Polo Dictionary by Horacio Laffaye

Polo dictionary created by Horacio Alberto Laffaye in 1995. These are a few worlds that we can find in the same which counts more of 6.500 definitions.
A concise guide to Polo: Book from John Watson published on 1989. He describes the game in a very rudimentary form; as the interest is the comparison between the gaming rules in the UK and the ones in North-America.
A guide to Training and Stable Management of Polo Ponies for Beginners in India: Guide for the training of polo ponies and the management of the stables for begginers in India. Possibly the most extensive title in the equestrian literature. Its publication occurred in 1927 and the author was Wilfred Sheppart.
A manual of Polo: Booklet written on the Philippines Islands by William Cameron Forbes in 1910, preceding the famous “As to Polo”.
Coupe Abbott:Tournament in New Zealand.
Abercrombie&Kent: The American team sponsored by Geoffrey Kent, winner of the US OPEN championship and the Gold Cup.

Advanced Polo: The second book of the ones published by the Australian player Sinclair Hill. He describes in this work his tactics concepts, summarized in the 4P’s : the position, the possession, the step (speed) and the penetration. He also explains his “central theory”: mark the difference by laterally sliding on the ground and attack in the middle of the ground.
Alberdi, Enrique J. (Quito): Argentine player, number 3 and captain of Coronel Suarez and Venado Tuerto’s team, winners of 12 Argentina’s Open championships (1934, 35, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 55 et 57), Hurlingham Open and national selection who won the Interamerican Serie in California and the World Championship in 1949, the Americas Cup in 1950 and the gold medal in the Panamericas Games in 1951. He was the deputy of the winning team at Berlin’s Olympic Games and of the Americas Cup in Meadow Brook. He also won the cups of Province of Buenos Aires, Camara de Diputados, Anchorena, Campana del Desierto, Jockey Club, Ravenscroft, Belgrano, 9 de Julio, Republica Argentina and San Martin. President of the Argentina’s Polo Association in 1949-52. He died in a airplane crach flown by himself. Quito Alberdi was one of the most important polo player in the world. The oldest of the well-known brothers quickly attracted the public interest. After a short time, he was spotted by Manuel Andrada who invited him to play in his team in Washington. Near the Paisano, Quito Alberdi was polishing his game, gained serenity, modeled his fighter paste and learned that the game is not over until the last minute is over. Strong rider, endowed with a remarkable sens of location and speed, he was congratulated for the energy he put on his actions. He shared, for three times, with his mare Marionette the Lady Susan Townley Cup. He arrived at 10 goals handicap in 1943.
Copa America : Tournament in the US in teams of 16 to 20 goals, known before as the 16 goals Championship.
Copa de las Americas: It is nowadays the most important international championship. Created in 1926 after Jack Nelson’s proposition, since the English rejected the suggestion that allowed other countries to participate in the Westchester Cup that was disputed between United States and Great Britain. The Americas Cup was held for the first time in 1928. The trophee itself was given in 1932 by the President Agustin P. Justo and have been designed and created by Mappin and Webb company in Buenos Aires.

Copa Republica Argentina: National championship with handicaps. Created in 1929 from the request of Francisco Ceballos, the final round is played between the winners of the different circuits.
Judge assistants: Those are the person places behind the posts and who inform the judge about the goals or other incidents of upcoming events near the posts. They are also known as flaggers.

