Basic Rules of Polo
This brief overview of the rules of polo is for the spectator only. Most of the rules of polo are for the safety of the players and their ponies. If you want to play, learn them thoroughly. For complete details refer to the USPA Outdoor Rules.
The Line of the Ball
The most basic concept in the sport of polo is the line of the ball, a right of way established by the path of a traveling ball.
When a player has the line of the ball on his right, he has the right of way. This can be taken away by moving the player off the line of the ball by making shoulder-to-shoulder contact.
A player can:
The umpires' primary concerns are right of way and the line of the ball.
The player who last struck the ball is considered to have right of way, and no other player may cross the line of the ball in front of that player. Riding alongside to block or hook is allowed, as long as the player with right of way is not impeded.
Bumping or riding off is allowed as long as the angle of attack is less than 45 degrees, and any contact must be made between the pony's hip and shoulder.
A player may hook or block another player's mallet with his mallet, but no deliberate contact between players is allowed. A player may not purposely touch another player, his tack or pony with his mallet.
The mallet may only be held in the right hand. Left handed players are often thought to hit with less accuracy, but guide their ponies better than their right handed peers.
Ponies play for a maximum of two chukkers per match.