POLO-It’s like Hockey on Horseback!
Written by Loryn Lamport, our Equestrian Manager.
Polo is a team sport played around the world. It is very popular here in the United States with clubs and organizations to accommodate players of all ages and abilities. Polo is a coed sport but the trend in these polo clubs is to have separate games for women and kids as well. Polo is played with a team of 4 on each side. The players are numbered from 1, the offensive “scorer”, 2 and 3, the middle and often the best players on the team, to number 4, who is suppose to be a defensive player to stop the other team from scoring. Players have handicaps, like in golf. This means if a tournament is meant to be a 12 goal, all 4 players ratings would add up to equal 12. The rating system goes from -1, being a beginner, to 10 which is the highest rating one can receive. So, a 40 goal game is the highest rated game to see!
The horses (or ponies as they are called) are mostly Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses. They must be trained to accept the mallet, the long stick like object used to hit the ball, being swung around their heads. They horses also need to be trained for all the contact allowed to be made between the other horses in the game. The rules of polo are primarily once the ball is hit there is an imaginary line that can’t be crossed. Just like driving down the road, one must stay in their lane to not cause an accident. Each game is broken down in periods called Chukkers. Each Chukker is 7 minutes long and a game will have either 4 or 6 Chukkers total. A pony is allowed to play 2 Chukkers only, so multiple ponies are needed to play polo games. Polo is an exciting game to watch in person. The sounds of the horses hooves running down the field and the clanging of the mallets is sure to grab anyone’s attention.
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