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.
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.
Pet Lodges hosts cats and dogs for boarding and daycare across five New York and Vermont locations, including the Albany airport. During dog daycare, pooches frolic in an enclosed pebble-lined yard, where affable staffers referee games of chase and fetch. Kitty camps treat cats to three private levels of cozy climbing and napping furniture, and dog suites include raised, cushioned beds and three to four trips to the exercise yard each day. Daycare, kitty camps, and canine luxury suites' built-in webcams allow families to check in on their pets as they socialize, sleep, and perfect their latest tail-braiding-tutorial videos. Pet Lodges' sister store, Checkerhills Farm, stocks organic and holistic dog and cat foods, as well as dog-wash stations and coffee and treats for humans in Glenville.
Bailiwick Ranch & Discovery Zoo introduces visitors to exotic animals from around the world including camels, alligators, and Titan, a bengal tiger. Those who want to learn more can pair their trip with one of the educational shows offered daily at the zoo, or even have the animals come to them—certain zoo residents are available to travel for special events.
Over on the ranch side, kids can get up close and personal with a more domestic animal during horseback-riding lessons at the onsite equestrian center. After a few basic horsemanship lessons, students aged 7 and older can take part in trail rides around the ranch. The rides last anywhere from 30 minutes to a full day and traverse the nearby woods, mountains, and waterfalls of the Hudson Valley.
At The Dog Gone Inn Doggie Daycare, it’s not just the little things that count, such as cage-free boarding and the building's double doors, which prevent escapes. It's the big things, too. The Dog Gone Inn Doggie Daycare staff members are certified in animal first aid by the Red Cross, and climate-controlled animal areas offer webcams, which allow clients to check in on their pets. In addition, the daycare space is stocked with plush chairs, toys, and a TV broadcasting dog-related shows. Here, staff members look after pets during the day and offer extended hours so owners don’t have to leave work early. Overnight boarding, bathing and grooming packages, as well as doggy extras, such as massages, training, and personalized walks, are also available.
The Lazy Dog cooks up fun, healthy canine indulgences that earned the company a 2010 Outstanding Pet Product Gold Award from Specialty Food magazine. Pup-Pies, which are 100% organic, reform four-legged windowsill thieves with pooch-friendly pies such as the sun-dried-tomato-topped deep-dish pizza ($7.99). The popular Happy Birthday pie combines oats, peanut butter, tapioca and more to help aging furry friends usher in one of seven annual birthdays ($8.99). For everyday occasions, cinnamon-laced original Pup-Squeaks provide daily doses of healthy reinforcement ($6.49/7 oz. tub), and cooling fresh mint crisps freshen dog breath for unchaperoned dates behind Italian restaurants.