Peasants’ heads, recently removed, rolled across barren
campgrounds. Wooden mallets jolted the heads across the field.
Known as the Game of Kings, polo was first introduced over 2,000
years ago by the Persians. The sport, a comparable form of hockey
on horses, has also been used to train British cavalry.
Today, polo is seen as a rich man’s game, played by the
privileged and proper.
“It does cost a lot of money to compete in polo, but it all
depends on the time and effort you are willing to put in,” said Ana
Miaskiewicz, a CSU two-year polo player. “Playing at CSU is a great
opportunity because you don’t have to buy a horse and practically
anyone can play.”
Many things have changed since the introduction of polo. The
sport is now played with a fist-sized ball made of plastic or wood
and with mallets ranging from 48 to 54 inches, depending on the
size of the horse. Played in four periods, known as chukkers, that
last seven-and-a-half minutes, the game is intense and
“Traveling at high speeds trying to hit a ball that size is very
tough,” said Dan Lafferman, a sophomore with seven years
experience. “Hand-eye coordination is big and a background in
Polo was officially brought to CSU in 1977 and since then the
sport has advanced as the Rams boast one of the top club teams in
the nation. The men have won three national championships and the
women are contenders every year as well. Both teams are currently
ranked No. 2 in the nation.
There are two types of polo: arena and outdoor. The CSU teams
partake in outdoor polo, which is played with three players per
team with one alternate. The start of play begins as both teams
line up along side each other. The forwards, midfielders and
defense from both teams are paired and the referee rolls out the
ball. The midfielders then fight to gain possession and score goals
by making the ball cross the goal line.
A polo goal is 20 feet high and 10 feet wide. The ball can
travel anywhere in that area to be considered a goal. Shots taken
from behind half field are worth two points while all others yield
For the CSU polo teams, the highlight of this fall season came
at the Pumpkin Festival, which was played in Santa Fe, N.M., on
Oct. 16 to 17 and hosted various polo teams from around the
country. The CSU men’s and women’s teams went to participate in
front of crowds as big as 3,000 people. Both teams went undefeated
in their first matches of the year. The men are 2-0 on the year,
and the women are 4-0.
Pepsi, Bill, Torah and Ophelia are key members of the CSU men’s
polo team. These horses do all of the running while the players
ride. Polo is one of the few sports that rely on animals and a
serious amount of trust is needed in order to be successful.
“There is a saying in polo that it is 80 percent the horse and
20 percent the rider,” said Miaskiewicz. “But it’s team work.”
Many players learn to play polo at a young age and as the sport
continues to grow, it can often be seen at the high school
“I’ve been playing since I was seven,” said the men’s team
president John Graham. “My dad got me into it. He played in college
and won a national championship with the University of
Others, like Lafferman, played in high school and actually
traded in lacrosse sticks and football pads for a horse and
“(Polo) is just a really awesome sport,” Lafferman said. “When
some of my friends found out I wanted to play, they were surprised.
But then they came out and saw it. They really thought the sport
Next up, the polo teams face New Mexico State at home with the
women saddling up at noon on Saturday and the men taking the arena
on Sunday at 11 a.m. All games are played at the CSU Equine Center
north of the Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on Overland