Contrary to conventional wisdom, one can in fact look a gift horse in the mouth, now that the mouth no longer houses the retina-scorching nuclear reactor that powers the horse. Get an eyeful of equine incisors with today’s Groupon: for $39, you get two group horseback-riding lessons at La Fleur Stables in Verona (an $80 value).
La Fleur Stables—a full-service riding and training facility—is home to numerous American Saddlebred horses, which new riders mount in English-style horseback sessions. After scheduling two one-hour group lessons, clients learn the physical aspects of horseback riding, such as balance, hand control, and foot position, as well as the mental basics of poise, intellect, and human-horse mind-meld. Trained instructors edify students on the basics of horse anatomy and psychology, and break down the process behind various grooming techniques.
Steeds traipse around a large outdoor riding ring during warm weather, but they can also march around a 60'x60' heated indoor riding arena year-round. Riders are required to wear proper attire and avoid equestrian fashion faux pas, such as gorgeous ponytails that make horses feel inadequate.
La Fleur Stables
Marlene La Fleur’s equine epiphany struck in 1963, when an American Saddlebred steed named Mr. Sandman motivated her to open a stable and breed her own army of championship horses. Since then, Marlene and her husband’s stable has grown by leaps and bounds, with the rein-tuggers moving into an ultramodern barn and training facility in 2001 that allowed them to expand their English-style riding lessons. Placing an emphasis on horsemanship and equitation, Marlene’s daughter Neva leads hands-on lessons that cycle through proper grooming, tacking, and riding techniques catered to each student’s individual skill set. Pintsized riders may also celebrate birthdays or visits from John Wayne’s ghost during group parties replete with barn tours, breezy trots, and a party room that boasts a full kitchen. The stable’s stylish and well-mannered steeds kick up their hooves in spacious 144-square-foot stalls, which are built from southern yellow pine and equipped with individual windows overlooking the grounds’ picturesque rolling hills.