About SUPA

March 28th 2020
 Copy of HPA Frequently Asked Questions issued 26 03 2020. FOR GUIDANCE



In order to help Clubs and members as much as possible during this very difficult time the HPA has set up a list of FAQs.


As we all know, the situation is rapidly changing and we will update this list as frequently as required to reflect current Government advice or directives.  


The requirements of the Government up until 15 April (after Easter) are clearly set out link to govt policy note


·      Except for very specific purposes, everyone is required to stay at home;

·      Only essential travel;

·      All non-essential shops are to close. Enclosed spaces in parks, including playgrounds, sports courts and pitches,and outdoor gyms or similar are to close. Individuals may exercise once a day;

·      Any sort of activity which involves more than a gathering of two people at clubs or anywhere else unless it consists of family members who are already residing together is precluded. 


What do the new measures mean for HPA members and polo?


·       No chukkas, lessons or stick & ball at any affiliated HPA club until further notice. 

·      Pony welfare allows essential exercise. 

·      Stay at home to protect the NHS and to save lives. 


The update currently on the website still stands, in that there will be no tournament polo before 1stMay, but the new travel restrictions and stay at home policy has changed things dramatically for everyone. We all have an individual responsibility for our own actions and behavior during such an uncertain time, while the HPA has an additional duty to protect the fabric of the sport and the polo community, which stretches far beyond just clubs and players. The safeguarding of everyone in the sport and in the communities in which we all live is the most important consideration at this time. We also need to be in tune with the actions and guidance given by other sports and sensitive to the wider public perception of the sport and our actions at this time.  


When will the HPA give clearer guidance on the situation?


The HPA has set up a COVID-19 Steering Group chaired by the Chief Executive. This will give updates as and when the situation becomes clearer but will also adjust and add to these FAQs. We also welcome queries. It is probably best if these are submitted in brief by email so that we can ring with a response. We also intend to reach out to every club (this process has already started) to offer support and guidance at this time. 


Should I bring my horses in and get them ready for the season?


Many ponies are already in work in anticipation of the 2020 summer season, but this is a decision for each individual. Ponies take time to get fit from the field so to have them in and at least half fit on tick over might be an option, but must depend on the personal situation, facilities available to each individual and the extent to which you have a choice. The level and competitiveness of the polo that you plan to play may also be a factor. Once in, they will require greater care and regular exercise. It may be that you choose for now to bring into work a restricted number and then review the situation as it develops in the coming weeks. If you subsequently have to self-isolate you will have to make arrangements for someone else to exercise them.


Are we allowed to hack out/exercise ponies under the current restrictions?


There are restrictions relating to us taking exercise but exercising is essential for horses in work and can continue subject to government conditions.However, it should be limited to what is necessary for the welfare of the horse given the current situation of no chukkas or matches.


My ponies are on full livery: am I allowed to go and ride/exercise them? 


Exercising is essential for horses in work and if the livery yard is unable to exercise them then you may have to do this. You should check with the livery yard that they are happy for you to do so and that they have adopted the hygiene guidance. All must keep 2m apart at all times, including when mounting, riding and dismounting. 


Can we stick and ball at a club or on a private ground?


Stick and balling is part of exercising and can therefore take place if it involves no travel for the pony and is subject to the Government conditions. However, perceptions are important and the HPA requests that there is no stick and ball at clubsas the HPA assess this as non-essential. 


Can we play chukkas and practices?


Chukkas and practices are not possibleunder the current Government conditions.  


Can I still go to polo lessons at Polo schools or clubs? 


The HPA have postponed or cancelled all HPA training days for the foreseeable future and polo clubs and schools must now do so until after Easter. 


Are we allowed to travel since the government requested “essential travel” only?


There should now be no travel unless it is essential for the welfare of the ponies in work and travelling should be kept to the minimum necessary to maintain the health of the ponies until it becomes clearer as to when tournament polo is going to start. If the travel decree is abused the sport will suffer long term reputational damage. 


Can we still maintain of our grounds and facilities? 


In line with other sports, such as Tennis & Racing, clubs are asked to reduce physical operations to a minimum in order to maintain the grounds and security of sites. All government guidelines must be followed by clubs. 


Will the season start on time?


