A Pocket Guide to Polo

What You'll See

One Umpire - stationary on the South side of the field.
Two Referees - on horseback.
Two Goal Judges - one stationed between the goal posts of each goal.
Four Members of each team numbered 1 through 4.
MANY different horses! Each player uses a "fresh horse" for each of 6 chukkers.
Incredible equestrian skills, lots of galloping and major league action!

How It Works

Generally, the game is governed by two basic concepts; 1. polo is a team sport with each of the 4 team mates playing a specific position yet supporting the entire team in both offense and defense, and 2. the "line of the ball."

The line of the ball is created once the ball is struck and does not change until it is struck again, sending the ball in a different direction. The line of the ball is used in many ways, most importantly to act as an imaginary buffer to avoid collisions when two or more players ride to the ball for strike. The players must hit the ball to their right side (the "off side") and may not cross the line of the ball if doing so would cause a hazardous situation.

Scoring & Fouls

A score is achieved when the ball crosses the goal line between the goal posts of the opposing team.

Fouls are given for infractions of the rules governing field of play, usually for hazardous riding or improper use of the mallet. The umpire can award anything from a free goal to a free hit from a determined distance when a foul is called.

Polo Terms

  • Chukker - a 7 minute period; six per game with 3 minutes between chukkers.
  • Off Side - the player's right side, where they hit the ball to.
  • Line of the Ball - imaginary line created by the ball traveling from point to point set in motion by a strike.
  • Throw In - the start of each game and each chukker where the umpire tosses the ball between both teams who are lined up at midfield facing the umpire.

What You Can Do:

The half time "champagne divot stomp" is a MUST for all spectators and a long standing tradition!

Cheer the teams and ponies on, start "the wave" and just have a GREAT time!