Welcome to the Windy Ridge Ranch
Since 1979

The Windy Ridge Ranch, east of St. Paul, in Woodbury, Minnesota, offers group riding lesson, a leasing program, and other fun riding activities for our students. WRR is home to 40-some well-mannered schooling horses. Learn more about the ranch.

Group Riding Lessons
Focus is on solid equitation skills and horsemanship as well as having fun with horses. We offer regularly-scheduled group lessons for beginners to advanced riders for ages 9 to adult. We also have twice-monthly "Pee Wee" lessons for ages 7-11. Group lessons may include English or Western equitation, jumping, dressage, fun games, horsemanship, and trail riding (for WRR students only). Feel free to visit one of our lessons. Learn more about group lessons.

Mark Ward started the Windy Ridge Ranch in 1979 and has been having fun teaching riding lessons and horsemanship ever since. It's a family-run operation, with Mark and his wife, Katie, as well as Mark's son Emmerson and daughter-in-law Susan and their 3 kids, Louisa, Lily and Talbot, all taking care of the horses.


Mark and Juniper


The Ward Family 2011


Mark and Katie at Otter Creek Horse Trial


Mark with Juniper at Roebke's Run Horse Trial


Lessons take place in one of our two outdoor arenas, inside our insulated arena, and on trails through our pastures and nearby fields.


Riding Lesson Session Information

2019 Calendar

1-6 2018

Registrations are being accepted for Session 6 through October 7. See the 2019 Calendar for Session 6 dates.

Learn more about our Lessons and how to register and then come visit a lesson to see what it's all about.



Session 5 Roster

Makeup Spaces Session 5

Horse Usage Session 5

News & Events
  • aleka

    Fall Otter Creek Horse Trial -- Sept 13-15, 2019. Come watch 11 WRR Horses and Riders Compete

    Scores from Dressage (Friday), Cross-Country Jumping (Saturday) and Stadium Jumping (Saturday and Sunday) -- are combined in this regional three-day event.

    Otter Creek Farm in Wheeler WI (about 1 hr. from Windy Ridge Ranch).

    For ride times, see the WRR daily calendar event.




    New Horse -- "Zoom!"

    (Click image or link to view video)

    An 11 yr old Canadian Warmblood mare, Zoom will be shown by Louisa at 3-day events.


    Summer Otter was August 9-11, 2019

    First places !!! were awarded to Katie (Novice), Addi (Beg. Novice) and Bella (Junior Novice). Louisa got second (Junior Training). Aleka got fourth (Senior Beg. Novice). Katie also got a sixth place (Open Beg. Novice). Seventh places went to Mark (Senior Training) and Molly (Beg. Novice). Brendan got eigth (Starter). Dani and Maddy competed well, but without placing.


    Fox River Valley Horse Trial

    Katie, Louisa, and Mark all had impressive rides at this very competitive show in Illinois, with a first for Louisa and Katie and a fourth for Mark.  See fun photos by Amanda Plucker. PHOTOS

    Stadium jumping photos by Amanda Plucker. WonderGirl really flew over the jumps! Lulu aced every obstacle. And Louie was great fun!



    Combined Test at Carriage House Farm in Hugo, June 2.

    8 WRR horses and 6 riders will compete in Dressage and Jumping.

    Mark, Katie, Louisa, Maddy T., Bella,  Aleka -- riding Louie & Bongo, Lulu and Banana Rumble, Wonder Girl, Ruby and Valor.

    Ride times are on the WRR calendar.

    Come and watch!



    3-Ring Circus at Carriage House, May 26.

    13 WRR horses and riders! Dressage and jumping.

    See results.


    Drill Team for 2019

    The team will perform at the 2019 Washington County Fair on August 1st at 7:00 pm.

    2019 Practice Dates remaining -- May - July

    2019 DT Pattern, carefully drawn by Heidi M. -- with new drawings!! on pages 67-70.




    Otter Creek 3-Day Spring Horse Trial May 17-19 -- Results

    WRR horses and riders competed in all the disciplines of Eventing: Dressage, Stadium Jumping, and Cross-Country Jumping.The horses were remarkably well behaved and everyone enjoyed a great competition, doing very well in their divisions.

    In their different divisions, here were their placings:


    1. Addi - Cody
    2. 1st place
    3. Dani – Spirit 2nd place
    4. Mark - Bongo
    5. 3rd place
    6. Maddy – Raja 4th place
    7. Aleka – Valor
    8. 9th place

    Starter X-country map


    1. Katie – Lulu
    2. 3rd place
    3. Bella - Ruby
    4. 5th place

    BN X-country map


    1. Louisa Wonder
    2. 2nd place
    3. Heather – Izzy
    4. 8th place

      Novice X-country map


      Otter Creek Farm (in Wheeler, WI)

    Bongo Can Really Clear a Jump!

