We met Luke Wiles through our collaboration with the Tomlinsons at Beaufort Polo Club, who we have worked with to develop our Traditional Training Breeches. Luke is 19 and one of the UK’s most promising young polo prospects, having played since he was just 6 years old whilst growing up in the Gloucestershire countryside. Horses have always been an integral part of Luke's life and he also hunts with the Beaufort Hunt whenever he can.
Since leaving school, Luke spent the 2021/22 winter in Argentina preparing for a very busy season ahead. He will be playing from 6 to 15 goal polo at the Beaufort, where his horses are based, as well as at Guards and Cowdray polo clubs. Luke is now one of our brand ambassadors and has been putting our Traditional Training Breeches to the test, trying out the Stockbridge jacket and we are delighted to say that he will be wearing our soon-to-be-launched White Polo Breeches.
A life around horses
We know you have been involved in polo from a super young age, did you always hope to play professionally?
I think for any young player just starting out the dream is always to make it to the top and play professionally, so of course I’ve always had that ambition to try and be as good as I can be. At the moment, I’m still far away from where I want to end up in terms of handicap within polo hence, I have a long way to go and there is still lots of hard work to achieve that goal.
What got you involved in the sport to start with, and where do you aspire to be in the future?
I was a member of the pony club and went hunting from a very young age so for me a venture into polo was always on the cards! I think it was when I was about 6 that I went for my first lesson with Claire Tomlinson, who my Dad knew through his time in polo, and Caspar West, along with a good mate Ed Walker, and I suppose it just went from there. I think, for me, the future is just trying to be as good as I can without putting a number on it in terms of handicap, so I need to continue working hard and taking as many opportunities as possible and then see where that takes me.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren't playing polo professionally?
Now this is a tough one. I think it would still be something horse based for sure, and I would say I would have gone into hunting, as this is something I have always loved and if it wasn’t for polo would probably be the career path I would have chosen.
Has your childhood set you up for a life with horses and sport?
Most definitely. My family is very much a horsey family and both me and my sister were put on a horse before we could walk! I always played sport at school mainly rugby and football but as polo became more serious, I sadly couldn’t play these as much.
Polo is widely known as one of the toughest equestrian disciplines, how do you prepare yourself and your horses physically (and mentally!) for a match?
For the horses during the season more than anything else it’s about keeping them in a strict routine which allows them to stay in top shape both physically and mentally. Knowing when not to play certain horses during the peak months of July and August is key when the weather is tougher on them, and the games are coming thick and fast.
For myself physically try and keep fit in the gym as much as possible (probably not enough 🤣) and ride almost every day alongside playing games. Mentally, it’s about balance during the season as polo can be a very draining sport given that the games are very frequent, and if results don’t go your way this can become very tough. I try and get a good balance between focusing on polo and spending time with friends as otherwise it’s hard to stay in top shape mentally.
Are you involved with bringing on young polo ponies?
I have a few home breds here in England and some in Argentina. However, to be honest I haven’t done it as much as I’d have liked due to time taken up with school and being away in the winter, however moving forward this is something I want to get more involved with.
What excites you most about the future as a polo player?
More than anything else it’s the chance to work with horses every day. Being involved with them and the connection between us, the players, and the horses is something that is unique in polo compared to any other sport. Also, I am an ambitious person and it’s that goal to improve everyday which also excites me and try as best as I can to get as close to the top of the sport as possible.
We have also seen you are partial to a bit of hunting, mainly with the Beaufort. Are there any skills that you can learn on the hunting field that are transferrable over to polo?
That is true I am also a big fan of hunting and have been so since a very young age, in fact I began hunting before I started polo! Obviously, the riding style between hunting and polo is very different but for me it’s a great way to keep riding fit during the winter and a great way to spend time with friends.
The polo season
How is your UK season going so far?
This season has been great for me, and I have enjoyed it massively. Having just come off the back of a winter away in Argentina, I came into the season with both me and my horses well prepared. Results haven’t been amazing, but I have managed to win a decent number of games and been able to win one tournament so far which was great. I have been in some fun teams and so far, it has been an enjoyable season.
How did you prepare for it and what does your weekly training involve as you progress through the season?
During the winter I was lucky enough to spend a decent chunk of time away in Argentina training and playing tournaments, which was great fun and an experience which helped me develop as a player. At the moment during the season, it’s about maintaining my fitness and that of the horses and finding a balance given my hectic playing schedule. I try to keep fit in the gym as much as I can in between games and for the horses I aim to ride them in between when they aren’t playing or aren’t recovering from games.
What tournaments and matches do you have planned for the rest of the season and what other clubs will you be playing at?
For the rest of the season, I have tournaments from 15 goal (which in polo is medium goal), down to 8 goal (which is classed as low goal) at clubs such as Cowdray Park, Guards, Cirencester Park, and my home club Beaufort. With still around 2 months of the season left there is still plenty of games to play and hopefully a few wins.
Will you go back to Argentina this winter and any plans to play in any other countries?
I am about to go to Sotogrande in Spain for 2 weeks in August which is exciting and while I’m not sure if I will play at all I can’t wait to experience being part of a big polo organisation and learning from them. In the winter I hope to get the opportunity to go back to Argentina as it’s the best place in the world to learn and improve, and while I am still not sure if I’m going, I’m still hopeful something may come up.
Working with G&G
Our new Polo Whites will be launched soon which are based on our Traditional Training Breeches you have been testing for us, what are your thoughts on the Training Breeches?
For me the training breeches are far superior to anything I have used to ride in before such as cords or jeans. They are extremely comfortable with a great stretchy material which is extremely durable and avoids your legs getting pinched unlike jeans. I can’t wait to begin using the whites in games!
What are the benefits of playing in breeches vs traditional jeans?
For me above all its the comfort of the G&G breeches vs traditional breeches, as the materials used are much more flexible and give far greater support in the saddle.
Can you tell us what it is about the brand that enticed you to become a brand ambassador?
I am extremely excited to be working with Glaze & Gordon as I see the brand to have a huge amount of potential to grow, especially into polo, as I believe the launch of the polo whites will be popular among many players, and those I have spoken to about them seem very interested. I love the fact the brand does not just specialise in one equestrian discipline but reaches out to many, and the quality and attention to detail shown in the products is fantastic.