Polo is a team sport played on horseback. The objective is to score
goals against an opposing team. Players score by driving a small hard
white ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled wooden
mallet. The modern sport of polo is played on a grass field of 300 by
160 yards (270 by 150 m). Each polo team consists of four riders
and their polo ponies.
Arena polo has three players per team and the game usually involves
more maneuvering and shorter plays at lower speeds due to space
limitations of arenas.
Arena polo is played with a small air-filled
ball, similar to a small football.
The modern game usually lasts one to two hours and is divided into
periods called chukkas (or "chukkers").
Polo is played professionally
in 16 countries.
Polo was an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1936.
1.2 Modern game
India and Britain
1.2.3 United States
2.1 Outdoor polo
2.2 Indoor and Arena Polo
6 The Field
7 Contemporary sport
8 East and Southeast Asia
9 West Asia
11 Notable players / 10 handicap players
13 Related sports
Polo on other means of transportation
14 See also
16 Further reading
Polo player, with referee
The invention of polo is dated variously from the 6th century BC to
the 1st century AD. Its exact origins are unknown, although China,
Pakistan all claim to be the birthplace of
polo. Valuable for training cavalry, the game was played from
Japan by the Middle Ages. It likely began as a
simple game played by mounted nomads of Iranian and Turkic origin in
Central Asia, from whence it spread to
Persia and beyond. An
archaic variation of polo, regionally referred to as buzkashi or
kokpar, is still played in parts of Asia.
The sport entered
Persia during the period of the
Parthian Empire (247
BC to 224 AD). In Persia, polo enjoyed great patronage under kings and
noblemen and became known as chovgan. The game continued to be
supported by Mongol rulers of
Persia in the 11th century, as well as
Safavid dynasty. Emperor
Shapur II learnt to play polo when
he was seven years old in 316 AD, and in the 17th century,
Naqsh-i Jahan Square
Naqsh-i Jahan Square in
Isfahan was built as a polo field by King
Abbas I. The game was also learnt by the neighbouring Byzantine Empire
at an early date. A tzykanisterion (stadium for playing tzykanion, the
Byzantine name for polo) was built by emperor
Theodosius II (r.
408–450) inside the Great Palace of Constantinople. Emperor Basil
I (r. 867–886) excelled at it; Emperor Alexander (r. 912–913) died
from exhaustion while playing and
John I of Trebizond (r. 1235–1238)
died from a fatal injury during a game. After the Muslim conquests
Mameluke dynasties of
Egypt and the Levant, their
elites favoured it above all other sports. Notable sultans such as
Baybars were known to play it and encourage it in their
Polo sticks were features on the
Mameluke precursor to
modern day playing cards.
Persian miniature from the poem Guy-o Chawgân ("the Ball and the
Safavid dynasty of Persia, which shows Persian
courtiers on horseback playing a game of polo, 1546 AD
From Persia, the game spread to
South Asia where it has had a strong
presence in the north western areas of present-day
Gilgit, Chitral, Hunza and Baltistan) since at least the 15th-16th
century. The name polo is said to have been derived from the Balti
word "pulu", meaning ball. Qutubuddin Aibak, the Turkic slave from
Central Asia who later became the
Sultan of Delhi in Northern India,
ruled as a
Sultan for only four years, from 1206 to 1210, dying an
accidental death during a game of polo when his horse fell and he was
impaled on the pommel of his saddle.
Polo likely travelled via the
Silk Road to
China where it was popular in the Chinese Tang dynasty
capital of Chang'an, and also played by women, who wore male dress to
do so; many
Tang dynasty tomb figures of female players survive.
India and Britain
The modern game of polo is derived from Manipur, India, where the game
was known as 'Sagol Kangjei', 'Kanjai-bazee', or 'Pulu'. It
was the anglicised form of the last, referring to the wooden ball that
was used, which was adopted by the sport in its slow spread to the
west. The first polo club was established in the town of
Assam, India, in 1833.
The origins of the game in
Manipur are traced to early precursors of
Sagol Kangjei. This was one of three forms of hockey in Manipur,
the other ones being field hockey (called Khong Kangjei) and
wrestling-hockey (called Mukna Kangjei). Local rituals such as those
connected to the Marjing, the Winged-
Pony God of
Polo and the
creation-ritual episodes of the Lai Haraoba festival enacting the life
of his son, Khori-Phaba, the polo-playing god of sports. These may
indicate an origin earlier than the historical records of Manipur.