    At his first eventing trial, Otter Creek on May 17, 2019, Bongo showed that the horse with the largest leg bones could still be light on his feet. He performed well in all three: dressage, x-country, and stadium jumping. Here is a video of Bongo jumping, thanks to Stella R.



    Louie arrived 4-10-2019

    Louie is an eighteen hand, eleven year old Irish Draft gelding. He's at the WRR on a "lease to own" basis. His skills include all the disciplines of Eventing: Dressage, Stadium Jumping, and Cross-Country Jumping. He needs some conditioning this Spring and should be show-ready by Summer. Watch for him at Otter Creek!

    Photos of Louie jumping at Otter Creek!

    Louie at May 26 3-Ring Circus


    See our 2019 Clinics, Shows & Special Events Calendar



    Meet our New "Old" Horse, Paris

    Paris, a 20-year-old Quarterhorse mare, came to us from a long-time riding student. We are happy to have her join our herd and program!


    Clover on a Frosty Day

    Amanda Plucker captured this remarkable photo of Clover in February 2019. And here's one of Springer with frosty whiskers.

    Beauty magnified by a harsh climate.



    Bongo has learned to Sit on Command!

    You've seen Bongo and Cara K. show creative costumes --- now watch Bongo show off his new trick.

    (Video will take a moment to download to your screen.)


    Flash 1998-2019

    Flash was euthanized after breaking his leg, caused by a badly placed kick from another horse while running and playing. Flash was a favorite horse and still near his prime -- a great loss for us. He will always be remembered as The Amazing, Blazing, Super-Fantastic, Flash of Glory!


    Where's all the snow? Remember the fun we had?

    Watch a video of Mark ski-jorring behind Brendan & Tally (2008)


    (Your browser might have to update its "flash player" or "shockwave.")


    Springer at 7 months

    Springer turned 7 months old on December 19. He's hanging out with Bobaloosa and will will join the herd after being gelded in the spring.

    See a slide show (only works on a computer, not a phone) of Springer photos by Amanda Plucker -- made into a little video too.




    Granite 1996-2018

    Granite, age 22, died this day, 12/22/2018, of natural old age causes. It appears he had a sudden and quick aneurysm. It was unexpected in that he has seemingly been feeling fine. His current lessee, young Anna Noel, gave him almost daily loving attention lately. He looked great and seemed happier than he has in quite a while.

    Granite was an Adalusian-Quarter Horse cross - called an Azteca. Granite did it all, teaching young and old, Western Games, dressage and jumping, trail riding and the Winter Carnival Parades. The photo shows Granite at Otter Creek, doing an eventing competition with Maddy M. Rest in peace, dear Granite.


    Halloween Fun Show on Sunday, Oct 28th 2018
    -- sponsored by Windy Ridge Riders Horse Club

    Twenty four horses paraded in creative costumes, our largest costume event ever!

    Bongo and Cara in Lion King costumes - photo


    Sept 14-16, 2018 Otter Creek Fall Horse Trial

    Ten riders from the Windy Ridge Ranch competed in Dressage, Cross-Country, and Stadium Jumping.

    The show was at Otter Creek Farm (in Wheeler, WI)

    Riders & Horses: Mark/Juniper, Katie/Lulu, Louisa/WonderGirl, Heather/Izzy, Stella/Kestrel, Bella/Ruby, Maddy/Raja, Dani/Spirit, Aleka/Dr. Watson

    For a complete list of ride times, see the WRR Daily Calendar for each day of the show.


    Photo of Katie on Lulu

    Photo of Mark on Juniper


    Barn Dance at WRR on Saturday, Sept 8, 2018

    All WRR riders with families and friends are invited.

    Square dancing, games, potluck dinner, silent auction, horse vaulting.







    August 10-12, 2018 Otter Creek Summer Horse Trial

    Eleven riders from the Windy Ridge Ranch competed in Dressage, Cross-Country, and Stadium Jumping.

    This show was really exciting and very challenging for all these riders. Serious training effort was involved for all of us in preparation for this major regional show.


    At the Starter Level,Maddy Tibbetts, in her first horse trial, placed 6th out of 17 on Raja. In a separate Starter division, Dani Miller and Spirit, both in their first horse trial, placed 4th out of 17. Nikki and Pippi, in Pippi's first horse trial, had a very good dressage ride and got through stadium fine, but Pippi was overwhelmed out on that expansive cross country field. 
    In Beginner Novice, Bella, in her first horse trial, and Ruby place 7th out of 16. Heather Enselein, in her first horse trial, sailed through all the jumping parts on Izzy. 
    In Novice, Aleka Lazenberry and Dr. Watson did their best ever in dressage and placed 7th out of 11. I rode Lulu in the same division, for her first horse trial. Lulu did fantastic in dressage and cross country but stopped out in stadium -- just too scary! Stella had a beautiful dressage ride but retired half way through cross country when Kestrel became way too fast and unrideable. Good call. Molly Prytz and Meeko were 2nd out of 21 after dressage with a 27.9! But Meeko didn't want to play on cross country day. 
    Louisa did her first ever Training ride on Wonder, with beautiful rides in both jumping phases, ending the weekend in 5th place. 
    Mark and Juniper got 1st place, out of 11, in their Training division and were the only ones to make time for cross country! 
    Congrats to everyone!!



