A working cattle ranch set on more than 350 acres of hilly terrain, Heaven's Ranch invites visitors to enjoy such equine entertainment as lessons and scenic rides through a vast network of trails. An experienced staff oversees operation of the facilities, including two large round pens and two outdoor training arenas. The 100'x100' and 100'x180' arenas give beginning and intermediate students plenty of space to learn at their own pace during lessons. Riding instructors Annee and Laura guide their classes through challenges, which aim to foster confidence and comfort. Instruction is tailored to riders' individual goals, whether they want to take a casual weekend ride or find a dramatic way to escort their date to prom.
Trainer Bobby Howard brings more than 40 years of experience to Foxcroft Farm, including 14 he spent as a professional jockey competing in races such as the Kentucky Derby. He distributes this equine knowledge during private and group lessons, as well as hunter- and jumper-training programs.
Though Bobby and the other Foxcroft Farm instructors teach students of all ages, they specialize in teaching young riders. Unique opportunities for kids include seasonal camps, where they can learn everything from grooming to reasons why horses simply aren't a viable replacement for the family minivan.
With 15 years of experience, Prior's Chevron Auto Care's experts offer comprehensive auto-repair and car-care services in a clean and friendly facility. Using high-tech diagnostic equipment and an expertise of domestic and import vehicles, the practiced car tuners ensure gas-guzzlers are serviced properly. Treatments span the spectrum of jalopy-bettering services, ranging from engine and electrical-system work to providing towing services should cars break down or refuse to run until their owners upgrade their eight-track players.
With a verdant variety of shrubs, trees, roses, and vines, the friendly plantologists will help you wade through the veritable ocean of foliage. Beginning green-thumbers can take advantage of a jumbo planting kit, including ample plant food, vitamin B1, and planting compost—everything a person needs to lure an unsuspecting plant into captivity ($15.97 for the regular kit; $29.97 for the jumbo kit). Advanced yard-enhancements abound in the form of trees and shrubs, such as a selection of 5-gallon citrus trees, good for accenting a living space and forming a focal point for the worship of the Lemon Pledge gods ($34.99). Armstrong can also help organic gardeners reach full-flavored nirvana with a bevy of 3-inch plant varieties ($2.99; selections vary by season and location).
Nestled amidst the Arroyo Seco and San Gabriel mountains, San Pascual Stables enchants visitors with natural beauty and an enthusiastic crew of trainers continuing a 34-year tradition of equine education. During an expertly guided horsemanship class, trainees learn the basics under the wing of a trainer well versed in hunter and jumper riding. After a series of three lessons, clients are likely to feel more at home on horseback, and can swiftly opt into future lessons, in which they can learn how to further care for their creature and how to properly parallel park it in front of a crowded saloon.
A massive saguaro cactus towers over the entrance garden to California Cactus Center, shadowing a stone pathway surrounded by potted bromeliads with its sky-scraping height. The nursery deals exclusively in desert plants from around the world, stocking dozens of cacti species and other succulents and drought-happy botanical specimens. Inside the center, trays of tender succulents spread out over long tables as dangling strings of decorative rocks and glass sway gently above them. Dusted tones of lavender, sage, and scarlet-edged olive grace each leaf, and tillandsias—air plants that require no soil to live—sway gently within glass domes. Metal gates emblazoned with cacti lead to a section of clay and ceramic pottery, as well as decorations including brassy crescent moons and smiling suns. Outside, lily pads float in a peaceful pond as barrel cacti stretch their knobby heads from between agave plants, prickly pears, and prolific palm fronds. The nursery’s staff can guide patrons in any of their botanical pursuits, whether choosing the proper plants for their yard, maintaining their landscapes, or figuring out whether or not their saguaro actually likes wearing its sombrero.