POOLESVILLE – The pounding of horses’ hooves and the crack of mallet against ball were the only sounds that broke the silence in the wide open field. The horses wore saddles and leg wraps; the riders wore helmets and knee-high boots. Several members of the Congressional Polo Club shouted instructions to their teammates during a practice session before hosting the George S. Patton Polo Cup Finals on Sunday.
Even though the sport of polo has existed for centuries, the average person is unaware of the rules. The match is played with two teams of four players each. There are between four and eight periods which are called chukkas. Each chukka lasts seven minutes and the riders must switch horses several times during the match. The object is to get the ball through the goalpost on either end of the field by hitting the ball with a mallet while still mounted on the horse.
Nicolas Eurnekian is the head of the polo club and the manager of the Congressional Polo Academy. Eurnekian started playing polo with his family as a child growing up in Argentina.