Not too many people get to make a career out of their childhood dreams. Needville Horseback Riding's head instructor Jacqueline, however, is one person who can say she did. After riding and showing as a little girl, she decided to pursue horsemanship further in college and into adulthood, earning herself a certification from the American Riding Instructors Association and the right to fulfill her equestrian dream each day.
Today, she empowers others to pursue similar dreams by conducting horseback riding lessons in the disciplines of hunter, jumper, and dressage for riders of all ages. Lessons take place year-round rain or shine, and can be tailored to each rider regardless of whether their goals include competing in shows, riding for pleasure, or taking over the carpool lane with horse traffic. Jacqueline also welcomes casual horseback riders to participate in equine action through birthday parties and youth camps.
Nestled on 4 acres of cultivated land, Sowing Seeds offers a bevy of hands-on gardening classes for plant appreciators of all ages. Best Mother Nature by creating small, portable, container gardens that can survive without her tear-filled downpours, or kids can get crafty by combining rocks, plants, and tiny garden accents to create fanciful mini landscapes. Salsa-making sessions show apprentices how to grow all the veggies needed to craft a fresh batch of savory dip, and include Sowing Seeds' very own salsa recipes. Herb Gardening 101 sends sprouting gardeners home with a seed selection of a variety of popular flavor-enhancing plants. Composting classes teach eco-friendly folks how to turn waste such as food scraps, paper, and grass clippings into organic, nutrient-packed soil that can improve the health of plants and act as a rejuvenating face mask for aging garden gnomes.
Those who can't do, teach?or so the old adage goes. Not so with JJ Wood and Bruce Olson, coaches at Pecan Grove Plantation Country Club's Wood & Olson Golf Performance academy. As players the duo boasts some pretty impressive resumes, including a stint as a varsity golfer at Pepperdine University for JJ and coaching a third-place finisher at the 2000 Shell Houston Open for Bruce, among many other accolades.
It's this extensive background as players that has led to the formation of their teaching philosophies. When they take a student under their wing, they assess the entirety of the player's game?from mental approach to physical conditioning to unyielding devotion to a single pair of lucky socks. They then craft a training program uniquely suited to his or her skills, filled with such components as video analysis of the full swing, practice with reading greens, and golf-specific physical training. The approach clearly works: past students have gone on to earn golf scholarships at schools such as Notre Dame, the University of Texas, and UC Santa Barbara, in addition to taking home several state and club championships.
Sugar Land Gymnastics & Dance's expansive space is a patchwork of tumbling mats, balance beams, uneven bars, and other equipment. It's amidst this colorful collage that kids lay a foundation for lifelong fitness and future sports such as basketball, or basketball with backflips. Students are guided by a knowledgeable team of instructors headed by Executive Director Bryan Kiser, who has more than 25 years of experience with the Men's Junior Olympic gymnastics program, and Mei, the women's coach, whose more than three decades of gymnastics experience includes time as a competitor with the Chinese national gymnastics team. The staff splits kids up by age and skill level for recreational gymnastics, and those who decide to pursue their flips and tumbles more seriously can transition into Sugar Land Gymnastics & Dance's competitive program.
In addition to gymnastics, the staff teaches karate, dance, and cheerleading lessons. Seasoned instructor Bonita Jennings builds coordination and grace, transforming the pitter-patter of little feet into the structured patterns of dance styles such as tap, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop. When classes aren't in session, Sugar Land Gymnastics & Dance hosts birthday parties with activities such as rock-wall climbing and ziplining.
In one of Infused Performing Arts’ Bollywood routines, a princess is trapped in a box, which her assailants then stab with swords. But when they re-open it, they find she has vanished without a trace. Featured on ABC13 News, this routine is just one example of the studio’s Bollywood style, which blends classic choreography with magical flourishes more impressive than pulling a rabbit out of a rabbit-shaped hat. The married couple that heads the studio—Kiron Kumar and Tina Bose—has worked with South Indian movie stars, but now teaches their choreography to the house dance troupe, as well as students trying to master the style.
The owner of Gymtex, Christina Zhou, attained China’s highest honor for sports—Sports Master—before moving to the United States 29 years ago. At Gymtex for the past 12 years now, she helps young Texans boost both their confidence and fitness levels with gymnastics classes divided by age or skill level. The hour-long group or private classes teach fundamental skills, which kids are welcome to show off at open-play sessions or birthday parties. Coach Christina also heads up competitive gymnastic teams, which consistently perform well at State competitions.