Backhander: Literally, the back of the hand. Back hit, whose intervention is attributed to the Irish John Watson. In the United States, it has been considerated for a long time as an lawful strike.
Polo Boots: Traditionally, they always have been manufactured with brown leather, in opposition to the black with brown edges hunters boots.
Belgrano: The second polo club in Argentina, which was short-lived, since most of its members have defected to Hurlingham, founder of this institution. Among the first players Francisco Balfour, RR McIver, CS Owen, C.Thursby, R.Scott Moncrieff and J.Kennedy Cassels, the latter being the club secretary, who cease operations in 1895.
The beginning of the game: There are 3 ways to begin a polo match.
The first one is to place the ball in the middle of the field, and the horses galloped on both sides of the field to reach the ball, which was extremely dangerous.
Then, this rule has evaluate so there is only one horse from each team to run and get the ball, and finally we come to the way of today, meaning throwing the ball between the two teams aligned in the middle of the field.
Corner: Name given to the awarded foul when the defense team throw the ball behind the back line.
Initially, the free kick was done from the corner that connected the lateral and cross lines of the field, exactly as soccer. After that, the free kick changed to 60 yards to the opposite of the place where the ball have been sent. In the United States and until 1919, instead of a free kick, it was deduced ¼ of the goal from the offending team.
The chronometer: In each game, an interval of 3 minutes every 10 minutes of play and after each goal is required.
The Committee of Hurlingham modified duration, from games within an hour, to games of 1 hour and 10 minutes, with an interval of 5 minutes every 20 minutes. There is also an alternative to this rule, or 4 times of 15 minutes with a 3-minute interval between each. In the US, the rules of 1890 indicate three periods of 20 minutes each, excluding time between goals and delays. The standing time is 10 minutes.
Chili: The first Chilean Polo Club was founded in Valparaíso in 1892. On November 22nd of 1893 was played the first international match between Chile and Argentina in Valparaíso, won 9-8 by Chile’s team composed by H.Lyon, Edmonson, Víctor Raby and Scott. In 1931, a Chilean team travelled to Argentina to participate to the OPEN and came back in 1944, 1947 and 1949. Another Chilean team participated in the Coronation Cup in England in 1953, however, due to the late arrival of its horses, they couldn’t demonstrate their real capacities.
The double reins: The use of double reins allows better control, and especially a more precise braking action. Reins must be taken between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand; the brake between the index and middle finger.
Duration of the game: Initially, the polo games last an hour, they played three chukkers of 20 minutes each; we arrived to four chukkers of 15 minutes each. Gradually, the duration of a chukker was shortened, starting from 6 to 10 minutes, then from 7 to 8 minutes to arrive today to chukkers of 7 to 8 minutes each. During the less important games, it is possible to find 6 chukkers of 7 minutes.
The equipments: In the Code of Silchar, it was allowed to use the spurs and whips. The Hurlingham Polo Committee (HPC) prohibited the use of spiked spurs, while the American Association of Polo (AAP) declared “a complete ban on using any kind of spurs”.The ball used must have the approval of the Committee, set up according to the instructions of Hartopp. The HPC declared “The players are allowed to play with all kind of balls”. For the first time, the HPC established the size of the ball to 3 inches of diameter, while the Polo American Association decided that the balls must be made of bamboo root, with a size of 10,5 inches in diameter and 4 ounces in weight. In the US, they preferred the wooden linden balls, only covered with paint. The ball should have a size of 3,5 inches in diameter and could not exceed 5 ounces in weight.; they must also be approved by the Committee. Nowadays, the regulations do not specify a size, weight or specific material, however, the helmet is mandatory. Regarding the shirts, if two teams have similar ones, a draw was set up. Today, the agreement is based on the rank of the teams in the rankings.

Federation of International Polo:Organization regrouping all national polo entities. Created in Buenos Aires in 1983, the FIP has organized two world tournament handicap from 10 to 14 teams and issued an international settlement of the game of polo in 1988.
Forbes, William Cameron: Statesman and American writer (1870- 1959). He played in a polo club in Dedham, near Boston and on its field Gay Farm, reaching a handicap of 4. He was President of the Philippines, and has written a book called “A Manual of Polo” which formed the basis of the “As to Polo,” a classic of literature and polo players. It has been translated into Castilian by Carlos Rodriguez Egana. He explains his theory of Forbes game “column” and the ideal goal of a direct attack.
Foul: Violation of the rules of the game. In general, the referee penalizes the offending team from a free kick. In the United States until 1919, instead of taking a free kick, he directly deducted ½ goal from the offending team.

