Polo – Terms

Generally there are two types of polo horses used in the competition. One is Argentina Criolla type and another one is Thoroughbred type. The former one is very steady and can turn very easily. Due to strong physique Argentina Criolla type horses get injured very rarely. Whereas thoroughbred type horses are very fast but are not that much strong as Argentina Criolla.

Terms Related to Polo Horse

The following terms are related to Polo horse.


Polo Bits

This is a kind of metallic structure used in the mouth of horse. There are two types of Bits which are Gag bit and Pelham bit. Gag bit is the circular bit used at the side of the horse to pull the head up during stopping. Pelham is nothing but a lever and chain arrangement that is used to pull the head down while stopping.


Polo Martingale

This is nothing but one kind of strap that goes from bridle to the girth. Using this the rider can be assured of not getting hit by the head of the horse. Neither too much tightening nor loosening should be done. During rest position, it should be present firmly just below the neck of the horse.


Polo Girth

This is used to hold the saddle on the horse. Tightening should be done in such a manner that, only two fingers can go inside it at a time. Before riding a horse checking the tightness of the girth is primary and necessary to avoid any future accidents.


Polo Reins

To control the horses, reins are used. These are positioned in between the riders hand and the saddle. Another purpose of the reins is to keep the head of the horse down.

Terms Related to Polo

The following terms are related to the game of Polo.

Line of the Ball

This is a line which is present at the hitting position of the ball and the destination. Line of the ball should not be crossed during the hitting process because it will cause a major foul.

Line of the Ball

Right of Way

This is different than Line of ball. While you are in the line of the ball you have a right of way in front of you. Line of the ball may change after hitting the ball but the right of way will be the same at that moment. During this time however, you cannot hit the ball.

Right of Way


If you cross the right of way of another player then foul occurs. Some other most common fouls are −

  • Riding into another player’s swing
  • Hooking above the shoulder
  • Playing on the wrong side of the horse
  • Standing on the way of the ball


This is one of the most basic rule that every rider should keep in his mind while playing polo. Do not go for chasing the ball at all. Your primary aim should be to join the line first. After joining the line you can take a man. After joining the line and engaging the man you can finally look over to hit the ball. So keep this simple formula in mind “Line-Man-Ball”.

Take a Man

Principle of polo says that in the field if you are finding yourself alone, then you definitely do not know how to play it. In the field always try to take a man. With open mind first find a man and ride your horse close to him. By pulling over the reins make sure that you are taking your horse close to that man. Now try to take your knees in front of him. This is the best way to help your team by controlling your man.

Tactics in Polo

Below are some of the tactics which a player shall learn while playing polo

Hit to the Right

During the time of approaching a defending player you should hit the ball to the right. By doing this he has to wait for you. Wait for him to make a foul or else go on again for hitting the ball.

Playing Diagonals

Polo is all about judging the angles. Running straight down the field should be avoided. Instead go towards the right hand side of the field so that your teammate can pass the ball to you. In some cases if the left is open then the ball can also be passed to the left. From one end towards the board the ball moves in a diagonal pattern.

Train Formation

Between each player of your team an equal distance should be maintained. Number three can pass to number two and similar manner number two can pass to number one. In case one misses in the front, another will be at the back side. Number four should be at the back side of the train. By going over the ball you have two options −

  • Go ahead of the pass in case you are up front.

  • If you are at the middle or back, circle yourself to the left and join the train again.