid was shot for approximately a year, as McCullagh chronicled Torres and his older brother, Miguel Jr., through the polo circuit, including stops in The Hamptons, Wellington, Mexico, Argentina and back home in Santa Barbara.
The Polo Kid also features some of the world’s best and most famous players, including the world’s top ranked player, Adolfo Cambiaso, Nacho Figueras and Mariano Aguerre. Cambiaso remarked on Torres’ talent for the film, “I think he has great potential,” Cambiaso says of Santi in the film. “His ability is amazing.”