Here in another post about one outing we did while in Palm Desert. I discovered that there was polo played in Indio. On Sunday afternoon, two games are played. And for 10$ you get in with your car and you can have you picnic while watching the games. I never saw polo games before so I was quite interested to go. We got there and not long after we got a sheet explaining the game. Basically there are two teams with 4 players on each team. They are riding their pony as they are trying to get a goal. Each time a goal is scored the teams change direction of play. It’s like hockey on horseback. The players use a solid bamboo cane with a hard wood head. It is called a mallet.The ball is solid plastic, a little larger than a baseball. It is a fast game.
Polo ponies run the equivalent of one to two miles during a seven-and-a-half-minute chukker, so they must be rested frequently. At the high-goal level, players ideally will have a fresh horse every period although many will “double” on their best ponies. most ponies are former race horses. the field is 300 yard long and 160 yards wide.
A polo match is approximately one and one-half hours long and is divided into seven-minute time periods called chukkers. There are six chukkers in a high-goal match. Breaks between chukkers are three minutes long, with a 15-minute halftime.
Free flowing manes and tails are a danger in polo because they can become entangled with players’ mallets or with the reins as the rider tries to control his horse. Manes, therefore, are shaved and the ponies’ tails are wrapped or braided to prevent the hazard. Wrapping or braiding long ago supplanted the crueller practice of docking (amputating) the horse’s tail near the base so all that remained was a short stump.
It’s customary at polo matches to invite the public onto the field at halftime to tread in the divots kicked up by the horses. The custom has a practical as well as a public-relations value: the field is repaired for the teams by the time they begin the second half of play. And as a reward for our “work”, we got a glass of champagne !
I must say it was fun to see this game live . In Indio, they play from early January until the beginning of April.
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