by Leonard Shapiro
Middleburg’s Richard “Dick” Riemenschneider and Andi Gilman entertained friends, family and guests at the Wanderer’s Club in Wellington, Florida in mid-February, and polo dominated the cocktail party conversation.
The occasion: Riemenschneider was presented with the 2016 Philip Iglehart Awardby the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame. He and fellow polo aficionado, the late Russell A. Sheldon, Jr., were honored with that award the following evening at the 27th annual Polo Hall of Fame induction ceremony and gala.
Fondly known by his many friends as “Remo,” he’s been involved with the sport since 1949. As a sixth-grader, he began riding and playing polo at Joy Farm near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He started by hot-walking, exercising and tack-cleaning which evolved into working with green ponies and playing practice games at the Milwaukee Polo Club.
Remo is a graduate of the University of Virginia and was captain and president of the school’s renowned Polo Club as well as being named the intercollegiate most valuable player in 1957. He later coached the UVa squad while in law school in Charlottesville.
Remo has been involved with UVa polo since 1955. He was greatly responsible for the success of the Virginia Polo Club by initiating fundraising efforts for financing its program, resulting in the creation of the best collegiate polo facility in the nation.
Despite receiving no funding from the university, more than 700 young men and women, including high school students, have benefitted from UVa’s polo program. Along with Rodger Rinehart, Remo instituted and managed the 501-c-3 fundraising effort for the school’s polo facility. He now serves as the program’s chairman of the endowment committee.
Over the years, he also mentored a number ofUVaplayers, including Dick Latham, Owen and Rob Rinehart and George Greenhalgh. As an attorney living and practicing in this area for many years, he introduced many Middleburg youngsters to the game. He also helped coach them and started the Middleburg Polo Club in the 1960s.
“Remo has supported my polo endeavors from the day I moved to Middleburg and began playing polo up until this moment,” said Maureen Brennan of VIP Polo in Upperville and a widely-respected player herself. “He wasn’t actively playing anymore but offered his assistance any time and he never disappointed. Remo has been there to advise, watch games, support benefit matches, be a third man (umpire on sidelines), anything I needed. I’ve always felt honored how he welcomed me into the local polo community so easily.”
A long-time horseman, Riemenschneider has developed polo ponies, bought and sold them and ran a long-time boarding operation. In addition he was an active player for many years, winning numerous events participating on a number of teams. He represented the U.S. State Department on a team that played in Lahore, Pakistan for three weeks in 1964 with Bob Skene, Roy Berry, Vic Graber and Hap Puelicher. He also played in Canada and England in 1958 and 1972.
In 1958, he was a member of an intercollegiate all star team that toured England for six weeks, playing against Oxford and Cambridge and competing in tournaments at Cowdray, Tidworth and Cirencester. From this tournament, Frolic Weymouth started the well-known “Gerald Balding” Tournament.
He’s played the sport in 16 states and Canada and represented the U.S. on teams competing in England and Pakistan.
As an administrator, Remo has been a U.S. Polo Association circuit handicap chairman, governor, tournament committee chairman, treasurer, executive vice president, president and chairman. He’s currently chairman of the Polo Training Foundation.