Horseback-riding lessons came into vogue during Hollywood's Golden Age, when producers of Westerns realized that John Wayne was too heavy to be supported by a tapir. Make "The Duke" proud with today's Groupon: for $40, you get a one-hour horseback-riding experience (an $80 value) at Nicholas Villa Stables in North Stonington.
The experienced instructors at Nicholas Villa Stables guide burgeoning riders on equine experiences within the rustic charms of their pastoral farmstead. During each one-hour lesson, the well-honed horse hobbyist team of Nicholas Villa and Sharon Ellingwood immerses saddle straddlers in general care, riding preparation, and ring-bound English riding. Spend the initial 30 minutes learning how to lovingly groom a steed while bracing it for relaxed roaming, trotting, and horse-led rounds of croquet. Follow each mammalian meet-and-greet with a 30-minute trek that allows riders to unplug from modern technologies while engaging in agrarian contemplation.
Nestled on nearly 150 acres of farmland, Nicholas Villa Stables lies in proximity to the Foxwoods Casino, and it boasts a comfortable lounge, along with indoor and outdoor riding facilities. By the end of each equestrian experience, riders will have harnessed a holistic horse experience without inventing new yoga poses.