How to play Polo | Esquire guide to the sport of kings

Ever wondered what polo is or how to play it? So for all of you living in the Arabian Peninsula who haven’t gotten around to fulfilling that resolution to finally immerse yourselves into the culture (or are too embarrassed to ask for details), fear not, this is your quick guide to learning about the history of polo and why it’s a big deal in dubai.

Polo is an interesting game, and of course requires hand eye coordination and horse-riding skills. Polo has a reputation as an obscure sport played by aristocrats however, most people however have never seen a polo game and don’t know a chukka from a tail shot.

Polo began in the Middle East and spread to Europe in the 19th century more than 2,500 years ago as a way of training the elite king’s guard. Two English cavalry teams, using hockey sticks and a billiard ball, played the first polo game in England in 1871. That’s almost 148 years ago.

So what exactly does a game of polo involve?

Usually, a polo match is divided into 4 to 6 periods called chukkers. Each of these is 7.5 minutes long and at 7 minutes you will hear a warning bell before the final bell rings once more at the end of each chukker. However, if a team scores after the 7 minutes warning bell, or if the ball touches the sideboards of the polo field, the chukker ends immediately. Since a chukker is rather tiring for the horses, the players have 4 minutes between the chukkers to switch horses. On a very hot day, some players may even change their horses during active play.

Each outdoor polo team consists of four players. No. 1 is generally the offensive player while No. 4 plays defense. Players No. 2 and 3 are often the most experienced players. No. 3 is usually the field captain who delegates the ball, and No. 2 is supposed push the play in the offense as well as the defense. None of them act as a permanent goal keeper. Are you confused yet?

We visited the Polo Clinic led by Malcolm Borwick at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort to help you viewers, dissect the game of polo so here’s the Esquire guide to the sport of kings.

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