Though it's only about 25 minutes outside of San Antonio, Enchanted Springs Ranch transports its guests to a totally different world?and to a totally different century, for that matter. Considered an enchanted place by early Native Americans for its rolling hills and flowing rivers, the 86-acre working ranch serves as a living, breathing reincarnation of the Old West. It bustles with activity and has been recognized by Oprah as one of the country's best "Wacky Family Attractions."
Rugged structures, lush pastures, and trickling springs surround guests while they explore the property. Perhaps the best way to do that is not by tossing a saddle on a rocking horse, but by climbing aboard tractor-pulled wagon rides. These tractor tours tote passengers across the premises and past a collection of wildlife that includes longhorns, buffalo, deer, and zebras. On foot, guests may encounter pistol twirlers, bull whip champions, trick ropers, and real cowboys and cowgirls that populate the ranch. Such an authentic experience hasn't been overlooked by film creators or party planners, either: the ranch doubles as a movie set, and can also be rented for wedding receptions, birthdays, and other special events.
Located on 12 acres of Texas hill country, Hill Country Pet Ranch is a pet resort offering doggy daycare, dog training, grooming, and pet boarding. The experienced, pet-loving staff provides everything from mealtimes to exercise time for each clients’ pet. Outdoor spaces, nature trails for romping, and a dock for swimming and diving make this pet hotel a doggy heaven.
In one year, Without Regrets Foundation co-founders Tara Ballard and Ché Heinroth knew three adults who passed away and left behind young children. One of these parents, Scott, was diagnosed with cancer in October 2010 and died the following April. He wanted to take his son to Yankee Stadium before passing away, but was unable to make his dream come true. Because of this story and many others like it, Ballard and Heinroth decided to do all they could to give families an opportunity to create memories from one last experience.
Before starting Without Regrets, both cofounders worked with a variety of family charities including March of Dimes and The Leukemia Society. They meet with families who have at least one parent facing a terminal illness and help them pick a good experience for them to share with their children. With approval from the parent's physician, the group then funds the event or trip, leaving the kids with lifelong memories to cherish.
Horsemanship isn't just about strapping on a saddle and shouting, "Go horsey!" It's an art form bonding human and equine in which technique and finesse overpower instinct. Following her passion for horse-powered performance from Southern California to the pastures of Spicewood, expert trainer Liz Peltola has instructed hundreds of students in the ways of English and Western riding for 17 years. In the well-lit, covered training arena or outdoor lesson paddock at Briarcliff Performance Horses, all ages and experience levels learn the ropes on kid-friendly horses, including breeds such as Paints, Pintos, and Quarter Horses. In lessons for both casual and competitive riders, individuals learn a range of horsemanship styles, including the slow gait of "western pleasure" and the quick flowing strides of "hunter under saddle."