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, 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 and his family, 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

2018 Calendar

1-6 2018


Session 4 begins June 4. Register now.

Feel free to visit a lesson to see what it's like.

See the 2018 Calendar

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




Session 3 Roster

Makeup Spaces For Session 3




News & Events
TrailRide 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


Another way to move water

When "Windy Lake" might overflow its banks, here's a solution (video by Maddy T.).



Longeing Clinics at the WRR, 02/18 and 2/27/2018

WRR students learned a lot at our longeing clinics. Thanks to Janna Kysilko for giving great instruction.

Janna brought a model pelvis to demonstrate how to develop proper hip action. (Photo by Amanda Plucker)

Watch a brief video clip of Molly P. riding Meeko in her longe-line lesson. (Video by Amanda Plucker)

Here are some useful images from the USPC guide to longeing.


New X-Country jumps are heading to the WRR.

We are getting 11 new jumps.

These study obstacles have all been purchased from the Roebke's Run X-Country course. It is unfortunate that Roebke's Run will no longer be held.


Fresh hay wouldn't fit down the chimney, so Santa Claus delivers hay to the WRR herd with his tractor.

Drone footage courtesy of Benton Ward.



"Filly" 1982-2018 -- 36 years

Good old “Filly” has left us today, with nothing but the fondest memories.

Mark remembers Fillly


"Light The Night" Ride

In celebration of Winter and Christmas time, 35 riders rode along a luminaria lit trail at the Windy Ridge Ranch. We sang Christmas carols and ate cookies and treats afterwards. It was a beautiful ride and a fun evening for everyone.



Molly Prytz removes shoe

All a part of the learning experience at the Windy Ridge Ranch...

Here's a quick video of Meeko getting prepared for a barefoot winter.


allisonk Recent Artwork

Here's a carefully crafted horse head by Allison Kazmierczak (current WRR student).

Halloween Fun Show Oct 29th 2017

Our horses were in costume and everyone enjoyed exciting Halloween riding events.



Barn Dance at WRR Sept 23rd 2017

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




Sept 15-17 2017 Otter Creek Fall Horse Trial

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

Training Level: Katie on Wonder Girl, Novice Level: Mark on Meeko, Molly on Ruby, Louisa on Raja, Aleka on Dr. Watson, Beginner Novice: Stella on Kestrel.

Directions and more info about the show venue.


Molly Prytz -- First place!

Aleka Lazzenberry -- Third place.

Stella Ryan -- Fifth place.

Mark Ward -- 8th place.

Louisa -- in fouth place right up until stadium jumping included an unintentional dismount.


Cross Country Magazine Article

The September 2017 issue of Cross Country published an article on Mark Ward.

Juniper looks pretty sharp! (See if you can find the one little mistake in the article.)



Drill Team at 2017 MN State Fair

The team performed in the main coliseum during the fair's Equestrian Showcase event held on Tuesday Aug 29th.

Here are videos of our performance.

Team Members

2017 Drill Pattern

DT 2017 pattern animated for iphone display

2018 Practice Dates



August 11-13 2017 Otter Creek Horse Trial
Eight riders from the Windy Ridge Ranch competed in Dressage, Cross-Country, and Stadium Jumping.

Horses and riders: Training Level: Mark on Juniper, Katie on Wonder Girl (placed 2nd), Sam on Cody (placed 6th). Novice Level: Molly on Ruby (placed 6th), Louisa on Raja (placed 5th), Aleka on Dr. Watson (placed 10th). Beginner Novice: Grace on Meeko, Stella on Kestrel (Placed 4th).


Fun Show at WRR on Sunday, July 23rd

The 2017 Dick Kachel Fun Show included lots of fun events and some fast runs in poles and barrels! And the JETs gave a drill performance, showing complete preparedness for the upcoming County Fair showing.


Washington County Fair

The Drill Team and JETs performed on Aug. 3rd, 7pm. We followed a rain storm with two great rides. The Drill Team is ready to demonstrate their skills at the State Fair on Aug 29th. The JETs finished their year with a terrific performance.

Thanks to everyone who made our audience so much fun to ride for!

Videos of the rides.


Detour to Windy Ridge Ranch during Construction Starts July 17, 2017

Manning Avenue going south is closed from I-94 to the ranch (duration unknown). To get to the ranch, take the Woodbury Drive (Co Rd 19) Exit and head south to Lake Rd. Take Lake east to Manning. Then go north on Manning about 1 mile to the WRR. Leaving the ranch, you can can drive north on Manning to I-94.

See Map


Roebke's Run -- Saturday July 8, 2017

Eight horses and riders from the Windy Ridge Ranch competed in this one-day horse trial at Magister Equitum Stables (Schweiss Farm in Hector, MN).