    Windy Ridge Riders Drill Team and JETs
    at the Washington County Fair on Thursday
    August 2nd at 7pm.

    Our drill performances were exciting to watch and fun to perform!

    All your favorite horses rode in intricate pattern to music.

    Washington County Fairgrounds in Lake Elmo.

    7pm sharp

    Our half-time entertainment was "Crazy Poles."


    wrr schooling


    June 23 - Cross Country Schooling Show

    Third annual Horse Trial at the Windy Ridge Ranch -- RESULTS.

    Dressage "Ride-A-Tests" happened June 16 with judge/trainer Janna Kysilko. We were rained out for cross country that day, and stadium is happening sporadically through the week.

    We are excited to try out our new cross-country jumps for this horse trial!


    X-Country course maps (including photos of each obstacle)



    Wilbur was euthannized in June when his knee arthritis became too crippling.

    He had a fun horse personality and will be missed by many.


    combined test

    May 27, 2018 - Combined Test at Carriage House in Hugo

    Results: Mark and Juniper 2nd in Training, Louisa and Wonder 6th in their first Training. Molly and Meeko had a successful finish for their first Training. Dani, Bella, and Maddy T (on Spirit, Ruby and Raja) finished their first recognized show at Beginner Novice. Dani got 5th. Nikki took Pippi through her first show and had a great jumping round. Katie took Lulu to her first recognized show and finished 2nd in Beginner Novice, with the lowest Adult Rider dressage score of the day.



    12 WRR Horses showed at the St. Croix Saddlery 3-Ring Circus Show, Sunday, May 29

    It was a hot but successful day of dressage and jumping.


    Welcome "Springer!"

    Sage had her foal on May 18, 2018. Katie was at the WRR and helped make sure the foal was safe and sound upon delivery.

    Amanda Plucker has taken a great photo of the foal on his second day.

    Springer needed a little help getting up at first, but as you can see in the video taken on day five, he's ready to run!

    Sage has all the right maternal instincts and it's going to be fun to watch the little colt grow up. And little Springer might end up being pretty big. Springer's sire is a 17.5 hand Irish Draught, Beeston Laird, standing at Blackshire Equestrian Center in Randolph, MN.

    Here's a good close-up of the little guy (thanks to Amanda Plucker).

    Photo of Mark holding Springer (thanks to Dani Miller).


    May 18-20 2018 Otter Creek Spring Horse Trial

    Five riders from the Windy Ridge Ranch competed in Dressage, Cross-Country, and Stadium Jumping.

    Training Level: Mark on Juniper, Novice Level: Molly on Meeko, Louisa on Wonder Girl, Aleka on Dr. Watson, Beginner Novice: Stella on Kestrel. Results: Mark - 4th. Molly - 5th. Louisa - 7th. Aleka - 8th. Stella - 3rd.

    Congratulations to all these riders. This is a major regional show and a lot of serious training effort preceded these rides.


    Trail Ride Schedule and Sign Up Info

    The first trail ride of the year will be Friday, May 25. See the schedule of summer & fall rides and the sign up info here: Trail Rides 2018. WRR Trail Rides are for our students only. We don't do trail rides for the public

    Bella demonstrates smooth vault-on mount.

    Light as a feather swing-up. How does she do that (you should ask)?!

    See Video.


    JETs for 2018

    Our team will be performing at WRRHC fun shows and at the Washington County Fair again this year!

    Team members

    JETs Handbook

    2018 Practice Dates

    2018 Drill Pattern


    New X-Country Jumps

    We have added 11 new jumps from the Roebke's Run X-Country course.


    Drill Team for 2018

    The team will perform at the 2018 Washington County Fair on August 2nd at 7:00 pm.

    Here are videos of our last performance.

    2018 Practice Dates

    2018 DT Pattern, carefully drawn by Heidi M.


    More News and Events


    See more stories, photos, and videos of Windy Ridge Ranch activities.


    Fractal Movie (Mark at play on his computer)

    Fractal movie -2


    Lesson video link escher-cube Leg yield video leg-yield and counter-canter bending

    10 meter circles in serpentines

    Connecting half halt with corners

    Connecting half halt with leg yielding to larger circle

    Leg yield on loops of serpentine



  • Current Weather at WRR


    Dark Sky Weather Report