Later, according to Chaitharol-Kumbaba, a Royal Chronicle of Manipur
King Kangba who ruled
Manipur much earlier than Nongda Lairen
Pakhangba (33 AD) introduced Sagol Kangjei (Kangjei on horse
back). Further regular playing of this game commenced in 1605 during
the reign of King Khagemba under newly framed rules of the game.
However it was the first Mughal emperor, Babur, who popularised the
India and ultimately made a significant influence on England.
Old polo field in Imphal, Manipur
In Manipur, polo is traditionally played with seven players to a side.
The players are mounted on the indigenous Manipuri pony, which stands
less than 13 hands (52 inches, 132 cm). There are no
goal posts, and a player scores simply by hitting the ball out of
either end of the field. Players strike the ball with the long side of
the mallet head, not the end. Players are not permitted to carry
the ball, although blocking the ball with any part of the body except
the open hand is permitted. The sticks are made of cane, and the
balls are made from the roots of bamboo. Players protected their legs
by attaching leather shields to their saddles and girths.
In Manipur, the game was played even by commoners who owned a
pony. The kings of
Manipur had a royal polo ground within the
ramparts of their Kangla Fort. Here they played Manung Kangjei Bung
Polo Ground"). Public games were held, as they are
still today, at the Mapan Kangjei Bung (literally "Outer Polo
Ground"), a polo ground just outside the Kangla. Weekly games called
Hapta Kangjei (Weekly Polo) were also played in a polo ground outside
the current Palace.
The oldest polo ground in the world is the
Polo Ground in
Manipur State. The history of this pologround is contained in the
royal chronicle "Cheitharol Kumbaba" starting from AD 33. Lieutenant
(later Major General) Joseph Ford Sherer, the father of modern polo
visited the state and played on this polo ground in the 1850s. Lord
Curzon, the Viceroy of
India visited the state in 1901 and measured
the polo ground as "225 yards long and 110 yards wide" 225 by 110
yards (206 by 101 m).
In 1862 the oldest polo club still in existence, Calcutta
was established by two British soldiers, Sherer and Captain Robert
Stewart. Later they spread the game to their peers in England. The
British are credited with spreading polo worldwide in the late 19th
century and the early 20th century. Military officers imported the
game to Britain in the 1860s. The establishment of polo clubs
throughout England and western Europe followed after the formal
codification of rules. The 10th
Hussars at Aldershot, Hants,
introduced polo to England in 1834. The game's governing body in the
United Kingdom is the Hurlingham
Polo Association, which drew up the
first set of formal British rules in 1874, many of which are still in
This version of polo played in the 19th century was different from the
faster form that was played in Manipur. The game was slow and
methodical, with little passing between players and few set plays that
required specific movements by participants without the ball. Neither
players nor horses were trained to play a fast, nonstop game. This
form of polo lacked the aggressive methods and equestrian skills to
play. From the 1800s to the 1910s, a host of teams representing Indian
principalities dominated the international polo scene.
The Champions polo league was launched in Jaipur in 2016. It is a new
version of polo, similar to the T20 format of cricket. The pitch was
made smaller and accommodated a huge audience. The First Event of the
Polo League took place in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, with
room for 10,000 spectators. The rules were changed and the duration
was made shorter. Officially played 7–9 April in Bhavnagar,
including India's most decorated polo player Samir Suhag, Shamsher
Ali, foreign players Richard Henriques from Ireland
and South Africa and others participated. Six teams were launched and
Iscon Hemvijaya emerged the winner, while IPCL were runners up.
Luis Lacey, former captain of Argentine
Polo Team in 1922
Argentine Polo Open
Argentine Polo Open Championship
British settlers in the Argentine pampas started practicing polo
during their free time. Among them, David Shennan is credited with
having organised the first formal polo game of the country in 1875, at
Estancia El Negrete, located in the province of Buenos Aires.
The sport spread quickly between the skilful gauchos, and several
clubs opened in the following years in the towns of Venado Tuerto,
Cañada de Gómez, Quilmes, Flores and later (1888) Hurlingham. In
1892 The River Plate
Polo Association was founded and constituted the
basis for the current Asociación
Argentina de Polo. In the Olympic
Games held in Paris in 1924 a team composed by Juan Miles, Enrique
Padilla, Juan Nelson, Arturo Kenny, G. Brooke Naylor and A. Peña
obtained the first gold medal for the country's olympic history; this
also occurred in Berlín 1936 with players Manuel Andrada, Andrés
Gazzotti, Roberto Cavanagh, Luis Duggan, Juan Nelson, Diego Cavanagh
and Enrique Alberdi.
The game spread across the country, and
Argentina is credited globally
as the capital of polo, and
Argentina is notably the country with the
largest number ever of 10 handicap players in the world.
