Senior School Polo

SUPA Rules for Senior Schools

Learn about the rules governing SUPA Senior School fixtures

Senior School Rules & Regulations

The rules of the Hurlingham Polo Association will govern all tournaments played.

Specific SUPA rules are as follows.  Please refer to the HPA rules for anything not covered below.

  • Divisions – it is incredibly important that you are open and honest about the level of your players.  Putting players into divisions that they are too strong for or too weak for is not safe.  It is the responsibility of the person making the entries to have ensured that they are putting their child/children into the correct divisions.  SUPA stewards are always available to speak with to help guide.  It is highly recommended that all teams are entered in consultation with your coaches.
  • Hiring of horses – If you are hiring horses to play at a SUPA event, it is your responsibility to ensure that the provider holds a current REL (Riding Establishment Licence) to hire out horses for payment or renumeration.
  • Coaches – all coaches must be a registered HPA coach – coaching at SUPA events by unlicensed coaches is not permitted under any circumstances.
  • All players are expected to well turned out and safe for all SUPA matches and throughout the event.  All players must wear team shirts, white breeches/jeans, kneepads and proper riding boots or boots and 1/2 chaps.
  • Helmets/hats must meet the criteria as set out by the HPA ,and must display the the correct SUPA tag prior to playing in any tournament.
  • Helmet Cameras  such as GoPro cameras or any other miniature recording devices are not to be worn or held by any person once they are mounted.
  • Goggles, it is recommended that goggles are worn by every player.  Please contact our sponsors R.J. Polo who will be glad to help with any advice needed.
  • Mouth Guards, it is recommended that mouth guards are worn by every player.
  • Knee pads must be worn in all SUPA sanctioned events and Championships, as per HPA Rule 2,g (ii)
  • Whips – Whips must be no more than 48 inches long including any tag. Broken whips are not allowed. The whip may only be used with left hand when the ball is in play and then only down its shoulder or on its quarters.  A player may not take their hand off the reins to use the whip unless there are exceptional circumstances.  Excessive use of the whip will not be tolerated.  Misuse of the whip constitutes unsportsmanlike conduct and is therefore subject to disciplinary action.
  • Spurs – these are not allowed under any circumstances in any SUPA sanctioned match or Championship and no dispensation will be given.  If you are seen wearing spurs, you will be asked to remove them.
  • In the interest of safety long hair must be secured appropriately.
  • All players must be member of SUPA before they can play.
  • Rules of Play – The rules as laid down by the HPA are to be applied, unless SUPA and their officials deem otherwise.  For example, in the Arena, SUPA does not score ‘2 pointers’ from goals hit outside the 25 yard mark in any division with the exception of the Open. The rules maybe interpreted in a slightly different manner due to the facilities used by the officials on the day.  The decision of the Section Manager and Tournament Manager will be final.
  • Handicaps – The outdoor registered handicap is the one used by SUPA.  For arena polo an outdoor handicap plus 1 is taken, unless the player already holds an arena handicap.
  • All players must be current full time students at a senior school Year 9 – Year 13.
  • Beginners – this section is for players who have not played any competitive matches and are new to the sport after one year of playing they must move to novice.  This division is not suitable for Pony Club Polo Players.
  • Novice – this section is for players who have played in the beginners section and are therefore no longer deemed a beginner.  The maximum handicap is -2 in this section and the player must be deemed not ready to play at lower inters by their coach after discussion with the relevant Section Manager.
  • Lower Intermediate is aimed at players moving up from Novice and with a handicap of no more than -2.
  • Upper Intermediate is for those who have worked their way through Lower Intermediate and or have a handicap of -1.  Players with a handicap of 0 will be allowed to play in this section at the discretion of the Section Manager.  No one with a handicap of 1 or above may play in this section.
  • Open – this section is for players with an HPA handicap of 0 and above.  No players may enter this section without an HPA handicap.
  • Combined – combined teams in all levels must be approved by the Section Manager.  Please note that under no circumstances may School Managers, Parents or Coaches enter mixed school teams into a tournament without prior agreement from the Section Manager.  If you do not have enough players to make up a team please speak to the relevant Section Manager.  If you are found to be entering a mixed team without prior approval from SUPA you will be disqualified.
  • Substitution of Players – If you have a withdrawal from your team and need to substitute a player you must inform us through the website immediately.  If you do not have another player within your schools pool you must speak to the relevant Section Manager.  You may not, under any circumstances, substitute a player from another school without written permission from the relevant Section Manager. Substitute players must be a current SUPA member.
  • Section Managers and SUPA Stewards reserve the right to move teams/players into different divisions if they deem them to be entered into an in appropriate division.
  • If anyone is found to be breaking the above rules it could result in the team being disqualified.
  • Payment for an event.  It is the School Managers responsibility to ensure that all entry fees are paid prior to the closing date for the tournament.  If payment is not received then the team/s will be withdrawn by the organiser.  No payment = no play!
