The equestrian trainers at Foxtail Farms conduct horseback-riding lessons for riders seeking leisure time atop a steed and for those considering competition. Amid a rural landscape of patchwork crop fields and untamed plains, horses lope, gallop, leap, and waffle on which shoes to wear that day as instructors lead intimate training sessions. Skilled in teaching the ins and out of hunter, jumper, and equitation riding, instructors help to foster horsemanship skills while preparing riders for many situations, including the show ring. Believing that success can only be found when both rider and horse have created a special bond, the trainers also work to create an atmosphere in which that bond can be nurtured and tempered.
Professional instructors at Sacramento Hang Gliding impart the joy of soaring through the atmospheric boundary layer by launching gallant gliders skyward from their Rancho Murieta training site. During the four-hour introductory lesson, instructors fill in fledgling fliers on flight theories, delving into scientific explanations as well as gravitational myths. Students become acquainted with their air-traversing apparatus during a pre-trip inspection and then spend some time rehearsing navigational inputs and movements on a stimulator stand. Afterward, students kick off from shallow slopes to increasingly higher hills as the instructor gallops alongside.
Born into a family of equestrians, Jesslynn Saxton spent her summers on a horse farm, learning to ride at an early age. At 15, after having had some success in riding competitions, she took a job as a stable apprentice and dreamed of opening her own riding school. Today, as the founder of Saxton Equestrian, Jesslynn is an accomplished rider, trainer, and stable manager with more than 20 years of experience. Harboring an innate passion for teaching, she holds lessons and training sessions and volunteers with Project R.I.D.E., a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic riding instruction for persons with disabilities.
Jesslynn’s horse sanctuary, Clay Station Ranch, sits on 23 acres of green pastures, upon which five barns house 40 stalls. The ranch’s two outdoor arenas allow riders to sharpen their skills under blue skies, and a lighted indoor arena features all-weather felt footing, irrigated grass turnouts, wash racks with hot water, viewing areas, and a riders’ lounge, where equestrians can kick back and relax after going on an exhausting ride or failing to teach the horses how to neigh in a British accent.
Belle Vie Skin Care's staff’s singular aim is to help their clients live the "belle vie," or beautiful life. They do so by focusing on the body's biggest organ, the skin, using DermaQuest Skin Therapy products. Naturally, they present a wide range of facials: there are 14 in all—enough to make each head of a 14-headed monster marginally less terrifying. These range from a quick 30-minute basic facial to more powerful treatments such as microdermabrasion, LED therapy, and chemical peels. As epidermis experts, they also specialize in waxing. Inside a private treatment room, a trained professional delicately removes the hair from bikini areas, the face, the back, and legs.
The sounds of clopping hooves carry across High Standard Equestrians’ expansive facility, where active and retired show horses kick up dirt on indoor and outdoor rings. A member of The United States Equestrian Federation and United States Hunter Jumper Association, the family-friendly establishment employs an expert staff that leads competitive training sessions and interactive lessons. While retired Dutch Warmblood, Welsh Pony, and Westphalian show horses host students on their saddles, the facility’s active show horses train for upcoming competitions. Their daily workouts include galloping around the ring, jumping over hurdles, and chasing ranch hands for playing with their shoes.
Situated along the banks of the Cosumnes River, Fog Willow Farms sows the seeds of laid-back living across 9 acres of tranquil farmland. The property is passionate about sharing its easygoing vibes with visitors, especially during autumn, when it transforms into an interactive playground for families to celebrate the season. Come October, Fog Willow Farms flourishes with rows of pumpkins ready to be inspected, fitted with a matching family sweater, and picked, and its petting zoo introduces guests to more than 100 farm animals. The facility also offers hayrides, weekend pony rides, and an adventure course, all of which can be enjoyed during casual visits or special events such as science farm field trips and birthday parties.