7 Polo Terms to Know
| My Outfit |
Going to a polo match is like entering another world and certainly unlike any other sporting event I've ever been to. Glasses of bubbly, a chance to wear a pretty dress, and an afternoon spent in the sunshine? This is my kind of sport!
Having just attended my very first polo match, I came away with a bit of a champagne headache, plus a few new words to add to my vocabulary. Here are seven terms to know if you're heading to a match, plus some snapshots from our day at the polo pitch:
| Pony |
A polo pony is really a horse that's been bred specifically for the sport. They're quick, agile and usually Argentinian. Because the sport is very intense, a player switches ponies each chukka to give the horses a much-needed rest.
| Goal |
A goal is scored when a player hits the ball between two end posts. Like a (American) football field goal, even if the ball goes higher than the posts, as long as it's crosses the goal line between them, a goal is awarded.
| Chukka |
A chukka is a period of play - the match we attended consisted of four chukkas, each seven minutes in length, separated by a halftime. Other matches can have six chukkas, or periods.
| Smart Casual |
Not necessarily a polo term, but something good to know. At most polo matches, you're required to dress nicely, similarly to how you'd dress for a wedding or a nice restaurant. Women generally wear a dress that falls at or below the knee and wedges (making walking on grass much easier), while men wear jackets and nice shoes (tennis shoes are a definite no-go). No need to wear a fascinator, tie, or anything more unless the dress code specifies.
| Mallet |
A mallet is the stick a player uses to hit the ball. The handle is made from bamboo (which provides a bit of give) and the head is solid wood. All polo players hold the mallet in their right hand, as it's the rule of the game - who knew?
| Stomping the Divots |
Divots are chunks of grass that are kicked up by the horses' hooves as they're running during the match. At halftime, spectators are invited onto the field to 'stomp the divots,' or put the grass back into place. It's a fun chance to be on the field and mingle!
| Pitch |
The grass field on which the match is played is known as the pitch - at each end are goal posts and the field is usually 300 yards long.
Plenty of Pimm's and spectating a new sport made for a perfect date with my dapper husband. It was a day of proper fun and we'll certainly be attending more matches soon!
Until next time,