How To Play Polo?

It is not good to ride a horse directly without doing any warmup. A little bit of stretching of muscles before and after riding a horse is necessary. Stretching of important parts of the body like, back, arms, wrists and inner legs should be done.

Hitting Points and Angles

A rider should also be aware of hitting points of a horse body. Generally there are four hitting points for horse. Left side of the horse is known as nearside. This is generally the side you mount and dismount. On the other hand the right side of the horse is known as the offside. Nearside shots are very difficult to make because in this type of shots, you actually need to bent over and twist to hit, while making sure not to hit the horse.

Points and Angles

The four hitting points can be summarized as follows −

  • Nearside Forehand-Left Forward
  • Offside Forehand-Right Forward
  • Nearside Back-Left Back
  • Offside Back-Right Backward

Apart from hitting points, there are also hitting angles for a horse. There are generally three hitting angles of a horse and they are −

  • Open − Away from the horse

  • Neck − Hitting is done under the neck of the horse

  • Tail − Hitting is done at the backside of the horse

Let’s understand this by taking an example. A statement like “Offside Tail” indicates the ball need to be sent to 7 o clock position. Similarly a statement like “nearside for open” will send the ball to a 10-11 o clock position.

Position of Hitting

Hitting randomly is not going to fetch you any good movement in the play. Rather you should know about the exact hitting position and the perfect way to do it. Below are some of the important facts that you should remember.

Position of Hitting

First and foremost thing that a rider should learn is the way of hitting the ball. Instead of hitting the ball hardly, you should hit the ball slowly unless, you are only going to injure your wrist and miss the ball too. The speed of riding and the swing are inversely proportional to each other.

The faster you ride the horse, the lesser will be the swing. It is important to know that while performing half seat position take your back off the seat. Turning of the shoulders should be parallel to the horse. To keep the elbow straight extend your arm backwards.

Squeeze the horse with your knees and by looking down, aim towards a particular point on the ball. Then slowly hit the ball. The right way of carrying the stick is to hold it vertically above your hand so that it will take less time to hit in all the four positions.

Apart from the above, a beginner should record a video of himself to know the faults and should improvise himself from time to time. Guidance under a experienced coach is mandatory. Below is a table depicting important points related to hitting positions.

Sr.No Terms & Importance


Aim for a particular point on the ball.



Position of your head should be above the ball.



Squeeze your horse hard with your knees.


Arm Straight

Position of your arm should be straight back with the stick holding vertically.


Half Seat

Rise up from the horse and position yourself in half seat position.



Never hold stick downwards. Hold it right in front of you and hold it above your hands.



Swinging should be done in slow motion to hit the ball.


Follow Through

Follow through with straight arm and at the end just break your wrist.



Position of your shoulders should be parallel to the horse.

Stopping the Horse

Stopping your running horse is also an art that requires little bit of practise only. When you feel like stopping the horse. Just lean back slowly and apply a little pressure on the mouth of the horse by pulling it backwards. This will help the horse to recollect himself and with the help of his back leg, he will begin to stop.

Now pulling the reins close to your chest, squeeze the horse with your knees with your feet going forward. In between keep giving a firm and gentle touch on the mouth of your horse. Some riders use both of their hands to stop the horse. Some even use their stick hand to pull the reins, thereby correctly stopping the horse.

Stopping the Horse

Horses run with massive speed. So while stopping, they use maximum of their energy. Therefore; in many professional matches 10 stops maximum are allowed per chukka. So, unless it is important do not build a practise habit of stopping your horse again and again. Instead you can go for a gentle turn.

Turning the Horse

The process of slowing down the horse by putting the back legs underneath is known as collecting the horses. Before turning the horse, it is important to collect them. During the course of fast running if you will try to turn your horse, then it will take a long time to stop and in worst case it may slip also.

Turning the Horse

Therefore it is a wise practise to slow down your horse gradually before turning. Look back to the spot you want to turn towards and your horse will follow you. But if you look at your horse then the funny thing is that he will also look back at you and the whole turning process will go in vain.