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Some Basics Polo Rules | The More You Know

Some Basics Polo Rules | The More You Know


The rules of polo are written and used to provide safety of both polo players and horses. The main responsibility of the referee is to control and guarantee the right to pass and the “line of the ball”. In polo, there are two mounted umpires and a referee that stays on the sidelines; this referee is the one in charge of final decision. Want to know more?

Here are some basic polo rules:

  • Each team has a handicap, which is formed by the handicap of the four players.
  • If two teams with different handicaps face each other, the team which has fewer goals must start the match adding the goals of difference between his handicap and the opposing team. For example, a team with 26 goals will grant 2 goals to a team that has 24. This only occurs in tournaments with handicap.
  • Each player has an area of responsibility. Number one is forward; number two and three, are in the centre of the field; and number four is defence.
  • No player can use the taco in his/her left hand.
  • It is forbidden to hit between the leg of the horse.
  • Crossing the right to pass of another horse, is the most serious and dangerous faults.
  • A player can not touch another player intentionally, neither his taco nor his horse. Touch between players can only be held with their right hand only.
  • A player can hit another’s taco, but never above the shoulder level or across the horse.
  • Strategic plays in polo are based on the “line of the ball”, an imaginary line created by the ball as it travels down the field. This line, that traces the path of the ball and its trajectory, defines the rules for players to approach safely. No polo player can cross another bearing the line, unless there is a safe distance to avoid collision. Its important to say that the “line of the ball” changes each time the ball changes direction.
  • The defending player has a variety of opportunities for his or her team to gain possession of the ball, as he/she can push the opponent off the line or steal the ball from the opponent.
  • After each goal, polo teams must change their sides on the field.

For more information: Argentina Polo Day

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