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Sat, May 25


Wild Ride

Shawna Karrasch Clinic

Learn about positive reinforcement horse training

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Shawna Karrasch Clinic
Shawna Karrasch Clinic

Time & Location

May 25, 2024, 9:00 AM – May 26, 2024, 5:00 PM

Wild Ride, 130 Old Cranston Rd, Sterling, CT 06377, USA


About the event

Learn to utilize positive reinforcement systematically in your training both on the ground and under saddle by learning from one of the top equine behaviorists in the world as well as a former traditional professional trainer who has started hundreds of horses.

From trail riding to upper level horse shows, a clinic with Shawna and Jessie is going to help you teach your horse to be confident, relaxed, and to improve things that will give you an edge in your riding. When horses see the world optimistically, they tend to make better choices and develop the ability to stop and think before reacting. 

Want a better lead change, piaffe, or to have a more relaxed partner on the trail? Is your horse struggling with getting injections or standing quietly for the farrier? We can help you reach any goal you'd like to achieve. 

  • Learn the science and theory of positive reinforcement, including classical and operant conditioning and how it applies to your horse in training.
  • Establish clarity by having a detailed plan for your goals, ridden or on the ground.
  • Watch as Shawna and Jessie work to create clarity and build relaxation in each session where things won't always be going according to plan!
  • Learn how to address the specific issues your horse has by changing the way his brain works… it's neuroscience!


Shawna Karrasch started using positive reinforcement (R+) when she worked at Sea World in San Diego. For ten years she was immersed in using R+ in a systematic way, teaching complex behaviors to many species. You cannot, after all, coerce a whale or sea lion to do anything they don't want to do! From there, she developed a love of horses and jumped into that world by working first with show jumping phenoms, John and Beezie Madden. Since then, Shawna has worked with other Olympians and top athletes as well as casual horse owners whose primary goal is having a loving companion. Shawna has been instrumental in sharing this applied learning theory with the horse world and was an original pioneer. R+ has taken off from the work she began back in the 90's and this method of training has grown a hundred fold thanks to what she started. She is a fun and highly engaging speaker with a gift for clearly explaining the science and theory. Not too many of us came to horses learning any other way except traditionally. Shawna's marine mammal background gives her a completely unique perspective on teaching both people and animals. Her expertise in the field of equine behavior is second to none.

Jessie Hillegas started riding traditionally as a child and continued through adulthood learning from some of the top hunter and jumper trainers in the industry. She worked for large A show hunter/jumper barns on the east coast where duties included training young horses from the ground up, coaching Bucknell University's Equestrian Team, teaching their regular lesson program beginner through advanced, riding/preparing the made show horses for competition, and catch riding. After 20 years of total immersion in the show world, Jessie started her own Warmblood breeding and training business out of her home in Pennsylvania. She has bred top hunters who have won prizes at venues such as Warrenton, Upperville and the Devon Horse Show. Jessie became disenchanted with the show world when one of the foals she bred was sold and went on to a program that showed the filly 60+ times in two seasons. Mishandling of this young and talented filly caused great distress and created dangerous and unpredictable behavior. The owners sent her back to Jessie and desperate to bring her back to her sweet self, Jessie started to implement positive reinforcement. With Shawna's help, Jessie was able to take the filly who had PTSD-like behavior and change her neural pathways so that she is back to being pleasant and loving again. After this, Jessie understood positive reinforcement was going to be a mainstay in her training business. Addy represents those horses who are labeled as hopeless and dangerous and we now know there can often be a path forward with these horses.

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