Five teams were able to gather four 10 handicap players each, to make
40 handicap teams: Coronel Suárez, 1975, 1977–1979 (Alberto Heguy,
Juan Carlos Harriott, Alfredo Harriot and Horacio Heguy); La
Espadaña, 1989–1990 (Carlos Gracida, Gonzalo Pieres, Alfonso Pieres
y Ernesto Trotz Jr.); Indios Chapaleufú, 1992–1993 (Bautista Heguy,
Gonzalo Heguy, Horacio Heguy Jr. and Marcos Heguy); La Dolfina,
2009–2010 (Adolfo Cambiaso Jr., Lucas Monteverde, Mariano Aguerre y
Bartolomé Castagnola); Ellerstina, 2009 (Facundo Pieres, Gonzalo
Pieres Jr., Pablo Mac Donough and Juan Martín Nero).
The three major polo tournaments in Argentina, known as "Triple
Corona" ("Triple Crown"), are Hurlingham
Polo Open, Tortugas Polo
Polo season usually last from October to
Tang Dynasty Chinese courtiers on horseback playing a game of polo,
Polo has found popularity throughout the rest of the Americas,
including Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and the United States of
A polo match at the Kentucky Horse Park
James Gordon Bennett Jr.
James Gordon Bennett Jr. on 6 May 1876 organised what was billed as
the first polo match in the United States at Dickel's Riding Academy
at 39th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. The historical
record states that James Gordon Bennett established the Westchester
Polo Club on 6 May 1876 and on 13 May 1876 the Jerome Park Racetrack
in Westchester County was the site of the "first" American outdoor
H.L. Herbert, James Gordon Bennett and August Belmont financed the
original New York
Polo Grounds. Herbert stated in a 1913 article
that they formed the Westchester Club after the "first" outdoor game
was played on 13 May 1876. This contradicts the historical record of
the club being established before the Jerome Park game..
There is ample evidence that the first to play polo in America was
actually the English Texans. The Galveston News reported on 2 May
1876 that Denison Texas had a
Polo Club which was before James
Gordon Bennett established his Westchester Club or attempted to play
the "first" game. The Denison team sent a letter to James Gordon
Bennett challenging him to a match game. The challenge was published 2
June 1876 in The Galveston Daily News. By the time the article came
out on 2 June the Denison Club had already received a letter from
Bennett indicating the challenge was offered before the "first" games
in New York.
There is also an urban legend that the first game of polo in America
was played in Boerne, Texas at retired British officer Captain Glynn
Turquand's famous Balcones Ranch The Boerne, Texas legend also has
plenty of evidence pointing to the fact that polo was played in Boerne
James Gordon Bennett Jr.
James Gordon Bennett Jr. ever picked up a polo mallet.
During the early part of the 20th century, under the leadership of
Harry Payne Whitney, polo changed to become a high-speed sport in the
United States, differing from the game in England, where it involved
short passes to move the ball towards the opposition's goal. Whitney
and his teammates used the fast break, sending long passes downfield
to riders who had broken away from the pack at a full gallop.
In the late 1950s, champion polo player and Director of the Long
Polo Association, Walter Scanlon, introduced the "short form",
or "European" style, four period match, to the game of polo.
Director Walter Scanlon - Bethpage, Long Island - POLO
The rules of polo are written and used to provide for the safety of
both players and horses. The rules are enforced in the game by the
umpires who blow whistles when a penalty occurs. Strategic plays in
polo are based on the "line of the ball", an imaginary line created by
the ball as it travels down the field. This line traces the ball's
path and extends past the ball along that trajectory. The line of the
ball defines rules for players to approach the ball safely. The "line
of the ball" changes each time the ball changes direction. The player
who hit the ball generally has the right of way, and other players
cannot cross the line of the ball in front of that player. As players
approach the ball, they ride on either side of the line of the ball
giving each access to the ball. A player can cross the line of the
ball when it does not create a dangerous situation. Most fouls and
penalty shots are related to players improperly crossing the line of
the ball or the right of way. When a player has the line of the ball
on his right, he has the right of way. A "ride-off" is when a player
moves another player off the line of the ball by making
shoulder-to-shoulder contact with the other players’ horses.
The defending player has a variety of opportunities for his team to
gain possession of the ball. He can push the opponent off the line or
steal the ball from the opponent. Another common defensive play is
called "hooking." While a player is taking a swing at the ball, his
opponent can block the swing by using his mallet to hook the mallet of
the player swinging at the ball. A player may hook only if he is on
the side where the swing is being made or directly behind an opponent.
