Polo Terms

anatomy of a polo player (2)

The Ponies: Horses of any breed and size used to play polo. They average 15.2 hands now days. The collection of ponies by a player is call string.

The Field: dimensions of 300 x 160 yards equals almost 10 football fields.

The Goal: Goal posts are 24 feet apart and 10 feet tall with and even diameter all the way. The ball has to cross the line in between the posts to count as a goal. Goal is indicated by flag waved above the head. Flag below the waist indicates outbound. After each goal, the teams meet for a throw-in at midfield and they switch sides to even advantages of the field.

The Chukker: 7:30 minutes period. Each polo match can be 4, 6 or 8 chukkers depending of the level of competition and  ponies available. 3 minutes between chukkers and 10 minutes in half time. People can go on the field and stomp the divots and socialize during half time intermission.

The Handicap: it’s the level of the player and his/her abilities to perform in the field. It does not equal goals that they can score. Handicap goes from B, A, 0, 1 to 10.  most players are rated 1 to 2. very few players will reach 10 goals.

The Numbers: they indicate the position within the team 1 is the forward or striker, 2 and 3 midfielders and 4 is defense.

The Line Of the Ball (LOB): imaginary line created by the ball traveling and it changes every time it gets hit voluntary or involuntary either by a player, pony or wall.

Right Of Way (ROW): its the relative right that a player has to the ball according to his position, the speed and the line of the ball. he can be challenged by bumping or hooking.

The Ride-Off or Bumping: defensive maneuver where horses and players bump shoulder to shoulder to compete for the line of the ball. Uneven bumping, excessive use force or large difference in the size of the ponies is illegal and it should be call as a foul.

Hooking: Defensive maneuver to block someone else mallet with your mallet to avoid striking of the ball. It can not  be higher that the shoulders on the field or higher of the withers in the arena polo. You are not allowed to cross the ponies in the legs on their back nor excessive use of the mallet to create intimidation.

The Throw-In: it’s under-hand throwing of the ball to put it in play and start the game, after scoring and after penalties.

The hit-in: the way the ball gets put in play after outbound at either end of the field by the team that was defending (offensive team now). Previous offensive team (now defending) has to be at  least 30 yards from the end line of the field.

Divot stomping: Gathering of polo attendees to repair the grass lifted by ponies during the chukkers at half time – also called ‘stomping of the divots’. A great time for socializing and mingling for the spectators.

Tailgate Party: Informal party during polo matches where family and friends gather and bring their drinks, food, blankets, umbrella and enjoy the polo. Most people have a nice picnic and a very relaxed time people watching and enjoying the outdoors.

Third Man: Person that is observing the game and he’s called in to resolve any disagreements among referees. Usually sitting on the stands or in a tower.

Thank you for reviewing Arizona Polo Club’s Polo Basics and Lingo information! 

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