Bridgehampton Polo 'O8: A Glossary

by Joseph Russell · July 15, 2008

bridgehampton poloSo you can put those Asprey binoculars to good use...

Appealing: if a player thinks an opponent has incurred a foul, he will raise his mallet above his head

Bump: when a player runs his steed into the flanks of his opponent's

Check and turn: slow the pony enough to turn safely

Chukker: a time period in a polo match, lasting 7.5 minutes. A bell (hooter) is rung at the end of each chukker and players switch horses.

Divot-stomping: a half-time activity in which spectators replace divots (clumps of turf) made by horses hooves

Flagman: man at end line who will raise his flag above his head if a goal has been scored, or lower it if it hasn't.

Forehand: forward swing of the mallet

Handicap: every player is ranked from a scale of -2 (novice) to 10 (perfect) goals, a ranking which is based on the player's assessed value to his team. A team's handicap is the average of its players'. 

High goal polo: matches between teams with a 20+ handicap

Hook: catching an opponent's mallet before it raises above his horse

Intervals: rest periods between chukkas, each lasting 3 minutes

Knock-in: if a ball passes the back line but isn't a goal, the defending team knocks it back into play

Leave it: When a player rides past the ball so his teammate behind can hit it

Line of the ball: the imaginary line a ball makes when struck

Low goal polo: matches between teams with 0-4 goal handicaps

Made pony: a seasoned steed bred for polo

Medium goal polo: matches between teams with 6-14 goal handicaps

Nearside: the left hand side of the pony

Neck shot: Hitting the ball under the pony's neck

Monster rule: the ability for any circuit governor, circuit handicap committee member, or national handicap committee member to request a review of a team's handicap (usually occurs when a player is playing far better than his rating would indicate).

Offside: the right hand ride of a pony.

Pass: to hit the ball forward or laterally to a teammate

Penalty: When a player is fouled, he is awarded a free hit whose distance depends on the foul's severity

Positions: There are four players per team, each with his own position. 

Mostly offensive, first to attack, but responsible for minding his no. 3 opponent

Assists attacks of no. 1; also interchanges with no. 3

Defends opponents' attacks; passes up to offensive teammates

Basically a goalie

Ride-off: When two opposing players attempt push each other offsides to prevent the ball from being struck.

Safety: knocking the ball over one's own backline

Sideboards: short boards lining the field that keep the ball in bounds

Stick: mallet

stick and ball: practice

Tack: hitting the ball behind one's horse's rump

Throw-in (or bowl-in): after every chukker or goal, the teams face each other at midfield and the umpire throws the polo ball in between them

Turn: to deflect the ball from the direction in which it is headed

Umpires: 2 on horseback, 1 (the thirdman), on foot; these men call fouls, award penalties and fines, and recommend suspension. The thirdman is used only if the first two can't decide.