Polo matches are divided into six periods of play called chukkers (the English call them chukkas), each lasting seven minutes. A whistle or horn sounds to end the period or game. If the score remains tied after the 6th chukker, the match continues into the seventh chukker until a score is made.
A regulation polo field is 300 yards by 160 yards. There are many kinds of grasses used, and like golf, a lot of research is going into developing special hybrids. The field is surrounded by a short wooden border called the boards. A horse and rider may go outside the boards during play, but should the ball do so, it is out of bounds and playstops.
In polo terms, this is a word with multiple meanings. Physically, it is those two posts at each end of the field the players keep trying to knock the ball through. These are set eight yards apart and will quickly collapse if struck by a horse or rider. When players do manage to knock the ball between the poles, at any height, they have scored a goal, meaning a point. A player’s skill is also rated from -2 to 10 goals, (also called a handicap), a 10 rating being both rare and outstanding. A -2 does not indicate a bad player. It says a player has reached a level good enough to be rated. The United States Polo Association assigns these ratings based on a players performance over a season. Finally, matches are rated by goals as well, these being the sum total of the players involved. Thus a “high goal” match would have teams with many high rated players.