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The Do's and Dont's of Polo

Matthew Yonally

Polo is an exciting sport that is growing in popularity. As with all sports, there are certain rules and regulations that need to be followed so that everyone who is involved in the match can be safe and have a good experience.

When large animals are involved in a sport, there has to be rules for safety in place. Polo has several rules in place to make sure the riders aren’t thrown from a horse. There are also rules that protect the safety of horses. This is especially true concerning horses’ legs.

One important rule to follow in polo is the right of way rule. In polo, the way that the ball is traveling down the pitch is called the line of the ball. Players are allowed to ride after the ball in order to strike it with the mallet. When a player is pursuing the line of the ball, opposing players are not allowed to cross in front of the player pursuing the ball if there is any chance whatsoever that horses might collide.

A crossing foul will be issued if the right of way is egregiously not honored. If a player who has the right of way on the line of the ball has to slow down his horse due to another player crossing in front of his path, the opposing player will be penalized.

Riding off is a polo tactic that has certain do’s and don’ts associated with it. Riding off refers to a player using his horse to push another player and horse out of the way. Riding off is legal under certain circumstances.

Riding off is not allowed, and a penalty will be called, if a player comes in at an angle that will cause danger to a horse or rider. This usually involves blindsiding a horse and rider. Absolutely no crossing is allowed.

Hooking sticks is another aspect of polo that has a right way and wrong way. A player can hook another player’s stick as he attempts to play a ball in two circumstances. He must be on the same side or directly behind the player attempting to strike the ball.

Hooking is not allowed from across a horse as it may damage a horse’s legs. If a player has already started to swing the mallet, and it is above the shoulders, no hooking is allowed.

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