Polos and Ponies

By Montecito Journal   |   March 18, 2021

The recent interesting “Seen Around Town” article (volume 27, issue 10) reviewed Santa Barbara Polo Club and requires a few comments and corrections. It mentioned that polo player Elmer Boeseke Jr. was able to gain admittance for the local club into the U.S.P.A. However, it was his father, Dr. Elmer J. Boeseke, who served two terms as mayor of Santa Barbara and was a tireless polo advocate. He was instrumental in getting Santa Barbara County Polo Association (the original name of the club) admitted to the association in 1911. 

In 1925, Elmer Jr. purchased part of the old San Leandro Ranch (by now renamed Ennisbrook). It had two polo fields and he added stables containing stalls for 150 horses; Santa Barbara Polo Club leased the fields. Through the Boeseke family (Elmer Sr. had two brothers who played in Santa Barbara), the Ennisbrook community became a centerpiece for polo in the area. As a result of financial problems, these fields closed in 1931. By the mid- to late-1940s, interest in polo subsided greatly and Ennisbrook was not used much. Elmer Boeseke Jr. died in 1965. Ennisbrook remained in the Boeseke family (Santa Barbara Polo Club leased the two fields) until it was eventually sold in 1986 to property developers. 

The present location of the polo club facility in Carpinteria was first purchased by Major Maximilian Charles Fleischmann in 1923. He was determined to add his name to the growing number of polo fields in Santa Barbara. In the fall of that year, Frank Flournoy surveyed the land, and the ground was prepared for the construction of Fleischmann field.

After three years of nurturing the turf, the first polo game was played February 1926, when the visiting Midwick team from Alhambra roundly trounced the Santa Barbara players 10 to 1, thereby inaugurating, if somewhat ignominiously, the new Fleischmann polo property. 

In 1929, Fleischmann purchased the adjoining 40-acre parcel and began building two more polo fields. By 1930, Santa Barbara could boast that it had Fleischmann, Bartlett, Cox, and Hope Ranch polo fields in addition to various private practice fields. Harsh economic conditions, marked by high taxes and restricted incomes, began to affect polo in Santa Barbara; Major Fleischmann divided his facility in 1936 and among the group of people that purchased the parcels were Ann and Charles (Pete) Jackson. In 1937, Ann, who was a polo player, had the vintage cottage style clubhouse built. In 1941, the club’s ownership was transferred to her. During the Depression, the Jacksons built their dream home, Rancho San Lucas in Montecito, and included a polo field and large stables. 

Despite the glamour of polo, its danger should not be underestimated. Many players have died in accidents, including two of Santa Barbara Polo Club’s managers. James Wood Colt Jr. died in 1931 while playing for the club’s team at the Uplifter’s Club in Santa Monica and, in 1977, Lisle Nixon was killed while playing a tournament at the club. The 1980s brought Max Fleischmann’s dream of a polo renaissance to fruition. Many great players like Joe Barry, ‘Podger’ El Effendi, Bart Evans, Daniel Gonzalez, Memo and Carlos Gracida, and Tommy Wayman graced the club’s fields.

This year, the polo club celebrates its 120th anniversary with another season of polo in paradise. Due to COVID regulations, it will be a members-only club. Hopefully, it will soon be fully open as usual to the general public for Sunday polo games. 

Nigel Gallimore

See You at the Municipal Board Meeting

I’m sad that my fellow Montecito volunteer, and current sanitary district director, Dana Newquist got so worked up over my letter regarding an anti-water-conservation gadfly’s aggressive comments at February’s water district board meeting – one of three recent MJ letters about this individual. You completely missed my sincere compliment regarding the “admirable professionalism” of the water board members! My husband, who is an energy lawyer, and I have been following our area’s complex water issues since the desalination plant began operating in 1991. We urge more Montecito and Summerland ratepayers to attend MWD meetings on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 9:30 am, and to watch MSD meetings every second Thursday at 1:30 pm. 

A quick p.s. to commend another neighbor and fellow Celt, Michael Maloco, on defending Prince Harry and his distinguished (and as Michael points out) completely voluntary military career. Slàinte to Michael and all our village Celts on this St. Patrick’s Day – and to the goal of Montecitans coming together to find solutions to conserve our precious water.

Eileen White Read

Dreaming of She-Bears

Carlos, the Bear, brushed his nose with a tired claw then slowly extended his arm out to his calendar clock that was chiming its alarm. He paused, focused on the date, March 7, then hit the snooze button. That reset the alarm to rustle him out of hibernation in another two weeks. His stomach grumbled and he felt hungry, but he still favored the first day of spring as a better time to awaken from his winter sleep. “Now, back to that dream I was having,” he thought. He curled up again to catch some more sleep and that memory of a she-bear he had flirted with last fall.

