Frequently Asked Questions


Here are the most commonly asked questions about polo, and some simple answers to familiarize you with the sport.

A Polo Glossary

  • Bump:

    A player is permitted to ride into another to spoil his opponent’s shot or remove him from play. The angle of collision must be no more than 45 degrees; the faster the horse travels, the smaller the angle must be.

  • Hooking:

    A player may spoil another’s shot by putting his mallet in the path of the striking player’s mallet.

  • Knock-In:

    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.

  • Line of the Ball:

    The line of the ball is the imaginary path along which the ball travels; it represents a right-of-way for the last player striking the ball. Crossing the line is a foul.

  • Out of Bounds:

    When a ball crosses the sideline or goes over the sideboards, it is considered out of bounds and the umpire throws in another ball between the two teams at that point.

  • Penalty:

    A free hit toward the goal from a set distance. The severity of the foul determines what penalty will be awarded.

  • Ride-Off:

    When two riders make contact and attempt to push each other off the line of the ball so as to prevent the other from striking. The horses do the pushing, although a player may use his body but not his elbows.

  • Throw-In:

    The umpire bowling the ball between the two ready teams, when the chukker begins or play resumes after a foul.

  • Time-Out:

    An umpire calls time-out when a foul is committed or an accident occurs. 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.

  • Umpires:

    Two mounted umpires (one for each side of the field) consult with each other after a foul and impose a penalty if they agree. If they do not agree, they confer with the third man, known as the referee.