Meet attorney Pamela Flanagan. She tells us about her legal background and involvement with the United States Polo Association!
Sam: Thank you for speaking with me, what made you decide to become an attorney?
Attorney Pamela Flanagan: Yeah! My dad is an attorney and his mentality has always been that law school would open a bunch of doors and having a JD (Juris Doctor degree) would help you with whatever you want to do in life. Similarly, all my siblings work at the firm. The way we kind of maintained our autonomy is being licensed in many states. Since the firm is a national tax law firm, we kind of cover the basis with five of us being licensed in at least two states, along with other attorneys licensed in other states as well. I’m currently licensed in Texas, and will soon be in Colorado!
Sam: Impressive, so how did you become involved with horses?
Attorney Pamela Flanagan: Nobody in my family was really interested in horses. I don’t know why I had an affinity for horses. However, my mother loved animals when she came over from Greece. And when I was younger, I used to see these horses by a gas station while my mom filled up the car. Every time, I saw them I wanted to ride, so my mom signed me up for lessons every Tuesday and Thursday when I was about 3.
Sam: How did that progress into the sport of Polo and where has it taken you?
Attorney Pamela Flanagan: By the time I went to boarding school, I signed up for a lot of equestrian courses and then immediately fell in love with Polo. So much that once I got to college, I helped set up and create the Polo team at SMU (Southern Methodist University). Then when I was 28, I was elected to sit on the board of governors of the United States Polo Association which is the governing body of USPA.
I’ve played all over China, Mexico, Argentina, Canada among other places. Argentina is really the place to play Polo, especially during September through January. I originally went down there to emerge into the culture and sport. I actually played my first project horse, Stella, in the 2019 US Women Open that we ended up winning.
Sam: What is it about the culture that really drew you to the sport?
Attorney Pamala Flanagan: What I love about Polo is it’s not as toity highbrow; it’s really more family-orientated, and one of those sports that’s really inclusive to anyone who wants to try. And in Argentina, it’s popular and more affordable. However, the thing that drew me to it was really how family-oriented and welcoming the community is and mentality of the players are on and off the sport.
Sam: So, when did you become passionate about rescuing horses?
Attorney Pamala Flanagan: One of the things I became very passionate about was that when I graduated I wanted to get my own horse. Particularly, what I thought would be more fun and affordable for me would be a project horse. A project horse would be one that I could train into the sport rather than a horse bred for Polo. So, this search actually led me to discovering more about the horse-slaughtering industry.
Every day horses are sold in essentially bulk to a “kill-buyer” who buys horses people don’t want at very cheap rates. The “kill-buyer” then sell across the border in Mexico for meat. I do realize this happens with chickens, pigs, and all other animals every day, but these horses aren’t raised to be slaughtered and fed to people. Some of these horses have had all kinds of antibiotics and treatments. Beyond that, the humane aspect of how the horses are treated, transported, and slaughtered in a barbaric nature. Therefore, I became really passionate about raising awareness and now have nine rescue horses of my own.
Sam: That is great about raising awareness, and your efforts to rescue. Where can people learn more about your efforts and do you have anything else to share?
Attorney Pamela Flanagan: Yes, I always recommend going to the various rescue or adoption organizations, cause the horses are vetted, and your dealing with good people that you can always go back to if there are ever any issues or pre-existing conditions.
The other thing I want to add is Hawaii Polo Life, they are an athletic clothing brand based in Hawaii. They have been so supportive of not just me, but women in polo and without them I wouldn’t have had nearly as many opportunities as I’ve had. They even sponsored 2019 US Women Open Team and have been instrumental what I achieved as a player, and I am forever grateful.
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Disclaimer: All Photos Provided Courtesy & Authorized by Hawaii Polo Life and Pamela Flanagan. Potential minor edits for transcript's length, flow, grammatical/formatting.
NEXT: If you enjoyed this, please read our interview with Miss Rhode Island USA Jonét Nichelle