British Polo
British Polo

The Sport of Polo



About Us

The Pitch

  • 300 yards long, 160 yards wide
  • Goal posts are 8 yards apart
  • White line at the centre of the ground
  • Penalty lines 30, 40 and 60 yards from each back line.

  • 4 players per team
  • Each player has a handicap (see Player Handicaps).  Team handicaps are an aggregate of each player's individual handicap.
  • Players can change their ponies at any time. 
  • It is not allowed for ponies to play two consecutive chukkas
  • For high-goal polo, players generally bring at least 1 pony per chukka


Player Handicaps

  • All players have a handicap, -2 goal for novices to 10 goal for the top professionals
  • Sum of the 4 players' handicaps on a team makes the aggregate Team Handicap
  • High goal polo starts in Britain at a Team Handicap of 18 goals
  • The NetJets British Polo Championship will be played at a Team Handicap of 26 goals



  • Players are required to wear hard safety helmets and knee pads for protection and usually carry a whip
  • Players must hold their stick in their right for safety reasons
  • Sticks typically made of bamboo with hard wood heads, although there have been experiments with graphite and glass fibre shafts.  Between 48 and 53 inches long.  The ball is hit with either side of the head and not with the ends as in croquet
  • Polo balls are made of hard plastic (originally made of bamboo).  3 to 3 inches in diameter and 3 to 4 ounces in weight



  • Pony welfare is paramount in polo.  Ponies cannot play two consecutive chukkas
  • Players mounted on horses although the term 'pony' (historically polo was first played on ponies in England)
  • No height limit on ponies (abolished in the early 20th century).  Typically between 15 and 15.3 hands.
  • Ponies thoroughly schooled to accelerate, stop suddenly and turn quickly
  • Bandages and boots are compulsory for the safety and protection of ponies


Play - Chukkas and Time
  • NetJets British Polo Championship will play 'Open Handicap' which means there will be no adjustment for differences in Team Handicaps
  • 4 chukkas
  • Chukka lasts for 7 minutes when 1st bell is rung. Play ends after another 30 seconds when a 2nd bell is rung or if the ball goes out of play.
  • In the event of a tie after 4 chukkas, additional 'sudden death' chukkas will be played until a deciding goal is scored
  • Teams change ends after every goal
  • 3 minute intervals between chukkas, except for half-time
  • 5 minute interval at half time. 'Treading in' during half time

  • Player following the ball has the 'Right of Way' over all other players. Any other player crossing the player with Right of Way in a dangerous manner commits a foul.
  • Player may ride an opponent off but cannot charge in at an angle
  • Player may not hook an opponent's stick unless he is on the same side of the opponent as the ball.
  • Penalties awarded based upon the severity of the foul

  • Goal is given if a cross is dangerous or deliberate in the vicinity of the goal
  • Free hit from 30 yards - Defenders sit behind the goal line and outside of the goal posts. The can move only after the ball is hit.
  • Free hit from 30 yards - Same as 30 yard free hit.
  • Free hit from 60 yards - Defenders to be 30 yards from the ball.
  • Free hit from centre of ground - Defenders to be 30 yards from the ball
  • 'Corners' - 60 yard shot from where ball was hit behind the line. Defenders to be 30 yards from the ball

  • 2 mounted umpires
  • 1 "3rd man" referee in the stands to break umpire deadlocks
  • Goal judges will wave flags when a goal is scored
© 2006 British Polo Championship, All Rights Reserved.