Bravo, Bruce! Can't possibly get enough lively discussion, especially about something as totally entertaining as a well-excecuted ride-off. There is nothing quite so frustrating as being ridden off and forced to miss a great shot, and it is even more exasperating if the ride-off is illegal. But there is no question that a well-executed ride-off is an extremely effective defensive tool. Several thoughts occur. My experience is that the rules of ride-offs (or at least the way they are enforced) vary widely from venue to venue. Do they even have ride-off rules in Shandur? What about Saudi Arabia? I learned the rules at the Houston Polo Club, and they were extremely strict about it---- too strict, I thought. Then I went to France and the rules are hardly enforced at all. What is your experience in all of this?
Hi GB - well as for Saudi, almost no-one plays here (and there are certainly no umpires when we do), however I've always found that waiting around the corner after the game, with a baseball bat, discourages people from doing something dumb twice...
Seriously though, everyone is their own umpire (with a lot of encouragement from other players), so it's kind of like golf - you can cheat if you want to, but YOU will know you did it.
In free-style (tribal) polo there are no rules - but there are also no remounts - so no player will do anything that may endanger his horse. And that, I think, is the point of us having rules anyway.
Good thread - I brought this up when PCW asked what else should the rule revisions be addressing. I believe people think it's cool and on top of that it is really not macho to call it! I play in Mexico with the boys, if i call an illegal ride off they just give me that look - you know the one that says 'softie' (this is a public forum so I have toned down the language) and trust me I am not! Call me naive but I thought it was against the rules for the safety of horses and players to ride into an opponents horse's neck at speed? Didn't I also read somewhere that you are supposed to be parallel and and at least at similar speed with your opponent ready for the rideoff? Why don;t umpires call this too? Are they too busy looking at the ball? I am a newbie and I do try an remember not to fret the rules too much but when I am staggering to stay on after a ride off, i do want to clobber someone!