The fields: At the time Manipouriens played polo, the whole bottom line was taken into account during the game. The bounds of the fields were marked with a small gap of a few centimeters deep. Edward Hartopp has stipulated that the arcs had to be 300 yards away from each other and it is still the case today. On the sides, flags were here to indicate 150 and 200 yards. The first regulation of Hurlingham maintained the rule of the 300 yards, if the size of the field allowed it. The width of the field is ranged from 150 to 200 yards. The American Association of Polo required other rules. The field had to be 750 feet long and 500 feet wide, the arches had to be 24 feet long.
Germany: Polo in played in Germany since 1898, date of the creation of the Hamburg Polo Club. During WW2, there were few active clubs in Berlin, Bremen, Colonia, Franconia, Hamburg, Hannover and Munich.
In the 1936 Berlin Olympics, polo became an official sport and at this occasion, the Maifeld Stadium, with a capacity of 65.000 spectators has been created and is still used today.
After WW2, polo was rediscovered in 1956. There are now Polo Clubs in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Franconia, Hamburg and Munich.

Greenwich: Club of Greenwich, Connecticut, created by Peter Brant and affiliated in 1984. The famous White Birch team came from the property of Brant, and consisted of himself and the Gutierrez promoter and HA Laffaye. The fourth player was selected depending on the handicap of each tournament.
The Helmet: The protective element for the player’s head. This headset has been created by the english Gerald Hardy. He called it the “Australian helmet” and includes a flange around its entire circumference. It is rarely used in the world today, except in England.
Ham Polo Club:The London club was founded in 1931 near the town of Ham and was used before the war as a land owned by a relative of Mr. Storey, near Ham Gate in Richmond Park. After this conflict, play resumed at the club, with the help of over Stanley Deed, “Deedo” and others, including his wife Nancy and Mrs. Fleming. Later, William “Billy” Walsh was put in charge of the horses, and gradually managed to get to 50 horses. Since 1977, the club has its own field at Ham House, Petersham, Surrey. Ham Polo Club organizes tournaments and Polo Magazine.
The Handicap: The value of a player, measured in goals. Created in 1888 by Henry L. Herbert, the first president of the American Association of Polo and adopted by Britain and Argentina in 1910. The maximum level was still 10 goals and minimum 0. In 1948 the British created the -1 and -2 to better separate the low-level players.
Polo Horse: Even though there is not a specific race for a horse of polo, there are features that must be completed by the horse to be conform. The details are explained below :

Average height (1.55 meters), average weight (500 kg).
Form : body not thick but muscular.
Construction : strong skeleton
Temperament : thoroughbred
The head : well proportioned and dry, no pointed or straight profile and well-spaced jaws.
Ears : medium sized, pointed, thin and well-placed
Eyes : large, clear, complete and shiny, thin eyelids, lively expression
Neck : long, elegant, well managed to the ends.

Interior members
Pallets : long, sloping and well-muscled.
Legs : long, muscled and well-led.
Knees : straight, broad and dry, solid and well-designed.
Nodes : ample, free, dry and strong
Pages : medium, oblique, soft and durable

The trunk
Cross : oblique and thin
Chest : deep and not too wide
Odds : depp, regularly curved and convex, long and well connected.
Loins : short but broad, muscular
Flank : deep and full, dry bottom line
Hips : broad, rounded and smooth
Croup : long, horizontal, solid, smooth and harmoniously formed.
Tail : inserted and placed elegantly.

Hindquarters :
Thigh : full, deep and muscular
Stifle : broad, strong and outgoing
Legs : long, wide and muscular
Hock : right, deep, borad, dry and smooth
Reeds : short, wide with rather limited tendons.
Knots : spacious, dry and strong.

Step : quick, free and released
Trot : free, elastic, with a low right action
Gallop : vigorous, showing a good balance

Regarding the behaviour of the horse during the game, he must have a good balance, a quiet character, be resistant to stress, have good reins and be fast and responsive.

