While many of us are likely very familiar with the popular equine sport of Polo, we may not have heard of exciting sport of Polocrosse. Polocrosse is quickly becoming a popular sport for riders who enjoy a fast-paced, team-based equine activity that the whole family can enjoy.
What is Polocrosse? Originally created in England, polocrosse was used as an indoor exercise to teach people how to ride a horse. The modern game took shape in Australia in the 1930’s. Today, there are over 6,000 players in the world! Polocrosse differs from its sister sport, Polo, because a player can use only one horse throughout a tournament. This permits someone who may own only one or two horses to compete at the same level as someone with several horses. And, all types of horses play polocrosse: every breed, size and age. Speed, agility, temperament and stamina are desirable, but the only requirement is that a horse be in sound physical condition. All age groups are welcome to participate in the sport as well, so it’s not uncommon to see riders in grade school playing riders in their retirement years!
Polocrosse is a ball sport played on a horse with a racket similar to a lacrosse stick and a large soft rubber ball. The polocrosse field (commonly referred to as “the pitch”) can be grass or dirt and is 160 yards long and 60 yards wide. Teams consist of three people and score points by throwing the ball through their opponent’s goal posts. At the same time, they must also work to protect their goal from the other team. All players can catch, carry and throw the ball with their racquets. However, only theplayer at the number 1 position is allowed to score. The rules are designed with one primary concern, safety — for player and horse. Players play in teams of six with three players on the field at any one time. Each set of three players are called a section. The first section plays for a chukka of either six or eight minutes and then swap with the second section. The second section plays for their six or eight minute chukka and then the first section comes back on.
Our club generally has practice every Sunday during the summer months and hosts one major tournament and several clinics or summer camp each year. Club members have also competed in the international arena. In fact, some of our club members have even earned coveted spots on the USA World Cup polocrosse team, the APA 21 & Under and 16 & Under teams, and the US Pony Club squad. These club members are participating at the highest levels of international competition which often includes exchanges and test matches in Ireland, Australia, UK, New Zealand, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The APA and its affiliated clubs also host teams from other nations here in the US as well. Polocrosse is a tight-knit global community.
The Minnesota Polocrosse Club welcomes new members of any level – and we are always happy to help you get started with this fun sport! So we encourage you to stop by a practice, come to our tournament in Afton, Visit our website at www.mnpolocrosse.com and we’ll give you the information that you need to get started in polocrosse!
We look forward to seeing you on the field with us soon!!
Polocrosse is a team sport that is played all over the world. It is a combination of polo and lacrosse. It is played outside, on a field (the pitch), on horseback. Each rider uses a cane stick to which is attached a racquet head with a loose, thread net, in which the ball is carried. The ball is made of sponge rubber and is approximately four inches across. The objective is to score goals by throwing the ball between the opposing team’s goal posts. Anyone who can ride a horse can play polocrosse, which also helps improve riding skills. All ages and abilities are encouraged to play. It is also a discipline of the United States Pony Club.
Not all horses are interested in participating in the sport of polocrosse or suitable for playing but it is definitely still possible to play polocrosse! In fact, many of our riders often lease horses for the season. The cost to lease a horse for polocrosse varies depending on the arrangement you are able to make with the horse’s owner. Sometimes you may be able to arrange it where you are able to use the horse for free, as long as you are willing to take care of the horse to the owners standards throughout the term of the lease. Other times, the owner may charge a month fee to use their horse in addition to paying for their care and board. If you are interested in finding out what horses may be available for lease, please contact our club President, Kristi Johnson at [email protected] or member Kristy Gusick [email protected] for help coordinating a horse to lease.
Helmet, bell boots and medicine boots or leg wraps are required. A saddle without a horn is also required. Many of our riders use an Australian saddle or an English saddle. Polocrosse racquet and ball is also necessary once you have determined this is the horse sport for you.
If you are just beginning or just want to try the sport out, our club has extra equipment available to use for short term. If you then decide you would like to continue playing the sport, you can order racquets, helmets and other polorcosse equipment from White Horse Trading via [email protected] and/or 601-716-6456.
Our first priority is the safety of riders and horses, so this is not tolerated and the horse is typically asked withdraw from the tournament. Leasing a polocrosse horses is sometimes an option until you determine your interest in the sport. Like any equestrian discipline, finding a mount that works best for you both is ideal.
There is a multitude of ways to get involved with Minnesota Extreme but a few tips during chukkas:
- Help with cooling down the horse and providing both rider and horse with water.
- On especially hot days, helping walk horses, wiping down horses with sponges followed by sweat scraping is important for the horse’s health.
- Be sure your rider is always feeding and caring first for their horse as their first priority.
- Help with leaving playing grounds clean and ensure rider has mucked stall/e-pen properly before departing.
- Make sure your rider is following all safety rules and precautions including wearing all appropriate safety gear.
- Be sure to sign all liability forms and complete registration material. Riders will not be able to participate unless this is completed.