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THE BASICS OF THE GAME : It Starts With Something Called a Chukker

June 21, 1987

ARENA POLO can be played indoors or outdoors. What makes it different from traditional polo is that the arena is only the length of one football field instead of the size of three, as in so-called outdoor polo.

In addition, it consists of only four chukkers (game segments) of seven minutes duration instead of the six chukkers that last seven minutes each in the outdoor game.

An arena polo team consists of three players, one fewer than the outdoor game. Players make goals by hitting the ball between the goal posts, scoring one point.

Polo players consider the polo pony to be the most important athlete in the match. A "pony" is actually a thoroughbred, quarter horse or a mix of the two, and it requires intensive training to become a "made" polo horse. In a "ride-off," horses ride side by side at speeds as fast as 25 miles per hour as one player tries to force the other away from a shot. Umpires watch for dangerous riding. For example, if an opponent crosses the line of the ball a player is following, his team will be penalized and the fouled side is given a free hit.

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