A nonprofit organization committed to therapeutic riding, Hearts & Horses Therapeutic Riding Center introduces riders of all ages and ability levels to the health-boosting benefits of riding and caring for horses. During private and group lessons, instructors certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship and the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association teach budding equestrians the ins and outs of both English- and Western-style riding. They also conduct summer camps for children, where they coach tots through lessons in general horsemanship, jumping, or rodeo riding. Riders can also lease one of the center's horses to facilitate riding practice, introduce children to the equestrian arts, or take their place at a dinner party. In addition to general riding lessons, instructors foster concentration, self-perception, and confidence in those with physical, developmental, and emotional disabilities during special riding programs designed to equip participants with practical skills. Programs build confidence using centered riding techniques, which encourage riders to use intuition to move more fluidly with their horses rather than relying on formulaic motions or commands.
For Laci Barnett, Dogaholick Dog Grooming represents a personal goal that stretches back through her years with a veterinarian’s office and an animal shelter. The owner of two golden retrievers herself, Laci is experienced in working with dogs ranging from tiny pups to canines of Cliffordesque proportions. Her services range from baths, flea treatments, and de-skunking to canine haircuts in a variety of styles.
New Boston Farm utilizes its spacious equestrian center to teach and train enthusiasts of all ability levels to become skilled and safe horseback riders. In the indoor- and outdoor-riding retreat, beginners can learn the basics of sitting atop steeds, becoming acquainted with the psychology and physiology of the horse and its fascination with the telephone game. Fifty-minute introductory classes begin with standard pony preparation, which involves leading, grooming, and tacking up the horse before asking it for a piggyback ride and your own share of oats.
It may not seem like the deep blue, but when you lean closer to one of Maine State Aquarium's tanks, you're seeing into an entire aquatic world. The aquarium exhibits the same plants and animals found in the nearby ocean, including colorful anemones and wolffish with long, sharp teeth. Local fishermen bring in everything from 17-pound lobsters, while tide-pooling classes take kids down to explore the rocky shore. Back inside, a touch tank allows guests to handle horseshoe crabs, sea stars, and sand dollars as staff help direct and answer questions about the creatures.
Fetch is a hub of feline and canine accouterments in the Old Port, employing a user-friendly retail experience for both two-legged and four-legged shoppers. Buckets of toys, bones, and frisbees greet dogs at snout-level, and a broad range of pet food targets human eyes. Locally produced munchables include Barkwheats hypoallergenic treats from Litchfield ($7.99) and Hula Lula chicken jerky from Marblehead, Massachusetts ($13.99). Take your pick from an entire wall of collars, many of them locally made, for animals in sizes ranging from teacup to Disneyland teacup ride. Cat owners can stock up on the FroliCat Bolt laser toy ($19.95), a randomly patterned laser pointer sure to captivate furry friends for hours. Today's Groupon can also be used for gift certificates, ideal for presenting to pet fanciers in honor of their companion's graduation from obedience school with a master's degree in rolling over.
All dogs have their days, and Dog Loft Grooming Salon gives them those days. Spa days, that is. The salon's animal-loving staff treats its clients' four-legged friends to grooming sessions in a spa-like atmosphere. Simple baths wash dirt from coats, and facials remove tear stains, especially after pups' first viewings of The Fox and the Hound. The staff also pampers paws with nail trims and moisturizing treatments and gives canines edgy, hip looks with feather extensions.