Polo events: what to wear, terminology and etiquette

Polo events: what to wear, terminology and etiquette

Jul 21, 2021

Horses often come close to the field’s edge and the ball can go as fast as 160/kmh, occasionally being knocked into the crowd. 

Often it is common to spot people who have never been to a polo match before by the way they behave. Safety is the first thing to take into account when sitting on the sidelines, and while polo might be seen as a high-class snobbery, the truth is it is accessible and exciting. Find out how to blend into the crowd of a polo match.

 

The terminology at polo events

Polo uses its own terminology and knowing the appropriate polo lingo can help us fit into a polo event:

Ponies: instead of horses. Although horses are also used in polo matches, the smaller and more agile ponies have been preferred throughout history. Now, it is appropriate to refer to horses as polo ponies as well. 

Chukker: instead of halves or quarters, polo matches are divided into seven and one-half minute chukkers. Events vary on the number of chukkers in a match, normally they have six or more per game. 

Divot Stomp: During halftime, spectators are often invited onto the field to replace the huge gaps of grass that have been removed by the hooves and mallets used to strike the ball. 

Flagger: the person that is stationed behind each goal (the pair of striped poles) and signals whether a goal was missed or scored. The flagger will raise a flag when the team has scored a point, so if he does not do so it means it was a miss. 

 

Polo Etiquette: how should you behave?

Feel free to cheer and clap: this will not scare the horses and is welcomed. Goals, good plays as interceptions or long runs up the field are exciting and should be celebrated. Attendees can bring a picnic and rug and enjoy it with some rosé wine - the unofficial polo drink. 

Also, dogs are also welcome at most venues, but it is preferable to read the individual rules and norms of each polo club beforehand to avoid being denied access.