What is Polocrosse?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Polocrosse is an equestrian sport in which riders divide into teams and attempt to throw a small ball through each other's goals. The riders use rackets with nets to toss the ball back and forth, working within the very specific confines of a playing field to ensure that the game does not become too sprawling. One of the major appeals of polocrosse to riders is that the game is open to people of all skill levels, with riders being divided into grades by skill level at competition.

Many polocrosse clubs admit mules and other equid hybrids.
Many polocrosse clubs admit mules and other equid hybrids.

Essentially, polocrosse is a cross between polo, an ancient Persian game, and lacrosse, a Native American game. This game was developed in Australia in the 1930s, and exported from there to England and beyond. Initially, polocrosse matches were ridden inside, and used to train beginning riders, although modern matches take place outdoors just as frequently. Unlike polo, which comes with a very stiff and formal culture, polocrosse tends to be more casual and fun-loving.

In order to play polocrosse, someone needs to be able to stay on a horse, but that's about the only requirement. The game encourages the development of riding skills, forcing riders to work with their horses to move through the field and reach the goal, and polocrosse tends to develop strong horses and riders. As in any equestrian sport, there are some dangers to polocrosse; riders can fall, for example, and horses can collide, but the use of safety equipment for both humans and horses makes the sport relatively safe.

Unlike polo, in which riders change horses between sets, polocrosse can be played with a single horse, and many polocrosse clubs also admit mules and other equid hybrids. A wide variety of horse breeds can be used in the sport, with most riders favoring light to medium-weight horses like Arabs, Thoroughbreds, and Quarterhorses. A good polocrosse horse is athletic, intelligent, and sensible, as he or she needs to be able to navigate a field of horses while keeping a level head.

Polocrosse clubs can be found in all regions of the world, and chances are reasonably high that there is a club in your area. Try searching for “polocrosse” and your district or region in your favorite search engine, and you should find a list of local clubs. You can contact specific clubs about their requirements and lessons; many polocrosse organizations are connected to horse and pony clubs which also teach riding skills, allowing people to learn to ride and get involved in polocrosse at the same time.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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