Polo Rules

The rules may appear rather complex when reading from the HPA rule book. However here at Conroy Polo we have a unique approach to learning; our instructional chukkas promote a relaxed atmosphere where the rules are taught through play and replay to allow these complex rules to come to life.

The rules of polo are primarily focused on the safety of the player and the horse, hence the need for instructional chukkas before moving onto the competitive game.

The following is a brief introduction to the rules of polo, it is not directly from the rule book, rather a simplified overview, to provide an insight before you learn them in more detail through our instructional chukkas and lessons.

  • The game of polo is officiated by two mounted umpires who follow the game, there is also a third man (referee) at the side of the field whose job it is to make a final decision when the umpires disagree.
  • The ‘playing’ rules of polo are almost entirely based around the concept of ‘the line of the ball’. This is an imaginary line that is created by the path of the ball each time it moves, the line extends in each direction indefinitely.
  • At any one time a maximum of two players are able to play the ball, these players are said to have the ‘right of way’. The ‘right of way’ can be imagined as two lines on either side of ‘the line of the ball’, similar to a main road.
  • In order to play the ball a player must first win the right. They can do this by hooking an opponent’s mallet, pushing him off the line of the ball by bumping him with his horse or stealing the ball from him providing that he does not enter the other players right of way.

The umpires’ primary concerns are right of way and the line of the ball.

For anyone who would like to investigate the rules further, see below the link to the official HPA rules.


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