Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 14 – What’s a Chukker?

And snakes..big snakes!
Lonesome Dove
We started our day with a walk around the resort.  Shadow Ridge is a new resort and parts are still under construction.  However, the completed parts of the resort are beautiful with water features, golf courses and flowers and palm trees everywhere.  We love walking this resort, admiring the landscaping and looking for wildlife.  There are lots of ducks, coots, Canadian geese, rabbits and of course, hummingbirds, lots of hummingbirds.  While walking we checked for the missing license plates…still no luck!

Around ten we headed for Indio, another valley city a little farther to the east.  Our destination was Eldorado.  Not the lost city of gold, but the polo field.  As we’ve said, we’ve been coming here for fourteen years and for most of them we’ve wanted to see a polo match. But it just never worked out.  This time, the four of us were determined to finally see a game. 

On the way there, we do a little research on the rules of polo.  The rules are designed to protect the horsemen and the ponies.  There aren’t many rules, other than the person who hits the ball has the “right of way” and no one can ride between him/her and the ball.  Blocking and bumping is allowed, but only at 45 degrees or less.  No head-on collisions allowed!  The games are divided into periods called chukkers.  A chukker lasts approximately 7 minutes and players use a fresh horse for each chukker.  (Now, you know!)  There are four players on each team and two umpires on horses to officiate.  Note: They call the horses "ponies", but they are full-sized mixed breed horses.  Typically, they are a mix of Thorough-bred, Quarter Horse and Arabian.
Waiting his turn.

Had their turns
We turned into the Eldorado Polo Club and quickly came upon lots of horses…left of us, to the right of us…horses everywhere.  This looks like it’s going to be great!  On our left are huge fields of emerald green grass with horsemen (and horsewomen) riding to and fro.  Each playing field is 360 yards by 160 yards, so there's lot of room for the to-ing and the fro-ing!

Monte parked the Highlander along the field boundary.  We walk along the field and all are immediately entranced.  We could almost touch the horses…and as they rush toward the ball we can feel the pounding of their hooves.  It’s a picture perfect day for watching these ponies and we’re all loving it! 

We take a break and head for lunch at the canteen.  From there you can still watch the games and enjoy the beautiful weather.  Great meal…great times!

The games are over after lunch, so we decide to head to a neighboring polo field, the Empire Field.  Immediately, we are impressed.  This is very upscale compared to Eldorado.  The fields have canopied seating areas around them and little cart comes around to serve beverages.  Also, there’s an announcer here…so we get a better idea of what is going on with the game.  Loving this!  Not to mention, the area around the fields are beautiful…even the palm trees have flowers on them!

Finally, we tore ourselves away from the polo.  Drove into Palm Desert to visit the Visitor Center…they’ve moved it and it just isn’t the same great place.  Did a little geocaching while there.

Bighorn at The Shops on El Paseo
Time for a little more valley fun….casinos.  There are several casinos scattered around the valley, most names for the tribe that owns them:  Morongo, Agua Calliente, Trump, etc.  (As I said, “most”)  We visit Agua Calliente and Monte is the winner for today. 

Back to the villa for relaxing and movies.  We’re still recuperating so taking it easy in the evenings.  We haven’t been to listen to any bands, and we saw just the two shows.  Missing dancing, but still having a good time!

We got some very sad news early in the evening.  Fran sent out a note that Rich passed on Friday evening.  Rich was a friend and coworker of almost 30 years.  In August he found out he had cancer and he left this earth at 8:30, Friday evening. Cheers to you, Rich.  May your memories and spirit live forever.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous pictures again. I love the one of the flowers growing on the palm tree.