La Riviere Riders create family memories

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A few of La Riviere Riders Saddle Club’s younger members enjoy taking charge as they help with the family horse. (Photo by Dee Baker)

By Rachel Mergen

 

With almost a decade of life behind it, the La Riviere Riders Saddle Club of Prairie du Chien is happy to offer horse owners a priceless experience. Finding its home in the beautiful La Riviere Farm Park, the club is organized by volunteers alone and consists of 135 member families. 

La Riviere Farm Park, donated by Dan La Riviere and his family, became a public park in 1977. The park’s 300-acre landscape is defined by a multitude of trails for both horse riding and hiking. The trails have been trotted on since the time Dan La Riviere’s friends visited his farm, traveling on horseback through the terrain. 

To continue the horse riding traditions of the land, the La Riviere Riders Saddle Club was created approximately 10 years ago, with the objective to set up a section of the park for horse riders to stay and enjoy time with their families outside. Multiple shelters and facilities have been built to help reach this goal.

The city recommended that the organization become official so the club members would have an easier time working with the city and keeping the land as enchanting as it originally was. To comply with the requirements of being an official organization, educational events became a part of the club’s yearly line-up, and include open houses and a variety of presenters. 

The club was created as a stand-alone organization, ruled by a board and its members. Monthly meetings are held, which are open to the public.

Members, ages 0 to 85, are delighted by “a nice place to ride” and “a special experience that not many are able to have,” according to member Dee Baker. Each family that would like to join the club pays a small fee to enjoy the property thoroughly, along with the relationships created through being an affiliate.

People come from across the country to visit and enjoy the land. Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota, along with a few out-of-the-Midwest cities like Las Vegas, are all homes to members of the organization. Throughout the years, people have brought their families for vacations to the property, enjoying the city life when the weather isn’t the best. Every visitor has a unique story behind them, an interesting detail of their personalities that they bring to the park. 

The alliance of horse lovers takes pride in being welcoming to the entire family. Those who were once children visiting the park, now can be seen bringing their own families. The organization, along with the events held, “encourages family bonding,” Baker said. 

She mentioned, “Members can get a laugh out of the little kids helping take care of the horses.” The young children find happiness in feeling more grown up as they ride their horses along the trails. Many children revel in being able to show off what they are capable of doing and how much they can help their parents and grandparents, she said. 

Donations and volunteers make everything possible in the park. During the 2015-2016 school year, the Prairie du Chien High School agriculture class built and donated 30 picnic tables to the park and the La Riviere Riders Saddle Club. Multiple events throughout the year are held to help raise money for the club.

An additional benefit of being official is that the group can apply for grants to help with the upkeep of the land.

One of the events that help support the club each year is Rider Appreciation Weekend. This year, the celebration will occur between Friday, June 16, and Sunday, June 18. 

The poker run, held on Saturday, is one of the main attractions during the weekend. After paying a small fee, participants ride to different sites throughout the park and pick up cards to add to their poker hand. When the run is completed, the best hand wins. The winner receives half of the money that was raised by the game, while the other half goes toward supporting the club.

The weekend is designed for everyone to get a thrill in. A meeting, that is open for the public to attend, will be held on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Music will be performed from 4 to 7 p.m., while a pork chop dinner is available to savor. 

“We take pride in the park,” Baker stated, summarizing the feelings of the entire club. She encourages horse owners to join and appreciate the peacefulness available on the trails. 

For more information about the La Riviere Riders Saddle Club, visit www.lariviereriders.com. 

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