Statement from Peter Rizzo



Statement from Peter Rizzo, Executive Director of the United States Polo Association (USPA)


The United States Polo Association sends our condolences and shares everyone’s grief in the tragedy and mourns the loss of these horses. There are no words to describe the sadness shared by everyone – particularly the devastated owners of those magnificent horses.


We are actively working with the management of the International Polo Club-Palm Beach, state and local veterinarians and state and county regulatory agencies including the State Department of Agriculture, the Palm Beach County Department of Animal Care and Control and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office to determine what caused this terrible tragedy. While there is much speculation as to the cause of death, we will withhold an assessment until the Department of Agriculture completes its tests and releases its findings.


Victor Vargas, owner of the Lechuza Caracas team, has withdrawn his team from the U.S. Open Polo Championships.


The United States Polo Association wants to get to the bottom of this tragedy and determine what happened to the horses in this isolated and unprecedented event. We await the findings of the toxicology report and will provide additional comment when those results are announced.




The United States Polo Association has been organized and exists for the purposes of promoting the game of polo, coordinating the activities of its Member Clubs (Clubs) and Registered Players, arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions, and games and providing rules, handicaps, and conditions for those tournaments, competitions, and games including the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.


Bio of Peter Rizzo, Executive Director of the United States Polo Association

Peter Rizzo is the executive director of the United States Polo Association (USPA). He has played polo for over forty-five years as an amateur and professional both nationally and internationally. As the USPA Equine Welfare Representative Rizzo’s responsibilities include being the primary contact for reporting to the appropriate civil authorities who have jurisdiction to review and remedy cases of alleged horse abuse and neglect.