Playing Arena. The ideal playing area is a boarded 100X50 yards arena. Goals are centered at opposite ends (10 feet wide by 15 feet high).
The Ball. An inflated ball is approximately 13 inches circumference. It cannot be less than 12.5” and no more than 15” in diameter. The Arena ball is very similar to a small Soccer ball.
The Polo Pony. Any breed or size but needs to be fast, agile, robust and brave! Bandages and hard plastic tendon boots protect all four legs.
Players. In the arena you will find three players in each team (4 on the grass). Number 1 is the striker, 2 is the center and 3 is the back. Someone of the same standard may substitute a player during the match if they are unable to finish the game. A player’s ability is measured by their Handicap.
Minus 2 is a beginner to 10 Goal being the absolute best in the game. In 2013 there are only eight 10-goal players in the world. Arena handicaps are generally one goal higher than the grass handicaps.
Umpires. There are two mounted Umpires in the arena and a ‘third man’ seated on the sidelines at the middle of the arena. The role of the third man is to be consulted by the Umpires in the event that the Umpires disagree on a foul/penalty. This third man also serves as time and score keeper.
Length of Game/Periods. There are four periods (chukkas) of 7 1/2 minutes with intervals of 4 minutes after each period, except after the second period where there is a 6-minute interval. However, periods may be shortened if it is considered to be in the interests of the welfare of the ponies. A bell will sound 30 seconds before the end of the chukka. When the Umpire blows the whistle and stops play the clock is stopped. When a goal is scored, the Umpire shall signal by raising his arm but play continues and the clock is not stopped.
Start of Game/Chukka. The toss of a coin dictates direction of play at the start. Ends are changed after each period. The Umpire start play in any period by throwing the ball underhand, along the ground, between the teams which shall be lined up in parallel lines at the center of the arena. The timer shall start the clock at the moment the ball leaves the Umpire’s hand.
- ·Penalty 1. The team fouled is awarded a goal.
- ·Penalty 2. A free hit from a spot 15 yards in front of the mouth of an undefended goal.
- ·Penalty 3. A free hit from a spot 25 yards in front of the mouth of the goal undefended.
- ·Penalty 4. A free hit from a spot 25 yards in front of the mouth of the goal defended.
- ·Penalty 5a. A free hit from the center of the arena.
- ·Penalty 5b. A free hit from beyond the 50+1 yard line.
- ·Penalty 7. The Umpire may remove a player from all or any part of the remainder of the game in addition to any other penalty in cases of a deliberate or dangerous foul, or conduct prejudicial to the game.
- ·Penalty 8. The match shall be forfeited.
Line of the ball. Crossing the line of the ball is the most frequent foul. The line of the ball, namely the imaginary line along which the ball travels, represents a right of way for the player following nearest the line. There are strict rules governing opponents’ entry in to the right of way in the interest of safety. The Nearside is the left side of the pony and the Offside is the right side of the pony.
Use of the Stick and the Ride Off. A player may hook or strike the stick of an opponent with the stick to prevent the opponent having a clean strike at the ball. The ride off is when 2 players make contact and try and push each other off the line of the ball.