The Wild Winds Ranch in West Salem is taking horsing around to a whole new level, by giving people the perfect summer activity.
The state-of-the-art ranch sits on 53 acres, where people come all year-round to ride horses. Owner Peggy Lovejoy grew up on horseback, and says opening a ranch for people to enjoy was a natural fit.
"I don’t do anything small," Lovejoy said. "So we built a barn and then we added on, and added on and added on. We have an outdoor arena, we have the indoor arena that’s heated all winter, and then up through the bluffs we have beautiful trails."
Lovejoy believes the connection between people and horses runs deep, and sees first hand how therapeutic riding can be for people with disabilities, children and adults alike.
"Especially today kids are so very drawn to their electronics, that sometimes they aren’t exposed to enough nature. Here they can get out on the trails and experience what it’s like," Lovejoy added.
The ranch is filled with boarders, show horses and broodmares, but features eight lesson horses throughout the year. A dream come true, for those interested in riding.
"Usually they come in and they can’t believe they are finally here, they finally get to do it," Sheridan Blaschke, Lesson and Camp Coordinator said. "We bring them and we teach them basically from the ground up."
That means the ranch teaches everything from necessary preparation like brushing the horses down and cleaning their hooves, to the etiquette of riding. As with anything, it’s a skill that takes time and practice, but once mastered, the friendship between a horse and a human can last a lifetime.
"Horseback riding is I think one of the most joyous things that you can do. There’s definitely a certain kind of bond between you and horse. It’s an amazing way to get out an experience the outdoors, just in a very different way," Blaschke added.
A way to start the summer off, right out of the gate.
For another adventure make sure to check back next Wednesday for a new episode of Hometown Tourist, and a chance to make the La Crosse area your own.