What is Polo?
Polo is a ball game played on horseback, and one of the world’s oldest known team sports. The game is played by two opposing teams with the objective of scoring using a long-handled wooden mallet to hit a small hard ball through the opposing team’s goal. Each team has four mounted riders, and the game usually lasts one to two hours, divided into periods called chukkas or “chukkers“.
Polo has been called “the sport of kings” and has become a spectator sport for equestrians and high society, often supported by sponsorship. The concept of the game and its variants date back from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD, originated from equestrian games played by nomadic Iranian and Turkic peoples. The sport was at first a training game for Persian cavalry units, usually the royal guard or other elite troops. A notable example is Saladin, who was known for being a skilled polo player which contributed to his cavalry training. It is now popular around the world, with well over 100 member countries in the Federation of International Polo, played professionally in 16 countries, and was an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1936.