Polo

It’s fast! It’s challenging! It’s exciting! It’s polo at Nairobi Polo Club.

8 skilful riders and athletic horses, one small ball and 7 and a half minutes of action. That’s a chukka in the exciting sport of polo. Thundering hooves drown out the clinking of cocktail glasses as the players gallop past, just meters away from the spectators. The passionate shouting of players briefly interrupts civilised conversations as players throw the full weight of their horses against each other to win the right to the ball. Only strict rules to protect ponies and players prevent serious accidents.

Polo is not for the faint-hearted, but it is hugely addictive once you start.


Learn to Play Polo

Kenya is a great place to play polo. It has a pleasant climate for horse and rider, a long polo season and a friendly and welcoming polo community. Nairobi Polo Club welcomes new and interested players. Contact us to get you started. We can assist you with getting you on a horse for the first time, having your first swing at a polo ball or setting up your string of polo ponies in Kenya.


Polo Glossary

Polo pony – It’s really a horse. They're quick and agile and ideally, you should have four or more of them. In Kenya, most polo ponies come from South Africa or are ex-racehorses.

Handicap – Refers to the riding and hitting abilities of the players and ranges from -2 to 10. The highest handicapped players in Kenya are playing at +5.

Mallet – The stick a player uses to hit the ball. All polo players hold the mallet in their right hand. Tough if you are left-handed!

Chukka – Is a period of play and lasts 7,5 minutes. There are usually four chukkas, but sometimes more in a game. Players use a fresh horse for each chukka.

Line of the Ball – An imaginary line created by the ball as it travels down the field. The player who hits the ball generally has the right of way. Other players cannot cross this line in front of that player for safety reasons. The line changes every time the ball is hit.

Ride off – It’s like rugby, just on a 500 kg horse. The aim is to push the other player off the line of the ball.

Hooking – Hitting the stick of another player is another way to prevent him from hitting the ball.

Foul – Rules in polo mainly focus on the safety of the horses. Most fouls are blown for crossing in front of a player about to hit the ball.

Penalties – Awarded when a player is fouled. Depending on the severity of the foul and where it was committed, this can be a hit from the spot or a hit at goal from 30, 40 or 60 yards.

Goal – A goal is scored when the ball goes between the two posts. Sides are switched after every goal. Mixed teams – Polo is one of few sports that can be played in mixed teams.

Umpires – There are two mounted umpires on the pitch and a ‘third man’ off the pitch.

Stomping the Divots – Horses’ hooves kick up chunks of grass. We need your help to put the grass back into place between play. Plus, you never know who you meet on the pitch.

Nairobi Polo Club – Over 100 years old and still a great place for polo.