No. We have already announced there will be no tournament polo before May 1st. All of us are working hard to start the season as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so and this is a date that we will keep under regular review. Much will depend on the effect of the lock down and the spread of the virus. If the sport risks placing an unacceptable burden on the NHS, it must be likely that there will not be any properly competitive tournaments unless private health care is available.


What can I do as an individual to help? 


The aim of the Government’s requests is to save livesby slowing the spread of the virus. This is affecting the entire population and ignoring the requests puts everyone, and the sport, at greater risk. Public perception is very important and doing the right thing, supporting the various measures over the next few weeks, will also increase the chances of a season going ahead. Doing too much now puts at greater risk playing later on. Preparation must be limited to the minimum amount necessary to ensure that the ponies are kept healthy and fit enough to be ready for the start of competitive polo as and when that date becomes more certain.

We would like to hear from you if you have ideas on how we can support the efforts of those on the front line and/or affected by the pandemic.


Can I still use social media? 


Remember that polo is too often a target for the press. We would encourage the users of social media to keep polo in the forefront of the minds of our members but before posting anything please always apply the test of is it good for polo’ and/or ‘could it be twisted to damage polo in any way’?  In this respect images or posts of playing at this time are likely to be inappropriate and unhelpful. Images of previous happier times are safe if it is clearly stated that they are historic. You can send images to be shared on the HPA Instagram channel via whatsapp on +44 7310 105412.


What practical steps should I take at a workplace such as a club/yard/polo school?

·    Horses still have to be looked after and exercised.  

·    Checks and Records:

o   Each individual should sign a declaration to say they have been symptom free for 14 days and have not travelled to an infected zone or been in contact with anyone showing symptoms. 

o   An entry/ exit log of all individuals is recommended.

o   There should be visual checks for Signs & Symptoms (S&S) of COVID-19. Non-contact thermometers should be used. 

·    Hygiene Measures:

o   All must maintain a 2 metre distance between persons at all times. This includes when riding or helping someone to mount or dismount.

o   There should be obligatory clearly marked hand wash stations. 

o   Wear gloves and wash them frequently. 

o   Keep your yard clothes separate from your home clothes and wash them all frequently. 

o   Keep your tack and any shared equipment clean using an antiseptic sanitizer. 


What if someone is showing COVID-19 symptoms at my club/ yard?


If an individual has S&S that individual should self-isolate for 14 days. Other players and the HPA should be informed.

For further information and advice please visit:



Can I give COVID-19 to my horse and can a horse transmit the virus? 


There is no scientific evidence to suggest that horses can transmit or catch the virus. If you are sharing tack between individuals we would always advise the highest hygiene standards such as disinfecting reins and wearing gloves. 


I have a groom coming into the country, should they still come?


It is up to the individual whether their groom(s) come to the UK but the HPA is planning that the season will continue in some form, subject to Government conditions. 


Can my club apply for Govt help? 

If your business is affected by COVID-19 then you should be able to apply for Govt help. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses



The following advise is taken from Horse & Hound as of 24Mar 2020 but is relevant to all equine industries and be of use, but as stated in the article the situation remains every fluid – https://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/coronavirus-horse-riding-equestrian-businesses-grooms-riders-710146


I’m a freelance groom, is this going to affect me and my income?

It may well do — you must follow government health advice even though it is a worrying time when freelancers are not entitled to statutory sick pay. However, yards may need freelancers to help cover staff sickness and/or self-isolation periods, plus the government has announced some measures in a bid to ease financial pressures. These include making it easier to apply for Universal Credit. The situation is changing rapidly and the British Grooms Association has more advice here


I run a club/yard — what happens if my staff cannot work through sickness or self-isolation?

The government has announced it will help businesses with fewer than 250 employees by funding two weeks of statutory sick pay. Make a contingency plan as to what to do if staff do need to have time off — the British Horse Society and Equestrian Employers Association have some helpful advice hereand here


What happens if a school is closed and my staff need to take time off to care for their children?

All employees have a right to emergency time off during working hours where a dependant is concerned. The amount of time should be reasonable to the situation (usually days rather than longer term) and there is no statutory right to be paid for this — whether you are or not comes down to your employer. More information can be found here


Is there government help available for freelancers and businesses?

Yes — the situation is changing all the time, but Boris Johnson and the Chancellor have announced some measures to help those who will be impacted financially. The very latest information direct from the government for employers, employees and businesses can be found here 


What should that plan involve and what practical things can I do now to prepare?


