Mallets, which really can be called sticks, are around 49 to 53 inches long, including the handle on one end and hardwood crosspiece on the other. The actual pole is usually made of bamboo. It is used as a defensive tool in hindering another player’s shot, a protest signal by sticking it up in the air after a referee’s impossible stupid call or occasionally for hitting the ball. The ball is hit with the side of the crosspiece, not the tip.
Polo purists still get a little tic on one side of their faces when one calls polo mounts “horses”, eventhough that is what they are and have been for several hundred years. Formally, however, one still cheers on the polo ponies. Most are thoroughbreds and are trained extensively to play the sport. There is no height limit, but the average is 15 to 15.3 hands (a pony is14.2 or below). Speed, stamina, and the ability to speed quickly, stop and turn are key traits. Players, even the boastful ones, say the pony is up to 80% of their ability to play well. The best ponies are usually used in the final chukker.