Polo on the Beach, Watergate Bay. It is known as the sport of kings. In other projects Wikimedia Commons.
Arena polo has rules similar to the field version, and is less strenuous for the player. The major differences between the outdoor and indoor games are: 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 preferred. Snow polo is not the same sport as ice polo , which was popular in the US in the late s. 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 s.
These sports are considered as separate sports because of the differences in the composition of teams, equipment, rules, game facilities etc.
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 s in the United States, cars were used instead of horses in the sport of Auto polo. It uses parts of the polo rules but has its own specialities, as e. The Hobby Horse variant started as a fun sport in south western Germany and lead 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 and arenas.
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 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 Thoroughbreds or 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. 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 age.
The Argentine Polo Breeders Association which is the organization that registers this Argentine Polo Pony breed has indicated that on average, this race has a height of 1. 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.
Polo must be played right-handed in order to prevent head-on collisions. The rules for equipment vary in details between the hosting authorities, but are always for the safety of the players and mounts.
Mandatory equipment includes a protective helmet with chinstrap worn at all times by all players and mounted grooms. A faceguard is commonly integral with a helmet. Polo boots and kneeguards are mandatory in the UK during official play, and boots are recommended for all play everywhere.
The UK also recommends goggles, elbow pads and gum shields. A shirt or jersey is required that distinguishes the player's team, and is not black and white stripes like an umpire shirt. White polo pants or trousers are worn during official play. Polo gloves are commonly worn to protect from working the reins and mallet.
Not permitted is any equipment that may harm horses, like certain spurs or whips. 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. Plastic balls were introduced in the s.
They are less prone to breakage and much cheaper. It must be not less than The weight must be not less than grams 6. In a bounce test from 9 feet 2. 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 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: 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. The ball is struck with the broad sides of the mallet head rather than its round and flat tips. 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: 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.
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 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 —, in the International Olympic Committee recognised it as a sport with a bona fide international governing body, the Federation of International Polo.
Polo is unique among team sports in that amateur players, often the team patrons, routinely hire and play alongside the sport's top professionals. 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.
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. The oldest polo club in the modern country of Malaysia is Selangor Polo Club, founded in The tournament's gold medal was won by the Malaysian team, followed by Singapore with silver and Thailand with bronze while the tournament's gold medal was won by Malaysia, followed by Thailand with silver and Brunei with bronze. It is an internationally famed event attended by many enthusiasts from all over the world.
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: Indonesia has a polo club Nusantara 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. As a preferred member of My Brooks Rewards you'll enjoy free standard shipping on every order.
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