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THE SPORT OF POLO
SPORT OF POLO
The object of the game is to move the polo ball down-field, hitting the ball through the goal posts for a score. Polo teams then change direction after each goal in order to compensate for field and wind conditions. A team is made up of four polo players.
A polo match is usually played outdoors. A polo field is 300 yards long and 160 yards wide, the largest field in organized sport. A polo match lasts about one and one-half hours and is divided into timed periods called chukkers. Each chukker is seven minutes long. Play begins with a throw-in of the ball by the umpire at the opening of each chukker and after each goal. Players must change horses after each chukker due to the extreme demands placed on the polo pony.
During half time, spectators go onto the field to participate in a tradition called “divot stomping” to help replace the divots created by the horse’s hooves. Polo players are ranked yearly by their peers and the USPA on a scale of -2 to 10 goals. Team play is handicapped on the basis of ability.
Most of the rules of polo are for the safety of the polo players and their ponies. The basic concept is the line of the ball, a right-of-way established by the path of a traveling ball. Two mounted Umpires do most of the officiating, with a Referee at midfield having the final say in any dispute between the umpires. Penalty shots are given depending on the severity of the foul.
The United States Polo Association is the governing body of the sport in the U.S. at all levels, Interscholastic, Intercollegiate, Amateur, Arena, Outdoor & High-goal (professional) polo. They live-stream tournaments, you can find players' handicaps and much more insightful information through their website https://www.uspolo.org
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