Twin Cities Stables: Windy Ridge Ranch

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On the east side of the Metro and interested in learning how to ride and care for a horse?  Head on over to Windy Ridge Ranch.  


DSCF8144Where is Windy Ridge Ranch?

Windy Ridge Ranch is located on Manning Avenue South, 2.8 miles south of I-94.  The entrance is at the bottom of rolling hills, and the property sits on 22 acres, high on a ridge.  

DSCF8135A Picture of Windy Ridge Ranch

Mark  Ward started Windy Ridge Ranch in 1979, and has been running it ever since.  He began with boarding horses and teaching riding lessons. No longer boarding horses, he owns 47 well-trained lessons horses, many of whom are also leased to students.

The chief activity of the operation is group riding lessons for ages 7 through adult.  

Mark and his wife, Katie, run the ranch with the help of Mark’s son and daughter-in-law. Mark teaches the group lessons. Katie helps with jumping lessons and gives some of Mark’s riders private lessons.  

Lessons are given in English and Western as well as dressage and jumping. They both participate in competitions and take lessons themselves, so you know they have a current and active knowledge of horsemanship.   


DSCF8137Mark has a large personality and a voice that carries across an arena.  He has confidence and  grace which is crucial for  teaching riders and training horses.  He is calm and patient with horses and with students, helping them to understand concepts and to progress in their riding skills.  



What does Windy Ridge Ranch Offer?


  • Group Lessons, year-round:  PeeWee, Junior Beginner, Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Intermediate & AdvancedPee Wee Classes are 30 minutes long, for ages of 7-11, and are given twice a month.  They cost $30 each.  Junior Beginner Classes are 45 minutes, for ages 9-11 and are given weekly for 6 weeks.  Each session of six is $190.  Beginner Through Advanced Classes are one or 1.5-hours, for ages 12-adult, and are given weekly for 6 weeks.  Each session is $160 ($200 for 1.5-hours). There is a one-time $20 registration fee for new students. Students must be in good physical condition and have a good strength-to-weight ratio.

  • Leasing Program –available for serious students to enjoy practicially all the riding time they would like.


DSCF8132Windy Ridge Ranch provides a well-organized equestrian program for every level of rider.  Fun, safety, and good horsemanship are emphasized for both beginners and advanced riders. Experienced  students have the opportunity to practice ride or lease a horse, to go on trail rides and camping trips, to compete in various shows, to join 4-H, and  to participate in other activities, such as Drill Teams, which show at the county and state fairs.


DSCF8125First Impressions of Windy Ridge Ranch

  • It was easy to find and had a lot of room for parking.  

  • Everyone was so friendly, from Mark to the beginners. I was invited to ask questions, and all were eager to show my kids the beautiful animals being groomed.  We did not feel like we were intruding, and it was easy to navigate around the ranch.

  • They have three arenas: two outdoor and one indoor.  Everything runs like clockwork.  When one class is in session, students in the next class are grooming their horses and preparing to ride.  The indoor arena means lessons can be held year-round. They are only cancelled due to extreme temperatures or extreme storms.

  • Riders could choose for themselves if they wanted to ride Western, English, or even bareback, but every rider, no matter what style of riding they choose is required to wear a helmet.   We were able to watch as they learned horse handling, horse care and riding etiquette. 

As a parent, I would be very confident having Kyla take lessons here.  Mark knew all his students by name.  There was an appropriate balance of instruction  and practice. He was confident and took safety seriously. Checking out Windy Ridge Ranch is worth your time.

DSCF8154Windy Ridge Ranch LLC
2700 Manning Ave. S.
Woodbury, MN 55129-9256

651-436-6557 (a good time to call is weekdays 9am-2pm)

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About the author

Gianna Kordatzky

I am married to the craziest, most awesome man I know. We have four kids--Ranging in ages from 5-10. You can learn more about my life as a mother and wife at .

I love to throw parties and be with friends. I love to read my Bible and grow closer to God. I love to eat and exercise. I have learned to love coffee.
And I could really use a nap.

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  • […] Windy Ridge Ranch–Mark Ward was a powerhouse.  Being that this was my first step into the horsemanship journey, I didn’t even know what questions to ask.  I was impressed by Mark’s hands-on approach and the different ways to be active in the equestrian world.  A unique feature was that during group lessons, the rider could ride bareback, in a western saddle, or in a huntseat saddle (English).  It didn’t really matter as long as the rider was comfortable. […]

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