India: The history of Polo started 2000 years ago when it was played in Persia, India and China. Polo was rediscovered by British officers in Manipur, in the northeast of India. They formed the first Polo Club in Cachar in 1859 and a second one in Calcultta in 1862. The sport spread quickly in the rest of the country and was played by British and Indian. The 11 Regiment Lancers of Bengal was the first to adopt the sport. In 1902, there were already 175 clubs. The Indian Polo Association was founded in 1891. The main tournament was the Open and the Inter-regiment. The IPA (Indian Polo Association) won the first place during the Coronation Cup on July 15th of 1911, with a team composed with Leslie Cheape, Shah Mirza Beg, Gerald Ritson et Vivian Lockett.

Player n°1: The first attacker is the one whose characteristics require an opportunistic player, fast, aggressive and confident to take the ball to the goal at any speed and at any angle.

Player n°2:The player number 2 occupies a set whose characteristics correspond roughly to those of the player number 1. However, he can be less aggressive but necessarily more active and with more control over the ball and the game.
Player n°3: The number 3 is the “key” position, requiring the most intense work and more concentrated as you must have an absolute mastery of all types of shots, a lot of experience, an extensive knowledge of tactics and know how to control yourself. Its intermediate position involves the responsibility of managing and controlling the entire team.
Player n°4:Number 4 or rear, it requires strength and security, especially during the shots from behind. He is a marked player who needs great ability to score points during the game.

Kenya:Polo arrived in Kenya in 1903, when it started to play matches on a field of Nairobi Hill, opposite to the barracks of King Africanos Rifles regiment. In 1909, the Duke of Connaught visited Kenya and awarded the Cup that holds his name today at the Kenya Open Tournament. Polo is currently played in Nairobi, Gilgil, northern Kenya and Nanyuki.
The line of the ball: The line of the ball represents the line of the trajectory of the ball, also called the long line. It is essential and mandatory for judges to recognize this ligne throughout the match.
Lloyd, John Hardress: Irish player who had 10 handicap , in 1913. Author of “Polo, algunos apuntos sobre el juego.” Brigadier Lloyd, born in Ireland in 1874, was a member of the British international team in 1909 and captain in 1911. He started playing as a cadet at Sandhurst military academy, continuing his practice throughout his military career with the Guardias del 4 de Dragones. Lloyd, who has played number 3 or 4, won the Hurlingham Open in 1905, 1906 and 1909 with the team of Roechampton and 1904 Ranelagh Open in 1907. He was captain of repeatedly Irish internationnale team. He joined the team of All Ireland in the 1908 Olympics He also won the Roechampton Cup.

Myanmar: Polo started to play out in Myanmar in 1896, when the Commissionaire Pegu, Todd Naylor, has given its name to a cut that was played in Maymyo. In 1904 began the competition for the Open Championship of Polo Association Burma. In 1916, disability were introduced, as well as 5 new cuts; in 1917 the Chin Lin Tsong in Rangoon; in 1920 the Senior Fane which was played a Maymo. Then the Frontier Cup and Harcourt Butler, in honor of the President of Burma, Harcourt Butler.
Malte: Le Malta Polo Club à été crée en 1876, mais le polo n’a commencé à etre joué qu’a partir de 1868, avant le commencement en Angleterre, sur deux terrains à Marsa. Les amiraux Roger Keyes et Louis Mountbatten, marins mais également joueurs ont grandement contribué au développement du polo sur l’ile de Malte. Les coupes Ormsy-Johnson, Rundle, Prince Louis, Spencer, Subalterns et Du Cane y ont été organisées.

