Human Services


Woodbury, MN


River Valley Riders is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs by provided equine assisted activities and therapies.

Notes from the Nonprofit

What will RVR look like in two years? Five years? Ten years? When you think about how far we have come since our beginning, measuring the growth of RVR is amazing. From the first lessons in 2000, the number of riders and drivers has increased from 18 to 60…an increase of 233%!

To have an effect on the proven need for the services that RVR provides, growth must continue.

We are good at what we do; doing more of it is only natural.

Families of children and the adults who reach out to RVR discover the profound effect the horse creates in their daily lives. The weeks pass by with consistent lessons, encouraging volunteers, and that great horse giving them a one of a kind experience.

We do this because it works; we see success, improvements for our riders and drivers, both physically and emotionally.

RVR prepared to sustain continued growth by purchasing land in Afton, Minnesota. 2014 was a busy year for improvements. New projects have been completed or are under construction including better lighting, a picnic shelter, a storage building, and a well.

Building a year-round facility for RVR participants seems an immense dream. One we are taking steps to achieve. We continue to move forward because of so many dedicated volunteers and generous donors. Together we can do this!

This is the time to fulfill the dream, the time for action, the time to build.

Yours Truly,
Joan Berg

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Joan Dorle Berg


Cheryl Holt

Main Address

8362 Tamarack Village Suite 119-440

Woodbury, MN 55125 USA


therapeutic horseback riding, equine assisted activities





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

River Valley Riders serves people with special needs. This is a broad statement and includes people with physical, developmental, cognitive and social issues. RVR can also help people with mental health or life skills difficulties.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Equine assisted activities

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

River Valley Riders' mission is to serve a diverse population of people with special needs through relationship and activities with horses. The goal is to see participants enjoy greater physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits in their lives.

River Valley Riders offers therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving programs for their participant with diverse special needs. RVR is also ready to partner with counselors, social workers and others to offer non-riding activities which can build life skills and address a variety of mental health or learning issues.

River Valley Riders is currently an all-volunteer organization (2018). Dedicated, certified staff offer quality lessons for participants. 200 lesson volunteers support participants in their efforts. A solid financial base supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations allow successful operations and a capital base to improve and build facilities.

In determining the effectiveness and the successful results of therapeutic riding and driving for the individual participant, physical changes are measured by objective standards such as the time spent performing an activity or the repetitions of an exercise. Other objective changes include improvements to flexibility or muscle tone as evaluated by a physical therapist or physician. Most emotional or social changes are assessed by the responses of the volunteer evaluations and parent/caregiver surveys. After each lesson, the riders and drivers are evaluated by their volunteers in the areas of balance, social interaction, and confidence. The instructors also monitor riding and driving skills and posture to set goals for each individual that are recorded with the volunteers' evaluations. Two times per year, River Valley Riders requests that parents or caregivers complete a survey to record the physical, emotional or social benefits that they have noticed in their son or daughter. Finally, all riders and drivers are required to be examined and evaluated by a physician annually.

For the organization, the effectiveness and the successful results will be measured by the number of classes and participants served each week.

Program: From the first lessons in 2000, the number of participants in horseback riding and carriage driving served each week has increased from 18 to 70. 2018: Programs are seasonal May through October. Once facility is complete, programs will run year round.

Facility: Funds raised to purchase 38 acres of land in Afton, MN. Current (2018) assets include an outdoor riding arena, hay field, carriage track, storage building, tack shed, picnic shelter and small paddocks. Future facilities will include an indoor arena, stable, pastures, offices and therapy rooms.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International




Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2016 and 2015
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members and Volunteers.

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members and Volunteers.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members and Volunteers.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
River Valley Riders does not condone or excuse discrimination or harassment of any kind. River Valley Riders policy prohibits its employees, volunteers, and Board of Directors from discriminating against or harassing clients, employees or volunteers based on gender, sexual preference, religion, mental or physical impairment, age, race, marital status, creed, color, or national origin. River Valley Riders will take immediate steps to address complaints of racist or ethnic slurs, or harassment based on age, disability, sexual preference, or any characteristic protected by law. A client, employee or volunteer who believes he or she has been the victim of any kind of discrimination or harassment should report the incident immediately to River Valley Rider’s Executive Director, who will investigate all such complaints.