The British Horse Society has some helpful advice for owners — one tip that all owners can do now is to write a care plan for each horse. This can include things like which rugs he wears, what he eats, any medication, where you keep your equipment and his normal routine. Other tips include ensuring you have sufficient supplies — without panic buying – and keeping in touch with your fellow liveries and yard owner through a WhatsApp group. For more advice, click here


What do I do if I notice a neglected pony/ ponies? 


Please report any welfare issues in the normal way, through enquiries@hpa-polo.co.uk. In these difficult times we must all be patient and ensure that the HPA are given time to investigate. We fully understand that most pony owners are responsible but also due to no fault of their own, some owners may not be able to attend to their ponies as they would like because of self-isolation. 


If I fall off and break a leg, will I be a burden on the NHS?


Yes, this is a risk, but on balance a small one. Accidents will happen in many different ways and A&E will be separate to any treatment for the virus and thus will not directly affect the support in place to tackle those affected by the virus. Clubs are being encouraged to establish a private ambulance service so that the 999 ambulances do not have to be called.  



March 15, 2020





Today the Trustees of the Schools and Universities Polo Association, the charity, announced the postponement of its National Junior Schools Championships to be held on March 22 at Black Bears Polo Club, Shiplake, Berks due to the uncertainties surrounding the Coronavirus Covid-19.


This annual tournament is one of eight national events which SUPA organises each year for students enrolled in Junior, Senior and Universities throughout the British Isles and Ireland in order to promote the sport and encourage access to the game.  With over 900 playing members spanning the region, SUPA and its alumni affiliate, SAPA provide an accessible and affordable bridge to club polo. 

Managed by an entirely volunteer committee and partnered with polo clubs, the organisation has grown steadily since its inception in 1989 when 6 school masters schedule the first National Polo Tournament for school-aged novices.  Today, those same schools and 50 others, 60 universities have enjoyed these annual events held in both winter indoor arenas and in the summer at major polo facilities.   SUPA is an associated member of the Hurlingham Polo Association and the inspiration of the Association of Polo Schools and Pony Hirers which support the polo industry generally.


The Trustees will be reviewing its summer fixture events and consulting in advance of further information which will be released as the situation evolves on its website, www.supa.org.uk. 

In the event of cancellation of your tournament due to unforeseen or difficult to predict circumstances such as adverse weather conditions, infectious equine diseases or government directives that curtail sporting events,  SUPA will endeavour to give as much notice as possible of cancellation. 
SUPA will try to reschedule the same tournament for a later date.  If this is not possible or if there are players who may not be able to attend on the rescheduled dates SUPA will then reimburse entry fees, LESS A £10 administration fee, per Transaction.
***Please note that horse hire is the responsibility and forms a contract between Horse Hirers/ Coaches and Individual Member Institutions /Coaches and Members.  SUPA accept no responsibility and are not liable for the compensation of any charges that may be incurred.***



2019 Helmet Regulations  
Please go to the bottom of the page to see our new insurance details.

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  2. HPA NewsPolo Blog
  3. 2018 Helmet Regulations
  4. SUPA Mandate
  5. Insurance Details



From 01 January 2018, helmets must be type approved to the standard PAS015:2011 with CE mark (type approval must be performed by a UK headquartered Noted Body for Personal Protective Equipment), SNELL E2001, VG1 01.040 2014-12, or UTAC/CRITT 04/2015.

Casablanca will be introducing a new helmet called the “NEU” which meets PAS015:2011 with a target launch date of 1st November.   La Martina are also bringing out a new helmet (no name released) and testing procedures are to be conducted at the end of September.  Falcon have decided not to certify their helmet.

***PLEASE NOTE :Instinct Helmets, which recently moved to manufacturing for their latest helmets to India. Any Instinct MK2 helmets that say ‘Made in India’ are not currently type approved, and as such do not meet the British Kitemarking and standards required, this said, the MK1 Instinct helmets made in the U.K. are fine and meet the correct standards. Further updated information from the HPA is available here:  https://hpa-polo.co.uk/download/2019-Helmet-Rules-for-HPA-website.pdf

Our policy is to follow the BHA helmet standards.

