At Inspired Riding, instructor Beth Parrish saddles minds with new knowledge in diverse fields of horsemanship from dressage to bareback riding in both English and Western riding styles. Lessons begin as students latch steeds to lead lines, singing "Ring Around the Rosie" as they lunge the horses in slow circles before setting their feet in stirrups, which helps build trust between mount and rider. Beth then trots bonded duos through classical horsemanship exercises, focused upon the school of riding that most interests her pupils and emphasizing safety. The school’s lesson horses possess sure feet and mild temperaments, making them ideal mounts for fledging equestrians or ideal alter egos for superheroes. Located on the verge of two state parks, Inspired Riding’s paddocks feature backdrops of flawless pine groves and a soundtrack of chirping birds. The natural setting provides the perfect stage for Beth's style of teaching, which focuses on promoting communication with animals through the delicate arts of touch, voice, and feather-duster tickling. Riding since 1986, Beth is also the author of Inspired Riding, an e-book that chronicles her experience and philosophy as a horse trainer.
In a time when most people find out about survival skills through reality television, Dave Scott is the exception. The founder and president of Earth Native Wilderness School spent his formative years exploring the Texas wilderness. As a US Army veteran, he is 1 of only 20 people in North America qualified as a Track and Sign Specialist. He has devoted himself to helping society remember the skills that have kept us alive for thousands of years.
Earth Native Wilderness School's instructors come from all walks of life, but they each have a love of nature. With lessons in medicinal plants, basic wilderness survival, and wildlife tracking, the school's classes teach students skills such as fashioning tools for survival, arrow making, fire by friction, and finding an ATM in the desert. The staff also realizes humanity's spiritual connection to nature and can even guide students through a vision quest to strengthen their relationship with nature.
Seasoned kayaker John Cline paddles with a local hotel concierge along the Colorado River, periodically explaining that kayaking is perfectly safe for beginners and an ideal way to savor the pleasant Texas weather. Suddenly, the sky erupts and an onslaught of rain drenches the waterborne duo. They rest their paddles on their laps, look at each other, and start laughing. Rising Phoenix Adventures' kayak and canoe trips create these unique memories so regularly that one Belgian businesswoman even makes annual trips to the area just to ride the class-1 river. Since establishing the outdoor-excursion company in 2004 with barely 10 kayaks and canoes, Cline has more than quadrupled his fleet to accommodate the ever-increasing demand. After alighting one of the trusty vessels, adventurers set off to navigate through the river's islands and beneath a scenic half-mile tree canopy, where the shores offer glimpses of wild pigs, great blue herons, and undomesticated beach umbrellas.
Jeff Hunt probably understood the trajectory of his career path in a way most people don't. With an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin and experience working with Tracor Aerospace after college, he is very familiar with how things move forward. Though most aerospace engineers are focused on building spaceships and watering blooming stars, Hunt chose to focus on hang-gliders. Over the past 25 years, he has competed in cross-country hang-gliding competitions and become a USHPA-certified advanced tandem instructor. At Fly Texas and Fly Mexico, he shares his passion with students during half-day and daylong hang-gliding classes or shuttles more experienced gliders on flights.
Rebel Race's military-style obstacle courses challenge athletes from all backgrounds to shed humdrum day-to-day routines to experience the primal joys of mud, sweat and glory. Emerging from the mire in various states across the country, each Rebel Race packs its rucksack with tests of physical and mental toughness, rousing racers and washing machines alike to triumph in the face of sloppy opposition. After dashing through fire, climbing walls, and scaling mountains of hay, race participants bask in the collective kudos of parties, which include live entertainment, food, and beer for purchase. Camping options encourage participants and spectators to transform races into weekend getaways, while awards recognize each day's standout competitors and most-humble mud pits.
A parade of customers saunters out of Kit + Kaboodle's Austin and Lockhart locations donning edgy mohawks, neon hair color, and sassy tattoos. This is not a group of teenagers from an ’80s flick, though. It's a pack of leashed corgis and everything about their look, including the hair dye and temporary tattoos, is nontoxic and tear-free. The technicians at Kit + Kaboodle love adorning pooches in such details. They groom dogs with organic and natural products and augment treatments with quirky trim such as handmade pup feathers. Their pet-sitting services include drop-ins and daily dog walks to exercise canines, administer medication, or refill food bowls while owners are at work or visiting their secret dogs.