“It was deemed for the best interest of the game…to form an Association, with a constitution and rules to govern all Polo Clubs which should be elected to membership.” – H.L. HERBERT, FIRST USPA CHAIRMAN

Polo is considered among the oldest organized sports ever played and was first introduced in the United States by way of England in 1876. It didn’t take long for America to take a liking to this game and assemble their own loosely structured matches.

As players and teams propagated, the development of the sport demanded a governing body, and in 1890 the United States Polo Association (USPA), which was originally known simply as The Polo Association, was formed. As the second oldest sports governing body in the U.S. (behind only the United States Tennis Association, USTA), the purpose of the USPA was to coordinate games, standardize rules and establish handicaps so the teams could be more evenly matched.

With new clubs rapidly emerging on the east coast, the original USPA headquarters was appropriately located in New York where the first formal U.S. club, the Westchester Polo Club, was established. The Association began operations on a voluntary basis of an elected committee structure and presently continues as such with a small office staff in the current epicenter of the sport just outside Wellington, Florida.

In its early days of regulation, the Association initiated changes in the number and length of time periods (chukkers) in a match, standardized equipment, mandated pony height and significantly improved their training, and instituted many prestigious tournaments still played today. As the sport gained in popularity and expanded geographically, circuits developed all across the country while Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) programs and indoor (arena) polo also came of age.

Throughout the twentieth century, excitement of the sport was contagious. During the World Wars era, USPA membership even included over 1,200 military players from the U.S. Army who were encouraged to participate in polo to improve their riding ability. Interest peaked all the way out to Hollywood in its heyday, dignitaries like President Theodore Roosevelt took up the game, the U.S. Open commenced at Oak Brook in Chicago, and the Indoor Polo Association combined with the USPA to expand the scope of the sport.

Great strides were also made around this period as the overture of sponsor money for horses and professional players was introduced and international play increased. Major polo centers could now be found in Florida, Texas and California, and polo itself evolved from a society sport to include a far broader base of budget-minded horsemen, professional players and commercial sponsorship entities.






USPA Blue Book