I will admit, I knew nothing about polo as we drove to Coworth Park to watch the match. However, after a few minutes it became quite clear that it is a rather simple game – put the ball in the goal, change horses frequently and stay on.
A polo game has periods of play, known as chukkas (also chukkers). This term originated in 1898 and is derived from Hindi chakkar from Sanskrit chakra "circle, wheel" (compare chakka). Depending on the rules of the particular tournament or league, a game may have 4, 6 or 8 chukkas; 6 chukkas are most common. Usually, each chukka is 7 minutes long, but some games are played in shorter chukkas. Between chukkas, the players switch to fresh ponies. In less competitive polo leagues, players may play only two ponies, alternating between them. For more competitive leagues, and in United States intercollegiate polo, each pony is played in at most two chukkas.
Along the side of the field are horses – waiting for their turn. These were pro teams so I was told that they would switch horses 5 or 6 times.
The lad in the green hat was famous (did not catch his name) and wore the green as a family tradition. The announcer mentioned that his dad had been an international polo star. What I found interesting was the man to man (or horse to horse) coverage during play. Note the below how both riders are looking the other way while the horses fly down the field.
The horses would often cluster and one had to wonder how many injuries happened as they came together as a group at breakneck speed. One can understand why the sport was used to train calvary horses in the old days.
The referee missed this one as the fellow in black hooked the fellow ahead of him by the arm.
And of course, no event is complete without a glass of PIMMS on a beautiful sunny day. Brilliant.