Polo is often considered the sport of royalty and the rich sometimes referred to as the sport of kings.
Polo is an equestrian sport which requires a great deal of skill from both horse and rider. Played in teams of four, mounted on horseback with a long-handled wooden mallet, players hit a small hard ball around the field attempting to score goals against the opposing team. It somewhat resembles hockey on horseback. A polo match consists of six time periods called chukkas lasting 7 minutes, except in the case of a draw where play will continue until a goal is scored.
Polo ponies (called ponies although majority of them re actually horses) are sized between 14.2 and 16.1 hands high. They need to be incredibly fit, agile, have the ability for short spurts of speed and have a good temperament. Thoroughbreds and thoroughbred crosses are often the breed of choice for polo ponies.
Due to the high physical demand on a polo pony players are required to have a number of horses. One pony can not play back to back chukkas and can not play more than two full chukkas. Therefore a player usually has a string of at least three ponies at each game.
Polo has become a very popular spectator sport. Polo days are often accompanied by good food, wine, picnics, hats and fabulous clothes, but don’t forget the real stars are the horses.
Originally published in the myPET Magazine Issue 17 Summer 2018-2019.
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