About Polo



The sport of polo can be traced back to the 5th century B.C., but many believe it is much older even than that. It was developed as a war-game that was used to train cavalry, and many believe that it was first played by warrior tribes in Persia (modern day Iran).

It is clear, though, that polo has spread quickly across Asia. Early polo did not take the form of the ordered four-a-side game that we know today. It was not unusual for teams of a 100 or more to take to the field and it was a very rough, physical sport, which often saw many injuries. The first polo club was founded in Assam, India, in 1834.

During the Middle Ages and early modern era, the game of polo was played from Constantinople, where a polo ground was constructed during the reign of Emperor Theodosius II in the early times of the 5th century, up to Japan around the Middle Ages. Later, it spread south to Arabia, and to India, and Tibet.

As a game it was formalized and popularized by the British and taken to the West after an Irishman, Captain John Watson, of the British Cavalry 13th Hussars, created the first set of written rules in the mid 19th Century. Today, polo is played in more than 60 countries, although it is most popular in Argentina, the US, and England.


Modern Polo

Played between two teams of four polo players on a lush green field with 300 by 160 yards or 250 by 133 sq.m. of land measurement that has 3-yard goal posts on either end of the field. The team with the most number of goals is the victor of the match. Moreover, each chukka or period of the game is up to 7 minutes long.

  • The objective of the game is to move the polo ball down-field, hitting the ball through the goal posts for a score.
  • Polo teams then change direction after each goal to compensate for field and wind conditions. A team is made up of four polo players.
  • A polo match is usually played outdoors. A polo field is 300 yards long, and 160 yards wide, the largest field in organized sport.
  • A polo match lasts about one and one-half hours and is divided into timed periods called chukkers. Each chukker is seven minutes long.

  • Play begins with a throw-in of the ball by the umpire at the opening of each chukker and after each goal.

  • Players must change horses after each chukker due to the extreme demands placed on the polo pony.

  • During halftime, spectators go onto the field to participate in a tradition called “divot stomping” to help replace the divots created by the horses hooves.

  • Polo players are ranked yearly by their peers and the USPA on a scale of -2 to 10 goals. Team play is handicapped based on ability.

  • Most of the rules of polo are for the safety of the polo players and their ponies.

  • The basic concept is the line of the ball, a right-of-way established by the path of a traveling ball.

  • Two mounted umpires do most of the officiating, with a Referee at midfield having the final say in any dispute between the umpires.

  • Penalty shots are given depending on the severity of the foul.