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The rules of polo generally follow common sense and the concept of a player having “right of way” to minimize danger.
There is no off-side rule in polo and all players must play right handed.
Umpires award penalties in accordance with the severity of any breach with the ball being hit from where the infraction occurred, or closer to the fouling team’s goal.
Defensive play consists mostly of “hooking” – where a player uses his mallet to hook or strike his opponents mallet while he is in the act of hitting the ball, and “riding off”. This is where a player uses his horse to bump his opponent and spoil his shot. However, if a player uses undue force – endangering the other player or his mount – a penalty will be incurred.
When a player hits the ball, an imaginary line starts existing between the point where the player hit the ball and the destination of the ball. This is the line of the ball, and is one of the most important rules in Polo.
The white player has the line, and at fair speed the black player would be crossing the line without sufficient safety margin, resulting in a penalty against black.
Even at a far lesser angle the black player would still be crossing the line if he continues in that direction, and committing a dangerous foul.
When travelling in the same direction the black player may draw level with and then force him across the line and take possession of the ball without committing a dangerous foul.
The black player must move in parallel with the line and play a shot providing he can do so without interfering with the white’s mount or causing him to check back. If black would cross the line to the dotted position it would be a foul.
Two players riding for a ball from opposite directions in the open must both give way to the left and take the ball on their right or offside. This is why every player must play right handed.
When two players are approaching a ball in the open from different directions, the player (black), with the line of the ball on his offside, right hand side, has right of way.