  • Cancellation/Postponement of Event/Tournament – In the event of cancellation/Postpone of your tournament due to unforeseen or difficult to predict circumstances such as adverse weather conditions, infectious equine or human 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 fee less a £10 admin fee per transaction.ii.SUPA accept no responsibility and are not liable for the compensation of any charges that maybe incurred by horse hire or coaches/instructors.iii.SUPA accept no responsibility to reimburse contractors for cancellation/postponement of services due to circumstances listed (i.) above.
  • Event Relocation.  The Organiser has the right to change the location of the event due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Withdrawal of a team or players.  If a team or a player has to withdraw after the closing date and before the draw is made the entry fee will non refundable and could result in a fixed penalty (currently £100-£200).  Please co-ordinate with your Section Manager to mitigate fines as early as possible.  Teams that withdraw after the draw has been published will be fined (currently £500-£1,000) and the school will be banned from entering the next SUPA event.
  • Behaviour.
  • The Schools Manager or players representative is responsible for the behaviour of their team/teams or player/players, swearing in the arena or on the pitch will not be tolerated. Please click on link below to read our players code of conduct.
  • SUPA Schools Players Code of Conduct
  • Complaints, Protests & Objections No complaint may be raised directly with an opposing team, player or official.Only Team Managers, or their appointed representative notified to the Chairman of SUPA are entitled to lodge objections or protests.  These must be made to the Tournament Committee on the same day and within 30 minutes of the alleged incident and they will be heard by the Tournament Committee.Objections/Protests should be in writing accompanied by a deposit of £100 which will be refunded if the objection/protest is upheld. No photographic evidence will be accepted in support of a complaint, protest, or objection.Any complaints about umpiring must be made by the Team Manager to the Tournament Committee on the same day and within 30 minutes of the chukka finishing.  As above it should be in writing accompanied by a deposit of £100 which will be refunded if the complaint is upheld. No photographic evidence will be accepted in support.Players, Parents, Coaches etc may not complain directly to the Umpire or SUPA Stewards.As per HPA rules of Polo, the Umpires’ decision is final, and results of matches cannot be altered after the match has completed. SUPA does not respond to anonymous complaints during, or after a tournament.
  • Players or parents who approach any SUPA Steward with a protest or objection will be referred to their Schools Manager.  No photographic evidence will be accepted in support of a complaint, protest or objection.
  • Any complaints about umpiring must be made to the appropriate Section Manager and not directly to the Umpire.  School Managers may then take up complaints with the SUPA Committee and appropriate Section Managers, but as per the HPA rules of Polo, the Umpires’ decision is final and results of matches cannot be altered after the match has been completed.
  • Late for Play – during a tournament any player who is late for the start of their chukka and does not have a valid excuse or has not informed SUPA well beforehand, may result in the ball being thrown in and the match being played.  The late player may not join play until the whistle has blown for a break in play.  Should a team not arrive on time for their chukka and have not informed the relevant SUPA Section Manager well beforehand of a problem  will forfeit that chukka.
  • Scores – the final score of any match in any section must be agreed by the Umpire, scorers and players from both teams prior to leaving the arena/pitch.  The Umpires word is final.
  • Overseas Players will play off their last registered HPA handicap or the handicap given by their governing polo association.
  • Polocrosse – players who play or have played polocrosse will play off the handicap given and assessed by the approved schools coach/instructor using the HPA approved scale of:- A= 1/2, B=0/1, C=-1, D=-2
  • Insurance – Includes limited public liability and personal accident insurance.  SUPA does not offer personal medical insurance.


SUPA, the HPA and tournament and event organisers or any person acting on their behalf, do not accept liability for loss, damage, accident, injury or illness to competitors, spectators or any person or property whatsoever.

Schools Manager, Players Representative, or parents and guardians acknowledge and agree that equestrian activities are dangerous and involve risk of serious injury and/or death and/or property damage and that polo is an extremely dangerous and ultra hazardous activity. Schools Manager, Players Representative, or parents and guardians consciously and voluntarily assume all such risks, dangers and hazards inherent in these activities.

SUPA, the HPA and tournament and event organisers aim to meet the necessary medical, veterinary and health and safety standards but the responsibility for the players, spectators and supporters rests with the individuals and, if they are under 18 years, with their Schools Manager, Players Representative, or parents or guardians both on and off the ground or in/out of the Arena.

A player with a known medical condition must obtain qualified medical approval before participating in any SUPA activity.

Schools/Parents/Guardians are responsible for the behaviour of their players at all times when their players are participating in any SUPA event.

Every eventuality cannot be provided for in these rules

It is the School’s/Coaches or Parents/Guardians responsibility to ensure they are complying with the rules of the competition.