Patton Polo

Patton the Horse Lover

General Patton was an accomplished equestrian. He simply loved horses. An example of this comes at the end of WWII, when he famously rescued the Lipizzan, a rare Spanish breed of horse, from being devoured by the Russians who were about to converge on Czechoslovakia. Code-named “Operation Cowboy,” Patton sent his 3rd Army on a rescue mission as a last-minute effort to save the horses before the massive advance of the Red Army arrived.

The Spanish Riding School of Vienna was placed under special protection of the United States Army. Thus, Patton’s rescue of approximately 250 Lipizzan is the reason why this rare breed of horses still exists today. This story inspired the Disney Movie “Miracle of the White Stallion” and the book titled “The Perfect Horse” by Elizabeth Letts.

Patton Polo – Patton’s Use of Polo in Military Training

The sport of polo was a favorite of General Patton, and he used it as a training tool for his commanding officers. He organized polo matches just to test them on their ability to work as a team and their individuality to work in situations under pressure. He felt the sport taught a soldier how to think and act instinctively. He used polo as the nearest to mounted combat he could simulate for their training. In the world of polo, everyone knows that it enjoyed an increase in popularity because General Patton used it as a training tool.

Patton Polo – Today

Patton Legacy Sports ™ honors General Pattton’s love of the sport of polo by sponsoring several tournaments that honor his enjoyment of equestrian sports and encourage his spirit of competition every year. Some of these take place within the Texas Arena League (TAL), the Pacific Coast Arena League (PCAL), and the US Army Polo Club – all under the guidance of the United States Polo Association (USPA).

Patton Polo – the Spirit of Patton Award

The best horse is fluid in its shared partnership with its rider during competition. Designed with General Patton’s grandson and namesake in mind, their affinity with horses lives on. With his passing on February 14, 2023, at the age of 68, Patton Legacy Sports ™ also honors this lifelong Patton equestrian. Georgie, as he was affectionately known, loved animals just as his grandfather did. At 6’3”, he was a proven athlete despite being mentally challenged from birth. This never stopped him from living life to the fullest and defying boundaries of experience, contribution, and achievement that too often are expected to limit special needs children and adults. He enjoyed all kinds of sports but especially equestrian, winning a gold and silver medal during a Special Olympic competition at the University of Notre Dame. As an accomplished rider and compassionate human being, he coached riders with disabilities at Windrush Farm, a therapeutic riding center in North Andover, MA. In his later years, he loved attending rodeos and simply being a cowboy at heart. He continued his equestrian activities until just weeks before his death. His beloved horse, Dolly, passing away the day after him. The Spirit of Patton award embodies the relationship between a rider and horse that is special. We cannot help but think that Georgie is with us every time we hand it out.

This award is specifically named for the connection between horse and rider that was evident in grandfather and grandson in the Patton family. We honor especially the last in the line of George Smith Patton, Jr. – our beloved cowboy, Georgie Patton, who passed away on February 14, 2023.