A player may not purposely touch another player, his tack or pony with
his mallet. Unsafe hooking is a foul that will result in a penalty
shot being awarded. For example, it is a foul for a player to reach
over an opponent's mount in an attempt to hook.
The other basic defensive play is called the bump or ride-off. It's
similar to a body check in hockey. In a ride-off, a player rides his
pony alongside an opponent's mount in order to move an opponent away
from the ball or to take him out of a play. It must be executed
properly so that it does not endanger the horses or the players. The
angle of contact must be safe and can not knock the horses off
balance, or harm the horses in any way. Two players following the line
of the ball and riding one another off have the right of way over a
single man coming from any direction.
Like in hockey or basketball, fouls are potentially dangerous plays
that infringe on the rules of the game. To the novice spectator, fouls
may be difficult to discern. There are degrees of dangerous and unfair
play and penalty shots are awarded depending based on the severity of
the foul and where the foul was committed on the polo field. White
lines on the polo field indicate where the mid-field, sixty, forty and
thirty yard penalties are taken.
The official set of rules and rules interpretations are reviewed and
published annually by each country's polo association. Most of the
smaller associations follow the rules of the Hurlingham Polo
Association, the national governing body of the sport of polo in the
United Kingdom, and the United States
Outdoor or field polo consists of four to eight 7-minute chukkas,
between or during which players change mounts. At the end of each 7
minute chukka, play continues for an additional 30 seconds or until a
stoppage in play, whichever comes first. There is a four-minute
interval between chukkas and a ten-minute halftime. Play is continuous
and is only stopped for penalties, broken tack (equipment) or injury
to horse or player. The object is to score goals by hitting the ball
between the goal posts, no matter how high in the air. If the ball
goes wide of the goal, the defending team is allowed a free 'knock-in'
from the place where the ball crossed the goal line, thus getting ball
back into play.
Indoor and Arena Polo
Arena polo has rules similar to the field version, and is less
strenuous for the player. It is played in a 300 by 150 feet (91 by
46 m) enclosed arena, much like those used for other equestrian
sports; the minimum size is 150 by 75 feet (46 by 23 m). There
are many arena clubs in the United States, and most major polo clubs,
including the Santa Barbara
Polo & Raquet Club, have active arena
programmes. The major differences between the outdoor and indoor games
are: speed (outdoor being faster), physicality/roughness (indoor/arena
is more physical), ball size (indoor is larger), goal size (because
the arena is smaller the goal is smaller), and some penalties. In the
United States and Canada, collegiate polo is arena polo; in the UK,
collegiate polo is both.
Forms of arena polo include beach polo, played in many countries
between teams of three riders on a sand surface, and cowboy polo,
played almost exclusively in the western United States by teams of
five riders on a dirt surface.
Another modern variant is snow polo, which is played on compacted snow
on flat ground or a frozen lake. The format of snow polo varies
depending on the space available. Each team generally consists of
three players and a bright coloured light plastic ball is
Snow polo is not the same sport as ice polo, which was popular in the
US in the late 1890s. The sport resembled ice hockey and bandy but
died out entirely in favour of the Canadian ice hockey rules.
A popular combination of the sports of polo and lacrosse is the game
of polocrosse, which was developed in Australia in the late 1930s.
These sports are considered as separate sports because of the
differences in the composition of teams, equipment, rules, game
Polo is not played exclusively on horseback. Such polo variants are
mostly played for recreational or tourist purposes; they include canoe
polo, cycle polo, camel polo, elephant polo, golfcart polo, Segway
polo and yak polo. In the early 1900s in the United States, cars were
used instead of horses in the sport of Auto polo. Hobby Horse Polo
is using hobby horses instead of ponies. It uses parts of the polo
rules but has its own specialities, as e.g. 'punitive sherries'. The
Hobby Horse variant started 1998 as a fun sport in south western
Germany and lead 2002 to the foundation of the First
Kurfürstlich-Kurpfälzisch Polo-Club in Mannheim. In the meantime it
gained further interest in other German cities.
All tournaments and levels of play and players are organized within
and between polo clubs, including membership, rules, safety, fields
Polo (or County
Polo in the UK) is usually overseen by qualified
mounted instructors or umpires. In the UK the original County Polo
Association was formed in 1898* to look after the interests of the
country clubs and to run the County Cup Tournaments), the three London
polo clubs—Hurlingham, Ranelagh and Roehampton—and from all
associations within the Empire where polo was being played.
