Since 1984, the professional, certified instructors at Loftmar Stables have passed their equine expertise on to students of all skill levels, helping them learn horsemanship principles or advanced skills. Captained by owner Janet Loftus Martin, the team starts beginner riders out with 30-minute private lessons that encourage speedier progression and build self-confidence, rather than thrusting novices into large group classes. Instructors give special attention to riders who might be scared to get on horses or have had bad experiences riding in the past, such as getting thrown out of saddles or being paired with horses on blind dates. All programs begin with learning to care for horses and equipment before moving on to more advanced riding instruction in hunt-seat equitation, jumping, or dressage. The extensive facilities—including massive lighted indoor and outdoor arenas as well as wooded trails—ensure that lessons take place even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Like cookouts and sunscreen, the swimming pool is a summertime staple. At Pointer Ridge Swim & Racquet Club, three pools welcome visitors each summer to splash amid the facility's 5 wooded acres. Members can practice the breaststroke or show off their butterfly skills during lap swimming. And after dips, guests can lounge on the pool deck and nibble on treats from the snack bar rather than slurp down a pool noodle keeping a fellow swimmer afloat. Pointer Ridge also has four tennis courts for lessons and adult and junior programs.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.