As owner and head trainer of ThoroughQuest Acres, Dundee Bartlett has given form to her belief in using a patient, kind approach to produce a well-rounded rider. Her team of seasoned instructors shares her perspective, training riders as young as 5 in the hunter and jumper styles of riding with subtle incorporation of dressage principles to help build balance and suppleness. The facility, with its large outdoor arena and pair of indoor arenas, anchors the outfit?s 15 acres, granting students ample space to practice their form. Each lesson program begins with the basics, such as mounting and dismounting, before moving on to more advanced techniques, such as trotting, cantering, and dismounting with an aerial toe touch.
Diamond Edge LLC's head instructor, Samantha Swanson, got her start as an equestrian when she was just four years old. Because her parents lived on a dude ranch, Samantha started out with Western riding before transitioning to English riding at the age of six—a discipline that would carry her to prestigious circuit championships all the way through high school. Today, with her competition years behind her, she grooms new legions of riders to compete at the same high level. She starts beginners out with the basics of communication with the horse—including vocal commands, body language, and love letters written in hoof tracks—until they're ready to move on to entry-level jumping and showing in intermediate lessons. Students can also fine tune their skills in advanced lessons, and truly push themselves to perform their best if they're willing and able to take on the challenge of show team lessons.
With 70 years of teaching experience between them, Jane and Heidi Wilson form a mother-daughter team that has helped riders learn the grace and technique necessary to win awards throughout the Illinois show circuit. The pair leads horseback-riding lessons at Driftwood Stable that teach students of all ages and skill levels the fundamental skills of hunter/jumper or western styles. Students guide one of the 10 gentle school horses around the facility's 100' x 200' outdoor arena, heated 180' x 200' indoor arena, or acres of verdant pastures ruled by clans of warring bunnies.
Spawned by gung mao kung fu, a form of martial arts developed in 19th-century Okinawa, Gangi kung fu arose in 1985 thanks to Master Soshihan Joe Gangi. He held a black belt in gung mao kung fu, goju karate, jujitsu, and many other forms of martial arts. So he combined ancient and modern components of MMA to create something new: Gangi kung fu. The method married yoga-inspired conditioning moves and meditation with sparring. At Gangi Martial Arts & Fitness, Master Gangi and his assistant teachers continue to promote the unique practice through their martial-arts classes.