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Polo has long been known as a game for royalty and the elite. The origins of the game remain questioned highly, but the game has been around from anywhere between the 6th century BC and the 1st century AD. Many modern countries claim to be the birthplace of the sport. While not a lot is known about the mysterious sport of polo, the game is played on horseback, where two teams of four riders compete to score a hard white ball using a long wooden mallet into the opposing team’s goal. Call it hockey on horseback or soccer with a horse and mallet.

While it is a mysterious sport, there are many interesting facts about the game of polo that many people will find interesting. Here are a few of those interesting facts:

The horses – the horses that play the game are specifically bred for polo. They are referred to as polo ponies, but in fact, they are not ponies at all. Most of the horses that play the sport are a cross between a quarter horse and a thoroughbred. The term pony is in reference to the agility level of horses used to play the game. During competition, the horses have their tails braided to avoid the mallet from becoming tangled in the hair of the horse.

Fashion icons – what most casual business folks know today as the polo shirt truly was invented for the game of polo. The collar, with buttons down the neck, was worn by players of the game to prevent the collars of the shirt from flapping in the wind at high speeds. The polo player emblem was added by a team in 1920 in Argentina and Ralph Lauren ran with that emblem to become the fashion icon he is today.

The right hand – now a rule for a while in the game, onlookers of the game can see that polo players only use their mallets in their right hand. The rule was instituted out of safety for both the riders and the horses so that when two horses are approaching each other with riders handling their mallets in opposite hands, head on collisions would occur.

More fun animals to ride – while the sport of polo is known for being ridden on horseback, other places in the world utilize other animals as well. In other regions, the sport can be played on elephants, yaks, donkeys and camels. What a fun sport to watch!