From its fairly helter-skelter beginnings large groups of men astride small ponies trotting here and there – polo evolved into a more organized and skillful game.
And as mallet technique evolved from dribbling the ball whileleaning over the pony’s neck to full swings taken at speed, the advantages to well-mounted players became clear. Small, hunter-type ponies – once the favored mounts – gave way to larger, faster ponies and smallthoroughbreds.
For a time, the Hurlingham club, the English authority, tried to limit a pony’s height to 14 hands, raised it to 14.2 in 1895, but abandoned the restriction in 1919.
Today, most polo ponies stand around 15.1 hands, although it isnot unusual to see a horse over 16 hands. In the U.S., thoroughbreds are bred with quarter horses in hopes of realizing the best qualities of each.
Argentines crossthoroughbreds with their local Criollo horses.
Ideal polo ponies show speed, stamina and agility.
The best are responsive, even intuitive,and have a calm dispositionthat enables them to focus all of their energy on the game.