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Rules & Regs ---> Arena Polo Rules ---> Right of Way


  1. At each moment of the game, there shall exist as between any two or more players in the proximity of the ball a priority referred to as The Right of Way. This shall be considered to extend ahead of the player who has established himself on it, and in the direction in which that player is riding. The width of the Right of Way should allow a player to proceed down the line freely and is taken to be approximately 5 feet. The five feet is taken from the line of the ball. The Right of Way is not identical to and must not be confused with the line of the ball, and does not depend on who last hit the ball.

  2. No player may enter, cross, or obstruct the Right of Way of the player entitled to it unless at such a distance that no risk of collision or danger to either player is involved.

  3. When the Line of the Ball changes and, as a result, the Right of Way changes, a player must be granted the necessary time to clear the new Right of Way. A player clearing the Right of Way may make no offensive or defensive play in doing so.

  4. Subject to Rule 12.g. no player may have the ball other than on the offside or the offside of the player ’s course, if in so doing an opponent is endangered who could have safely attempted a play had the original player kept the ball on the offside, or the offside of that player’s course. This subsection takes precedence over 12.e. and 12.f. below .

  5. Subject to Rule 12.g. each of two players, when one is following and the other meeting the ball, must ride with the Line of the Ball on the offside until they have passed. A player who cannot be placed with the Line on the offside, or maintain the Line on the offside until the opponent has safely passed, without dangerously crossing the oncoming opponent, who already has the line of the Ball on the offside, has no play at all .

  6. As between two players when both are following or both are meeting the ball:
    1. The player riding parallel to or at the lesser angle to the Line of the Ball has the Right of Way over the player riding at the greater angle to the Line of the Ball.
    2. In the case of two players on opposite sides of the Line of the Ball at equal angles to the Line of the Ball, both players have a Right of Way up to the Line of the Ball or until the angle of one becomes less than the angle of the other.
    3. A player waiting on the projected line for the ball must yield the Right of Way to a player following the course the ball has already travelled.

  7. Subject to Rule 12.i, when playing the ball along the side or end wall, if the distance of the ball from the wall does not permit an offside play, i.e. less than 5 foot, a player who is both at the least angle to the Line of the Ball and following the direction of the ball shall have the Right of Way even though playing the ball on the near side.

  8. . Subject to Rule 12.i, the player with the Right of Way may play the ball at any speed and any player approaching from the rear must make a play from the near side. However, a player may not check suddenly so as to cause a following player to collide. A player carrying the ball along the boards has a further obligation to maintain a reasonable pace. An opponent may execute a ride off or may hook as long as the opponent does not ride into the path of the swing.

  9. Two players riding together on, or at an angle to, the Line have the Right of Way over a single player riding at an equal or greater angle to the Line regardless of whether the players are meeting or following the direction of travel of the ball
  10. A player on the Right of Way, defended by an opponent, and in possession of the ball shall continue to move the ball. Should the player walk or stop, the Umpire may blow the whistle and throw the ball in.

  11. If, when turning the ball on the off or near side, the offensive player brings plays to a virtual standstill or less, the defending player is entitled to ride off the opponent.
    However the defending player must not ride off the offensive player on the ball side until the first change of the Line of the Ball has been executed by the offensive player.

  12. Note: The defending player must be aware of Rule 13b.). A “stroke” is defined as a mallet head in motion toward the ball. A “dribble”, where the mallet head is kept below the level of the pony’s hock or knee, is not a stroke.)

    Example 1 Red no.3 closely followed by Blue no.2 turns the ball either on the nearside or offside. Blue checks, turns inside Red and Red dribbles around the turn. Blue executes a ride off - no foul.

    Example 2 Red no.3 closely followed by Blue no.2 turns the ball either on the nearside or offside, Blue checks, turns inside Red and as Red hits away, Blue executes a ride off as the stroke is played - foul by Blue.

    Example 3 Red no.3 with the ball, checks in order to play the ball. Blue no.2 goes to the immediate ride off on the ball side - foul by Blue

  13. If a player is in possession of the ball either on the off or near side and is alongside the arena wall when their stick is hooked, that player must maintain the speed of the game or move immediately out of the right of way so that the player behind is not impeded

  14. A player in possession of the ball, but with an opponent in a position to attempt a defensive play, must continue to move the ball. If he is moving at walking speed, a slow canter or stops he may tap the ball once only and then must leave it, accelerate to run with it or hit it away.
    A throw in should be awarded for the breach of this rule. The opponent is considered to be in a ‘position to attempt a defensive play’ if he is within one horse’s length on either the off or the nearside of the player with the ball. If an opponent is in a defensive position on either the near or off side of the player with the ball and the player elects to tap the ball more than once in a left or right handed half circle and thus placing the opponent in a position that is on or across the new Right of Way, the player in possession is to be penalised for breach of the above rule.


Arena Polo Rules

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