Owner and trainer Mike McGowan and his staff cultivate a love of all things equestrian on the scenic grounds of Heritage Stables. The facility's 80'x200' outdoor arena allows neophyte riders to practice walking, trotting, and cantering as guardians and onlookers relax in a heated viewing room. Prior to lessons, the trainers keep horses in prime riding shape, pampering each animal with a 12'x12' stall in which it can enjoy twice-daily feedings of hay and grain and biweekly readings of Cat Fancy.
With a stable of American Saddlebred and Morgan horses, China Pointe Stables instructs students in saddle-seat, hunt-seat, and western riding styles in a friendly, confidence-building atmosphere. Pupils start lessons with an interview and evaluation, determining equestrian skills and prior experience. Quiet-natured equines level learning curves for neophyte riders, and more spirited horses provide a fitting challenge for experienced jockeys. New students start their lessons by learning to mount their steeds, learning the basics of how to climb into a saddle and use the reins. After the evaluation, students will either walk the horse with the instructor's guidance or ride along the indoor track. Professional or more experienced riders will receive advice on improving their skills along with an evaluation of getaway chances when pursuing Segway-mounted cops trying to issue speeding tickets.
On 134 acres of farmland outside of Fairport, the dedicated staff and volunteers of Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester care for thousands of stray animals each year. The open-admission shelter adopts animals of all breeds and species—including cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, horses, and pigs—and holds programs to educate visitors on the issues that contribute to the animals' overpopulation and difficulty in attaining advanced degrees.
The staff encourages families to visit the animals and enjoy the outdoor farm petting area, and oversees younger visitors as they build bonds with animals through education programs such as basic pet care for 3–5 year-olds. The Future Vets program teaches aspiring veterinarians in fifth–eighth grades how to conduct basic exams and begin working toward careers in animal care or pig-to-horse translation services. Summer farm camps also provide a hands-on experience as young visitors have fun feeding animals and caring for their own designated camp pets.
A graduate of Animal Behavior College, Mark Forrest Patrick espouses the benefits of positive reinforcement when training dogs. Using this approach, Patrick helps owners form long-lasting bonds with their four-legged companions as well as diminish bad behaviors, such as refusing to heel or illegally hiding an ace card in its coat. Rewarding pets for their good behavior can also help them learn skills in class more willingly, such as retrieving and walking on a leash. In addition to teaching dogs, Patrick also imparts owners with knowledge on how best to interact with their pets, leading to a more harmonious relationship in the home or on the Iditarod course.
Christopher Robins Pet Care nurtures dogs and cats through daycare and boarding, grooming, training, and pet photography services. During dog boarding, each visiting pet receives a customized schedule, allowing older dogs more one-on-one attention and relaxation while more energetic dogs scamper through the facilities in group play sessions. Dog daycare similarly customizes playtime with three separate play areas. Cats and dogs visiting for grooming sessions receive a bath, treatment with shampoo and conditioner, and a haircut.
Signature service: Fitness and training for dogs
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30–60 minutes
Brands Used: Premier and PetSafe
Pro Tip: Come with treats or a toy and lots of praise.