- Polo’s nickname is “the sport of kings.”
- Organized polo has been played in the US since 1876
The Match and Players
- A polo is game is called a match
- Each match is a competition between two teams. Each team is made up of 4 players.
- A match is made up of 6 7:30 min periods called “chukkers.”
- Each team member wears a number 1-4. These numbers correspond to field position.
- Player has a handicap kinda like golf. These handicaps can be -2-10. 10 is the highest handicap you can attain and there are fewer than 24 in the entire world. Only 2-5 percent of USPA players have a handicap of 2 or higher. So we were extremely lucky to be learning from a top polo player like Steve Krueger!
- Each player begins a new chukker on a new horse. Each player will have a “fresh horse” on either end of the field ready to be traded out should their horse get tired.
- Meaning each player comes to a polo match with 10-12 horses. That’s 40-48 horses coming to a polo match per each team.
- Whoa buddy that’s a lot of horses!
- Due to their short stature, polo horses are often times referred to as “polo ponies” regardless of their height.
- Polo ponies are typically some type of thoroughbred or are bred specially for the sport.
- The horses are extremely responsive, a bit like a cutting horse but with the speed of a race horse. And oh so much fun to ride!
The Ball and Mallet
- The ball isn’t hit with the round end of the mallet, it’s hit with the broad side (oh so much easier).
- The ball dents as the match goes on, which makes it more compact. As the match goes on, the ball becomes denser and is able to be hit farther and truer.
- You can only hold the mallet with your right hand, even if you’re left handed.
- You have to ride with the mallet in the air, and it’s not light!
- Each mallet is a different length and that length depends on the height of the horse that you are riding and rider preference. So new horse (most likely) = new mallet.
- We filmed with Steve Krueger. You can read a cool interview about his 2018 Palm Beach Season here. Fun fact: we knew Steve because he and Brady went to high school together at Arygle High School in Texas!
- The polo match we filmed was a preliminary match of the Ylvisaker Cup, 20-goal tournament. And guess what? Team Coca Cola ended up winning! You can read all about their huge win here.
Watch a polo match was one of the most fun, exhilarating, and enjoyable afternoons I’ve ever had. If you have the chance to see a match, I highly recommend you do! Want to learn how to play? Check out this article to learn how you can get involved. Let me know what you thought about tonight’s episode in the comments 🙂