Learn to Play Polo

Want to learn to play polo?

Want to learn to play polo?

Many of our Twin City Polo Club members evolved from just being a polo spectator at one of our matches or a fellow equestrian from a different equine discipline or just knew a friend who played polo. Polo lessons are available at the Twin City Polo Club taught by our excellent instructor Gaston Raimondo. If you are interested in taking a lesson with Gaston, he can be contacted at 763-392-5373 or click here to send an email.

Twin City Youth Polo School

The Twin City Youth Polo School is a newly structured program encompassing everything from the equipment used, how to properly tack a horse, how to swing a mallet, basics skills, rules and techniques all the way through to advanced strategy and theory. Each session/lesson will be structured to include a portion in the saddle, on the ground and some classroom. For those players returning from last year, we have changed the format creating a better and more educated rider and polo player. For more information about the Twin City Youth Polo School, please contact Gaston Raimondo at 763-392-5373 or click here to send an email.

Learn About Polo

Below are terms you will hear during a typical polo match

Term Definition
BALL The polo ball is made of solid, hard plastic and measures 3 to 3-1/2 inches in diameter weighs 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 ounces.
BUMP A player is permitted to ride into another player so as to spoil his shot. The angle of collision must be slight causing no more than a jar. The faster the horse travels, the smaller the angle must be. A good bump can shake your dentures loose.
CHUKKER Also called a period. There are six chukkers in a polo game (four in arena polo) each lasting 7 minutes (at the 6-1/2 minute mark, a single horn signifies thirty seconds left-at 7 minutes, a double horn ends the chukker).
FIELD What the match is played on. It measures 160 yards wide by 300 yards long and is so large that 10 football fields can fit within it.
GOAL Any time a ball crosses the line between the goal posts, it is considered a goal regardless of whether a horse or a mallet cause the ball to go through. In order to equalize wind and turf conditions, the teams change sides after every goal scored.
HANDICAPS All registered players are rated on a scale of -2 to 10 (the higher the better). The handicap of the team is the sum total rating of its players and in handicap matches the teams with the higher handicap gives the difference in ratings to the other team. For example, a 6-goal team will give two goals to a 4-goal team. There are only a handful of 10-goal players in the entire world. Although the word "goal" is used after the digit, it bears no relation to the number of goals a player might score--only his ability.
HOOK A player may spoil another's shot by putting his mallet in the way of the striking player. A cross hook occurs when the player reaches over his opponent's mount in an attempt to hook; this is considered a foul.
KNOCK-IN Should a team, in an offensive drive, hit the ball across the opponent's backline, the defending team resumes the game with a free hit from their backline. No time-out is allowed for knock-ins.
MALLET Also known as a "stick". The shaft is made from a bamboo shoot, and the head from either the bamboo root or a hard wood such as maple. These vary in length from 49 to 53 inches and are very flexible in comparison to a golf club or hockey stick. Contrary to popular belief, the long edge of the mallet is used to strike the ball, not the small ends, which would similar to croquet.
NEAR SIDE The left hand side of a horse.
NECK SHOT A ball which is hit under the horse's neck from either side.
OFF SIDE The right hand side of a horse.
OUT OF BOUNDS When a ball crosses the sideline or goes over the sideboards, it is considered out of bounds and the umpire throws in another ball between the two teams at that point. No time-out is allowed for an out-of-bounds ball.
PENALTY These are identified by numbers 1 to 10.
1 An automatic goal
2 A free hit from 30 yards to an undefended goal
3 A free hit from 40 yards to an undefended goal
4 A free hit from 60 yards to a defended goal
5 A free hit from the point of the infraction or from midfield
6 also known as a Safety-When a defending player hits the ball across his own backline, the other team is awarded a free hit 60 yards from the backline with the ball placed at the same distance from the sideline as when it went out.
PONY What each player rides, although the title is somewhat deceiving. They are actually "normal" size horses, usually thoroughbreds who used to race. They are typically trained at a very young age to play polo and can continue playing into their teens. On average, a player uses 5-6 ponies per match.
POSITIONS Each of the four players plays a distinctly different position. Since polo is such a fluid game, the players may momentarily change positions, but will try and return to their initial assignment. No. 1 is the most forward offensive player. no. 2 is just as offensive but plays deeper and works harder. No. 3 is the pivot player between offense and defense and tries to turn all plays to offense. No. 4, or the back, is the defensive player whose role is principally to protect the goal. Typically, the player positions add up 5 when two opposing players defend each other (the No. 4 will defend the No. 1, and so on)
SPUR Players wear them on the heels of their boots and use them to urge their horse forward. The rowels (the piece at the end of the spur) must be smooth though, with no sharp corners.

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