Equestrian polo is one of the most ancient sports. “Sport of Kings” – this is how many participants in the games call it. Firstly, thanks to the history of this sport, and secondly, only very wealthy people can afford to become a professional polo horse (after all, horses of the breed used cost between 5 and 50 thousand dollars).
This sport originated before our era – about 2500 years ago, Persian courtiers (in the territory of modern Iran) could enjoy playing directly from the windows of the Shah’s palace. However, horse polo became particularly popular only a few centuries later – cavalrymen from the territory of the Japanese empire to Constantinople themselves honed their playing skills during friendly matches. Thanks to the English nobles, the game gained its modern look, it happened at the end of the XIX century. Periodically, equestrian polo competitions were included in the program of the Olympic Games (in 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924 and 1936).
The game is played on the field (274×146 m) with a wide gate (7×3 m) with a club (120-135 cm) made of bamboo, ash or maple. The goal of the game is to hit the ball (diameter 76-89 mm, weight up to 135 g) the opponent’s goal the greatest number of times. Nowadays, polo ponies, derived from Argentina, which are distinguished by mental stability, are used for the game. These are quite hardy and bold horses, they are able to pick up speed at lightning speed, even at short distances and dramatically change the direction of movement on the paces. It is noteworthy that the game takes place not on a polo-pony, but in conjunction with a polo-pony. To do this, players from childhood acquaint with the future “teammates.” There is even a kind of goal, when the ball clogs the horse itself with a blow of the hoof, it is called a “pony-goal.” Such a goal is not only counted unconditionally, but always causes great delight among the spectators in the stands.
Equestrian polo can be traumatic, to reduce the force of impact and friction when meeting other players use protective equipment for the player (helmet, breeches, knee pads, boots), and for the horse (bandages for legs, clipped mane and braided tail).