I am in love. With the horses of Hardwood Creek Farm. Lyle and Colleen Wick of Hardwood Creek Farm run a program that is unlike any other I have come across. It is not necessarily better than any of the others, but it is very different. And apparently I like their horses because I drove away thinking I need to come back to these horses. Soon.
Where is Hardwood Creek Farm?
Hardwood Creek Farm is located in Hugo, 30 minutes north of St. Paul Just off 35 E. It's easy to get to from Centerville, White Bear Lake, Lino Lakes, Forest Lake, and the surrounding areas.
The fields surrounding Hardwood Creek Farm are used to grow hay for the horses in the stables. The Morgans and Saddlebreds at Hardwood Creek Farms are lesson horses and boarded horses. The lesson horses are owned by the farm for the purpose of learning to ride. However, these horses can also be used to compete in schooling shows. Competing is highly encouraged.
Hardwood Creek's primary focus is the ring. Showing horses is serious business. They strive for an excellent program to prepare horses and riders to succeed.
To build on a foundation of proper riding techniques, Hardwood Creek Farm gives lessons: Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat, or Western Seat riding.
Training horses is another component in being a serious competitor at local, regional, and national events.
Horses are boarded by their owners at Hardwood Creek, too. These horses will be award winners. There are no hobby horses here because each one must pull their own weight!
Hardwood Creek is also a great place to buy a Saddlebred or Morgan horse.
Lyle and Colleen Hardwick have been working with horses for over 35 years. Lyle has his masters in Agricultural Education. In 1983 while teaching at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, they began being serious about training and instruction.
Taken from Hardwood Creek's Website: Colleen and Lyle have played active roles in regional and national Morgan and Saddlebred horse organizations. Lyle also serves as a judge at horse shows across the country. In 2008, Lyle and Colleen received a special award of recognition from the American Morgan Horse Association for their outstanding dedication and contributions to the Morgan horse.
Both Colleen and Lyle have been showing horses professionally for many years and have been actively competing with much success; however, with less frequency now. Taking their student to the amateur shows around the country takes up most of their time.
Hardwood Creek Farm is a world-class facility and has been in their current location in Hugo for 15 years.
Hardwood Creek Farm Offers
Lyle and Colleen give lessons as well as Marlys Bell who successfully competed for many years. Lessons are give in a 80x200 indoor arena or the outdoor arena in front of the farm. Lessons are available Monday-Friday from 3:00 pm and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. With flexible scheduling, lessons can occur once a week or more often.
Beginning Lessons are private 30 minute lessons starting as early as age 5. They have group lessons for those ages 9 and older who are not beginners. These are the most cost effective ($35/each, $190/package of 6). However, instructors prefer private ($45/each, $245/6 lessons) or semi-private ($40/each, $220/6 lessons).
Full boarding services and proper horse training are at a high level. I was able to observe a 5 gaited Saddlebred being worked. It was incredible!
- We were warmly greeted by the family pooches and actually led to the barn by them. The Wicks (and their family including the dogs, cat, rooster, and goat) are very kind, friendly, and welcoming.
- While the Wicks are very serious about training and safety, they are very at ease mixing children and horses. I was able to observe their calm instruction to my boys enjoying them as they enjoyed the farm. It sets a parent at ease that they don't panic even when a children panics and darts "into safety" while running into the path of the horse.
- Beautiful horses! I am in love! (have I mentioned that?)
You don't have to be a serious horseman to benefit from Hardwood Creek Farm. They enjoy introducing small children to horses and the barn, and yet take training to a very serious level with both horse and rider. You would be hard-pressed to find a facility like Hardwood Creek Farm.
This article was originally published by Gianna Kordatzky on October 8, 2013, as part of a series of stable reviews. Find them all in our Twin Cities Stables Overview.