Polo Terms - Polo

What are the terms used in Polo?

Usually, two types of polo horses are used in the tournament. One is Argentina Criolla type and another one is Thoroughbred type. The former one is very balanced and can turn very easily. Due to dynamic physique Argentina Criolla type horses do not get hurt easily. Whereas thoroughbred type horses are very fast but are not that much energetic as Argentina Criolla.

Terms Related to Polo Horse

The following terms are related to Polo horse.



The above picture indicates the kind of metallic structure attaché in the mouth of horse. Gag bit and Pelham bit are two types of bits. Gag bit is determined to be circular bit used at the side of the horse to pull the head up while stopping. Pelham is a lever and chain arranged in such a way that is used to pull the head down while stopping.



This is nothing but one kind of buckled strap that goes from headgear to the cinch. With this the person who rides the horse known to be secured of not gets hit by the head of the horse. Do not go for too much tightening or loosening. When it is in rest position, it must be present exactly just below the neck of the horse.



This is used to handle the saddle on the horse. Tightening should be done in such a way that, only two fingers can get inside it at a time. Before going to ride a horse you need to check the tightness of the cinch which is very important to further avoid any future accidents.



To control the horses, reins are used. These are placed in between the riders hand and the saddle. Another important function of the reins is to pull 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 represents the position of the ball that is to be hit and the destination. Line of the ball should not be cross while hitting process because it gives major fault.

Right of Way

This is different than Line of ball. While you are positioned in the line of the ball through which the ball travels, you have a right of way in front of you. Line of the ball may differ after hitting the ball but the right of way will remain same at that moment. At this time the ball cannot be hit in any case.



If you cross the right of way of other player then fault occurs. Some other most common faults are −

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


This is one of the most important rules that every rider should understand while practicing polo. Do not run after the ball at all. Your initial goal should be to join the line first. After joining the line you can engage a man. After joining the line and make the man to participate, you can finally see the ball to strike. So put this simple formula in mind “Line-Man-Ball”.

Take a Man

Principle of polo states that you need to engage a man surely if you feel that you are alone in the field because you do not know how to play. With broad mind first engage a man and ride your horse nearer to him. By pulling over the reins ensure that you are riding your horse nearer to that man. Now try to take your knees in front of him. This is the better way to assist your team by managing your man.

Tactics in Polo

Below are some of the techniques which a player should learn while playing polo

Hit to the Right

At the time of proceeding towards a defending player you should strike the ball to the right. By doing so the opponent has to wait for you. Pause for him to make a fault otherwise repeat again for striking the ball.

Playing Diagonals

Polo is all about deciding the angles. Avoid running straight down the field. Rather get directed to the right hand side of the field in order to switch the ball to you by your teammate. Sometimes, if the left is open then the ball can also be moved to the left. From one end directed to the open end the ball rotates in a oblique pattern.

Train Formation

Each individual of your team must be in equal distance. The player number three can pass to number two and in the same manner number two can pass to number one. This process helps the player who miss the ball in front can get the ball to other player who is at the back of the front person. The player number four should be at the back side of the train. By rotating over the ball you have two options −

  • If you are in front you need to move further.
  • If you are at the middle or back, position yourself to the left and join the train again.

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