There's rarely a dull moment at Rancho La Rosa. Sprawled across 50 acres, the half equine resort, half event center consistently stirs with activity. Many days, instructors are busy leading riders through lessons in three disciplines: beginners, trail, and competitive barrel racing . For especially young visitors, they scale lessons back into fundamental "love, hug, and groom" sessions—a similar mantra used by horses protesting the mistreatment of Mister Ed in the 1960s. Away from the practice areas, scenic picnic layouts and a clubhouse make an ideal backdrop to weddings, birthday parties, and more common gatherings such as family cookouts.
Closed fingers, a squeezed calf, shifted weight—the horse responds to each barely perceptible command, performing choreographed motions and meeting mental demands with grace. This is the art of dressage, and along with cross-country and stadium jumping, it's part of Deer Creek Stables’ specialty: eventing. But although the stables' trainers mainly teach competitive riders to strengthen the human-horse bond for eventing and Western dressage, they also take joy in extending their fascination with steeds to newcomers, teaching very basic skills to those mounting a horse for the first time.
Known for their patience with horses and people alike, head trainer Jennifer Burk and her staff give private and group lessons, covering everything from grooming to jumping. They can also provide school horses, safety equipment, and tack for riders getting started or whose horses have recently gone off to horse college. Their grassy 38-acre facility includes a lighted indoor arena and 30 acres of turnout for boarding horses.
The riding experts at Fieldstone Park, a full-service boarding-and-riding facility, teach lessons for beginning or experienced riders of any age. Instructors emphasize the forward, or hunt-seat, style, and lessons are targeted by level and discipline; riders can chat with the staff about what class best fits when they call to schedule lessons. Fieldstone's equestrian tutors lead classes in either English–style, in which both hands grasp the reins with pinkies raised, or larger Western–style tack and techniques. The 60-minute group lessons may include up to three riders at once, which affords each rider both full personal attention from the instructor and a sense of camaraderie as students refine horse-human collaboration.
Movie Tavern transfixes one's taste buds and imagination by blending all-digital cinema with premium seating and sit-down dining. Moviegoers are encouraged to arrive 45 minutes prior to showtime, so that they can leisurely peruse an extensive menu of chef-inspired American cuisine, from kobe beef sliders to pizza and sandwiches. Nimble and unobtrusive servers slip in during the show to deliver orders, and can be called on for more drinks or dessert with the push of a button. At select locations, guests can opt to sip margaritas or signature cocktails at the bar before heading in to see a show. Audiences get to enjoy first-run films every week, retro cinema every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and breakfast food paired with early morning movies on Saturday and Sunday. While geared toward adults, the family-friendly establishment also serves finger food for kiddies along with film-inspired dishes. Guests can head to the bar or straight to the movie without ordering food, giving them some latitude in shaping their night out.
Additionally, Movie Tavern treats audiences to myriad benefits with their membership program. Anyone can sign up for free online to receive one free movie ticket on the spot and one free ticket every year on their birthday, as well as invites to screenings and other special events.
Owners Maarten and Hanna Vanderstoel created Van Grow Studio of the Arts to promote creative thinking and problem solving in children through artistic crafts. Boasting degrees in fine arts and studio arts, respectively, Maarten and Hanna teach most of the classes and prepare the curricula for all of the studio's camps. TCU graduate Alma Worrell manages the open studio and paint-your-own-pottery rooms, which are also accessible to adults. Van Grow's upbeat instructors nurture creativity and confidence across three age groups, offering classes, parties, and workshops to pique a wide range of interests. Courses foster each student's individual vision, rather than a mastery of technique, and help to develop motor skills, self-esteem, and the ability to sculpt gummy-bear replicas of Rodin's The Thinker.
Founded in 1961, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art boasts a wide-ranging permanent collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures that break from Hollywood tradition by staying dead at night. Exhibitions are displayed on a rotating basis and include the upcoming The First 50 Years, which will commemorate the museum's first half century as an authoritative art stockpiler, and the Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision, which rolls into town on February 26 to celebrate the iconic landscape paintings of such visionaries as Frederic Church, Thomas Cole, and Asher B. Durand.