By Taryn Finley, huffingtonpost.com

Courtesy of Shariah Davis. (far right)

A 19-year-old is making history and disrupting the wealthy white male-dominated sport of polo at the same time.

On June 30, Shariah Harris of Philadelphia became the first black woman to play high-goal polo, the top tier of polo in the U.S. This summer, the Cornell University sophomore hit the field at the Tony Greenwich Polo Club in Connecticut to play for the Postage Stamp Farm team in the Silver Cup tournament….

Harris became interested in the sport at age 8 or 9 after her mom took a wrong turn while driving. The wrong turn led them to grounds where other black children were riding horses. Harris and her mom were intrigued and found that the stables were run by a non-profit called Work to Ride. The program allows underprivileged inner-city kids to work in the stables and care for the horses. In return, the kids learn about horsemanship and equine sports.

“As a mother of three children on a single income, I saw it as an opportunity to make their lives better,” her mom, Sharmell Harris, told the Hartford Courant. “Instead of a soccer mom, I became a barn mom.”…

At 12, she joined the organization’s team and found a passion in polo. She would watch videos of the best players in the world and aspire to play at that level. So she incorporated some of their moves into her sport and challenged herself by playing with the boys of the program….

KERRY MCCANN

Through Work to Ride, Harris was able to travel to play in different cities in the country as well as Nigeria and Argentina. While in Argentina in December, the teen met the owner of the Postage Stamp Farm team, Annabelle Garrett….

“What we’re doing is taking someone who’s played high school, middle school basketball and throwing them into the NBA, right? And I think she has surprised everyone,” Garrett said. “I think everybody is so impressed with how she’s handled it and how she’s really kind of… asked us for coaching, asked us how she can get better, asked how she can, you know, really wanting to do well. Not just to prove to herself but for the team. And it’s a huge learning curve… she’s really taken on the challenge and excelled.”

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