With 35 years of experience under his belt, Hugh White of Hugh White Training Stables and fellow equestrian Jody Werner impart horse-whispering skills to riders of all levels during fun, expertly taught lessons. After one to three students saddle up, experienced instructors draw on classical training methods to teach basic, intermediate, or advanced skills. Horses paw at yellow sand in huge arenas or leap over jumps in outdoor fields as students trot, cantor, jump, or arrange their mounts in My Little Pony–inspired tableaus.
Groomer Katie Mirabelli first picked up her grooming shears at the age of 10 as a junior handler at dog shows. After completing her grooming certification as an adult, Katie began preening the coats of canines at The Velvet Dog Spa. She specializes in hand stripping terriers, prepping dogs for shows, and caring for less common breeds. In addition to baths and haircuts, Katie also handles walk-in services including nail trims, ear cleaning, anal-gland expression, and brush-outs.
For more than 30 years, the caring professionals at Pampered Paws Pet Salon have been sprucing up cats and dogs with baths, haircuts, and general grooming services. Staff members customize each cut according to the animal's breed, hair type, and lifestyle?whether that means de-kinking a toy poodle's curls, restoring luster to an irish setter's coat, or sculpting a hairstyle to complement a saint bernard's Sherlock Holmes's costume.
A cage-less doggy day care and grooming facility, AlphaDog pampers pooches with outdoor frolicking and sudsy shampoos. Before their stay at AlphaDog, all dogs must take part in a one- to four-hour temperament trial. Customers with crowded schedules can drop off their loyal labradoodles at 7 a.m. for a full-day stay that keeps them out of harm's way as their owners attend to important workday business, such as fomenting against widespread usage of split infinitives. As the dogs bound around the springy turf of the day care's 5,000-square-foot outdoor play area, canine companions can sample carefully selected crunchy treats and make new friends before the 7 p.m. pickup time.
With a stylish expanse of brand name products, Proof Lab outfits aspiring boarders with all they need to dexterously maneuver decks around watery and cement-covered bodies. Prepare for a day of carving through waves with rental of a surfboard and wetsuit ($40), or flex bristling arm muscles without swapping bodies with Mr. Universe by renting a standup paddleboard ($40). Proof Labs' surf and skate swamis carry threads from Patagonia, Volcom, Quiksilver, RVCA, Hurley, and Billabong, as well as designer shades to shield eyes from half-dressed pipes. Equip surfboards for the fall swell season with a new traction pad ($22–$38), and keep toes toasty with an aquaiferous pair of O'Neill or Xcel surf booties ($40). In addition to hosting regular demos and outdoor events, Proof Lab makes connections with local skating societies by granting budding sky artists free access to their indoor skate park to test new boards, practice tricks, or recreate scenes from Xanadu.
Since 1995, VIP PetCare has been operating community veterinary clinics to make preventive care accessible and affordable for all pet owners. The clinics rotate through 250 markets and provide heartworm tests, flea treatments, dewormers, and other vital care on a regular basis to keep pets healthy. Furry friends stay easily identifiable after microchipping services, and vaccination packages protect from maladies that range from rabies to kennel cough. Each clinic is overseen by a state-licensed vet to ensure the safety of each animal. VIP PetCare also partners with pet retail stores and animal shelters in each of their markets, and has donated more than $400,000 in supplies and materials to animal shelters and rescue groups over the last three and a half years.