Polo ponies waiting for the game to begin
The mounts used are called 'polo ponies', although the term pony is
purely traditional and the mount is actually a full-sized horse. They
range from 14.2 to 16 hands (58 to 64 inches, 147 to
163 cm) high at the withers, and weigh 900–1,100 pounds
(410–500 kg). The polo pony is selected carefully for quick
bursts of speed, stamina, agility and manoeuvrability. Temperament is
critical; the horse must remain responsive under pressure and not
become excited or difficult to control. Many are
Thoroughbred crosses. They are trained to be handled with one hand on
the reins, and to respond to the rider's leg and weight cues for
moving forward, turning and stopping. A well trained horse will carry
its rider smoothly and swiftly to the ball and can account for 60 to
75 percent of the player's skill and net worth to his team.[citation
Polo pony training generally begins at age three and lasts from about
six months to two years. Most horses reach full physical maturity at
about age five, and ponies are at their peak of athleticism and
training at around age 6 or 7. However, without any accidents, polo
ponies may have the ability to play until they are 18 to 20 years of
Each player must have more than one horse, to allow for tired mounts
to be replaced by fresh ones between or even during chukkas. A
player's "string" of polo ponies may number 2 or 3 in Low Goal matches
(with ponies being rested for at least a chukka before reuse), 4 or
more for Medium Goal matches (at least one per chukka), and even more
for the highest levels of competition.
A girls' polo team, United States
Each team consists of four mounted players, which can be mixed teams
of both men and women.
Each position assigned to a player has certain responsibilities:
Number One is the most offence-oriented position on the field. The
Number One position generally covers the opposing team's Number Four.
Number Two has an important role in offence, either running through
and scoring themselves, or passing to the Number One and getting in
behind them. Defensively, they will cover the opposing team's Number
Three, generally the other team's best player. Given the difficulty of
this position, it is not uncommon for the best player on the team to
play Number Two so long as another strong player is available to play
Number Three is the tactical leader and must be a long powerful hitter
to feed balls to Number Two and Number One as well as maintaining a
solid defence. The best player on the team is usually the Number Three
player, usually wielding the highest handicap.
Number Four is the primary defence player. They can move anywhere on
the field, but they usually try to prevent scoring. The emphasis on
defence by the Number Four allows the Number Three to attempt more
offensive plays, since they know that they will be covered if they
lose the ball.
Polo must be played right-handed in order to prevent head-on
Polo helmet with face guard
Polo mallets and ball
Polo player wearing kneepads, "riding off" an opponent
The basic dress of a player is a protective equestrian helmet (usually
of a distinctive colour, to be distinguished at the considerable
distance from which onlookers are watching the game), riding boots to
just below the knees, white trousers (often ordinary denim jeans), and
a coloured shirt bearing the number of the player's position. Optional
equipment includes one or two gloves, wristbands, kneepads (mandatory
in some clubs), spurs, a face mask, and a whip. The only piece of
equipment required by the
United States Polo Association (USPA) rules
is the helmet or cap with a chin strap.
The modern outdoor polo ball is made of a high-impact plastic.
Historically they have been made of bamboo, leather covered cork, hard
rubber, and for many years willow root. Originally the British used a
white painted leather covered cricket ball.
The regulation outdoor polo ball is 3 inches (7.6 cm) to
3 1⁄2 inches (8.9 cm) in diameter and weighs 3 1⁄2
ounces (99 g) to 4 1⁄2 ounces (130 g).
Plastic balls were introduced in the 1970s. They are less prone to
breakage and much cheaper.
The indoor and arena polo ball is leather-covered and inflated, and is
about 4 1⁄2 inches (11 cm) in diameter.
It must be not less than 12.5 inches (32 cm) or more than 15
inches (38 cm) in circumference. The weight must be not less than
170 grams (6.0 oz) or more than 182 grams (6.4 oz). In a
bounce test from 9 feet (2.7 m) on concrete at 70 °F
(21 °C), the rebound should be a minimum of 54 inches
(140 cm) and a maximum of 64 inches (160 cm) at the
inflation rate specified by the manufacturer. This provides for a hard
and lively ball.
The polo mallet comprises a cane shaft with a rubber-wrapped grip, a
webbed thong, called a sling, for wrapping around the thumb, and a
wooden cigar-shaped head. The shaft is made of manau-cane (not bamboo,
which is hollow) although a small number of mallets today are made
from composite materials. Composite materials are usually not
preferred by top players because the shaft of composite mallets can't
absorb vibrations as well as traditional cane mallets. The mallet head
is generally made from a hardwood called tipa, approximately
91⁄4" inches long. The mallet head weighs from 160 g
(5.6 oz) to 240 g (8.5 oz), depending on player
preference and the type of wood used, and the shaft can vary in weight
and flexibility depending on the player's preference. The weight of
the mallet head is of important consideration for the more seasoned
players. Female players often use lighter mallets than male players.
