As it is all cold, wet and horrible I thought I would have a look back at the summer! I was lucky enough to go and watch a Polo tournament at a local club during July this year. Although I have seen a few clips of William the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry playing I have never watched Polo before and really didn't know much about it at all.
History of Polo
According to the Polo museum
'The origins of polo are in the inspirational relationship between humans and horses. Sustaining this special bond is the fundamental reason polo has enjoyed 2,000 years of recorded history. The unique blending of athletic talents between horse and rider helped polo evolve into The Sport of Kings'
Polo was being played before the written word in Asia and the name is thought to originate from the word 'pholo' which is Tibetan for ball or ball game. It was brought to Britain through the tea planters and soldiers and the first recorded game played in Britain was in 1869. Officers based at Aldershot played on Hounslow Heath after reading about the sport in a magazine!
Visit http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/The-Origins-of-Polo/ for more about the history of the game.
Polo is now played in 77 countries around the world and is currently an Olympic sport. The terms and rules initially seem a bit complicated, but once I had watched for a while it began to make sense.
The match is divided into 4-6 CHUKKA's. Each chukka lasts 7 minutes plus up to 30 seconds in overtime. If the ball hits the sideboards or goes out of bounds, or the umpire blows his whistle during those 30 seconds then the chukka is over. There is no overtime at the end of the sixth chukka but if the score is tied a seventh period is played until the first goal is scored.
A player returns to each chukka on a different horse, but a horse can play for a maximum of 2 chukkas each as long as it has a rest in between.
Any time a ball crosses the line between the goalposts it is considered a GOAL. This is regardless of whether a horse or mallet causes the ball to go through. Teams change ends after each goal is scored to equalise wind and turf conditions.
The FIELD is 300 yards long and 160 yards wide - it is 10 acres! The goal posts will collapse on severe impact and are 8 yards apart.
The PONIES are usually between 15 and 15.3hands (so actually technically they are horses) but there is no height limit. The best polo ponies are usually of thoroughbred blood as they need speed, stamina, wind and a temperament amenable to the rigours of the game. They wear bandages or boots for protection and are steered one handed.
The TEAM is made up of 4 members who each have a different position and job to do varying from only offensive to only defensive!
There are quite a few more terms and rules but if you are interested find your local club on Google!
Obviously, needing so many ponies in one game means that it really is an expensive sport to be involved in.
I had a really great day and found the sport very exciting. They do seem to take care of the ponies and you can tell that they love it too! If you get the chance go and watch and if you get a good weather day you can take a picnic too.
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Until next time!