Whether live or watching on the television, I’m sure you have seen a Polo game in action. Ever wondered what are the rules to play this magnificent yet dangerous sport? Allow me to explain the rules of Polo, so you get a better grasp.
The playing pitch is 300 by 160 yards, with the goal posts 8 yards apart. Each team consists of four players riding on ponies, with the No. 1 & 2 positions as forwards, No. 3 as the pivot and ideally the best player in the team. No. 4 acts as the goal defender.
Each player is judged by a ‘handicap’ level ranging from 2 to 10 goals. A team as a whole gets rated by summing up its players’ individual handicaps.
The players use a mallet which is used to drive the ball and the team scoring the maximum goals wins the game at the end of the play.
The accepted dress code is cowboy boots and jeans, or linen and silk for the big tournaments. Each player has to wear a helmet, knee pads and wristbands to protect against injury.
The play is separated into ‘chukkas’ of seven minutes each, with a pause of three minutes after each chukka. Depending on the tournament, a game can have four, six or eight chukkas. The match continues unless it’s halted by the umpire in the event of the ball going out of play or a foul.
The teams exchange posts after each goal or at the interval if no goals have been scored by then.
Polo Sport Rules
There is a fictitious ‘line of the ball’ by which we mean the ball being directed in a particular direction by a player. This line must not be crossed by another player if there is a chance of collision, failing which the umpire calls it a ‘foul’.
Diverting other player’s pony out of your way is permissible as long as you don’t charge at a dangerous angle and don’t cross the player leading the ball.
Hooking sticks with your opponent’s is fine as long as you’re charging along the same side of the ball or even behind, and do not raise your stick over his shoulder. However, hooking sticks in front of the ponies’ legs is not allowed.
There are two umpires mounted on a horseback on the field and a referee who perform as an arbitrator in the stands if the umpires disagree on a point.