Cowboy polo

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Cowboy polo is a variation of polo played mostly in the western United States. Like regular polo, it is played in chukkas (periods) with two teams on horses who use mallets to hit a ball through a goal. It differs from traditional polo in that five riders make up a team instead of four, western saddles and equipment are used, and the playing field is usually a simple rodeo arena or other enclosed dirt area, indoors or out. Also, instead of the small ball used in traditional polo, the players use a large red rubber medicine ball and use mallets with long fiberglass shafts and hard rubber heads. [1]

Polo equestrian team sport

Polo is a horseback mounted team sport. It is one of the world's oldest known team sports.

Western United States Region in the United States

The Western United States is the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. As European settlement in the U.S. expanded westward through the centuries, the meaning of the term the West changed. Before about 1800, the crest of the Appalachian Mountains was seen as the western frontier. The frontier moved westward and eventually the lands west of the Mississippi River were considered the West.

Horse Domesticated four-footed mammal from the equine family

The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus. It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature, Eohippus, into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began domesticating horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Horses in the subspecies caballus are domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as feral horses. These feral populations are not true wild horses, as this term is used to describe horses that have never been domesticated, such as the endangered Przewalski's horse, a separate subspecies, and the only remaining true wild horse. There is an extensive, specialized vocabulary used to describe equine-related concepts, covering everything from anatomy to life stages, size, colors, markings, breeds, locomotion, and behavior.

Contents

Horses

The horse breed most often used for cowboy polo is the American Quarter Horse, due to its agility. Unlike regular polo, where multiple horses are used within a single game, riders do not change horses between chukkas, but instead are only allowed two horses, and in some competitions are required to ride one horse throughout. [1] This ability to compete with relatively few animals has given the sport its nickname, the "average man's" sport. [2] Horses competing in cowboy polo are often older, experienced animals with steady dispositions who have come to understand the basic purpose of the game and can assist their riders. [2]

A horse breed is a selectively bred population of domesticated horses, often with pedigrees recorded in a breed registry. However, the term is sometimes used in a very broad sense to define landrace animals, or naturally selected horses of a common phenotype located within a limited geographic region. Depending on definition, hundreds of "breeds" exist today, developed for many different uses. Horse breeds are loosely divided into three categories based on general temperament: spirited "hot bloods" with speed and endurance; "cold bloods," such as draft horses and some ponies, suitable for slow, heavy work; and "warmbloods," developed from crosses between hot bloods and cold bloods, often focusing on creating breeds for specific riding purposes, particularly in Europe.

American Quarter Horse American horse breed

The American Quarter Horse, or Quarter Horse, is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdistance other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less; some have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph (88.5 km/h). The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States today, and the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world, with almost 3 million living American Quarter Horses registered in 2014.

History

Cowboy polo originated in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in 1952, where it was called Palmetto Polo. The name came from the mallet handles, which were made out of palm. It was renamed "cowboy polo" in 1959. [2] As it came west, it was connected almost entirely to the membership of sheriff's posses, groups primarily dedicated to mounted search and rescue, consisting of deputized law enforcement volunteers. While participation was once limited to men only, women were admitted to the sport in the mid-1990s. [1] It reached its peak of popularity during the 1970s, [1] with clubs from Texas to Montana, as well as clubs in Australia. [2] However, since then, cowboy polo has been in decline, with the national organization disbanding in 2005. Today, the sport is almost exclusively played in Montana. [1] Even in Montana, where there were once 30 clubs, there are now only five. [2]

Mounted search and rescue

Mounted search and rescue (MSAR) is a specialty within search and rescue (SAR), using horses as search partners and for transportation to search for missing persons. SAR responders on horseback are primarily a search resource, but also can provide off-road logistics support and transportation. Mounted SAR responders can in some terrains move faster on the ground than a human on foot, can transport more equipment, and may be physically less exhausted than a SAR responder performing the same task on foot. Mounted SAR responders typically have longer initial response times than groundpounder SAR resources, due to the time required to pick up trailer, horse(s), and perhaps also water, feed, and equipment.

