Riverview Ranch & Resort

Horse Ranch and petting farm

More info

From the desk of Wrangler Roger: I've had several people tell me that they are confused about the pricing for our horseback riding and petting zoo.
So, I wrote this page to help explain it a little better.

How does the pricing work?

For groups of 6 or less people we charge $150 for an hour. ($25 for each 10 minutes extra).
So, if a party of 6 visitors, two of whom will ride the horse, stay for an hour we charge $150. If a party of four all ride for five minutes each and pet the zoo for the remaining 40 minutes we charge $150. If a party of 3 spends an hour riding and does not pet the zoo we charge $150. If a party of 6 rides for an hour and pets the zoo for an extra 20 minutes we charge $200.

Maximum of 6 visitors at a time on the property.

What will you be paying for?

Resort guests are surrounded by the animals while they are staying here. So, in essence, the petting zoo experience is continuous for resort guests, even if they do not pay extra for the ranch experience.

The horses and goats often hang out in the indoor arena just outside the lobby equuarium. Unit 3 and unit 2B also have windows that overlook the indoor arena so guests in those units can watch the horses and goats as they have breakfast. The horses also often graze under the apartments' view of the Mississippi river and setting sun so they enhance the already spectacular views we have. The dogs and pig walk all around and often come into the lobby, so resort guests will see them up close regularly. We have guinea pigs that reside in the lobby so they are available to Resort guests any time of day or night. The chickens, goats, and ducks wander all over the place outside so resort guests will likely see them when going out.

Resort guests can pet horses over the fence, at their own risk, without a wrangler, but to go into horse enclosures or to ride a horse we need a signed liability waiver. It is the wrangler's time, and access to the pastures and stable area, that we charge for. I can spend time giving a horseback ride just as easily as I can spend time giving meal worms to kids to feed to the chickens. So, it is up to the resort guest or ranch visitor and their children what we do. I let the guests and visitors decide what they want me to spend my time on and I charge for my time.

When a guest or visitor wants to ride a horse or enter a horse enclosure I will ask them to fill out and sign the liability waiver and get helmets for anyone who wants to ride. Even if ranch visitors don't plan to ride they still need to sign the waiver if they want to be on the property. Resort guests don't need to sign the waiver unless they want to ride a horse or enter a horse enclosure or use the bikes/boats. We'll figure out what type of equipment is best for the riders' size and a wrangler will saddle up the horse.

If a child is too small or afraid to ride by him/herself we can put Mom or Dad on the horse and then put the child in their lap. You can expect that we will begin the ranch experience with me leading one of our beginner horses. We will swap out riders periodically. How long does each rider get? That's up to you. If there are two riders we'll normally give two fifteen minute rides and then move on to the petting zoo. If the visitors don't want to do the petting zoo we can ride for half an hour each. We're pretty flexible so just tell us what you want.

Resort guests with only one child may want to ride for a shorter time. We can accommodate this on a case by case basis. Ranch visitors with only one child can opt for a minimum of 40 minutes of wrangler's time for $100.

While I am leading the horse with each rider the rest of the group will be watching, taking photos and petting our dogs, goats and other critters in the pasture. Feel free to walk alongside the horse to encourage riders or to take pictures. Kids who are not riding are free to run around in the pasture as long as they are responsive to safety instructions.

I usually don't mind people staying past their allotted time, if we don't have other commitments, but I charge $25 for each ten minutes of overtime.

How did our pricing structure evolve?

I played around a bit with complex pricing structures that seemed to need tweaking every time there was a different set of circumstances, which was every customer. Some people have riding experience, some don't. Some people want us to lead the horse, some want to ride free rein. Some people are afraid to get on the horse, some want to go too fast. Some people want to go on a trail ride, which we don't do. Some want to ride forever and others are more interested in the small critters and grooming the horses. Sometimes the weather is wonderful and sometimes we need to use the indoor riding arena to get out of the rain. It was difficult to nail down a pricing plan to address all the variables. I found that trying to account for all the variables in a complex pricing structure was confusing to customers and to myself. I've settled on a simple pricing structure now that seems to make sense for a variety of possible experiences. We are flexible with what we offer and a time based pricing structure seems to make the most sense. It preserves flexibility and allows each visitor to tailor their experience to their own changing interests in real time. You don't need to make up your mind about what you want and we don't need to tell you exactly what you will be doing until you arrive, and can see what is here. Horseback riding and petting zoo is available to you and you get to decide which you want to do in the time you pay for.

How long have we been in business?

We started giving horseback rides for hire in early 2020. We halted operations while COVID played out, and Started up again in spring 2021. The roof of our indoor riding arena collapsed in February, 2021 so, on the side of safety, we decided that we would not allow riders to control the horse themselves (free rein). Instead, I would walk in front of the horse with a rope clipped to the horse's halter and lead it while riders are on the horse. This is a very safe way for a beginner to ride a horse, but it might be a little boring for teenagers and adults, especially those with riding experience.

Free rein rides for riders with some experience.

Since we have replaced the section of our arena roof that collapsed we are more comfortable now allowing free rein rides for people who don't want to just sit on a horse led by a wrangler.

As of late October 2021 we offer free rein horseback rides on a case by case basis. These rides are limited to two horses at a time, initially, and both myself and my wife must be available to wrangle/instruct. We do not take anyone's self-assessment of their riding ability without first proving to us that they know how to ride a horse correctly. Free-rein riders must demonstrate positive and compassionate control of the horse before we will allow them to ride outside the indoor arena. We don't want anyone getting hurt and we don't want our horses to get bad habits so we will be very hands-on.

As we become comfortable with a rider's ability to safely and compassionately control our horses we may offer more leeway in where they can ride and how fast they can go. It is our hope to provide, probably in spring 2022, an option for intermediate to advanced riders to ride a mini-trail ride around our 6.5 acre property two horses at a time. There is a beautiful view of the river from our upper pasture that we want to share with riders. There are steep inclines that are fun to go up and down on horseback. It would be a short ride of about 20-30 minutes to go once around the loop walking. The loop would include riding through our pastures with the gates open.

Wranglers will monitor free rein riders closely and will offer instruction as necessary.

If we have good experiences with free rein riding we may opt to provide the mini-trail ride to larger groups starting possibly in spring 2023.

Price for free-rein riding is the same as for lead-line riding for one horse at a time. However, two horse at a time free-rein riding will be $60/hr more. For example: one hour of two horse free rein riding would be $210. Resort guests get 20% discount.

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