Have you ever wondered what all exactly goes into polo? In today's post, I'll be going over what I know about the sport personally as well as doing my own research. When I was little, my family would go once a year to a polo tournament here in south Louisiana and we would sit right by the field and it was absolutely incredible to watch. I am super excited to share today's article with each of you!
What is Polo?
Polo is a high-speed game played on horseback. It is unlike any other disciples as 2 teams face head-on in a game. In a game, there are 4 players per team and 6 horses per player. The goal of the game is to get the polo ball between the other team's goalposts, which is one point per "goal". Whichever team has the most points at the end of the game is declared the winner. One game lasts 1-2 hours.
History of Polo
Often referred to as the sport of kings, the sport started in present-day Iran and was used as a cavalry training. The game took off and became widespread across the middle east and eventually spread to England. Once in Europe, it was adopted by royalty and elites where it got the name "sport of kings". The first games in the United States were played in the late 1800s in New York at Jerome Park racetrack in Westchester County.
-4 players on the field per team (2 teams)
-6 horses per player
-The game is divided into 6 chukkers
-1 horse can't play for more than 2 chukkers
-Chuckkers last 7 minutes
-The game is played on a 300x160 yard grass field
-The goalposts are set 8 yards apart on each end of the field
-One goal is one point
-The mallet must be held in your right hand
Polo ponies are usually on the smaller end of thoroughbreds or at least 3/4 thoroughbred. The "ponies" need to be able to accelerate quickly, be easy to maneuver, and have more stamina. In a chukker, the horses can end up galloping a total of 3 miles, so fitness is key. The average pony is between 15 and 16 hands and 9 years old.
The ponies need to be extremely fit and keen, on average, a polo pony works 5 to 10 miles a day depending on the level of competition. The horses need to be able to stop on a dime and be extremely maneuverable.
Want to find a polo club near you?