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Safely Riding Off Your Opponent

A ride off is the term given to the manoeuvre in a game of polo where one player pushes or bumps against their opponent and their pony in an effort to move them either, off the line of the ball or to stop them from receiving the ball. Sounds a bit like bumper cars right? Well kind of...but there are rules to keep the player & the ponies safe!

The rules around this play are pretty simple: -

1, A player must not approach their opponent to ride them off from a dangerous angle, a safe angle is considered anything less than 45degrees. Example 1 shows a dangerous ride off, making contact at an angle more than 45 degrees.

2, To ride off, a player must approach their opponent at the same speed that they are travelling. The trick to doing this is to match the speed of the opposing playing and then manoeuvre in to a ride off position.

3, You may only ride off if you are travelling in the same direction as the opposing player. Example 2 shows a player connecting with his opponent from the opposite direction – causing a dangerous foul.

4, When a player contacts their horse with their opponents’ horse, they must ensure that the contact is shoulder to shoulder and therefore does not risk injuring the horse or player. A bump to a horses abdomen or rump whilst travelling at speed is extremely dangerous. Example 3 shows a player contacting with his opponent behind his saddle, another example of a dangerous foul.

Example 4 shows a safe and successful ride off from the blue player. The red player is initially established on the Line of the Ball, the blue player approaches from the off-side of the red player, contacts the blue player shoulder to shoulder, at an angle less than 45 degrees, and forces the player to move away from the line of the ball. This manouvre, leaves the ball available for possession by another player and the Line of the Ball available for a player to establish themself on to it. In this example, the blue player pulls back out of the ride off and away from the opponent with enough space to establish him/herself on to the Line of the Ball and safely takes possession of the ball. This player has beaten his man and then won the ball and played a defensive, backhand.

Up next, the half-seat….

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