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.
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.
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.
Devastating takedowns. Escapes and reversals. Lightning-fast pinning combinations. Over the centuries, the art of wrestling has endured as one of mankind's most primal sports. Today, the instructors at Elk Grove Wrestling Academy teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced wrestlers traditional practices. The next generation of grapplers are taught lessons covering the Greco-Roman, folk, and freestyle traditions. This reverence for classic techniques doesn't mean these teachers are stuck in their ways, though; the school also offers courses in fighting forms such as muay thai and MMA.
Racers swing across a custom-made monkey bar as a bath of wet, gooey mud awaits them if they should lose their grip and fall. They come dressed in trash bags to keep clean or go shirtless to soak up as much muck as possible. Either way, the NorCal Mud Run challenges athletes with an extreme outdoor course to test their endurance while inspiring an esprit de corps among its participants. Racers bound through each obstruction in groups and can always take advantage of the bypass route that winds its way around each obstacle should they not feel up to the task.
In the recently remodeled sunlit studio, yogis of all shapes sprawl out on colorful mats and towels. They stretch and meditate in the sauna-like air, which is heated to 105 degrees to aid flexibility and draw out toxins. When class begins, students follow a certified instructor through 26 postures and two breathing exercises. After class, they head back to the lobby to rehydrate or head to the changing room to check their cell phones, pagers, or portable telegraph machines?all of which instructors request stay outside the studio. Students of all levels and athletic abilities experience the benefits of these sessions, including enhanced strength, reduced stress, and increased energy.