- How do I start?
- What must I need to play?
- How long does a match last?
- What type of horses do they use for
- I'm 50, am I too old to start?
- What makes a good Polo Player?
- How many lessons should I take before I start to
- Will I have to join a club to play?
- How much will it cost?
- Is it okay to bring family and friends to the
- I'm busy with work, will have have devote all my
time to polo?
- I want to buy my first pony, what should I
- I'm left handed, can I play with my left
- Polo Simplified:
2. What do I need to play?
The player has to wear the standard safety attire during
- Polo riding hat
- Knee pads (to protect you knees during close contact)
- Polo shirt
- Brown Riding boots
- White Trousers
Normal riding gear is sufficient during lessons and practice.
3. How long does a match last?
A polo match is either 4 or 6 or 8 chukka depending on the
match, players and horses available. In a match you have either 2
or 3 players in a team and 1 or 2 umpires .
A chukka is 7 minutes, the interval between chukkas is 3
A fit horse should never play 2 chukkas in sequence and never
play more than 2 chukkas on the same day.
4. What type of horses do they use
|A typical polo pony
Polo ponies are generally thoroughbreds or thoroughbreds crossed
with a warm blood (i.e Connemara), so you keep the speed but have a
quiet head too . Their height is usually between 15 and 15.3 hands.
The smaller the polo pony the more agile they are, so you can whiz
in and out of the other players, but they may not keep up with the
longer legged ponies, so generally in higher goal polo the ponies
are slightly taller. For economical reasons most of the polo ponies
in the past came from the Argentine but now Irish horses are
trained to play Polo and their speed and strong bone makes them
some of the best Polo ponies in the world . The training can take
up to three years, but is well worth it as the Irish thoroughbred
is most suitable for the game, they not only have the speed but
they are often very level-headed too.
5. I'm 50, am I too old to
Age is no barrier.. The earlier you start the better you will
become. We have 17 year old players. We have people who started
well in their 50's and still play with 80 years old. I heard a wise
man once tell me "the right age to start polo is after you are
forty, when your legs start to get tired you can swap them for the
4 legs of your horse and let them do the running". Because of the
handicap system any player is important and has the same chance and
for sure the same enjoyment of Polo.
6. What makes a good Polo
You have to love horses. There is no horse sport, where you feel
so much part of the horse, the horse is an extension of you or visa
versa, so you have a very close relationship to your horse. The
horse knows that too.
You to be competitive and always want to win ...
You need to be a good team person as the game is very much a
team play and you depend on your fellow players and they very much
depend on you. A game is always won by the better team on the day
not the best individual players.
It helps if you are already a good rider or if you have done
some competitive ball sports. But both you can learn. You will
automatically become a good rider if you concentrate on the game
and the ball, as you will learn how to naturally balance.
7. How many lessons should I take
before I start to play?
Generally 3 to 4 lessons is enough to learn the basics as you
learn just as much by playing. Once you start to play, practice
makes perfect. It's also advisable to get a lesson or two
throughout the year to get rid of any bad habits you may pick up. "
Once you have played your first chukka, there are few people who
give up Polo unless you become broke, divorced or even both."
8. Will I have to join a club to
Yes. Once you have been accepted as a member, the club will look
after your Polo. You tell them when you are available and for how
many chukkas. A chukka is a 7.5 minute play period, a game usually
has 4 periods and you can play with one horse at the most 2 chukka
with an interval.
The club manager will insure that you get into the teams and
keeps you informed of all the club activities. You will find the
other members very friendly and helpful. In general the Polo
fellowship is one of the greatest assets in the game as the Polo
community is relatively small and the game is very much a team
sport where everybody depends on his team mates and all good
players appreciate this..
9. How much will it cost?
Polo costs as much as you want to spend. It does not have to be
the most expensive sport but you should be aware that to play Polo
you will need 2 horses if you want to play the 4 chukka matches.
Your first horse would cost you between €4000 and €12,000, although
you can get cheaper horses you generally end up swapping them out 2
years later costing you more money. I have played for years with 2
ponies only and so have most of the members. But of course there is
no limit to how serious you want to involve yourself.
You may be able to lease some horses for your first season, if
you join a club like Polo Wicklow, but on the end of the day you
have to have your own horses, to enjoy the game. This lease or hire
facility is not available everywhere but some clubs have this
Yes, you can start with one horse but this allows you only to
play 2 chukka and you soon will look for your second horse. So you
should budget for a second horse.
10. Is it okay to bring family and
friends to the polo club?
Polo is a very much family sport, the clubs are organized for
you to bring your family and friends along, they usually are the
base of your supporter group and in general get very involved in
the social activities of the club.
11. I'm busy with work, will I have
have devote all my time to polo?
If your horses are kept at a Polo yard, in livery, your time
involvement is in your control. All you have to do is, arrive at
the Polo Club .. climb on your horse and off you go.. enjoy your
polo. After polo have a shower in the club and go back to work if
that is what you want. Or stay on and share your experiences with
the fellow players . The game keeps your body and mind fit.
Obviously if you want to be a top player it's recommended to
practice at least once or twice a week.
12. I want to buy my first pony,
what should I get?
I would always recommend a beginner to buy experienced horses,
at least 9 years old, to start the game. There is no point in
buying a young horse and trying to teach it to play when you are
only learning yourself, then fighting with it because it picked up
your bad habits and later putting you off polo all together. You
need all the help you can get when you are learning. Many horses
play well into their 20's. These horses will teach you the game and
from the beginning on you will enjoy your Polo.
They say 80% of the game is your horse! Keep that in mind. Polo
is the most safe horse sport if you have a good Polo pony. There
are plenty of horses out there so don't rush into buying because
everyone else has. Buy a horse that is good for your standard now,
not one that will be in 3 years, you will get a fright and it will
put you off the game.
13. I'm left handed, can I play
with my left hand? Polo Simplified:
No, it's a written rule that you must hold your stick in your
right hand. This does not mean you cannot play but it does mean
it's more difficult. There are 3 or 4 top professionals playing
today that are left handed so it is possible. There are many
exercised you can do to help you build up strength in left arm.
14. Polo Simplified:
Like in Football you have a goal on each end of the Polo field
and the aim is to score as many goals with your team as
There are not many rules. The main one is the line of the
running ball which means that the person closest to the line of the
ball has the right of way and you are not allowed to cross that
line from the person who is the closest angel to the line. Similar
to driving a car on the main road, 'the line of the ball' is the
main road, the other cars can not cross it unless the road is
The player can do the following: the obvious .... hit the ball .
Hinder another player to hit the ball by riding him off the line of
the ball.. Or by hitting the stick of the other player striking the
ball and thereby preventing him/her to hit the ball.
From this you see that even a person with no initial ball
experience can be very constructive in the game.
Polo can be played on Grass (but this you can do only in the
summer months) or in the indoor/outdoor Polo Arena. In Arena Polo
you have the advantage that it is played in any weather conditions
and never cancelled. Arena Polo is also a faster playing game as
the boards are used to keep the ball in the game like in a snooker
match, this is where you catch out the ones who like to just run
with the ball and see the ones who have skill and quick thinking.
You can play Arena Polo 2 or 3 aside. Grass Polo is a bigger
playing field and usually played with 4 players on a team.
P.S. Polo Wicklow provides the only all year round, All Weather
Polo and has some of the fastest and best Irish Polo Ponies