Polo season begins in the valley

Polo lesson at Empire Polo Club

INDIO, Calif. - One of the world's oldest sports makes its return to the valley this weekend.  The winter season tradition of polo starts at the Empire Polo Club on Sunday.  "Eight thundering horses going by and you're right there on the edge of the field," said Kevin Ittig, from the Empire Polo Club.  "It's very exciting and you'll never know until you try." 

The club's polo school is also in full-swing, offering classes to people of all skill levels and ages.  Instructors walk students through the basics of riding a horse to playing in a full polo match.  "We'll get you up, teach you some of the basic shots and you'll be able to hit the ball a little bit your first day," said Jessica Bailey, an instructor from the California Polo School.  

Professional games can reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour.  While students certainly don't reach speeds that fast, the game draws their interest quickly.  "People absolutely love it," said Bailey.  "If you're looking for a hobby that is actually more of a lifestyle than a hobby, this is for you." 

Even if you don't want to saddle up, Empire encourages everyone and anyone to come watch a match.  "There was always a stigma that polo was only reserved for the very wealthy, the 1%, but it's not true," said Ittig.  

The polo season opens on Sunday at Empire Polo Club with games at 12 and 2 PM.  Admission is free, parking is $10. 

For more information on the school or Sunday's event, go to:

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