For some polo players, the length of the mallet depends on the size of
the horse: the taller the horse, the longer the mallet. However, some
players prefer to use a single length of mallet regardless of the
height of the horse. Either way, playing horses of differing heights
requires some adjustment by the rider. Variable lengths of the mallet
typically range from 127 cm (50 in) to 134 cm
(53 in). The term mallet is used exclusively in US English;
British English prefers the term polo stick. The ball is struck with
the broad sides of the mallet head rather than its round and flat
Polo saddles are English-style, close contact, similar to jumping
saddles; although most polo saddles lack a flap under the billets.
Some players will not use a saddle blanket. The saddle has a flat seat
and no knee support; the rider adopting a forward-leaning seat and
closed knees dissimilar to a classical dressage seat. A breastplate is
added, usually attached to the front billet. A standing martingale
must be used: so, a breastplate is a necessity for safety. The
tie-down is usually supported by a neck strap. Many saddles also have
an overgirth. The stirrup irons are heavier than most, and the stirrup
leathers are wider and thicker, for added safety when the player
stands in the stirrups. The legs of the pony are wrapped with polo
wraps from below the knee to the fetlock to minimize pain. Jumping
(open front) or gallop boots are sometimes used along with the polo
wraps for added protection. Often, these wraps match the team colours.
The pony's mane is most often roached (hogged), and its tail is docked
or braided so that it will not snag the rider's mallet.
Polo is ridden with double reins for greater accuracy of signals. The
bit is frequently a gag bit or Pelham bit. In both cases, the gag or
shank rein will be the bottom rein in the rider's hands, while the
snaffle rein will be the top rein. If a gag bit is used, there will be
a drop noseband in addition to the cavesson, supporting the tie-down.
One of the rein sets may alternately be draw reins.
Relative sizes of an association football ground and a polo field.
The playing field is 300 by 160 yards (270 by 150 m), the area of
approximately six soccer fields, while arena polo is 96 x 46 metres.
The playing field is carefully maintained with closely mowed turf
providing a safe, fast playing surface. Goals are posts which are set
eight yards apart, centred at each end of the field. The surface of a
polo field requires careful and constant grounds maintenance to keep
the surface in good playing condition. During half-time of a match,
spectators are invited to go onto the field to participate in a polo
tradition called "divot stamping", which was developed not only to
help replace the mounds of earth (divots) that are torn up by the
horses' hooves, but also to afford spectators the opportunity to walk
about and socialise.
Polo played as a part of the 1900 Summer Olympics
Polo is played professionally in many countries, notably Argentina,
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, France, Germany,
Iran, India, New Zealand, Mexico, Pakistan, Jamaica, Spain,
Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and is now an
active sport in 77 countries, and although its tenure as an Olympic
sport was limited to 1900–1939, in 1998 the International Olympic
Committee recognised it as a sport with a bona fide international
governing body, the Federation of International Polo. The World Polo
Championship is held every three years by the Federation of
Polo is unique among team sports in that amateur players, often the
team patrons, routinely hire and play alongside the sport's top
The most important tournaments of the world, in a clubs level, are
Abierto de Tortugas,
Abierto de Hurlingham and Abierto Argentino de
Polo, all of them in
Argentina (la Triple Corona).
United States Polo Association (USPA) is the governing body for
polo in the U.S. The U.S. is the only country that has separate
women's polo, run by the United States Women's
East and Southeast Asia
Indonesia plays against
Polo has been played in
Malaysia and Singapore, both of which are
former British colonies, since being introduced to Malaya in during
the late 19th century. Royal Johor
Polo Club was formed in 1884 and
Polo Club was formed in 1886. The oldest polo club in the
modern country of
Malaysia is Selangor
Polo Club, founded in 1902.
It was largely played by royalty and the political and business
Polo was played at the 2007 Southeast Asian Games and 2017 Southeast
Asian Games. Nations that competed in the tournament were Indonesia,
Thailand and Philippines (2007) and Brunei,
Thailand (2017). The 2007 tournament's gold
medal was won by the Malaysian team, followed by
Singapore with silver
Thailand with bronze while the 2017 tournament's gold medal was
won by Malaysia, followed by
Thailand with silver and Brunei with
The traditional or 'free style'
Polo or Pulu of Northern
still played very avidly in its native region, and the annual Shandur
Polo Festival at
Shandur Top in
Chitral District. It is an
internationally famed event attended by many enthusiasts from all over
the world. The Shandur polo ground is said to be the highest polo
ground in the world, at approximately 3,734 metres,
The recent resurgence in south-east Asia has resulted in its
popularity in cities such as Pattaya,
Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. In
Pattaya alone, there are 3 active polo clubs:
Polo Escape, Siam Polo
Park and the Thai
Polo and Equestrian Club.
