It’s not widely known that Polo is an ancient sport that dates back as far as the 5th Century BC, and some experts have suggested it started even earlier.Originating in Persia, it is thought that polo was played as a training exercise for the King’s guards and troops. The game went on to become popular with nobility and became the Iranian national sport. In contrast, the tribesmen of Persia were also believed to have played polo, but for them it was a miniature battle with as many as 100 players on each team.
The modern game of polo is played most famously in Britain, Argentina and America but actually originates from India where the game was known as “Pulu”, which referred to the ball used in play. In India, polo was a game for everyone and was played by kings and villagers alike.
It was the Brits that established polo as the fast paced, non-stop game it is today, preferring long, hard shots to the slow and methodical Indian style. The 10th Hussars military introduced polo to England in 1834.
The game’s governing body in the UK is the Hurlingham Polo Association, who drew up the first set of formal rules which still exist today.