Polo has a long and fascinating history. It is the oldest known team sport in the world, dating back to at least 5th century B.C. - though often thought much earlier. The game originated as a practice for war by tribesmen in Persia (now Iran), and was played by men and women alike. Polo spread through the Byzantines to China and India where it remained valuable for training cavalry.
It was in India that British cavalry officers first saw the game and brought it back to England in the late 1800’s. From here the popularity grew and British settlers took the game with them to Argentina where the first recorded game dates to 1875. The sport spread fast in Argentina by the gauchos who played on their handy, stocky ponies, so well suited to the game. Around this time polo was also introduced in the United States where the game was developed into the high-speed sport similar to what we see today. The British also took the game with them to many colonial outposts where the sport still thrives.
Worldwide polo is played in over 80 countries. It was an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1939 and has now been recognized again by the International Olympic Committee, which means that its inclusion in the Olympics once again may not be far away.
Polo has seen an especially pronounced growth in the past 10 years with the registered number of players increasing by a third in this time.
Winston Churchill: “A polo handicap is your passport to the world.”
Rudyard Kipling: “Let other people play other things.”
A famous verse inscribed on a stone tablet next to a polo ground in Gilgit, Pakistan: “Let others play at other things. The king of games is still the game of kings.”