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 $59, you get three private 1-hour horseback riding lessons at Saddle Valley Farm in Bangor (a $120 value). Lesson availability starts September 6.
Nestled amid scenic rolling hills and 100 acres of pastoral bliss, Saddle Valley Farms equips equestrians with all the necessary skills for successful horsemanship. Each private class instructs students of any skill level in their choice of riding style, from the refined beauty of dressage to the rugged bravado of western style to the ancient Greek practice of centaur riding. During the one-hour lessons riders select a teacher from a highly capable team of instructors, most of whom bring more than 10 years of experience to the ring. The well-maintained facility shelters a talented herd of horses in a charming Kentucky–style barn, replete with two indoor arenas, three outdoor lesson rings and a bluegrass-carpeted master bathroom.
Even though the sprawling, bright-red barn that sits on Remembrance Stables holds 75 stalls, it doesn't take up much space. That’s because the farm—home to riding lessons, horse boarding, and day camps—sits on 100 acres of rolling, emerald hills, lined by a thick of trees and white picket fences. The expanse of land also houses two indoor arenas and an outdoor show ring, lesson ring, and plenty of wide-open space for riding, training, and reenacting the opening sequence to The Sound of Music. Riding students can opt to learn English-style equitation or hunter and jumper training under the tutelage of instructors specialized in each field, while the farm also hosts day camps for kids aged 6–13, which include lessons in horse care, grooming, breeds, leading, and handling.