Number of players:At the origin of polo, the Manipouriens played with 7 players and 2 goalkeepers. They were two because the points could be marked throughout the bottom line. The Silchar’s rules also said that neither player had permission to be under influence of illicit drugs (hashish).
The lieutenant Hartopp’s rules are different : not more than 12 players can play the game; while the first settlement of Hurlingham (1874) reduced the amount of players to 6 on each side.
The Indian Association of Polo limited the number of players at 4 per side.
The American Association of Polo authorized teams of 2 to 3 players in exceptional situations like the Turnure Cup.
The 2007 UPSA settlement stipulated that a player can not represent more than one team in the same tournament.
Finally, in all the regulations, if there is a lesion, one successor is allowed per player.
The numbers: The practice of putting numbers of the back of the players was powered only from the 20’s. Before that, the numbers of the players were written on bibs, especially for international games.

Oyster Bay: American Club located in the province of Long Island, affiliated in 1890 and a founder of the American Association of Polo. Polo began around 1880 thanks to Francis Townsend Underhill, who built a field close to Fleetwood, a house that still exists, and where polo was played with Chavaux brought from his ranch in Santa Barbara, California. Theodore Roosevelt, then president of the United States, was one of his most enthusiastic players. Others also were, as Elliott Roosevelt, FG Underhill, Walter C. Tukerman. But he never had a large number of partners and has been disaffiliated in 1895.
Open: A game or tournament played without any handicap between the participating teams.

The posts: The distance between the posts has always have been to 8 yards, so 7.30m. It is the material that really changes; in England, they used poles in paper chase and then moved to something more practical and durable, stems quince. They also used the poles covered with jute or some plastic materials. The minimum height of the posts is 3 meters. The oldest cages were located in the central square of Isfahan, in Iran, they dated from the seventeenth century and were made of natural stone. They are two other pairs of arcs in India, in the city of Bidar, old of 300 to 400 years.
Penalty n°1: Dangerous and deliberate offense done to save a goal in the nearby goals area. One goal is withdrew to the offending team and the game restarts 10 yards away from the offending team’s arc, without changing sides.

Penalty n°2: Free kick from 30 yards or from the place where the fault occurred, the option is to the attacked team. The offending team must constantly wrings behind the transverse line and at least 30 yards from the ball. The team that takes the free kick must be behind the ball.

Penalty n°3: Free kick from 40 yards; the offending team must wrings behind the transverse line. The other team must be at the same place than in Penal number 2.
Penalty n°4: Free kich from 60 yards. The offending team may be wherever on the field but at least 30 yards from the ball.
Penalty n*5: Free kick from the place where the fault occurred. The offending team must wrings at least 30 yards from the ball.

Penalty n°6: Free kich from 60 yards opposite to the place where the fault occurred, so that the ball can cross the transverse line if it has been throw by the defensive team. It is also called “corner”.

Penalty n°7:When a team takes a free kick and that the opponent does not respect the rules, a second similar free kick is allowed, unless the first one resulted in a goal.
As in penalties 2 and 3, if the free kick, with the opinion of the referee, could resulted in a goal but was stopped by the defenders, the goal is given. If the other team does not execute the penalties correctly, the defenders see themselves accorded a cornel from the midfield.

Pénalité n°8: Penalty given when a team voluntarily delayed for too long the shooting of the corner. The ball will be drawn at the center of both teams aligned perpendicularly to the transverse line.

Pénalité n°9:Penalty given when a player is injured and is unable to keep playing, the player who commited the fault will be out of the fame, only if its handicap is higher than the player injured; if not, it is an other player from the team with a higher handicap that will be out.

Pénalité n°10:
Penalty given when a player commits a deliberate and dangerous action, or for bad behaviour during the game. The player will be directly out of the field and the team to which he belongs to will have to keep playing with 3 players until the end of the game, or loses directly the game.
Phillippines: Polo began in the Philippines between 1903 and 1904, when Brigadier General Henry T. Allen and others, including Captain Clyde V. Hunt iniciera later polo in New Orleans and Dr RP Strong, well known for its many studies on tropical medicine. The polo was played in Bagumbayan. In 1904, the future president (and author of the book “As to Polo”), William Cameron Forbes arrived on the island and recognized polo as a sport. The first tournament was held in 1907, playing three chukkers 8 minutes each because of heavy tropical climate of the island. The first competition between teams took place in 1909 with the visit of players from Hong Kong.