Montana State of the United States of America

Montana is a landlocked state in the Northwestern United States. Montana has several nicknames, although none are official, including "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently "The Last Best Place".

Rules

Though the sport has written rules, the most commonly enforced rule is unwritten: any rider who falls off his or her horse must buy beer for the entire team. [1]

Beer alcoholic drink

Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drinks in the world, and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea. Beer is brewed from cereal grains—most commonly from malted barley, though wheat, maize (corn), and rice are also used. During the brewing process, fermentation of the starch sugars in the wort produces ethanol and carbonation in the resulting beer. Most modern beer is brewed with hops, which add bitterness and other flavours and act as a natural preservative and stabilizing agent. Other flavouring agents such as gruit, herbs, or fruits may be included or used instead of hops. In commercial brewing, the natural carbonation effect is often removed during processing and replaced with forced carbonation.

Teams consist of five players, with two horseback referees and two goal spotters. Riders are limited to two horses per game, though most players use one horse throughout. The game is played in four periods of 15 minutes each, called, as in regular polo, "chukkas." There are mandatory four-minute rest periods at the end of each chukka and a nine-minute break at half time. Each team is allowed four two-minute time outs during the game. [3] Teams switch ends at each chukka. [2]

The field is divided widthwise into four 50 feet (15 m) sections or zones, and one center zone of 60 feet (18 m). Each team has one player assigned to each zone with the goal of hitting the ball toward the opponents' goal. If a player crosses into another zone, the team loses control of the ball to the other team. The goal areas are each 20 feet (6.1 m) and located at each end of the arena. [3] The arena is generally 120 feet (37 m) wide. [2]

A goal made from the first zone is worth one point. Goals made from the second zone from the goal, without being touched by either player in the first zone is worth two points. An untouched goal from the center zone counts for three points. Balls knocked out of the field are returned to the spot where the ball exited the field and the opposing team takes control of the ball. [3]

Unruly or disobedient horses may be asked to leave the field, as will players who endanger other players unnecessarily. Equipment failure during the game that presents a danger to a player or horse results in a safety time out called by the referee. [3]

Safety is of paramount importance. There are 32 rules of play, including 11 types of personal fouls, including “reaching across an opposing player’s horse,” or “riding into and hitting an opposing player’s horse in front or back of the saddle with his/her horse’s front quarters, at greater than a 45-degree angle.” [2]

Equipment

The ball for cowboy polo is a red rubber medicine ball. The polo mallet has a maximum length of 60 inches (150 cm). It was traditionally made of cane but can be made of fiberglass. Saddles must be American western saddles or Australian stock saddles. Participants are strongly encouraged to have their horses wear polo bandages or splint boots. Use of a breast collar is optional. There are no specific rules for horse headgear, as long as the equipment is humane. Tie-downs are allowed, but officials may require the removal of any piece of equipment liable to cause discomfort to the horse. [3]

For riders, hats or headgear is required. Most riders now wear some form of equestrian helmet or other protective headgear, such as a cricket helmet with a face guard. However, Western or Australian style felt hats may be worn. Extra protective clothing such as knee and shin guards, is optional, though they must not be hard or sharp edged to prevent injury to your opponent or his/her horse. Riders also must wear jeans, riding boots and a shirt in the specified club color. [3]

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Polo pony

A polo pony is the term used for a horse used in the game of polo. They may be of any breed or combination of breeds, though many have a significant amount of Thoroughbred breeding. They are called "ponies", but that is a reference to their agile type rather than their size; almost all are horse-sized. They require considerable training and ongoing conditioning, and because each rider requires several horses in a single match, this can be a considerable expense. For competition, polo ponies have their manes roached and tails braided so that there is no danger of being tangled in the mallet.

Cycle polo

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Horseball sport

Horseball is a game played on horseback where a ball is handled and points are scored by shooting it through a hoop with a diameter of 1m. The sport is like a combination of polo, rugby, and basketball. It is one of the ten disciplines officially recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.

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Segway polo

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Elephant polo

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