Diego Gross and Tina Natorp share their expertise and horses at Buckaroo Polo
Diego Gross and Tina Natorp are a perfectly matched couple. They both grew up on horseback, and each has played polo competitively for over 25 years for top teams in matches all over the US. Their many championships and trophies attest to their love for and expertise in competitive polo, and they still play matches here in St. Louis most weeks during the season.
At their 20-acre Green River Ranch near Eureka, Diego and Tina train their own polo horses, all retired thoroughbred racehorses that they rescued from tracks across the country. They are also raising their three young sons at the ranch to share their love of horses.
Now they are applying their horses and expertise at their company Buckaroo Polo, where they train people of all ages and riding experience in the basics of care and grooming, horsemanship and in playing polo. While it takes considerable experience and skill to play at the level of Tina and Diego, polo is a game that many riders can enjoy. Diego is the trainer, offering private instruction, small group lessons and he also conducts trail rides in the wooded properties around their ranch.
Diego is a real live cowboy, having grown up on a cattle ranch in Argentina. He has trained horses on four continents and for the leading polo teams here in St. Louis. He begins instruction for riders with basic understanding of horses – how to respect and approach them, being confident and safe moving around them, how to groom, saddle and bridle them. He also emphasizes the need to appreciate the individual personalities that distinguish each animal. It is important to learn how to communicate with the horse, to signal the rider’s intention and direct the horse. There is much that horses can teach riders, both in everyday riding and for learning how to play polo.
Diego is an expert at breaking young racehorses to help them become more responsive and comfortable with recreational riders, and when he thinks they are ready to play polo, he hands them off to Tina.
Diego prides himself on his ability to match a potential owner or rider with the right horse, for general riding or the sport of polo. Diego tells many stories about buyers who didn’t take the care to really understand the horse they were considering buying, and wound up very disappointed with their purchase. For horses to be trained to play polo, it starts with assessing how the horse is built, and from being around the horse and a few rides Diego gets a good sense for their athleticism to maneuver to the ball and their competitive spirit to play the sport well.
Diego offers his expertise to consult prospective buyers on horses they are considering for purchase, and provides training for problem horses and their owners. For select horses requiring a longer training regimen, he may offer to board a horse at their ranch to work with for a few weeks or months.
Buckaroo Polo is a family ranch where kids and adults are all welcome. What distinguishes their training from other riding schools or stables is that even beginners don’t get the greenest instructor or the worst horse. All instruction is by Diego himself, and every horse is a thoroughbred trained to be comfortable around other horses and people, and responsive to hands-on touch.
If you or your children of any riding experience would like to learn the basics of horseback riding, or to play polo, or if you need expertise for purchasing or training a horse, you are welcome to call Diego Gross at Buckaroo Polo, located just 12 minutes from Six Flags. Diego will provide a horse matched to the rider, tack and helmet to get started. You can reach him to set up an appointment by calling or texting 636-393-9900, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.