Mark Ward (Juniper), Katie Clapp (Wonder Girl), Stella Ryan (Kestrel), Maddy McCollor (Izzy), Samantha LeTourneau (Cody), Molly Prytz (Ruby), Grace Steinhagen (Meeko), and Louisa Ward (Raja)

Scores were combined from dressage, cross-country jumping and stadium jumping.


Mark Ward -- First Place in Training Division (See photo of one of Mark's XC jumps)

Molly Prytz -- First Place in Beginner Novice

Louisa Ward -- Second Place in Beginner Novice

Stella Ryan -- Second Place in Starter

Samantha LeTourneau -- Third Place in Training

Photo of the Wards. Eventing is a family affair.


Tally -- 1996-2017

One of the most exciting horses ever to race around at the Windy Ridge Ranch.

Tally was incredibly sweet, always ready for a fast ride, and almost never unsound for any reason.

In the spring of 2017 Tally was finally taken down by irritable bowel disease, an auto-immune disorder that was managed for one year with dexamethasone treatment.

Not many riders got to ride Tally because she always wanted to go so fast. But those who got to ride her certainly enjoyed it. And they all enjoyed her energizer -bunny unlimited energy.

Brendan Hollenbeck leased her and loved her for the last eleven years of her life. Tally and Brendan were a fantastic combination. Both of them maintained exquisite composure while going scary fast. Together they shared a bond admirable by all standards.



Moonlight Clover -- arrived (6/16/2017)

Clover is a Irish Sport horse filly (yearling Irish draft X thoroughbred) with great promise to become an eventer. She is a special training project for Mark and he plans to have her so well ground-trained by the time she's big enough enough to be ridden that she'll be totally calm and an able mount for the first ride. We'll have to wait a few years to see that!




-- arrived (6/16/2017)

An 11 yr old Fresian/thoroughbred cross gelding, Valor is nicley behaved and already well-trained. He'll be featured as a schooling horse soon. Right now he's getting exposed to lessons at the WRR and the other horses. Meanwhile, he's a babysitter for Clover in the small pen they share. What a a sweetheart!

Both Valor and Clover came from Blackshire Equestrian Centre in Randolph., MN.


See Clover and Valor touching noses.



New foal expected in 2018!

Sage is pregnant! We bred her to an Irish Draft, Beeston Laird, standing at Blackshire Equestrian Centre. Due date mid-May. Fingers crossed!


Sugarfoot 1989-2017

Sugarfoot was euthanized (6/22) when her aging arthritis made lessons impossible and even walking around in the paddock uncomfortable. In her 24 years as a schooling horse at the Windy Ridge she taught a great number of students to ride. She was especially good at teaching riders to not crowd other horses. Sugar reacted to crowding with a quick and well-aimed kick towards each and every offending horse. More important, she'll always be remembered for being a fun horse to ride and being, in her old age, a very dependable mount for young riders.


June 9-10 was our Schooling Show at WRR, including a 1-Day Horse Trial.

54 WRR riders competed in Dressage, Cross Country, Stadium Jumping, and English, Western and Bareback Equitation.

Janna Kysilko provided a Ride-A-Test clinic Friday. Stadium Jumping & Cross-country happened Friday afternoon.

Show Bill

combined test

June 4 - Combined Test show at Carriage House in Hugo

Mark, Katie, Louisa, Aleka, Molly, Grace, and Stella competed in Dressage and Stadium Jumping at the Combined Test at Carriage House Farm in Hugo. We all had clear jumping rounds and combined with dressage scores, Molly and Louisa earned 3rd and 4th places in Novice; Grace got 7th in Novice; Stella got 7th in her first show in Beginner Novice; and Katie got 2nd in Training level.



3-Ring Circus Schooling Show, Sunday May 28th

13 riders from the Windy Ridge Ranch competed in Dressage and Jumping

Lots of ribbons and first places!

Horses: Juniper, Wonder Girl, Meeko, Raja, Dr. Watson, Pippi, Cody, Izzy, Smokey, Gammon, Rosemare, Kestrel, Bingo(!)



May 19-21 2017 Otter Creek Eventing Show, 4 riders from the Windy Ridge Ranch competed in Dressage, Cross-Country, and Stadium Jumping.

Horses: Juniper, Wonder Girl, Meeko, Raja, Dr. Watson

Riders: Mark, Katie, Louisa, Aleka

Mark placed 2nd (on Juniper) and Katie placed 3rd (on Wonder Girl) in Training division.

Mark took 3rd (on Meeko) and Aleka took 5th (on Dr. Watson) in Beginner Novice.

Amanda Plucker took awesome photos. Here are some of them.

Louisa was in 2nd place after dressage and stadium jumping, but Raja slipped in the mud during x-country and didn't complete the course. See the photo where Louisa stays on (amazing!) while the horse sits down in a slide right into the table jump.



Minnesota Horse Council's Horseperson of the Year!

