By Kelsey Linden
We live in a world where technology is continuously advancing, yet some, like Randy and Colleen Klaers, prefer to keep the small treasures of life simple.
Many years ago, the means to travel were typically by horse and carriage. Now, it’s rare to see a horse on the street, much less a carriage.
Keeping life simple, the Klaers have been farmers their whole lives. Both Colleen and Randy grew up and graduated from Delano. For them, the country atmosphere is a necessity.
Randy bought their farm from his grandfather, who had owned it 90 years. The Klaers grow corn, soy- beans, and alfalfa.
“I think it’s just amazing when you put a seed in the ground in the spring and then in the fall, you have many times that,” Randy said. “Also, seeing animals giving birth is rewarding.”
The Klaers have quite a variety of animals including two dogs, two cats, and about 30 cows. In 2001, the family decided to purchase their first Percheron horse.
Colleen has ridden horses since the age of 10, and is glad to have had that opportunity as a child. She wants to be able to give her two boys, Aaron, 13, and Rilee, 3, the same opportunity.
“We’re trying the raise the kids the same way we were brought up. We turned out okay,” Colleen laughed.
It did not take long for the Klaers to realize that their one horse was lonely, so along came another four Percheron horses. However, as an animal lover knows, horses can grow to be very expensive and time-consuming.
“It was getting to the point where it was too expensive to feed them, so we decided that they were going to have to start paying their way,” said Colleen.
To solve this problem, the Klaers began brainstorming ideas, and considered starting their own horse and carriage business.
In 2005, Randy and Colleen gave it their all, and so far, it’s been successful and rewarding.
“I was the only one who liked to ride,” said Colleen. “We wanted to do something that would work for the whole family, so we started driving, and now we can all go.”
When asked why she liked horses, Colleen replied, “You feel so free. They’re just unique creatures. I’ve just always liked them.”
Randy added, “You can control two tons of animal with your finger- tips. It’s relaxing hearing the clip- clap on the road.”
Randy and Colleen own two carriages. One carriage seats 12 passengers, and the other carriage seats two. Some of the more popular occasions have been weddings, birthday parties, romantic dates, anniversaries, dinner rides, proms, and business events.
When discussing the popularity of the carriages, Colleen commented, “To me, this just takes us back in time. This is the way everyone got around a hundred years ago. We’re just slowing things down. The world has gone way too fast.”
Continuing, she said, “It allows you time to think. A lot of the people, when they go for rides, don’t do a lot of talking. They just do a lot of relaxing, thinking, and sitting.”
Laughing, Randy said, “Every-time we take a ride down the road, we usually come back with a carriage full of people because all the kids like the ride.”
Last year, the Klaers had carried Santa in their carriage over Thanksgiving. Just recently, the Klaers gave the people of Delano a ride at the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony Thanksgiving evening.
The ride may be fun, but there is a lot of work put into making it successful.
The hardest part for the Klaers is getting the horses ready for the ride. Each time they are scheduled to give rides, the horses and the equipment have to be freshly cleaned. It gets stressful, at times.
“We’re just getting started and getting our feet wet, but it’s the people that keep us going,” Colleen said. “They are always smiling and always so eager to ask questions. It’s something unique that you don’t see as often and it’s nice to be able to share it with others.”
For more information, call Randy or Colleen at (763) 479-4393 or (612) 749-2104.
They would be glad to speak with you, and prices are negotiable.