The USPA website defines the term “polo pony” as a traditional phrase used to describe a horse of any size or breed that is used to play polo. In the early days of polo history the height of the mounts used for polo were restricted to pony size and thus the term “polo pony” developed. The average size of a polo pony used today is about 15-15.3 hands tall. Polo ponies can be of any size or breed. The most common breeds used for polo today in the United States are the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse. Polo Ponies are also imported annually from countries around the world including Argentina, England, New Zealand and Mexico to name just a few. The breed of polo pony used for each player depends on that player’s personal preference and skill level. Polo horse prospects can be found in many places doing other equestrian sports. New polo horse prospects are often referred to as “green horses”. Some common sources for young prospects are breeding farms, working ranches and the racetrack. Young polo prospects go through years of specialized training before they become what is traditionally called a “made pony”. A made pony is one that is ready for use in tournament polo. The sport of polo is played at many different skill levels and each one requires a specific type of horse to meet the demands. Top notch ponies will sometimes be shipped around the globe with their professionals in pursuit of prestigious tournament titles.
Traditionally a polo pony has some very common characteristics. Players like to have a horse that is deep in girth for a large air capacity, a short back for quick maneuvering, and conformationally correct legs for a lengthy career. The average height for a polo horse today is between 15-15.3 hands tall. Because polo can be played on any breed of horse it is not uncommon to see horses of many different color patterns competing in the same game.
Protective gear for the polo horse during games includes a set of protective bandages or boots on the legs, a protective type boot over the bandages, skid boots on the back legs and coronet boots to protect the front feet. Traditionally the mane and forelock are shaved and the tail is tied or taped up to prevent getting in the way. Tack commonly used for polo is an English style saddle, English style bridle of any bit combination with two sets of reins and a martingale. Personal preference of players will dictate the type of bridle that is used for each horse and whether or not a saddle pad is used under the saddle. Some players prefer to place a well fitted saddle directly on the horses’ back without a pad for increased stability and contact with the horse. It is common to see polo teams with all of their ponies outfitted with matching bandages and saddle pads.
For more information on polo ponies for sale or lease by RL Polo Farms click here.