Mark Ward was named the 2016 Minneosta Horse Person of the Year.

Mark was honored with award presentations in the Coliseum all three days at the MN Horse Expo.



Trail rides for 2017

Trail rides are for our lesson students only.

Crow-Hassan map


Granite is a movie star!

A Documentary to be shown in April on public TV will feature a scene with our horse, Granite, being ridden by the main character, Dakota Chief Little Crow.

When to view and more details



Finding fun in the paddock

Talbot Ward ran out of snow for his sled. Manure mountain served as a unique alternative.

Watch the video.


New member of the WRR herd: Bongo!

Bongo! is a 3 year old Percheron/Quarter-Horse cross. His personality is as cute as his face is big.

(Shown here with Grace Steinhagen.)

Bongo's first trot under a rider. (Following three weeks of ground training.)

When the water approaches the barn door, it's time to pump it elsewhere.

Click the image for video.

Believe it or not, Remy ran right through the high-power spray of filthy water. Didn't catch that on video, darn!

Don't Underestimate Bingo!

The little guy has a BIG jump!

Photo taken Nov 5, 2016 by Mikayla Kammueller

Rider: Addi Mommsen

(Click the thumbnail image to the left to see full size image.)



October 30 -- WRRHC Halloween Fun Show !! (10:30 am)

Register to participate or just plan to come and watch our costume and other fun riding events.

Details and show bill.

Goblin Ribbon race course


At the Fall 2016 Otter Creek Eventing Show, 8 riders from the Windy Ridge Ranch competed in Dressage, Cross-Country, and Stadium Jumping.


Dynamite, 1986-Sept. 13, 2016.

Dyna was a terrific schooling horse for 23 years at the Windy Ridge Ranch. We still have her 1994 foal, Gammon, who remained dedicated to Dyna to the end.


Lilly, our 12-year-old quarter horse mare, was euthanized September 3, 2016, due to severe complications from allergies to just about everything in her environment, including grass, various tree pollens and dust. She was a talented, beautiful, and sweet mare, adored by those who got to ride her, previous lessees Tessa, Samantha M, Lynne and Dani, and her longest and most recent lessee, Marney.


At the August 2016 Otter Creek Eventing Show, 9 riders from the Windy Ridge Ranch competed in Dressage, Cross-Country, and Stadium Jumping.

We all had some fantastic rides and the WRR took lots of ribbons!

More Details, including placings.



Drill Team and JETs performed at the Washington County Fair on Thursday Aug 4th, 7pm.

Both teams put on precision pattern rides (to music) at our local County Fair in Lake Elmo.

Links to last year's performances: JETs- Drill Team


Fun Show at WRR on Sunday July 17th (8:30am)

The show was a great success with 40 competitors. Lots of fast runs in poles and barrels! And the JETs gave a great drill performance.



Friday-Saturday, June 10-11, we held a 2-day Eventing Trial at WRR

WRR riders competed in our own backyard at Dressage, Cross Country, and Stadium Jumping.

Janna Kysilko provided a dressage clinic and judge tests on Friday. Cross-country on Friday. Stadium Jumping on Saturday.

Spring 2016 Otter Creek May 19-22

Six of our horses and riders competed, garnering a few ribbons, confidence and valuable lessons!


2015 dt thumb

2016 Drill Team Pattern (rough drawings)


Trail rides for 2016

Trail rides are for our lesson students only

Crow-Hassan map



Barn Improvements!!!

As of April 23, our barn construction is almost complete. In the next couple of weeks we'll get concrete poured, new LED lights in the arena, electric overhead doors, and a counter in the office. Our indoor riding ring and equipment barn are now insulated with new steel siding, roofs and doors. Our office is revamped with a new window, doors, cabinets and a counter. It's all beautiful!



Share the Love! Day at WRR

On Sunday Feb 14 friends & family members of WRR riders came to the WRR and enjoyed a 30 min "mini-lesson."

Tugg - Unbranded in Oakdale, MN on Tuesday, March 15,  6:30PM

Windy Ridge Riders Movie Date

On March 15 we held our own showing of the movie "Unbranded" at the Marcus Theater in Oakdale. We filled the theatre!

Tickets were available through Tugg promotions, which worked quite well. -- See Tugg.

The plight of the wild mustang in the western states was documented along with a beautifully filmed and adventurous ride from Mexico to Canada.

2015 dt thumb

Drill Team 2015 Pattern

Windy Ridge Riders Horse Club Drill Team riders --- review the pattern before each practice.

Working DT pattern, updated 6/24/2015

See a 3 minute video, displaying the 110 pages of pattern drawings.


JETs Team 2015 Pattern

Here's a beautiful drawing of our new pattern for 2015


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




More News and Events


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


Fractal Movie (Mark at play on his computer)

Current Weather at WRR