Polo Rules

1- Field of Play :- A full size field of play shall be 300 yards (275 meters) in length by 200 yards (180 meters) in width if unboarded and 300 yards (275 meters) in length by 160 yards (140 meters) in width if boarded.
The goals shall be less than 250 yards (230 meters) apart each goal shall be 8 yards (7.3 meters) wide and centered at each end of the field.
The goal posts shall be at least 10 feet (3 meters) high and light enough to give way if collided with.
The boards shall not exceed 11 inches (28 centimeters) in height.

2- Size of ball :- The size of the ball shall be 3 to 3.5 inches (76 to 89 millimeters) in diameter the weight of the ball shall be within the limits of 4.25 to 4.75 ounces (120 to 135 grams).

3- Duration of Games :-  Each chukker will be 7 minutes in length. At the end of 6 ½ minutes playing time the bell is sounded to indicate 30 seconds remaining in the chukker. At the end of 7 minutes of playing time a bell will sound to terminate the chukker.

4- Team and Players :-   The number of player is limited to 4 aside in all games.
No 1 & 2 are forwards No 3 s usually the Captain and pivot of the team and No 4 is a defensive player.
Each player MUST play with his right hand, for reasons of safety.

5- Handicaps :- Handicaps reflect individual ability on a scale of -2 to 10. To make the game more competitive most tournaments have an upper and lower handicap limit. The weaker team is given an advantage before the match. In all games played under handicap conditions the higher handicapped team concedes to the lower handicap team the difference in team handicaps, divided by 6 and multiplied by the number of chukkers of play in the game. All fractions of goals will be counted as half a goal.

6- Umpires:- The rules are administered in a game by 2 umpires who are mounted to enable them to keep close to the game and the referee who shall remain off the field in a central position. Decisions of umpires are final. In the event that they disagree the referee shall decide.

7- Ponies :-  Ponies of any height may be played. A pony which is not under control is dangerous to other ponies or players will not be allowed to play. A pony played by one team cannot be played by other team in the same tournament.

8- Main Fouls :-   The purpose is to ensure safety. Basic road traffic rules apply. Infringing on an opponents right of way or crossing it an unsafe distance, constitutes a foul. Dangerous riding and rough handling are not permitted. Penalties vary according to the severity and place of foul committed.

9- Penalties :-  
    Penalty No 1

A goal & a throw in at 10 yards from the middle of the goal of the side fouling.

    Penalty No 2

A free hit from a distance of 30 yards at an undefended goal. The defenders have to be behind the goal line & can only come in after the ball is struck but not through the goal posts. The attackers have to be behind the ball before it struck.

    Penalty No 3

A free hit from a distance of 40 yards at an undefended goal other condition remain the same as for penalty No 2.

    Penalty No 4

A free hit from a distance of 60 yards at a defended goal.

    Penalty No 5

A free hit from the spot where the foul occurred.

    Penalty No 5 (B)

A free hit from the centre of the ground.

    Penalty No 6 60 Yards hit opposite where the ball cross the back line.

10- Goals :-   A goal is scored when the ball crosses the line between the goal posts at any height. After each goal the teams change sides to give both teams equal advantage of ground and atmospheric condition.




claims by players for a foul, expressed by the raising of mallets above the head


backhand swing, changing the flow of play by sending the ball in the opposite direction

Bowl In

when the umpire starts or resumes a polo match by rolling the ball down the center of a lineup of players, same as throw in


when a player directs his pony into the side of an opponent's pony

Check and turn

to slow the pony and turn safely


term used for period of play in polo, seven and a half minutes long, there are six chukkers in a polo match


an unofficial goal observer appointed to signal by waving a flag over the head if a goal is scored, or under the waist if no goal


usually 300 yards long by 160 yards wide and outlined by sideboards


anytime the ball crosses the line between the goal posts, regardless of who (including ponies) knocks it through


Team play is handicapped on the basis of ability. A team's handicap is the total of its players' goal ratings. Tournaments are held in handicap categories. High goal polo is considered to be for teams rated nineteen goals or over, and medium goal play is fifteen to eighteen goals. There are many ways to build a team that meets the tournament's goal limit. Quite often a strong team will want a ringer, a new or under rated player, to balance the team's higher ranked players. The team with the lower handicap is awarded the difference in goals at the start of the match


Catching an opponent's mallet in swing below the level of the horse's back, to leave or turn the ball for a teammate

Knock In

after the ball crosses the backline, the defending team knocks the ball back into play from their own backline


to ride past the ball so that the teammate behind can hit it

Line of the ball

the imaginary line produced by the ball when it is hit or deflected

Made pony

a polo pony that is well trained for polo and has been played for some time

Mallet head

the part of the mallet used to strike the ball, the wide face of the head is used to strike the ball


the left hand side of the horse

Neck shot

hitting the ball under the horse's neck


two mounted umpires do most of the officiating, with a referee at midfield having the final say in any dispute between the umpires


the right hand side of the horse


to hit the ball forward or laterally to a teammate

Player rating

players are rated every year by their peers on a scale of -2 to 10 goals. Ratings are based on ability to ride, hit the ball, and perform effective team play


numbered from 1 to 10, a free hit is awarded to the fouled, from a set distance determined by the severity of the foul committed

Pony goal

when a pony causes the ball to go through the goal posts


there are four players on a team, the forwards are numbered one and two, and are mainly concerned with scoring, number three, the center half, assists the scorers and aids in defense, often the most experienced member of the team, defense and fast break opportunities are the responsibilities of the back, number four

Ride off

two riders may make contact and attempt to push each other off the line to prevent an opponent from striking the ball


also known as Penalty 6, a defending player hits the ball over his own backline


short boards along the sidelines of the field to help keep the ball in play


polo players are ranked yearly by their peers and the USPA on a scale of -2 to 10 goals.


the polo mallet

Stick and ball

personal practice time

Sudden Death

overtime play when the score is tied at the end of the last regular chukker, the first team to score wins


hitting at the ball with the mallet using one of four basic shots: forehander, backhander, neckshot, tailshot


all the equipment used on a pony

Tail shot

hitting the ball behind and under the horse's rump

Third man

the referee sitting at the sidelines, if the two umpires on the field are in disagreement, the third man makes the final decision. Also known as Referee.

Throw in

when the umpire starts or resumes the match, he rolls the ball down the center of a lineup of players and mounts

Time out

an umpire may call a time out when a foul is committed, an accident occurs, or at his or her discretion, a player may only call a time out if he has broken tack or is injured


to backhand hit the ball away from the goal being defended


two mounted officials, one for each side of the field


visit the U.S. governing body of polo at http://www.uspolo.org/


the protective bandages the ponies wear on their legs


Developed by Pegasus International Copyright (c) 1995 - 2007.
Pegasus International. All rights reserved.(Disclaimer Clause)
Best viewed at: 800x600