A player rides into another player so as to push the opponent’s horse away from the ball and spoil their shot. The angle of contact must be slight and relative to the speed of the horses. The faster the horses are traveling the smaller the angle of contact must be.
The full game is 8 periods, but often in club matches 4 or 6 periods are played.
They are 7 minutes each in length, plus a 30-second overtime. Each period is called a "chukka". The brief periods are necessary due to the stress placed on polo ponies who will spend a great deal of that time galloping up and down a 300 metre ground.
Each player in high goal (top level professional) tournaments uses a fresh pony for each chukka because the game is played at a very fast pace, with the horses galloping much of the time. In club games, ponies may play 2 chukkas in a match.
Should overtime be required, a seventh mount may be called upon, or a player may go back to his best mount of the day. Three minutes are generally allowed between chukkas to change horses.
Any time a ball crosses the line between the goal posts, it is considered a goal regardless of whether a horse or a mallet caused the ball to go through.
All players are rated on a scale of 1 to 10. A team’s handicap is the sum total rating of all its players. In handicap matches the team with the higher handicap awards the difference in the total sum rating to the other team. For example a 5-goal team will award 1 goal to a 4-goal team.
A player may spoil another's shot by using his mallet to obstruct the swing of the striking opponent.
Should a team, in an offensive drive, hit the ball across the opponent's backline, the defending team resumes the game with a free hit from their backline. No time-out is allowed for knock-ins.
LINE OF THE BALL
The imaginary line produced forward or backward at any moment by the direction of the ball when hit and traveling.
The long bamboo stick with a horizontal wooden head that a player uses to strike the ball.
The left side of a horse, when you are sitting atop and looking forward.
A strike of the ball with the mallet going under the horse's neck from either side.
The right side of a horse, when you are sitting atop and looking forward.
OUT OF BOUNDS
When a ball crosses the sideline or goes over the side-boards it is considered out of bounds. The umpire bowls-in another ball between the two teams. No time-out is allowed for an out-of-bounds ball.
The horse used to play polo. Originally only horses of 14.5 hands were allowed to play and hence the term “pony” was used. Today, a horse of any size can be used, but the term “pony” is still used to describe the mount.
Each of the 3 players assumes a different position, 1, 2, and 3. No. 1 is the most forward offensive player. No. 2 is just as offensive but plays deeper and works harder. No. 3 is the pivot player between offense and defense and tries to turn all plays to the offense and to protect the goal.
A player moves toward an opponent at a slight angle so as make contact with the opponents horse and push or move the opponent off the line of the ball and spoil their play. The angle of contact must be slight and relative to the speed of the horses. The faster the horses are traveling the smaller the angle of contact must be.
A strike of the ball with the mallet going behind and across the horse's rump.
The referee sitting at the sidelines. If and when the two umpires on the field are in disagreement, the third man makes the final decision.
THROW IN (Bowl-In)
A chukka (Period of Play) begins and other plays resume with the umpires bowling the ball between the two ready teams.
An umpire calls time-out when a foul is committed, and accident occurs or at his own discretion. A player may only call time-out if he has broken tack or is injured. No time-out is allowed for changing horses or replacing a broken mallet, although a player may do so at any time.