Though she had been an avid rider since she was a little girl, Amy Smith of Willow Run Farm didn’t find her true calling as an equestrian until she turned 20. It was at this age that she began a job at a rehabilitation center, where she took a hands-on role in caring for horses in need and nursing them back to health. Amy quickly adopted a holistic approach to horsemanship, a passion that continues to enrich her career. Today, Amy teaches her students the whole spectrum of caring for horses, everything from grooming to horse health and safety—as opposed to focusing solely on riding techniques or hair-spraying the horse’s mane into a mohawk. Above all, Amy instills responsibility, self-confidence, and a sense of accomplishment in each of her riders.
Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care's owner Karen Gambrell has a long history of adopting homeless critters and pours that same sense of compassion into all of the company's services. Custom house calls keep animal companions comfortable and stress-free in a quiet and familiar environment, unlike kennels located next door to maraca factories. The team of caretakers—all trained in pet CPR and first aid—values belly rubs and squeaky-toy tossing that delight furry friends during visits. As a bonded and insured member of Pet Sitters International, Snaggle Foot enables anxiety-free vacations for pet owners and helps with routine upkeep in households.
Ryan Garner always felt a connection with horses, but he felt an equally strong disconnect with many of the equestrian world?s traditional, intimidation-filled training methods. Instead of ignoring his concerns, the lifelong horse enthusiast began studying natural horsemanship, a method that encourages equine obedience through gentle rider-horse communication both in the barn and on a ride. Now, at RG Horsemanship, Garner shares his mission of trust, leadership, and communication during horseback-riding lessons for up to four participants. Through patient instruction, he helps students connect with their equine counterparts via body language and facial expressions, which ultimately instills confidence in the rider.
Each dog must be vaccinated, free from parasites, and spayed or neutered if seven months of age or older. If your pooch is a certified chubby cheeker, bring a bag of food and the staff will gladly feed the dog lunch. If Fido comes home and says he had a blast at daycare, surprise him with a birthday or holiday party (not included in the cost of today's Groupon) with all of his friends.
Cahaba Beach Dog Park describes itself as "canine heaven," and it might be right. The 4-acre off-leash dog park includes tunnels, streams, trails, and open space for dogs to play with their owners or doggy pals—all of which require temperament evaluation and up-to-date vaccines to enter. There are also separate areas for different-sized dogs and an amphitheater for special events. Additionally, the park provides doggy daycare and boarding services, which include a suite decked out with a memory-foam mattress, television, and webcam, as well as a choice of spa services. Cahaba Beach Dog Park even offers grooming and training. And for your dog's special day, the park hosts dog parties, complete with custom dog cakes or dog goodie bags.