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.