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Polo 101

While the game of polo may at first seem like a quagmire of horses, mallets and humans, it is ultimately a game of strategy and finesse. Of the utmost importance is the safety of both the horse and rider.

This year, Brandywine Polo Club will be demonstrating the skill and flair needed to succeed in the fast game of Polo. Two players from Brandywine Polo Cup will stage a mini-polo demonstration 30 minutes before the match to explain the offensive and defensive roles of the riders as well as the goal of the game.

Polo 101Basic Rules / Lingo

The Field: The field is 300 yards long by 160 yards wide. Goal posts are placed at each end at 24 feet apart. The field is marked by a white line to show the boundaries. If the field is boarded, the boards are typically 6-inch upright boards that mark the sides of the field, as well as keep the ball in play.

The Teams: Two teams, comprised of four players (with horses of course) compete to score at the opposite goal post. The four players have offensive and defensive roles indicated by the number on their jerseys. Numbers 1 and 2 are offensive players; the Number 2 player generally supports the Number 1. Number 3 is typically the highest rated player on the team. This slot is generally reserved for the team captain. The job of Number 4 is to defend the goal.

The Object: The goal is to move the ball downfield and score between the opposing teams goal posts. The game is divided into six chukkers, which are each seven (7) minutes of play. Generally, the ponies are switched in between chukkers. The mallets are always in the players' right hands. The direction of the ball becomes the line of the ball and serves as an imaginary buffer so riders don't collide. When a ball crosses the goal posts a point is scored and the teams switch ends of the field.

The Referee: The game is monitored by a referee positioned at one side of the field, two umpires and a goal flagger located by the goal posts.

Last Updated: 2/8/2011