Quilmes: Club in suburban Buenos Aires, where polo is practiced for a long time. His team was a finalist for the first Open of Polo Association of Rio de la Plata. Shortly after, in 1894, its members, among whom are numbered F. and J. Bennett, Christopher Hope, Frank Houlder, A. Murray Hudson, JM Mulally, Murray and Arthur T. Yeomans, went to another entity, called Rangers.
Referee: The person who hold the authority during the game, who is permanently off the court, in a central position and whose function is to decide on a fault when the judges have a disagreement.
La règle du losange: Lorsque l’on reproduit les 12 coups du polo sur un schéma, ils retombent tous sur la forme d’un losange. Ce n’est pas un losange rectangulaire; le coté gauche apparait légèrement en avant comparé au coté droit, c’est la raison pour laquelle les joueurs doivent se placer en parallèle du poiney lorsqu’ils tirent.
Right of Way: One of the fundamental ruels of a polo game. At any point of the game, when the ball is in play, there is a priority between two players called “right of way”; it is seen as the area in front of any player who is placed above and in the direction in where the player is moving. The right of passage should not be confused with the “ball line” that depends on the relative speed and distance of a player over another.

Singapore: The British regiment officers created the first Polo Club in Malaysia in 1886. The first games were played on a field just opposite to the famous Raffles Hotel; the field measures about 300 yards wide and 80 long. From 1899, the games began to be played on a field at the center of the old racecourse on Balestier Rd. The new field on Thomson Rd. was not used until 1946 because of the Japanese occupation.
Polo Shots:
There are 4 basics strokes in polo
-The forward shot by the side of the loop
-The back shot from the side of the loop
-The forward shot by the mounting side
-The back shot from the mouting side

With 3 divisions each :
– the shot that pulses the ball straight
– the side shot that pulses the ball across the line of the pony’s body
– the effect shot that pulses the ball on the line of the pony’s body.

The tables: The tables on the sides of the playing field should not exceed 27 centimetres in height. The first tables in Argentina were placed on Hurlingham’s field in 1908; they have been offered by Alejandro Drysdale. In the US, they were placed for the first time in Newport’s field at Thomas Hitchcock initiative in 1880. In England, they were placed in the field of Hurlingham to compensate the irregular shape of the field (pear shaped) that affected the game. In India, tables have never been used.

Uranga, Marcos Alberto: Player of the Jockey Club y Pergamino ; Argentine leader, son of Carlos. President of Argentina Polo Association and director and first president of the Federation of International Polo. Winner of the Club World Championship in his first match in 1978 with the Jockey Club team.
USA: The Polo began in the United States with James Gordon Bennett, who after attending games in England, decided to bring mallets and balls to try playing this new sport with his friends. In 1876, polo games started to be played at the Dickel’s Riding Academy in New York, with pony that were brought from Texas by Harry Blasson, an instructor.
The small group of polo players has been transferred to the Jerome Park Racetrack in the county of Westchester and a few month later, the Westchester Polo Club was created. They quickly moved to Newport and in 1886, the first international game was played between England and the US.
The American Association was founded in 1890, at the same time as the concept of the individual handicap appeared.
The US won the Westchester Cup in 1909, have defended it in 1911 and 1913, won it again in 1921 and did not lost until 1988.
They also won the Americas Cup in 1928 and 1932, as well as the Avila Camacho many times.
At the Olympic Games, the bronze medal was awarded to them in 1920, the silver one in 1924, but did not participate in the Games in 1936.
They arrived in second place during the World Championship of 1949.
Wooden horse: A wooden horse that allows players to practice their polo strokes in a wire cage. It have been designed by Gordon Withers.

Comments are closed.