About River Valley Riders

Our Organization

River Valley Riders is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to create a supportive community where people with special needs connect with horses and experience life-changing benefits.  Our equine-assisted services include therapeutic horseback riding, carriage driving and hippotherapy.

All of our lessons are open to students in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area and western Wisconsin and take place from mid-April through early-November. We are proud to say that our services are possible with the help of over 200 caring volunteers who dedicate approximately 6,000 hours annually! As a team, we work together to enhance the participant’s physical, cognitive and emotional health while building a community of structure and support.

PATH_Logo_Member_RGB_SQUARE_550x550.jpgPlease note: Safety is a high priority and we conduct all lessons in accordance with the safety, training and instructional guidelines of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.

IRS Letter of Determination

2022 Annual Report
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2020 Annual Report
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2020 IRS 990
2019 Annual Report
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2018 Financial Report
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Research demonstrates that therapeutic horseback riding can have many benefits.


Because a horse's gait is similar to the human walk, this three-dimensional movement is transferred from the horse to the rider and helps to strengthen spine and pelvic muscles and improve posture and balance. Additional exercises during lessons help to improve coordination and increase flexibility.


Lessons incorporate educational activities to improve hand-eye coordination and communication, as well as reading and math skills.


Riders develop self-confidence and self-esteem by accomplishing challenges as independently as possible. The instructors and volunteers always interact with the riders with patience and kindness while our horses offer unconditional acceptance.


Organization's History

Coming together with their combined therapeutic horseback riding experience, in both administration and instruction, Joan Berg, Jenny Elholm and Cheryl Holt founded River Valley Riders as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in August 1999.  The first lessons were offered in the spring of 2000.  The organization began with 18 riders and has grown to serve over 150 riders and carriage drivers in 2023.

Board of Directors and Staff Listing