Finding Minnesota: River Valley Ranch

John Lauritsen saddles up in Carver County and heads to the Minnesota River (2:26). WCCO 4 News At 10 - June 9, 2021

Video Transcript

- Over the past year, there's been a bit of a river renaissance. Families are getting to know the outdoors all over again, and many are doing it on horseback. In this week's "Finding Minnesota," John Lauritsen saddles up in Carver County and heads to the Minnesota River.

EVAN BUELL: But it kind of comes down to your preference at this point.

JOHN LAURITSEN: OK.

EVAN BUELL: We've got a few good horses that are going to work well for your experience level.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Near the town of Carver--

EVAN BUELL: Like Prince. I think we got Prince the day after Prince died.

JOHN LAURITSEN: It's horses, not little red corvettes, who make the River Valley Ranch go.

EVAN BUELL: I always like to say that I started walking, and I started riding, and I stopped walking so much.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Evan Buell is the ranch manager here. He grew up cleaning stalls and baling hay. Now he's watching the lifelong interest he's always had rub off on others.

EVAN BUELL: Last year, once things started to open up again and people started to come out from the lockdowns, to be honest, we were caught completely unawares with how much interest there was.

JOHN LAURITSEN: And it's easy to see why. 56 horses helped cover 400 scenic and sunny acres.

EVAN BUELL: You get a nice view of the River Valley. You get down into the River Valley.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Putting one hoof in front of the other, the route takes you through Bluff Country.

Would you say on these tours the most popular place to go by is the river?

EVAN BUELL: Yeah, that's one of the spots a lot of the folks like to go.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Where the scenery really comes to life.

EVAN BUELL: Sometimes you see beavers, snapping turtles, a fox.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Bald eagles are a common sight. They nest near the trail giving river riders a good look.

KATHY CAHLANDER: We just couldn't wait to get out here and have a good time. For me, it's the most fun I can have.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Kathy Cahlander and Laura Williams are among those saddling up this summer combining their love for both horses and mother nature.

LAURA WILLIAMS: I am an outdoors girl, and when you're cooped up all winter long in Minnesota, you take advantage of every day you can get to be outside. And there's nothing like being around animals, and horses are awesome.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Connection is key during a time when everyone could use a four-legged friend.

EVAN BUELL: But it's that relationship you start to kindle with the animal you're working with, getting out into the elements, and just enjoying the creation around you.

JOHN LAURITSEN: In Carver County, John Lauritsen, WCCO 4 News.

- The riding routes are anywhere from two to four miles at the River Valley Ranch. For more information, just visit wcco.com/links.