The rules are actually very strict. The horses do what they would do in a wild environment - horsing around that is. Polo takes advantage of the natural horse behavior. The riders are brave in my book. If they go off the horse, it's going to hurt a lot.
Yes very brave in my mind also .... Infact one guy in this very same match lost his front teeth(many players still wear no mouth or faceguard ) and was taken off in the ambulance due to a flying polo stick going his way by mistake . Wouldnt get me doing it no matter how much you paid me especially given the pace they go at. Half the horses are ex race horses so you can imaging the speed they get to on the field. And these guys are fast in this match as these are a couple of top Victorian teams.
Infact its not that safe being a photographer at these events either....A buddy of mine who also shoots these events and I have nearly been cleaned up behind goals on a few occasions because weve been too close to the goals (in our never ending quest to get the best damn angle) as the horses charge through from trying to either shoot or block a goal. When that happens I just stand still and keep my eye to the viewfinder( that way it doesnt look as bad ) and hope for the best .....So far Ive had some charging horse get so close they brush me passing by but I think thats the players getting a laugh at our expense rather than anything that couldnt be controlled .