Click Here to View BHA Helmet Regulations

List of approved helmets 


The SUPA Mandate
:  SUPA was established to promote and develop Schools and Universities Polo. Founded in 1991, SUPA acts as a central point of reference for advice, guidance and encouragement. SUPA organises tournaments, select representative teams for home and away Test Matches and seeks to distribute financial support as far as possible. SUPA aims to be inclusive and offer grants to advance the sport within participating educational institutions in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. 


Historical Background: Founded in 1991by five senior schools and later associating with two universities, SUPA expanded as a members association to include other Universities in 1994 and invited seven Junior (Prep) Schools to join in 1994. In 2005 SUPA was incorporated by its member institutions as Schools and Universities Polo Association Limited. In 2014 SUPA became a registered UK Charity.

SUPA organises and runs seven National Tournaments in all the levels at various Polo Clubs throughout the country as well as organising the SUPA International Festival in early July, where SUPA hosts incoming International teams as well as featuring matches with our best Ladies, Schools and University players.  Over the last few years international teams included Hungary, Poland, Italy, Dubai, France, West Indies, New Zealand, Kenya, India, Chile and Argentina.

An active winter (arena) programme is also run allowing both regular and new players to practise and play all year round. SUPA in 2009 launched a scheme to certify all its beginner and novice players for Polo Riding proficiency in an innovative programme partially supported by sponsors' Roxtons. Introduced in 2017, all players registering for membership will be required to nominate the HPA Instructor or Coach in an effort to enhance existing safety measures.  This measures along with tighter rules regarding pony hire has further ensured the safety and welfare for both players and ponies and with the formation of the APSPH [Association of Polo Schools and Pony Hirers] who main an official Riding Establishment License enabling their members supply horses for hire.

In 2009 SUPA instituted the Schools National Trials in order to bring transparency and inclusion of all Senior School players by assessing representative players during a programme of field and off-the-field exercises.  This process forms the basis for Stewards, who may also nominate, to identify the better players to be recognised and selected for both National and International Representative Teams.

Today there continues an extensive winter and summer polo programme for Junior Schools, Senior Schools and Universities.

Commencing in 2017 SUPA will clelbrate its 25th Anniversay and launch an active programme of "Introduction to Polo" consisting of 3-4 Group Sessions or  "polo tasters", to encourage new entrants to the game.  This will be accomplished through affiliated HPA Clubs and recognised APSPH Polo Schools, culminating with a National Jubilee Championships and possible entry into selected Regional Tournaments. The 2017 summer and winter programmes features eight open events: National Junior Schools, National Senior Schools and a unique National Girls Schools and the very popular National Universities Tournaments. All of these tournaments feature beginners, novice, intermediate, combined and open divisions in order to include all levels of interest and ability. ​  We will also be hosting international players from previous SUPA Festivals for a Jubilee Tournament in July.  We plan to host a national team from China in the summer and will be sending teams to France, and playing in Ghana and India in the fall, 

SUPA today makes every effort to offer "inclusive" polo for interested players of all abilities. 
Overheard: "SUPA is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!" anon.

Horse Hire

SUPA endorses exclusively Pony Suppliers who are members of the APSPH [ see www.apsph-polo.org.uk ], SUPA only recommends the use of HPA Certified Polo Instructors, Coaches and their various HPA affiliations or associations. SUPA does encourage its members to utilise the HPA website when selecting a polo club or polo instructor (see www.hpa-polo.com ) before engaging or enrolling in polo courses, instruction or lessons of any kind.  

SUPA and its Institutional Members cannot be held responsible for your selection of ponies or vendors or the consequences related thereto. We strongly recommend you be diligent in the selection of horse hire vendors as this decision is your sole responsibility. We do however reserve the right to refuse the use of a horse which we believe to be a danger or not in the interest of the tournament or jeopardising the welfare of the pony or riders involved in the tournament.

All consequences and conditions relating to Pony Hire are the responsibility between the contracting hirer, institution, parent and/or player.  

