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Polo, hiking and rattlesnakes

May 6, 2010 |  2:59 pm

Calling all horse-loving hikers: Check out Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades, where on weekends you can watch polo and go hiking on the park's ocean-view trails. For free. Where else in L.A. can you do this? Nowhere.

Will Rogers polo The Will Rogers Polo Club plays at the only polo field in Los Angeles, a pristine patch of green in a gem of a park. If you think this all too "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," don't worry about it. It's a casual crowd picnicking on the grass surrounding the field. But the attitude is civilized: You won't see beach balls and boomboxes, and kids need to be well-behaved. The play is fast-paced, kind of an equine cross between hockey, soccer and football.

After watching the season opener last weekend, we hit the Inspiration Point Trail. With its easy elevation gain and amazing views, this is the hike to take an out-of-towner on.

Inspiration Pt trail And with weather warming in the Santa Monica Mountains, it's also rattlesnake season. As our two Labrador retrievers nosed around the brush, we were warned of a baby rattler on the trail ahead, and sure enough we came across it. Luckily, our Labs were oblivious. Those with nosy rovers might want to check out the Rattlesnake Avoidance Workshop for Canines on May 15 and 16. Sponsored by the Mountains Restoration Trust, the $70 workshop in Calabasas will use real rattlers (fitted with a protective helmet), and an electric training collar for poochie will simulate a snakebite. Register online or call 818-591-1701.

Baby rattler Want to find out more about hiking with your canine companion? A new L.A. Times interactive shows you some dog-friendly trails and tips on how to keep Fido safe.

A note about the Will Rogers Polo Club: Matches are Saturdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., through early October. Admission is free, but parking this season is now a whopping $12. You can also park for free on Will Rogers Park Road and walk into the park.

 -- Julie Sheer.

Photo credit: Julie Sheer