The sport of elephant polo was founded in Nepal in the year 1982 and it was extended to Thailand in 2001. It was adapted from equestrian polo. It has the potential for becoming a popular sport in Thailand because this country has numerous gifted mahouts who can easily train elephants to play polo.
Annually, an elephant polo tournament will be held around September at the Somdet Phra Suriyothai grounds in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province.
On the morning of the competition day, there is a ceremony of blessing the elephants. It is believed that there are at least five guardian spirits residing in each elephant. After the blessing ceremony is completed, the elephant parade began. The competitors and their elephants form a long line of procession marching along the ground.
The most important factor in the tournament is not human beings but elephants! Usually, the elephants who join the competition must be gentle and friendly in nature. There are no restrictions on the sex of the elephants so they can be either male or female.The height of the elephants should be between 2 and 2.5 metres.
The size of the pitch is approximately the size of the football ground, so it is large enough for elephants to run. The two umpires will mount on one referee elephant. You can notice the referee elephant easily because, normally, it is the largest elephant on the ground. When the chief umpire, from outside the centre circle, throws the ball to the ring, the game begins. The game consists of two chukkers of 10 minutes each with an interval of 15 minutes.
The game of elephant polo provides you with not only with a competition as you can enjoy in addittion a variety of performances of elephants. This a game not to be missed.