Polo matches are broken down into periods of play called chukkas. Each chukka is 7 ½ minutes long (a bell is rung at 7 minutes and again at 7 ½ minutes).
A match is normally 4 (Low Goal) to 8 (High Goal) chukkas. A Low Goal match lasts about an hour.
Before the match starts the player handicaps of each team are added up. If there is a weaker team, they are awarded goals at the start. The number of goals they get is calculated using a mathematical equation. The equation can sometimes return half goals so a weaker team can sometimes start with a half goal.
There are two umpires mounted on horseback and a referee on the side-line.
The match starts with the two teams facing each other in the centre of the ground. One of the mounted umpires then initiates a “throw in” by throwing the ball along the ground between the teams to start the chukka.
A player is allowed to “ride off” another player to get priority over the ball. This is when two players ride alongside each other and try to barge each other to one side.
A player is allowed to hook another player’s stick to stop them hitting the ball.
The object of the game is to score goals, the team with the most goals at the end wins.
After every goal the teams swap ends.
After every goal the players meet back at the centre of the ground for a throw in.
A player will change their Horse after each chukka; a player will therefore ride 4 or more Horses in a match.
Any day of the year, Argentina Polo Day offers a polo match to watch and learn the secrets of this exclusive sport!