We have recently changed our Public Liability Insurance Supplier. (All SUPA members who are paid up, are automatically covered by this policy)
Please peruse our new insurance details below:

Public Liability Policy

  • Public Liability
    • Third Party Property Damage or Bodily Injury where you are held legally liable. 
    • Must be held liable (sued) 
  • The policy provides 24 hour cover 
    • This means that the member is covered if their horses escape from the field and cause an accident or are out hacking and are held liable for causing damage to a car by kicking it etc (not just whilst playing polo)  
    • Horses/Ponies do not have to be HPA registered and these 
  • Territorial Limits are worldwide for UK/ROI domiciled members
    • UK/ROI only for overseas members
  • £10,000,000 per incident, £1,000 Excess in respect of Third Party Property Damage only
  • Includes Grooms Indemnity
    • Provides cover if a groom is held liable for third party property damage or bodily injury arising out of their work for a member whilst at a competition organised by HPA, SUPA, SAPA in UK 
    • This does not include Employers Liability so does not include injury to any Groom 
  • Includes cover for Authorised users
    • Anyone riding/handling the horse with the members permission (not professional) 
  • Excluding Player to Player cover 
  • Excluding injury to horses 
  • Excludes business use 
  • This policy also covers SUPA/SAPA and their various committees for the organisation and running of events (including social events) 


Personal Accident (Please note that this only covers 'catastrophic' injuries)

  • Personal Accident
  • Does not cover temporary total disablement (eg injury such as broken arm etc) 
  • Only cover whilst taking part in SUPA organised/affiliated events including social events (unless resulting directly from the influence of alcohol)
  • Cover also extends to include members whilst competing for SUPA
  • Does not provide cover for HPA events. 
  • Cover is worldwide but does not replace a travel policy

Schools and Universities Polo Association

Type of Cover: Public Liability

Limit: £10,000,000 per incident

Excess: £1,000 Third Party Property Damage

Operative Time: Occurring during the Period of Insurance within the Territorial Limits in connection with the Member’s use and/or ownership and/or control of a Horse and direct participation by the Member in other horse related activities. 


Territorial Limits: Worldwide

Definition of Member: means: 

a) any member of the Schools and Universities Polo Association and/or any member of the Schools Alumni Polo Association: 

(i) normally domiciled in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands or the Republic of Ireland. 

(ii) normally domiciled elsewhere in the World whilst temporarily visiting the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands or Republic of Ireland who has paid their membership subscription to the association and is covered under this insurance contract. 

b) any person granted temporary day membership of the Schools and Universities Polo Association or the Schools Alumni Polo Association by virtue of entering as a participant in a Schools and Universities Polo Association or Schools Alumni Polo Association event. 


Authorised Users: Covers any person given permission by the Member to use the Member’s Polo Pony or a Polo Pony normally in the Members custody. 

Grooms Indemnity: Covers Public Liability incurred by any groom whilst working for the Member whilst at competitions in the United Kingdom organized under the auspices of or recognized by the Hurlingham Polo Association from the time of arrival at the site of the competition until time of departure therefrom. Provided always that the Groom observes, fulfil and are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of the Policy

The Excess under this extension shall be £500 for each Incident.

 Additional Policy Exclusions applicable to this extension:- 

(a) intentional slaughter except where we have agreed to the destruction or where a Veterinary Surgeon has certified that destruction is imperative for humane reasons provided that we shall have the right to a post mortem examination carried out by a Veterinary Surgeon. 

(b) injury, illness or disease caused by or arising from any malicious or wilful act of you or any Person Employed. 

(c) any additional costs other than veterinary bills or the increased cost of keeping an injured or sick animal for a period not exceeding 12 months providing that the cost of all veterinary bills and the increased cost of keeping the Polo Pony shall not exceed the Limit of Indemnity applicable to this extension. 

Relevant Exclusions: Player to Player For any claim made by one player against another player for injury or damage sustained whilst both parties are playing, practicing or training for polo.

Injury or Damage to Horses For any claim arising out of injury to any Horse whilst playing, practicing or training for polo

Instruction directly or indirectly caused by, arising from or in connection with providing instruction or services to do with Horses by way of gain.

Professional/Commercial Activities For Injury or Damage arising out of, or incidental to, any profession, occupation or business of the Member. This Exclusion is deemed not to apply in respect of Grooms working for the Member.

Hire or Reward For Injury or damage directly or indirectly caused by, or contributed to, or arising from the use of a Horse for hire or reward.

















SUPA Members' Offer

SUPA playing members receive a 10% discount on all purchases from Polistas who donate an additional 8% to the SUPA Charity by quoting the discount code "SUPA". So please support our 2014-16 Sponsors of the International Test Match Series.