Announced as a new category in 2023, Director of Polo Jenny Schwartz '11 becomes the first I/I (Intercollegiate/Interscholastic) young alumni to be bestowed the United States Polo Association I/I Young Alumni Award. The honor is given to the individual that exemplifies the spirit of I/I by giving back to the sport in the last calendar year, by demonstrating commitment to growing young players in the sport and providing an outstanding example of selfless contribution to the sustainability of their local club(s) and/or the I/I program as a whole. A young alumni is defined as someone who has graduated within the last 10 years. 

Director of Polo Jenny Schwartz '11

Jenny Schwartz started polo as a middle school student at Garrison Forest School. She went on to play for Garrison Forest’s interscholastic team winning two Girls’ National Interscholastic Championships (2009, 2011) under Cindy Halle. After graduating from Garrison Forest in 2011, Schwartz went to Virginia Tech, where she started the school’s polo program with the help of the Interscholastic/Intercollegiate Polo Development team. Schwartz was able to acquire equipment and horses, and also built a small practice arena. Schwartz began the program while also coaching all the students that joined the team until she graduated in 2015. In 2015, Schwartz received the Intercollegiate Female Player of the Year award.

After graduation, Schwartz worked as a USPA intern at polo clubs in Poolesville, Maryland, and also worked under Justin Powers with USPA Polo Development traveling to different clubs around the country managing tournaments, events and various polo development projects. She helped grow the polo school at Seneca Polo Club before accepting her position as Director of Polo at Garrison Forest School in 2017. Since then, she has loved working at her alma mater—a place she will always call home. Schwartz has brought many young players into the sport and advanced their skills in order to compete in college, with a few now working in the polo industry. She is particularly proud of the lower school program she has cultivated as well as supporting the club programs (Ruda Polo and Charm City Youth Polo) that run out of the Garrison Forest organization.

Most recently, Schwartz began hosting community outreach polo clinics to underserved youth in Baltimore. Garrison Forest Polo hosted two clinics for Nexus Family Healing, a residential treatment and foster care facility in Baltimore County. Eighteen girls and boys traveled to campus, many of which were introduced to horses for the first time. Garrison students, Ruda and Charm City players all came together to teach horsemanship and polo basics. The clinics are a fantastic display of the development of an I/I player, uniting middle school, interscholastic, intercollegiate and I/I alumni to facilitate an amazing opportunity to give back to the community and spread the joy of polo.

About being honored with the award, Schwartz said, "I/I is so near and dear to me. I have been an I/I participant, worked with the I/I Polo Development team and now have the privilege of running one of the most well established Interscholastic polo programs in the country. I truly believe that I/I polo gave me the tools to succeed not only in the polo industry but as an individual. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been given because of the I/I program and truly honored to have received this award."

Note: A version of this article first ran on the United States Polo Association website on July 14, 2023.