Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Horse ranch now open near Emo

Having grown up with horses, Angela Halvorsen is now ready to share her passion with others as she opens her “Dreamweaver Ranch,” located just south of Emo.
“I’ve had this idea for years,” Halvorsen remarked, noting she often invites people, especially young children she knows, out to ride or see the horses.

“My mom would tell me that I have so much patience with the kids; that I have a knack for teaching them,” she recalled.
“So I started looking into it.”
But when it came to liability insurance, Halvorsen received a very high quote, which deterred her from pursuing it further.
Yet she kept getting the feeling that she should be sharing her horses with others. So she completed her business plan and sent out a survey to local residents.
“I was happy to see that it came back very positive,” Halvorsen said, adding she also talked to others in the area who offer similar services.
“There is obviously a demand for it.”
So again, Halvorsen looked at liability insurance—and this time got a reasonable quote.
“I guess the time is now—everything’s working out,” she noted.
Halvorsen will continue to work full-time for the Rainy River District Future Development Corp., so the ranch will be a part-time business—mostly open on evenings and weekends.
“I’m so entrepreneurial-minded so this is just very exciting for me,” she enthused.
While riders of all levels are welcome to visit the ranch, Halvorsen’s aim is to give people a positive first experience with horses.
“I want to introduce people to horses in a safe environment,” she explained, noting people sometimes get scared because horses are so big.
“But I want them to have fun and to really learn about the animals,” she reasoned.
That’s why Halvorsen has horses of different breeds and sizes, including miniatures, for people to get acquainted with.
“They are well-trained animals and they like kids,” she stressed, noting she has five horses currently at the ranch—“Celynas” (a Polish Arabian mare), “Nikki” (a Percheron and Morgan cross), “Star” (a quarterhorse mare), “Teaspoon” (a miniature mare), and “Hollywood” (a miniature gelding).
Halvorsen will be offering one-on-one riding lessons, each about an hour long, in addition to a “Horse Experience” package and a “Ranch Experience” package.
“With the lessons, I’ll teach how to groom, tack, ride, and care for a horse based solely on the individual’s skill level, comfort level, and safety,” she said.
“Horses will be chosen for the individual based on their skill level and the horse’s training level and temperament.”
Halvorsen wants riders to learn to connect with the horse and to feel balanced while riding.
“It’s about riding in unison, rather than a yahoo cowboy,” she explained.
“Good horsemanship starts with a good foundation and trust with the horses.”
Single lessons can be purchased, but also are available in packages of five or 10 lessons.
The “Horse Experience” package is for those who are not ready to get on a horse just yet.
“They will learn about horse behaviour, groundwork, grooming, tacking, exercising, and caring for horses,” Halvorsen said.
The “Ranch Experience” package, meanwhile, includes the “Horse Experience” package but also will showcase some ranch work, such as fencing, feeding, stall management, brushing, and exercising horses.
“The range of topics will be tailored to the student and may vary with the season,” Halvorsen said.
“Dreamweaver Ranch” also will be offering a miniature horse petting zoo, horse/pony rides, and birthday parties.
“The miniatures are so popular,” she noted. “The look on kids’ faces when they meet them is just so fun to see.”
Halvorsen said she will lead children around on the horses while the pony rides will be in a cart.
Birthday parties will include both of these features, as well as a wiener roast over an open bonfire.
“While it is going to be a little weather-dependent, I think they are going to be quite popular,” Halvorsen said of the birthday parties.
Halvorsen said she named her ranch after her first horse, which was born on the family farm in Crozier in 1979 when she was just five years old.
“We named him Dreamweaver,” she recalled, noting it’s after a 1970s hit single of the same name by Gary Wright.
“He stayed on our farm until I moved away for college in 1991,” Halvorsen noted, adding he then was sold him to Joyce Young, who used him for her trail riding and therapeutic riding program for many years.
“Dream,” as he often was known as, passed away a few years ago from old age.
“He was a very special horse,” Halvorsen remarked, noting she started up the ranch as a way to share her love of horses with others.
“Dreamweaver Ranch” is located on Box Alder Road West, about 25 minutes from Fort Frances.
For more information, call Halvorsen at 482-3086.

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