Christian Byrne - Director
Christian developed the Polo Valley concept after returning from his first season playing in Argentina.
"Originally from a skiing family, we recognised a big opportunity to make polo more accessible and to get more people playing this very special sport. Over the past few years, we have worked hard as a team, focusing on all those important little details. We are constantly striving to improve and increase our client's experience here at polo Valley. Our challenge is to get more people to give the sport a go as well as growing Polo Valley Sotogrande into a leading polo destination and resort for those players already hooked."
Christian has grown up in Sotogrande and couldn't be more passionate about the destination for polo, it's lifestyle and weather.
Judy Doyle - Resort Manager
Native to Long Island, NY Judy grew up riding and started her career with thoroughbreds. Holding positions as a foreman in top racing stables, rehabilitating thoroughbreds at farms, representing consignments at auction for thoroughbreds in training, and import/export agent for leading KY Stallions out of Miami.
Her executive roles were in marketing & corporate hospitality for The Belmont Stakes and the boutique racing season in Saratoga Springs. She started to stick & ball at Meadowbrook Polo Club and moved to Wellington, FL shortly after. Within the sport she ran advertising campaigns for a polo magazine, stadium manager for a south Florida club and property manager/personal assistant for a high goal team.
Experienced in equine destination hospitality with safaris in Kenya, wrangling in WY and guiding in Argentina. She welcomes international guests as Manager of Polo Valley.
Katerina Kay – Sales & Marketing
Kat joined Polo Valley in 2016, working in operations and later as a polo assistant and instructor. Having had a passion for the sport since a young age, Kat went on to play a high level of polo at University. Kat couldn't be more passionate about Polo Valley and Sotogrande, having seen first hand the response and feedback of many guests.
“Being part of someone’s first polo experience as they get hooked on our addictive sport is such a privilege. There’s a brilliant, fun team here and its a compelling time with so many developments underway – the opportunity and community here is incredible.”
Santi – Pilot, Horse Breaker and Riding instructor
Santi joined the Polo Valley team when the first set of ponies stepped off the lorry. He is in charge of the young horse program, working his magic to break the horses in and making them suitable for schooling and playing.
His favourite horse is Bella, "She's a machine", he says. "I love the feeling when you see a horse play polo the way that you have taught it and to think that you made it possible for the horse to work the way it does."
From the famous ‘Pieres’ polo dynasty, Hernan has played polo before he could walk and has had success playing at the highest levels across the globe. Based in Sotogrande, Hernan joins the coaching team here at Polo Valley. With a current handicap of 3 goals, Hernan has an art for coaching and simplifying the game.
Aside from coaching, Hernan focuses on his own breeding program – with his famous Stallion ‘Rolinga’ currently playing the best polo in the world with Ellerstina in Argentina.
Diogo Gallego – Polo Professional & Coach (5HCP)
Diogo is currently ranked as Portugal’s number 1 polo player, however having grown up playing in Sotogrande he is very much known as a local boy. Diogo is an incredibly talented polo player, capable of juggling the ball from one end of the field to another. If he’s not coaching or instructing chukkers at Polo Valley he can be found playing the professional circuit at one of the many tournaments held at Santa Maria Polo Club.
Ivan – Polo Professional & Pilot (2HCP)
Ivan has been playing polo since the age of 12 years old and has worked with horses and professional teams ever since. He is well known on the local circuit here in Sotogrande, winning tournaments like the Conde de la Maza and is a strong asset to any team with his hard working, team orientated style of play.
Ivan dedicates his spare time to his horse named Turco and is a truly passionate horseman through and through. He is always happiest when riding and caring for the horses.
Fabi – Groom
Fabi, (Santi’s younger brother) is responsible for the daily care of the Polo Valley ponies. Fabi grew up in Argentina working on his grandmothers farm. It was there Fabi discovered his passion for horses and developed his horsemanship skills.
If you can’t find Fabi on horseback he will usually be in the stables listening to Latin Cumbia and drinking mate.
Melissa – Groom
Having grown up in Seville, Melissa is an Andalusian local and looks after our school ponies in the Lemon Barn. Melissa has always loved animals and thrives working hands on with our horses every day. When she isn’t grooming or tacking up she is doting on the horses affectionately and giving our miniature Shetland scratches.