Not one to be considered a shrinking violet, Neku Atawodi likes riding with the boys. In fact, she recently competed on the men’s team at the Miami Beach Polo World Cup in Florida.
At only 25 years old, Neku is considered to be a fierce competitor on and off the polo field. She is a savvy business entrepreneur, owning the Bamboo Lounge, a hotel in Nigeria, named after her polo team, Bamboo Polo.
A philanthropist, and an inspiration to women equestrians, as well as young boys and girls, Neku is the founder of Ride to Shine, (www.ridetoshine.org), a charity which teaches African Orphans to ride horseback and play polo. With strong ties to Nigeria, she has helped open doors for these young equestrians and has given them a chance at a productive future.
Writing Horseback: How did you become involved with horses?
Neku: I first started riding at age 5, and then I became fascinated by the sport of polo when I was 9, but it wasn’t until I was 16 that I had the opportunity to start learning how to play at the Epsom Polo Club in England. There, in exchange for lessons from David Anderson, I worked at the stables with all of the horses, and also practiced every day and competed in many matches at the club. I also have a BSc Equestrian sports performance (Hons) from the University of Brighton in England.