What is Polocrosse and how experienced of a rider do I need to be to play?
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 and 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. Polocrosse is an approved discipline of the United States Pony Club.
What is so special about Polocrosse?
Polocrosse is a unique combination of a thrilling team equestrian sport that is nurtured in a fantastic, family-oriented environment. Often horse sports are generally individual sports and can be very pressure oriented and not much fun, socially. Polocrosse is different. It is about the team working together, competing and having fun on and off the field. You do not have to be an expert horse rider to get started, and men and women of all ages play together on teams. There are three ways anyone can be effective on the field: horsemanship, team play and strategy, and racquet skills. Being good at any one of these three skills is all you need to have impact and be effective in polocrosse. As you advance in your skills, and start doing better in 2 or 3 of the skill areas, your overall effectiveness improves. At tournaments your team is matched with other teams that have like skill levels (called “grades”) so the play is always fair. As you and your horse improve, you can move up to more competitive grades of play.
What if I don’t have my own horse?
No problem. Some of our riders lease horses for the season or for a tournament. 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 or charge you a flat fee for using their horse at a tournament.
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.
What if my horse isn’t capable of playing Polocrosse?
There are no restrictions as to what breeds can be play polocrosse per the American Polocrosse Association’s Standards of Play. However, not all horses are interested in participating in the sport of polocrosse or are suitable for playing polocrosse. Safety is our primary concern and every horse has to be safe on and off the field. Just because your horse has yet to play is no reason to assume it cannot be conditioned and taught the game quickly. At our annual beginner’s clinics we ofter are teaching/desensitizing new horses to the game and racquets. Stallions are not allowed to play, however, per the American Polocrosse Association.
What equipment do I need to play polocrosse?
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 stock saddle or an English saddle. Polocrosse racquet and ball is also necessary once you have determined this is the horse sport for you.
Where can I find equipment?
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 polocrosse equipment from equipment vendors listed on our Resources Page.
What if my horse kicks during a practice or tournament?
Our first priority is the safety of riders and horses and so kicking is not tolerated and the horse is typically asked withdraw from the tournament. There is a process to reintroduce a horse with a vice into game play after it can demonstrate it’s played safely in practices and other games under observation. However, should the horse kick again it will likely be banned from play for life. This is to protect all riders and horses.
How can I contribute to the team if I don’t ride?
There is a multitude of ways to get involved with the Minnesota Polocrosse Club! We always need help with managing horses at team practices and tournaments. Some of the activities we need volunteers for are scorekeeping , goaltending, and managing the clock. On warm days we need help cooling down the horse by walking and wiping them down, and by providing both rider and horse with water. Other opportunities for participation are in the management of the club and club activities such as registration, set-up, clean-up, concessions, fund raising, committee work, and board membership on the board. Because we host a number of clinics and tournaments there are ample opportunities for those who want to participate and help the club be successful.
I heard you travel a lot to tournaments. How do I know what to bring?
While our club always hosts an annual PX camp and tournament, many of the other tournaments that we like to compete at are out of state. So each year many of our club members do chose to travel to anywhere between 2-6 out of state tournaments that other clubs across the country host. Part of what we think makes polocrosse so much fun is the opportunity to ‘road trip’ with our friends and families – and our horses! Most tournaments are held in a wide open field with room to set up a PX field and to park several trucks and trailers. Once you arrive at a tournament, you will need to be able to camp with your horse. For more information on traveling with your horse to a tournament, check out the ‘Traveling with Your Horse‘ page on our website. You will also find a detailed checklist there to help you know what to bring when you are packing for a tournament.
For additional “Frequently Asked Questions” please check out the FAQ page on the APA website.