At just 17 years old, Timmy Dutta is among the world’s top youth high goal polo players. Five years ago, he traded in sailing over jumps for galloping down the polo field. In February 2019, Timmy, part of the Dutta Corp Team, won the trifecta of 20 goal tournament series. This was the first time in International Polo Club history that a team won the Pennell, Joe Barry and the Ylvisaker Cups.
“I’ve been really fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from the best players in the sport,” he said. “I spend a few months every spring training in Argentina and that has really helped me improve my skills and mature as a player.”
Timmy inherited his love of polo from his father, J. Tim Dutta, who grew up in India where his parents were in the army. He had access to horses around age five and was exposed to polo just a few years later.
Hours of training, both in the saddle and at the gym, have contributed to Timmy’s prowess on the field. However, he says that he is also incredibly superstitious and follows an elaborate routine before every match. At least two hours prior to the first chukkah, he eats a big bowl of pasta and drinks two big bottles of water. Then he takes a shower, even if he’s already taken one earlier in the day. He writes out his horse list in the order he plans to ride them using one specific Dutta Corp pen all season long.
“I also wear the same belt, shirt and socks that I’ve worn in previous matches that I’ve won,” he said. “If I lose wearing those items, I change them for the next one.”
Although he has a string of 17 horses he manages under his father’s guidance, he says palomino Mr. Musti, his most recent addition, is often the horse he starts on.
“He gives me the confidence to start the game because he has lots of talent and he makes me get in the rhythm of the game and dialed in,” Timmy says.
Staying fit and keeping his ponies in top physical condition are what helps the young player excel in a sport dominated by older, seasoned players.
“Because I’m younger and don’t have as much experience as older players I have to be fitter and stronger,” he said. “I believe that I have to be as fit as my horses.”
Finding the right horses is a big part of his success, he says. Most importantly, he looks for a horse with a lot of heart.
“I like the Thoroughbreds because of how much more power you get with them,” he said. “The biggest thing is heart. These horses are also willing to fight for you.”
When Timmy isn’t studying or training, he goes scuba diving off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida. The area has some of the best natural reef systems in the world, he says. Each April, he and several friends spend a few days in the Florida Keys spear fishing before the next polo season kicks off.