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 ordin
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. These rules are created and enforced to ensure the welfare of players and their horses. 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 is 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 each year 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.
Polo is a team sport played on horseback. The objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet. The traditional sport of polo is played at speed on a large grass field up to 300 yards (274 meters) long by 160 yards (146 meters) wide, and each polo team consists of four riders and their mounts. Field polo is played with a solid plastic sphere (ball) which has replaced the wooden version of the ball in much of the sport. In arena polo, only three players are required per team and the game usually involves more maneuvering and shorter plays at lower speeds due to space limitations of the arena. Arena polo is played with a small air-filled ball, similar to a small football. The modern game lasts roughly two hours and is divided into periods called chukkas (occasionally rendered as "chukkers"). Polo is played professionally in 16 countries. It was formerly, but is not currently, an Olympic sport.
Polo originated in Southern or Central Asia, most likely in Persia. Its invention is dated variously from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD. Persian Emperor Shapur II learned to play polo when he was seven years old in 316 AD. The game was learned by the neighboring 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. Naqsh-i Jahan Square in Isfahan is a polo field which was built by king Abbas I in the 17th century. Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan is the site of a medieval royal polo field. 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, but died accidentally in 1210. While he was playing a game of polo on horseback (also called chougan in Persia), his horse fell and Aibak was impaled on the pommel of his saddle. He was buried near the Anarkali bazaar in Lahore(in modern-day Pakistan). Aibak's son Aram died in 1211 CE , so Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, another ex-slave of Turkic ancestry who was married to Aibak's daughter, succeeded him as Sultan of Delhi. After the Muslim conquests to the Ayyubid and Mameluke dynasties of Egypt and the Levant, whose elites favoured it above all other sports. Notable sultans such as Saladin and Baybars were known to play it and encourage it in their court. Polo sticks were features on the Mameluke precursor to modern day playing cards. A Persian miniature from the poem Guy-o Chawgân ("the Ball and the Polo-mallet") during Safavid dynasty of Persia, which shows Persian courtiers on horseback playing a game of polo, 1546 AD Later on, polo was passed from Persia to other parts of Asia including the Indian subcontinent and China, where it was very popular during the Tang Dynasty and frequently depicted in paintings and statues. Valuable for training cavalry, the game was played from Constantinople to Japan by the Middle Ages. It is known in the East as the Game of Kings. The name polo is said to have been derived from the Tibetan word "pulu", meaning ball. Modern game India and Britain The modern game of polo, though formalised and popularised by the British, 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 Silchar in 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. 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 stick, not the supposed mallet, which is the handle. Players are permitted to carry the ball, though doing so allows opponents to physically tackle them when they are doing so. The sticks are made of cane, and the balls are made from the roots of bamboo. Colorful cloth pom-poms dangle at sensitive and vulnerable spots around the anatomy of the ponies to protect them. 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 (literally, "Inner 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 Imphal 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 by 110 yards (206 by 101 m). In 1862 the first polo club, Calcutta Polo Club, 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 existence. Argentina Luis Lacey, former captain of Argentine Polo Team in 1922 Argentine Polo Open Championship Meanwhile, British settlers in the Argentine pampas started practising it 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 fast 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. From then on, the game spread powerfully across the country and Argentina is credited globally as the mecca of polo, mainly because Argentina is notably the country with the largest number ever of 10 handicap players in the world. Five great teams were able to ensemble together four 10 handicap players in order to make a 40 handicap team: 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). Argentina was host of the ninth edition of the World Polo Championship (for teams of up to 14 goals) at the Estancia Grande Polo Club, in the province of San Luis in October 2011. The three major polo tournaments in Argentina, known as “Triple Corona” ("Triple Crown"), are Hurlingham Polo Open, Tortugas Polo Open, Palermo Polo Open. Polo season usually last from October to December. Tang Dynasty Chinese courtiers on horseback playing a game of polo, 706 AD A polo match at the Kentucky Horse Park 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. Polo then found popularity throughout the rest of the Americas like Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and the United States of America. United States James Gordon Bennett, Jr. on 6 May 1876 organized 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 polo match. 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, however, 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 before 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 toward 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 Island Polo Association, Walter Scanlon, introduced the "short form", or "European" style, four period match, to the game of polo