Horses acquired many of their show skills during the cowboy days, when they had to jump to avoid rattlesnakes, trot to avoid barraging bullets, and don wide-brimmed hats to blend in at saloons. Saddle up skilled horses with today's Groupon: for $30, you get a 50-minute private introductory horseback riding lesson at New Boston Farm in Gray (a $60 value).
New Boston Farm utilizes its spacious equestrian center to teach and train enthusiasts of all ability levels to become skilled and safe horseback riders. In the indoor- and outdoor-riding retreat, beginners can learn the basics of sitting atop steeds, becoming acquainted with the psychology and physiology of the horse and its fascination with the telephone game. Fifty-minute introductory classes begin with standard pony preparation, which involves leading, grooming, and tacking up the horse before asking it for a piggyback ride and your own share of oats.
New Boston Farm owner Paulajean O'Neill is backed by more than 30 years of professional equine experience, allowing her to foster a professional space for two-legged trainees and their four-legged friends. Her belief in the rehabilitating power of riding led her to found Maine Therapeutic Riding, which offers riding as therapy and recreation for people with disabilities.