What is polo all about?
Polo is a game played on horseback between two teams, of three or four players each, who use mallets with long, flexible handles to drive a ball down a pitch and between two goal posts. A game of polo is split into periods, of between 6.5 and 7.5 minutes, called chukkas. It is the oldest of the equestrian sports.
Want to see more? Check out the taster video on our University of London Polo Club YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/C1OlPAO84H4
The University of London Polo Club YouTube channel has plenty more videos of university polo to give you an idea of what it is all about.
University of London Polo Club: A Brief History
The University of London Polo Club, the third oldest university polo club, was formed in 1988 when students from University College London Riding Club entered a team in Peter Grace's Inter-University Tournament. The following year, a University of London team was entered and the idea of forming an official club for members was mooted and a constitution was drawn up.
Since 1989, London has established itself as a major club in university polo. It has been very successful, having won many inter-university tournaments. The club was originally based at Epsom Polo Club but, as the interest and enthusiasm of members grew, it was decided to move to The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club.
How is a game of polo played?
Number of Chukkas - The standard duration of a game shall be 6 chukkas, excluding extra time, but this may be varied by the Tournament Committee according to the level of the polo.
Arena/ Winter Chukkas – Three players per team. Each chukka shall be a maximum of 6.5 minutes. After 6 minutes, the first bell will be rung to indicate that up to 30 seconds remain. Intervals between chukkas will be 4 minutes with a 6 minute interval at half time.
Outdoor/Summer Chukkas - Four players per team. Each chukka shall be a maximum of 7.5 minutes. After 7 minutes, the first bell will be rung to indicate that up to 30 seconds remain. Intervals between chukkas will be 3 minutes with a 5 minute interval at half time and before extra time. In the final chukka, the game will end on the first sound of the 7 minute bell unless the teams are tied. If tied, play will continue until either a goal is scored/awarded or until the second bell at 7.5 minutes to signal the end of play.
The Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) is the governing body for polo in the UK, Ireland and many other countries throughout the world. As such, it is responsible for the regulations and rules under which the game is played. The rules are terribly complicated, if anyone ever tells you they know all of them then don't believe them, but if you want to have a look through the rules yourself then here is the link to the HPA Rules Book 2018: http://www.hpa-polo.co.uk/download/BB18-Rules.pdf
Don’t worry, we won’t be testing you on rules and regs!
How do I get involved?
As a university polo member, you do not have to join the HPA to play polo. Simply by joining the University of London Polo Club, through Student Central, you can start your polo journey with us. By joining the University of London Polo Club you have the opportunity to play polo at hugely discounted rates, try something new, and meet/make lifelong friends too! It doesn't even matter if you’ve never sat on a horse before; our wonderful coaches at Cool Hooves can teach you everything you need to know about riding, hitting the ball and playing polo. Some of our current and previous members were new to horses, as well as polo, and now play just as well as other members who have ridden horses since they were young.
Where we train –
During the winter season, polo lessons take place at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club with Cool Hooves http://www.coolhoovespolo.co.uk/ .
Cool Hooves Polo Limited,
The Royal Country of Berkshire Polo Club,
How to get to The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club –
Take the train from London Waterloo (also stops at Clapham Junction) to Ascot Station. From Ascot Station, the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club is a 3.3 mile (10 minute) car journey. The Ascot taxi number is 01344 29729. Our members travel to the polo club together and share the cost of the taxi.
If you have a car there is plenty of free parking at the Berkshire. Enter the postcode above into your Sat Nav and it will take you straight there. When you come through the driveway at the Berkshire turn right and the car park is on your left hand side.
How to book lessons -
Get in touch with our Polo Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be put on the lesson sign up email. The Polo Manager will send out an email out over the weekend for you to sign up to the following week's lessons.
Lessons are £50 payable cash in the polo club.
If you cancel with less than 24 hours notice then you will need to pay for the lesson in full.
Taking part in lessons -
You can come to lessons as little or as often as you like. The more lessons that you attend the more you'll get out of it and the quicker you'll improve. You don't have to commit to coming every week or even every month, if you don't want to, we understand that work load can get in the way sometimes.
Lessons require a minimum of 3 people to take place and there is a maximum limit of 6 people per lesson. Lessons last for 1 hour but aim to get to the polo club at least 15 minutes beforehand.
Cost of membership –
Full Student Membership = £50 (You must be a registered student studying, full time or part time, through one of the colleges of University of London or its International Programmes.)
Associate Membership = £70 (You are a registered student studying at any university that is not part of the University of London. Staff from UoL colleges are also eligible.)
A full list of the institutions that make up the University of London can be found at the following link: https://www.studentcentral.london/about/
To purchase membership for the University of London Polo Club, you must first be a member of Student Central (The University of London Students Union). For more information about Student Central membership options, use the following link: https://www.studentcentral.london/about/membership/
What you need for lessons -
Wear something you can ride in comfortably; stretchy clothing (jeans with some ‘give’ are ideal) and shoes with a small heel (wellington boots are a good example). If you have a riding helmet then please bring it but, if not, you can borrow one from Cool Hooves. It's a good idea to wear gloves when riding.
Mallets, ponies, fun...all provided by Cool Hooves!