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Woodbury man honored as horseperson of the year

Woodbury horseman and ranch owner Mark Ward (right) was honored as 2016 Horseperson Of The Year last month. Ward and his wife Katie Clapp own Windy Ridge Ranch in Woodbury. At left is Dan Dolan. (Submitted photo)


An equine entrepreneur from Woodbury was honored as the 2016 Horseperson of the Year.

Mark Ward, owner of Windy Ridge Ranch, was honored Jan. 21, by the Minnesota Horse Council.

A lifelong horseman, Ward started the ranch in 1979. He and his staff teach various riding disciplines, including dressage, to 200 students.

Ward founded an equine drill team that still performs in the Woodbury Days parade, as well as others in Afton and Oakdale.

Ward and his wife, Katie Clapp, live on Windy Ranch with 50 horses. They still compete in riding events, along with their grandchildren. Ward has served as president of the nonprofit Minnesota Horse Council, which was founded in 1935 and now promotes and supports equine competitions, education and exhibitions.

They organize the annual Minnesota Horse Expo, which is held in April at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The event draws thousands of horse vendors, businesspeople and riders. Ward will be recognized at that event, and his accomplishment will be commemorated with a plaque in the Horsemans Hall of Fame at the entrance to the coliseum on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

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William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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