Polo is a spectator sport played on horseback in which teams attempt to score goals on either end of a field using mallets. The "Sport of Kings" was shared among nobility due to its popularity amongst Persian royalty. Polo has always had its place in historical prevalence in high society. Polo is a mixed-gender sport, and even in ancient times, it was played by both men and women.
Polo is believed to have originated from Central Asia about 600 years B.C. before being adopted and adapted by British imperialists in India during the 19th century A.D. Englishman Joseph Ford Sherer (known as the "father of modern polo") helped revive the sport after visiting a polo ground in India, and the British proceeded to spread the game throughout their former empire, where it is most popular today. Although its popularity peaked in earlier centuries, polo has undoubtedly grown in the past few decades.
Polo is played on a huge outdoor field (300 by 160 yards) with goalposts situated at each end.
Polo players are required to wear helmets and knee pads for protection. Each team has four riders and horses who work together to hit a wooden ball through the goal using mallets.
There are four general positions on the field for each team, but they are usually very flexible, and every player should be able to play every position.
The teams switch sides after a goal, and the game ends after the final chukkah, or period. The number of chukkahs in a match is predetermined and is usually from four to six. If teams are tied after the final chukkah, an extra is played until another goal is scored.
Because polo is such a niche sport, controversy is often shouldered in favor of sportsmanship. The most common fouls deal with the "line of the ball," which means the rider who is going straight toward the ball may not be thrown off course by another rider.