An Overview of Polo
Polo is not a difficult game to understand, as the rules are mostly concerned with safety.
The ground is 300 yards wide. The goal posts are eight yards apart.
A match usually consists of four or six periods of play, called chukkas, each of 7 minutes duration. Between each chukka there is an interval of three minutes, and five minutes at half time. In the case of a tie teams play to ‘sudden death’, or in some cases have a penalty shootout.
Teams consist of four players of whom the numbers 1 and 2 are forwards, number 3 is the centre and number 4 is the back. Correctly players should mark their opposite number in the opposing team.
Teams change ends after each goal is scored, this being fairest if there is a wind or sloping field. Players change ponies at the end of each chukka. There is no limit to the height of ponies.
All players must wear protective head gear; all horses must have leg protection in either boots or bandages. It is not compulsory to plait or tie up the ponies’ tails, but this prevents the player’s stick getting caught up just as he wishes to use it.
Each player is rated, or given a handicap (also known as a ‘goals’), ranging from -2 to 10 (10 being the highest). In matches played by "handicapped" players (as opposed to open competition, where handicaps are not considered), the handicaps of all four players (i.e. 2, -2, 4 & 2) are totaled. If the total handicap of a team is more than that of the team against which they are playing, the difference is added to the scoreboard. For example, if the "Hexham" polo team has a total handicap of six goals and the "Caramut" team has a handicap of four goals, Caramut would begin the match with a two-goal advantage
In the history of the game only small number of players have reached the highest rating of 10 and only two of these were Australian, namely Robert Skene and Sinclair Hill in the mid 1980’s.