What is Polocrosse?
As the name suggests, polocrosse is a cross between polo and lacrosse. It's a team game which is played on horse back, with each rider carrying a stick fitted with a racket head and loose net to carry the ball. The aim of the game is to score goals by throwing the ball between your opponents' goal posts.
Polocrosse is played on a field which is 55m x146.5m. The field is split into three distinct areas; a goal scoring area at each end and a middle section which is 91.5m long. The lines which separate the middle section and the goal scoring areas are called the penalty lines. Only the number one player of the attacking team and the number three player of the defending team are allowed in the goal scoring areas. The goal posts are 2.5m apart and are located at each end of the field, and there is also a semicircle marked around each goal. To score a goal, the number one player must throw the ball from outside the semicircle, through the goal posts.
There are six players in a polocrosse team, which are divided into two groups of three. Each rider is only allowed to ride one horse, so while one group plays, the other takes a breather. The play is split into six or eight periods of time, known as chukkas, with each lasting a maximum of eight minutes. The three players in each section play the positions of number one attack, number two centre, and number three defence.
Playing the game
The game starts with a line out, in which the players line up side by side. The umpire then throws the ball in over the player's heads. Players can catch the ball in their rackets or pick up the ball from the ground, and then ride with it. The players pass the ball between themselves until the number one player has the ball in the goal scoring area. Players cannot carry the ball over the penalty line; instead they must either pass it to another player or bounce it so they are not in possession as they cross into the goat scoring area.
When in possession of the ball, the player must carry it on the stick side. So, if you carry the stick in your right hand, it must be carried on the right hand side. Players are allowed to catch or pick up the ball from the nonstick side, but must return the stick to its correct side immediately. Here are a few ways to get the ball from your opponent:
- Hitting their stick, in an upwards motion, to dislodge the ball from their net.
- Using your stick to prevent the other rider from catching the ball, which must also be done in an upwards motion.
- Riding off against another rider to prevent them getting to another player, or area.
Some Banned Moves!
- Sandwiching your opponent between two players.
- Crossing in front, or elbowing the other player.
- Stopping over the ball to prevent play!
Who can play?
Almost anyone can play polocrosse as long as they are a competent rider. Junior players must ride a pony of 14.2hh or under, but you can play on any type of horse or pony. Top players tend to ride Thoroughbreds or horses crossed with Quarter Horses for their speed and agility, but this is not so important at the lower levels. To get started in polocrosse, you need little more than an approved safety hat and a racket, while the horse or pony needs to wear leg wraps and overreach boots to prevent injury. If you want to find out more information about polocrosse check out www.polocrosse.org.uk
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