Four players are on each team. Each player wears a numbered jersey, one through four, which indicates their position and responsibilities on the field.

•One – Mainly concerned with goal scoring – often played by the lowest handicapped player on the team.
•Two – Scorer, but greater defensive responsibilities then Number One.
•Three – Adept at scoring, playing defense and determining the strategy. Generally the team’s best player and captain.
•Four – Mainly a defensive player.

Time Periods

A polo match is approximately one and one-half hours long and is divided into seven-minute time periods called chukkers. There are six chukkers in a high-goal match. Breaks between chukkers are three minutes long, with a 15-minute halftime.


Players score by driving the ball into the opposing team’s goal.


Polo ponies are full-size horses, ranging in size from 14.2 to 15.3 hands high at the withers, or pony’s shoulders, (one hand equals four inches) and weigh between 900 and 1100 lbs. Many polo ponies are thoroughbreds or thoroughbred crosses. They play for a maximum of two non-consecutive chukkers per match.


All players are assigned a handicap. Handicaps go from minus two to ten goals and are determined by competition committees in the countries where the players compete. There are only 12 or so ten goalers in the world.

Players must hit right-handed for safety reasons.

Game Control

Two mounted umpires control the game; a midfield referee steps in when the umpires disagree. A flagman is positioned behind each goal; he indicates when a goal is scored.


The umpires generally call fouls for dangerous riding or use of the mallet. Penalty for a foul can be anything from a free hit to a free goal for the opposing team.


Polo fields are 300 yards long and 160 yards wide. An eight-yard wide goal, marked by ten-foot high goal posts, is centered on each end of the field.

Techniques défensives

A player may use his mallet to block or interfere with an opponent’s swing by hooking the other player’s mallet. This is only allowed when a player is on the side where the swing is occurring or directly in front of or behind their opponent.

A bump, or ride-off, is used to break an opponent’s concentration, move him off the line of the ball or ruin his shot. When one player rides his pony alongside and physically connects with his opponent to lead him away from the ball, it is called a ride-off. A ride-off is permissible only at a 30-degree angle and at the horse’s shoulder.