Michael Edwards

Founding Father James Madison Got it Wrong

In the Federalist Papers, Madison argued that states would stop Senate and White House power grabs for numerous reasons: states had direct control over the Senate (and their legislatures elected Senators); the power of the federal government was only to be feared in time of war; states had more benefits and jobs to pass out than Washington did; and states had many times Washington’s potential military capacity. Lastly, only a “degree of madness” would incline the federal government to take away state powers.

Since 1913, however, states have been prevented from controlling the Senate by the 17th Amendment. In an era of perpetual war since World War II, the size and power of the federal government has grown monstrously. Today, the true federal workforce, including the military, is twice the size of the sum of all 50 state workforces. The national government has taken over much of state benefits’ policy making through “pre-emption.” And the “madness” has descended upon the White House and the Senate in spades.

We need to think of new ways to curb federal power.

Kimball Shinkoskey

No Disparaging Words

I read the letter to the editor entitled “The Brits Like Us!” (25 Feb – 4 Mar 2021) with deep sadness, disappointment, and, frankly, disgust. This letter contributed nothing constructive to our community dialogue or local issues. Instead, it was a disparaging of a member of our community. Can we imagine a similar letter being published about any other not-so-famous neighbor? How was this letter even considered worthy of publication? 

The woman criticized in Moya St Leger’s letter is more than capable of defending herself and needs no assistance from me. I do not presume to ride in on my white horse to save her. 

But what I want to express is this: the choice to publish this letter represents the antithesis of everything I believe Montecito is about. 

I am a lifelong resident of Santa Barbara. I grew up between Hope Ranch and Montecito, playing sports in both communities. In high school, Montecito was my sanctuary away from boarding school on rare, weeknight dinners after I played lacrosse games. I deliberately chose to raise my son here as a single mom because I wanted him to experience the same sense of community, peace, and sanctuary that Montecito was for me. 

I am sad and disheartened that the pettiness and mean spirit of St. Leger’s letter exists. But I am more sad and disappointed that the Journal would deign to publish this letter of pointless, personal criticism and negativity. Did no one at the Journal raise a hand and ask ‘Why are we giving such speech a voice? Is this who we are and want to be?” 

The Montecito community is better than this; we all deserve better. Any new resident should be welcomed with warmth and kindness, not public disparagement. I hope that the Montecito Journal will remember that in the future and use better judgment when choosing what to publish.

Shannon D. Murray


Bob Ludwick did not claim “long time” in his cycling resume. He apologizes to his many friends and former friends who are in fact lifetime enthusiasts of the lycra-spandex-clipless-road-bike kingdom to which he is a Bobby-come-lately. Also, the Amana side-by-side refrigerator advertised on page 109 of last week’s edition is now only available in avocado. We regret any inconvenience or heartburn these two inaccuracies might have caused.

Bob Ludwick, President, Coast Village Assn.

The Brits STILL Like Us!

The writer of this article, Moya St Leger, wrote that she “wondered how many readers of your beautiful magazine are aware that the majority of Britons would prefer never to see or hear again from Meghan Markle?”

I can only speak for my family and for the many beautiful residents of our sweet community who have big hearts, welcoming personalities and open hands and who have seen the quiet, unassuming, smiling faces of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry as they happily settle in Montecito. I have heard precious remarks of personal meetings Meghan is friendly and appreciates our smiles and assistance. Living here for over 50 years, I have watched and sometimes assisted in the effort to maintain the fragile ‘rural’ character of our community. But like all beautiful places, it has grown and developed in size and scope to include many famous personalities who love to enjoy our public places and not be snagged by overzealous spectators. Most meld into our Village to enjoy a paradise found.

What we don’t care for are the hateful, resentful, political-minded locals, or in this case, those from abroad, who don’t represent the dear country of Briton but instead are the mean-spirited writers of tabloid news – as is Ms. St Leger. Just Google her British non-supporters and her consistent bad press. I say: “Go back to your angry mob far away from Montecito.”

Welcome, Meghan and Harry. We are thrilled to be your neighbors!!

Maryanne Brillhart

Use Your Virtual Hugs

As the mother of two sons raised in Montecito and the grandmother of two children aged two and five, who are enrolled in El Montecito’s preschool, I believe now is the time to show our love and support for Harry, Meghan, and Archie. They moved here to live a happy, safe and productive life and to raise their children in our beautiful Santa Barbara community.

They are devoted to improving the lives of others, not just themselves. The press has been despicable and relentless in attacking them.

Everyone in our community should wrap their virtual arms around them. They are a young family with a baby on the way. I am quite certain they would appreciate knowing that they have our loving kindness and full support.

I do not personally know them. But I’m sure they’d appreciate knowing that we care about them and are thankful to have them as our neighbors.


Joye Lytel 


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