When horses are born they often wobble on new legs, building enough strength to trot and canter within a matter of hours. "Their mother doesn't whisper in their ear, 'You're an English horse'," says Dave Konefal, owner of Lone Star Horsemanship, Inc. He trains horses for Western- and English-style riding with a process that he says requires time, patience, and a sense of humor.
Dave often spends weeks with his horses, using conditioned-response training methods to keep them calm and ready for unexpected situations. He excites them gradually and calms them down so that they don't throw riders when scared by something like a backfiring engine or a fluctuating 401(k). He likens the process to pumping a car's brakes on an icy surface, adding, "You have to practice in hazardous situations so you don't wreck." Safety is definitely a priority for the trainer, and it is something that he carries through into riding lessons with his students.
Dave takes on pupils of all ages, and many of them, like the newborn horses, gain confidence rapidly. One rider brought in her great-grandfather, who grew up on a farm but hadn't ridden in decades. The man rode as though he'd never stopped,his wife following close behind andfretting happily at him. The trainer works to keep each lesson within the rider's abilities. "The hardest part about riding is the ground," he says, but he focuses on minimizing the risk of injury by knowing his steeds. Proof of his bond with the equines can be seen on occasions when he is found on his 20-acre ranch, dozing under the stars with a half-ton horse offering its shoulder as a pillow.
Analyte Health's staff of certified phlebotomists works to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases by offering affordable screening to patients at more than 30 Houston-area locations. The FDA-approved and CLIE-certified test scans blood and urine samples for eight sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and C, herpes I and II, HIV, and syphilis. Within 72 hours, patients receive their confidential test results on a secure website or via e-mail, with the promise that Analyte Health will never share them with a third party. If necessary, fully trained doctors and medical professionals are on hand to discuss treatment options.
Dr. Giraldi and his staff at New Image MD Clinic take pride in the fact that their office isn't a revolving door of patients. To that end, they?ve cultivated a far-reaching list of services ranging from HCG weight-management programs and hormone-replacement therapy to dermal fillers and laser treatments. But the caring doesn't stop once the treatment has ended; maintenance programs that include regular check-ups to ensure clients stay fit and healthy.
The Zen Den's mission is to help clients unwind completely, much like the world's largest ball of yarn after its meeting with the world's largest kitten. That mission is accomplished in each of its services, which include energy balancing sessions, therapeutic spa services, personalized yoga instruction, and an on-site counselor. However, it is most evident in its signature, most sought after massage treatment, My Zen Myokinesthetic Massage. This 75-minute sojourn into relaxation includes a relaxing massage that employs Swedish, deep-tissue, and trigger-point techniques to quiet aches and pains, plus reflex-point therapy on the hands, feet, ears, and scalp. For good measure, the massage also includes hot towels, hot stones, and an aroma of the client's choice.
Cows, dragons, and sharks sit quietly on the shelves of Mi Pottery. The breath of life is provided by the kids and adults who drop into the homey wooden cottage within sight of the quaint Tomball Depot, ready to adorn them with eye-popping paints and designs. The shop never charges kiln or studio fees, so once guests have chosen their cheery 3-D canvas, they’re free to spend as much time as they need designing an intricate border for a cake stand or giving a roly-poly puppy anatomically accurate fangs.
Mysterious fires. An old bank vault that can’t be destroyed. A deceased opera singer who refuses to draw the curtain on the living world. These are the stories that Houston Ghost Tour’s seasoned phantom chasers impart to mortals as they guide them to local nooks and crannies where spectral squatters may dwell. Guests on the Houston tour tiptoe through the ghostly grounds of Rice University and explore Hermann Park, where the songs from Miller Outdoor Theatre and animalistic shrieks from the Houston Zoo converge to form an eerie soundtrack for sleuthing. Travelers drink in local history during the Old Town Spring adventure, which teems with tales of Civil War battles, high-stakes gambling bets, and brothels filled with the ghosts of bats forever tangled up in lingerie. Along the way, guests can also glimpse the bullet holes of a bank robbed by Bonnie and Clyde. The Tomball tour explores a paranormal train depot and a cemetery that, like an igloo made of dry ice, is said to have vanished into thin air.