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Polo in Petaluma?

  • Jody Worthington, left, Kathleen Weber, and Rachel Inboden, all from San Francisco, have a picnic along the sidelines of the International Polo Classic at the Cerro Pampa Polo Fields in Petaluma, California, on August 3, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / For The Press Democrat)

Kathleen Weber and Rachel Inboden had their picnic basket, sun hats and sunscreen ready for a day of horses, polo and fast cars Sunday at the Cerro Pampa Polo Club southwest of Petaluma.

The five-day Horses Horsepower event was the first international polo tournament in the U.S. in years, organizers said, and the first match at the polo grounds at the Sonoma-Marin County line since 2009.

“I just love it,” Inboden said, watching the first of three polo matches from their picnic blanket a few feet from the grass field. “I would do it every weekend if I could.”

Like many of the several hundred attendees, the two San Francisco residents were fairly new to polo — although it is said to be the oldest team sport in the world.

Weber rides and has taken a polo lesson. She said she is tempted to start playing “the game of kings.”

“I’m contemplating dipping my foot in,” she said. “It seems like a very masculine sport, but I like the idea of bending that gender line.”

While it’s true most competitors were men, the game is played co-ed and there were a few female riders in the three games played Sunday afternoon, including a 14-year-old girl.

Katerina Rivkin of San Mateo held her own with the bigger, older players as she played for the Polo SF club against an Argentina team.

“I love horses, plus I’m pretty competitive,” she said later. “I like the team aspect of it, and you get to bond with everyone.”

Rivkin, whose father, Vladimir, played in the third game Sunday, has been riding for less than two years.


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