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Polo is a sport. It is played between two teams of 4 players on ponies (small horses) who attempt to score goals (points) by putting the ball in the goal using long mallets (long sticks). It is the state sport of Kashmir.
Various forms of Polo, and similar sports, have been long played, traditionally, throughout a wide range covering Assam and Manipur areas of India, Kashmir, Nepal and Tibet, and the Northern valleys of Pakistan such as Gilgit, Hunza Valley, Baltistan and Chitral District and parts of Central Asia as well. In ancient Persia, Chavgan, another form of Polo, was also played. It was only in the mid-19th century that colonial officers in British India began to play this sport and imported it to Britain, where the formal Hurlingham Rules were then laid down. Later, in the 1890s, Polo was also introduced to the United States.
The main rules of polo
There are two teams both with 4 players. They play on a field which is 300 yards long (about 275 meters) and 160 or 200 yards wide (about 146 and 183 meters). There are goalposts (long sticks in the ground) 8 yards (7.32 meters) apart at each end of the field. To score, the ball has to go between the other team's goalposts, which is called a goal.
The game is 4, 6 or 8 periods (units of time) of 7 minutes, which are called chukkas. Between chukkas, players change ponies.
Each player has certain responsibilities:
- Number One is the most offensive position on the field.
- Number Two is the most difficult position on the field to play. The number 2 has an important offensive role and a role.
- Number Three is the tactical leader. He is defensive and offensive and is often the best player.
- Number Four is the most defensive player. He tries to stop the other team from scoring goals.
The ponies are 14.2 to 16 hands (1 hand equals 4 inches or 10.16 centimetres). They weigh between 900 and 1100lbs-pounds- (about 408 and 499 kilos). Ponies can be ridden to play from the age of 5 up to 18 or even 20 years old sometimes.
Polo saddles are English-style, similar to jumping saddles.
Other forms of polo
Polo is not always played on ponies. Canoe polo, cycle polo, camel polo, elephant polo, golf cart polo, Segway polo, BMX polo, yak polo and water polo also exist. However most of these forms are not played at a professional level.