Indonesia has a polo club
Polo Club). More recently, Janek Gazecki and Australian
professional Jack "Ruki“ Baillieu have organised polo matches in
parks "around metropolitan Australia, backed by wealthy sponsors."
A Chinese Equestrian Association has been formed with two new clubs in
China itself: the Beijing Sunny Time
Polo Club, founded by Xia Yang in
2004 and the Nine Dragons Hill
Polo Club in Shanghai, founded in
Polo is not widely spread in West Asia, but still counts 5 active
clubs in Iran, 4 active polo clubs in the UAE, one club in Bahrain
 and The Royal Jordanian
Polo Club, in Amman, Jordan.
Iran is governed by the
Polo Federation of Iran. There are
five polo clubs in Iran: Ghasr-e Firoozeh, Nowroozabad, Army Ground
Forces, Kanoon-e Chogan and Nesf-e Jahan.
Iran possesses some of the
best grass polo fields in the region. The country currently has over
100 registered players of which approximately 15% are women.
Historically, Kurdish and Persian Arabian horses were the most widely
used for polo. This was probably also the case in ancient times. Today
Thoroughbreds are being increasingly used alongside the Kurdish and
Persian Arabian horses. Some players have also been experimenting with
Anglo-Arabians. Iranians still refer to the game of polo by its
original Persian name of "Chogan", which means mallet. Iranians still
maintain some of the ancient rituals of the game in official polo
Polo first began its Irish history in 1870 with the first official
game played on Gormanstown Strand, Co. Meath. Three years later the
Polo Club was founded by Mr. Horace Rochford in the
Phoenix Park. Since then the sport has continued to grow with a
further seven clubs opening around the country. The sport has also
been made more accessible by these clubs by the creation of more
affordable training programmes such as from beginner to pro programme
Notable players / 10 handicap players
Main articles: polo handicap and list of polo players
An old Polocart displayed at City Palace, Jaipur. The museum also
displays a "night polo ball" with a rotating platform on which a
candle is placed.
Sagol Kangjei, discussed above, is arguably a version of polo though
it can also be seen as the precursor of modern outdoor polo.
Cowboy polo uses rules similar to regular polo, but riders compete
with western saddles, usually in a smaller arena, using an inflatable
rubber medicine ball.
Horseball is a game played on horseback where a ball is handled and
points are scored by shooting it through a high net. The sport is a
combination of polo, rugby, and basketball.
Pato was played in
Argentina for centuries, but is much different than
modern polo. No mallets are used, and it is not played on grass.
Polocrosse is another game played on horseback, a cross between polo
Water polo shares a name with polo, but more closely resembles
Polo on other means of transportation
Auto polo was a motorsport invented in the United States with rules
and equipment similar to polo but using automobiles instead of horses.
Cycle polo is a similar game played on bicycles instead of horses.
Elephant polo is played in South Asia.
Motoball (Motorcycle Polo) was invented in the United States.
Segway polo originated in the United States.
Yak polo is played in Mongolia.
Canoe polo is played around the world in kayaks and governed by the
International Canoe Federation
Federation of International Polo
Polo Instructors and Players Association
^ "Preview: The Sport of Kings", CBS News, 5 April 2012
^ "Polo: the sport of kings that anyone can play", The Telegraph, 29
^ "polo sport Britannica.com". britannica.com. Retrieved 28 July
^ Laffaye, Horace A. (29 May 2009). The Evolution of Polo.
^ "The History of Polo". Polomuseum.com. Retrieved 27 March
^ "The origins and history of Polo". Historic-uk.com. Retrieved 27
^ Hong, Fan; Mangan, J. A. (18 November 2009). Evolution of Sport in
Asian Society: Past and Present. Routledge. p. 309.
^ Christopher Kelly. "Theodosius II: Rethinking the Roman Empire in
Late Antiquity" Cambridge University Press. 2013. p. 4
^ Kazhdan, Alexander Petrovich, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of
Byzantium. New York, New York and Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
^ "Touregypt.net". Touregypt.net. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
^ Malcolm D. Whitman, Tennis: Origins and Mysteries, Published by
Courier Dover Publications, 2004, ISBN 0-486-43357-9, p. 98.
