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At the Ponies

Indio, California: After a leisurely morning (where Lisa and I walked; DT ran), we packed a picnic lunch and drove to the the practically-next-door polo fields at the Empire Polo Club to watch the noon match between Hanalei Bay and C Farms (no idea).

If you recall, a few weeks ago, Dave and I made a scouting trip over to the polo grounds to access the situation for tailgating with toddlers. Spectators pay $10 per car. There are no other rules. People were using charcoal grills. People had dogs. Girl Scouts were selling cookies. A few people were watching the polo match.

Scoreboard at the end of the field

Though I could not see well enough to confirm, DT says there were several female players

Our view of the field

A trainer warming-up a horse


We learned a polo field is 300 yards x 160 yards (nine football fields fit inside a polo field). Polo "ponies" are generally thoroughbreds, trained to be ridden with only one hand on the reign. Riders must have at least two horses saddled and ready to mount - but most players have several more - in case of injury or exhaustion. (It was over 80 degrees in Indio today.) The horses require specialized equipment: special saddles, reins, bits, etc., and their tails are braided or "docked" so the tail will not snag in the player's mallet. Each team has four members, they ride with a mallet and the object of the game is to knock a little plastic ball through goal posts at either end of the field. Soccer on horseback.

Some time, one time, over 30 years ago... we went to a polo match in The Philippines. I can't recall where. I can't recall why. I can't recall much, but I remember we went and I remember there were thousands of people in the stands.

We settled in and watched the first half. It is a very fast-paced game and we were so excited when the players thundered down to our end of the field. At half-time, it seems to be the custom for spectators to walk onto the field and repair divots made by the mallets. Of course, this was Leo's favorite part of the entire day.

Leo was quite the stomper - and then we were able to examine the polo balls. I was surprised at how light-weight the plastic balls were.

A new experience for Leo

Horses ready to ride

Our picnic lunch was nice - farro and garbanzo beans in an oregano vinaigrette, with cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and feta. The salad could be served on a plate, or tucked into a pita pocket.

Lucy slept in her stroller much of the afternoon. Our next-door tailgaters kindly invited us to use the shade from their tent, but it didn't take long for Leo to tucker-out in the warm sun.

I made the brown quilt for DT while we were in college. We keep it in the back of the Honda for emergencies, or emergency picnics.

We enjoyed a wonderful weekend with our family and can't wait to see them again - soon.

Until my next update, I remain, your tired-but-happy correspondent.

RV PARK: The Motorcoach Country Club