Polo season is in full swing; take in the action every Sunday at the Sarasota Polo Club at Lakewood Ranch.
The Basics: Four-person teams play matches divided into seven-minute periods called chukkers (four or six chukkers per match) on a 10-acre field (300 yards long; 160 yards wide). The object is to knock the ball through your opponents’ goal.
A Horse is a Pony: Usually smaller thoroughbreds or quicker quarter horses, polo ponies typically only play one chukker per match. (Players switch ponies between chukkers.)
The Game of Kings: Polo (from the Tibetan word pulu, for ball) began in Central Asia more than 2,000 years ago. Today, the sport is especially popular in Argentina, home of a number of local players.
Stomp: At halftime, spectators are invited onto the field for “divot stomping,” to tamp down the chunks of turf kicked up by the horses.
You Can Play: The Sarasota Polo Club offers lessons and learn-to-play programs (for people who are already comfortable riding a horse).