“There is a fascination about the game of polo that is hard to describe to anyone who has never played. Once a man has had a taste of it, the task of curing him is rather hopeless.” – Tommy Hitchcock
There is nothing else like it. What other competitive team sport requires you to hit a ball, maneuver your way through a cluster of thundering hooves, all while riding full-out on the back of a powerful horse? In the game of polo, people and their equine partners come together to play an exhilarating game, showcasing the incredible athleticism and coordination necessary of both horse and rider.
If you have ever watched polo, you may find the idea of learning to play daunting. On the contrary, polo can be enjoyed by everyone, both men and women of any age. With the help of polo schools and USPA clubs, people from all walks of life are able to pick up a mallet and participate in one of the oldest team sports still thriving today.
Polo is a breathtaking exhibition of teamwork and coordination between horse and rider, without an understanding of the game’s progression however, it can sometimes be difficult to follow. Whether you are refreshing your polo knowledge or experiencing polo for the first time, click here to learn the anatomy of the game and get a breakdown of key game concepts and common terminology to help fans understand what makes the polo experience so unique.
Click here to learn the rules. If signed up for a polo lesson, instructors will provide students with an extensive learning experience that will include lessons on the rules.
Polo is a sport that can be enjoyed by a variety of people ranging from the serious competitor to the weekend amateur. Men, women and children are all able to play together as an equine teammate is an amazing equalizer. There are also different areas of polo specific to a person’s age, experience and interests. For the younger players, we offer USPA middle school, interscholastic and intercollegiate programs and National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS), as well as a variety of youth programs. Many polo clubs have lead line polo for young children and senior polo for those who have started playing the sport later in life. The USPA also offers women’s, amateur and military tournaments that are hosted by clubs all over the country.
A person does not need any riding experience prior to learning how to play polo. However, riding is a key component and prior experience is beneficial. A passion for learning something new and exciting is all one needs to start playing the game.
All USPA clubs welcome new members with many offering polo instruction.
Find a selection of youth programs below. Each club is uniquely catered to its community, be sure to contact your local club to find all possible programs available.
A pair of comfortable pants such as jeans, an athletic shirt and a pair of riding boots are recommended. If riding boots are not owned, a pair of athletic shoes with a short heel will suffice. A riding helmet and eye protection can be provided by most polo schools.
If you are ready to join the Association and register for any one of four individual membership options this can be easily completed through the Member Portal on uspolo.org. Navigate to the Membership page for details on annual membership rates, to determine your membership type or renew. USPA Memberships runs on an annual basis from January 1 through December 31 of each calendar year during which active members have access to a variety of membership benefits. Also, polo clubs may apply to become a USPA Member Club in one of three categories: active, affiliate or associate.
A handicap is a rating given to a player to indicate his or her skill level relative to another player. Provided to actively Registered Player Members of the USPA, handicaps are expressed as “goals” that range on a scale from C (-1) to 10, with 10 being the highest. These ratings are unrelated to the number of goals a player scores, but rather are determined by a player’s horsemanship, hitting ability, quality of horses, team play and game sense. Handicaps are reviewed and can change either up or down the scale dependent on these factors. In order to maintain a handicap issued by the Association, a player member must pay his or her annual dues to the Association, be personally observed within each calendar year and remain in good standing with the Association.
No. Like the riding helmet and eye protection gear, horses can be provided by most polo schools.
Horses used to play polo are commonly referred to as polo “ponies.” Earlier polo involved smaller breed equine mounts, but when the sport migrated to the west, thoroughbred and thoroughbred crosses were trained for the sport. Although the horses used today are not actually ponies, but rather regular-sized horses, the term polo pony remains. These four-legged athletes are incredible to watch and cheer on, each having their own story.
Being a team sport, polo develops strong communication, teamwork and leadership skills, in addition to the many physical benefits. Because polo is accessible to everyone, it has the potential to be a perfect activity for families and friends, as well as for those looking to network. Unlike other sports, one of the many responsibilities learned include caring for animals, instilling a priceless bond between horse and player. There’s nothing quite like gaining the trust of your horse. In addition, some players are given travel opportunities to see the world while playing the sport we all love.
Most of all, polo is not just a sport with a rich history; it’s a community. Although polo is over a hundred years old and has evolved over the years, one thing has remained the same – the community. Polo is full of inclusive people who pride themselves on making memories on and off the field.
Polo players are often described as being focused, disciplined, competitive and committed. It takes passion and perseverance to achieve greatness in this sport. With an understanding that there’s always more to learn, a polo player’s purpose is to humbly pursue each day with a goal of improving.
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More