By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Over the past year, there’s been a bit of a river renaissance. People getting to know the outdoors all over again- and many are doing it on top of a horse.

Near the town of Carver, it’s horses not little red corvettes who make the River Valley Ranch go.

READ MORE: If Minneapolis Voters Choose To Replace The Police Department, What Happens Next?

“We’ve got a horse named Prince. We got him the day after Prince died,” said Mitch Jamison, a ranch hand.

“I always like to say that I started walking, then riding, then stopped walking so much,” said Evan Buell.

Evan is the ranch manager here. He grew up cleaning stalls and baling hay. Now he’s watching the life-long interest he’s always had, rub off on others.

“Last year when things started opening up again and coming out from lockdowns, to be honest, it caught us completely unawares with how interested people were,” said Buell.

And it’s easy to see why when 56 horses help cover 400 scenic and sunny acres.

(credit: CBS)

“You get a nice view of the river valley. You get into the river valley,” said Buell.

READ MORE: 'Our Hearts Are Broken': Twin Cities Pastor Killed By Driver In Rosemount

Putting one hoof in front of the other the route takes you through bluff country then towards the Minnesota River where the scenery really comes to life.

“Sometimes you see beaver, snapping turtles, fox,” said Buell.

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

“We just couldn’t wait to get out here and have a good time,” said visitor Kathy Cahlander. “For me, it’s the most fun I can have.”

Kathy and her friend Laura Williams are among those saddling up this summer, combining their love for both horses and Mother Nature.

“I am an outdoors girl. When you are cooped up all winter long in Minnesota you take advantage of every day you can get. To be outside, there’s nothing like being around animals, and horses are awesome,” said Williams.

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

“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,” said Buell.

MORE NEWS: St. Paul Registered Sex Offender Indicted for Child Pornography

The riding routes are anywhere from two to four miles at the River Valley Ranch.

John Lauritsen