^ a b Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th centuries on 17th
centuriesby Robert Crego.bring the polo game from India, manipur page
25. Published 2003. Greenwood Press. Sports & Recreation. 296
pages ISBN 0-313-31610-4
^ Michaelson, Carol, Gilded Dragons, pp. 72-73, 1999, British Museum
Press, ISBN 0714114898; Medley, Margaret, T'ang Pottery and
Porcelain, pp. 49-50, 1981, Faber & Faber, ISBN 0571109578
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Indianpolo.com. 25 March 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
^ The Guinness Book of Records. 1991 edition (page 288)
^ del Carril, Justo. "The equipment". Essential Tips Polo. p. 13.
^ "Rule F12 International Rules for Polo" (PDF). Federation of
^ a b c Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th centuries by Robert
Crego. Page 26. Published 2003. Greenwood Press. Sports &
Recreation. 296 pages. ISBN 0-313-31610-4
^ "History of polo Royal
Polo Club Rasnov". royalpoloclubrasnov.ro.
Retrieved 2 December 2017.
Polo Club". www.calcuttapolo.com. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
Polo Basics: Quick facts about Polo". blog.palosantohotel.com.
Retrieved 28 July 2016.
^ Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th centuries by Robert Crego.
Page 26 – 27. Published 2003. Greenwood Press. Sports &
Recreation. 296 pages ISBN 0-313-31610-4
^ "FIP World Cup VIII – 2007". Polobarn.com. Retrieved 25 January
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March
2012. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March
2012. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
^ 2 June 1876 Archived 26 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The
Galveston News: At Denison Monday evening while Messers Harold Gooch
and Will Lowe were practicing at the game of polo, quite a serious
accident happened to former. Mr. Gooch’s saddle turned throwing him
into the ground when his horse gave him a severe kick, cutting a gash
about five inches long across his head over the right ear. Dr. Berry
rendered the necessary medical attention, and Mr. Gooch is doing well.
Will Lowe, Secretary of the Denison
Polo Club, wrote James Gordon
Bennett asking him if arrangements could be made for a match game
between the Denison and New York Clubs. Mr. Lowe received a letter
from Mr. Bennett Monday, in which he says he will lay the matter
before the club at the next meeting. There is little doubt the New
York club will invite our boys to play them. The Denison club will go
into training at once, as they are confident the game will come off.
^ "Gracy Travel – Balcones Ranch" (PDF). gracytravel.com. Retrieved
28 July 2016. [permanent dead link]
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Polo Club Archived 26 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Newspaper article from the 1950's - the actual article uploaded on
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Retrieved 8 November 2017.
^ "RULES OF THE GAME - United States
Polo Association". United States
Polo Association. United States
Polo Association. Retrieved 8 November
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Polo on the Beach, Watergate Bay. Watergate Bay Hotel
Ltd. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
^ "Aspen World Snow
Polo Official Website". Worldsnowpolo.com.
Retrieved 25 January 2012.
^ FIP Snow
Polo World Cup
China 2016, Luxury Lifestyle Magazin
Archived 7 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. NAANII GLOBAL
^ St. Moritz, 32th international Snow
Polo Archived 7 April 2016 at
the Wayback Machine. on Ice, Luxury Lifestyle Magazin, NAANII GLOBAL
^ Carlebach, Michael (2011). Bain's New York: The City in News
Pictures 1900-1925. New York: Courier. p. 143.
^ "Steckenpferdpolo: Trendsportart in Düsseldorf im Rheinpark -
Trendsportart Steckenpferdpolo: Ich glaub', mein Gaul holzt, Spiegel
September 2014". spiegel.de. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
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Polo Association". Hpa-polo.co.uk. Archived from
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McFarland. p. 28. ISBN 0-7864-1724-2.
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(PDF) (2017 ed.). United States
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Retrieved 9 November 2017.
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Polo in Ireland -
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Penina Meisels and Michael Cronan (1992). Polo. San Francisco: Collins
Publishers. ISBN 0-00-637796-3.
Santiago Novillo-Astrada, Raphael De Oliveira and Uwe Seebacher
(2009). Simply Polo. Munich: BookRix. ASIN B00XKVIYOK.
Main articles: Equestrianism
FEI disciplines, Olympic
FEI disciplines, non-Olympic
Thoroughbred horse racing
Equestrian drill team
Games with horses
Carrera de cintas
Corrida de sortija
Draft horse showing
Working stock sports
Acoso y derribo
Deporte de lazo
Saddle bronc and bareback riding
Working cow horse
Cowboy mounted shooting
Horse show and exhibition disciplines
Halter (horse show)
Show hunter (British)
Trail (horse show)
Western riding (horse show)
Regional and breed-specific disciplines
Competitive trail riding
BNF: cb11940205z (data)