Segway Polo is, of course, just one take on an ancient game that has been changed and personalized by different cultures over the centuries. The variations of polo are many and the game will continue to evolve over the coming years.
Horse polo is where all polo started. It was first played in the Persian Empire (Iran today) somewhere between the 6th century BCE and the 1st century CE. It was initially played to train elite calvalry troops with matches sometimes having 100 players per side and resembling a battle more than a game.
The game was formalized by the British and is now played throughout the world.
Bike Polo (Cycle Polo)
The game was invented by an Irishman, Richard J. Mecredy in 1891. That same year the first cycle polo match was played between The Scalp and the Ohne Hast C.C.. Towards the end of the 19th century the game reached Great Britain, USA and France. The first international match was played between Ireland and England in 1901. Cycle polo was an demonstration event in the 1908 London Olympics with Ireland winning the gold beating Germany.
Today there is organized cycle polo being played in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and USA.
The Segway Polo rules are largely based on bike polo.
Elephant polo is played in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Rajasthan (India), and Thailand. Equipment consists of a standard polo ball and six to nine foot cane (similar to bamboo) sticks with a polo mallet head on the end. The pitch is three-quarters of the length of a standard polo pitch, due to the slower speed of the elephants. Two people ride each elephant; the elephants are steered by mahouts, while the player tells the mahout which way to go and hits the ball.
Although elephant polo was first played in India at the beginning of the twentieth century, the modern game originated in Meghauly, Nepal, reportedly after a drinking bout between Wes Davis and Chad Anderson. Tiger Tops in Nepal remains the headquarters of elephant polo and the site of the World Elephant Polo Championships. As of December 2007, the world elephant polo champions were Chopard Hong Kong.
Canoe polo (called kayak polo in some countries) is a competitive ball sport played on water, in a defined “field”, between two teams of 5 players, each in a kayak. The object of the game is to get the ball into the opponent’s goal, the team scoring the most goals in a set time being the winner.
Auto polo was played in the early 20th century using an, at the time, new technology called the automobile. The game looks dangerous but is said to have aided in bringing the automobile into the popular mainstream.