Woodloch Stable owned by the Ramberg family knows horses and have been running this family business for 36 years. The Woodloch Stable Motto is "a horse is a horse." That doesn't mean a horse is to be taken lightly or disrespected. The emphasis is on the rider and what he/she wants to do. Give them the right instruction, and riders should be able to enjoy any horse that fits their needs. And Woodloch Stable is able to provide that for you.
Woodloch Stable is located 30 minutes north of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Hugo, east of 35 E just a couple of miles. Perfect for horses, it is surrounded by fields and open space.. In fact, it's not the only stable along 170th. The area is beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
With 130 horses, Woodloch is busy with boarding and with caring for their school horses. They have plenty of space in the two barns. They rotate their horses throughout the day and night between the pastures and the stalls. They also board pastured horses (horses that don't have a stall) but never more than 11 at a time.
With a staff of about 25, Woodloch is well-equipped to provide you with a postive experience as well as thoroughly take care of the horses. Ingvill manages a staff of five full-time instructors and a couple of part-time instructors.
Woodloch Stable's Daily Activities
Woodloch Stables focuses on boarding horses (they board about 100), training, and riding lessons. They teach all styles of Western and English riding including western pleasure, dressage, huntseat, jumping, eventing, games and trail riding.
Woodloch has a rodeo arena, an International size outdoor jumping arena, an outside schooling arena, two indoor arenas (one is heated in the winter time), and a one mile track. They are in the process of building a Cross country course--a course with many different types of jumps including water jumps, table and bench jumps, ditches, etc. Woodloch has seven large pastures and 20 paddocks (small pastures) for the horses and ponies.
Woodloch has 200 acres of hayfield where they grow the farm's main supply of food for the horses -- as well as more acres they rent from neighboring farmers.
Woodloch began with 22 stalls, a few good horses, a truck and a trail. Dan and Elaine Ramberg originally used Woodloch in 1977 as a stable to supply Canterbury Downs with premium horses. They built a racetrack on the grounds to provide optimal boarding for the horses.
Dan Ramberg knows all about risks. When he was in his teens, he and his cousin Karen Abraham perfected a 3 horse Roman Ride that included the horses jumping through a ring of fire while Karen sat on Dan's shoulders. I saw pictures of this amazing act, but I still can't wrap my head around it. They performed at many fairs, shows, and rodeos. And no one has been able to do anything like it since. Dan used a stallion, a mare, and their foal (when it was grown). It was a family affair even back then.
Currently, Bill--Dan and Elaine's son--and Ingvill Ramberg operate Woodloch. Ingvill competes in 3 Day Eventing (kind of like an equestrian triathalon) riding Jamie, an Irish Sport horse--a cross of a thoroughbred and an Irish Draft horse. He is a big, beautiful horse. Jamie and Ingvill are quite successful. One wall in her office is filled with ribbons--most won by Jamie's predecessor. Ingvill came from Norway to work at Woodloch as a University Student Worker to learn about the Western-style philosophy, got married, and now is a part of the family and the business.
Woodloch offers almost everything you can imagine by way of lessons. (Also, they are able to provide training for your horse, both in the English philosophy and in the Western philosophy.) Most lessons are scheduled during the weekdays from 4:00-7:00 pm and during the weekends by request.
- Lessons in all disciplines: English and Western. Every first time lesson is treated as if the student were a beginner so as not to leave any information about Woodloch out. Riding is not the only emphasis. Woodloch wants each student to become a well-rounded horseman. In that spirit, you will learn how to catch your horse, lead, groom, tack up, ride, and care for it.
- Part of learning to enjoy your horse is by participating in activities outside your lessons. Woodloch hosts and participates in many schooling shows, drill teams, clinics, day camps, trail rides, and overnight camping trips.
- Group lessons are encouraged, but private lessons and semi-private lessons are offered mainly to work on problem areas or to be able to practice on specific skills.
- Tiny Tots Lessons: If you have a child who is 3-6 years old, you can schedule a time with Ingvill to begin working with Woodloch's ponies. These lessons are a unique program that Woodloch offers. They have mild-mannered ponies, perfect for your littlest ones to learn the beginning of horsemanship. These lessons are extremely popular and keep Ingvill very busy.
- Team Driving Lessons are offered for individuals or as clinics, team building activities, and special gatherings. You can also use their professional chef or bring your own food for a unique experience with your group.
- Birthday Parties: Pony rides, Hay rides, or Paint a Pony Party. Rent up to 4 ponies per hour for a pony lead and use their party room. Enjoy a bonfire and a hayride with Woodloch's big black Percheron draft horses. Or schedule a 90 minute Paint a Pony party. You will be able to literally paint a pony with finger paints! If you want a memorable party for your child, Woodloch could be your answer.
Woodloch's Word of Advice
Directly from Ingvill, "It is a personal preference what you as a rider would like to choose as your discipline, but we do offer western group lessons as first option. We also do have English tack for the students to use as well if they prefer to use that in their group lessons."
My Impressions of Woodloch
- Pleasant and knowledgeable staff makes a parent feel at ease about leaving their children in their care.
- Focus on the relationship between the rider and horse is important to Woodloch. Ingvill does not move a student into group lessons until she is confident that the student is comfortable around the horse and can hold his/her own.
- With a wide variety of drills to choose from, you will be able to have a well rounded experience without traveling all over the country.
- The prices of the riding lessons are fairly affordable. Group lessons are $120 for a package of four, semi-private lessons are $40 (for an hour), and private lessons are $65 (for an hour).
- Woodloch is a large operation, but they take their students and their horses very seriously. They have a wonderful facility to use and are very intentional about safety. I have a friend who took lessons with them many years ago and loved it.
- Woodloch is an exciting facility to learn at. You will love it!
This article was originally published by Gianna Kordatzky on September 17, 2013, as part of a series of stable reviews. Find them all in our Twin Cities Stables Overview.