Who can attend polo matches at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club?
While we are a private club, we do welcome members of the public at a number of our events during the polo season. These events will be posted on our website and we will also advertise them to the local community. You can also join us on Facebook to stay update or sign up for our newletter.
How do I dress when attending a polo match?
The formality of polo tournaments does vary and the attire of spectators will change accordingly, ranging from the very casual to the very dressy. If the tournament is being held at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club we will normally provide information on our website as to the dress code. Smart casual dress will suffice for most polo tournaments.
What is a chukker and how long does a polo game last?
Periods of play in polo are called chukkers. Matches can be four, six or eight chukkers long with each chukker lasting seven minutes. The number of chukkers can be flexible, especially during training matches or in hot weather. Polo is hard work for the ponies, so to avoid over-exertion, each pony can only play in two chukkers per match with a rest chukker between them. Please see our ‘Understanding Polo’ section for more information on the rules and regulations
What is a polo handicap?
In order to evenly match teams which may field players of different abilities, a handicap system was introduced to polo in 1888. Players are assigned a handicap from -2 to 10 where a -2 goal player is a beginner and a 10 goal player is the highest standard. You arrive at a team’s handicap by adding up the handicaps of each of its players, and matches are played by low, medium or high goal teams, depending on the handicap. The handicap does not indicate the number of goals a player is likely to score in a match.
How many players are in a team?
When polo is played on a full-sized grass pitch, there are four people on each team. There are three people per team in indoor arena polo.
How many ponies do you use in a polo match?
The number of ponies varies per match depending on the amount of chukkers played. Each pony can play a maximum of two chukkers per match and must have at least one rest chukker between playing periods, so the more chukkers played, the more ponies each player will need. You will see ‘pony lines’ near the field of play during a game where all the ponies that will be used during a match are kept.
What is the difference between a normal horse and a polo pony?
Polo ponies are renowned for their courage because they are required to make physical contact with other ponies during a ‘ride off’ or ‘bump’. They must also be unafraid of a swinging mallet or flying ball near their heads, which is something that most horses would shy away from. Polo ponies are also prized for their speed, stamina and agility which allow them to follow the ball during its many changes of speed and direction. A polo pony is always referred to as a pony even if, due to its height, it is technically a horse.
How big is the field?
A boarded polo ground (like the two main fields at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club) is 300 yards long and 160 yards wide while an unboarded ground is 200 yards wide and a white line marks the limits of the field. The goal posts at each end are eight yards apart.
What is an umpire?
A polo umpire enforces the rules of the game to ensure flowing play and the safety of the ponies and riders. There are two mounted umpires and a third who stands on the sidelines.
What is ‘stomping the divots’?
This is a long-standing polo tradition where the spectators come onto the field of play in between chukkers and ‘stomp’ on the divots or lumps of turf that have been pulled up by the ponies’ hooves during play. This makes a more even surface when play resumes.
Can I bring my dog to a polo match?
Dogs are welcomed to our polo matches, but they must be kept on a lead at all times and if they cause a disturbance that could spook the ponies, they should be removed from the vicinity of the field of play. You should clear any dog mess immediately and taken it away with you when you leave.