2020 Speaker Bio & Sessions

Gabrielle Diakon: Yoga for the Virtual Equestrian Conference Attendee

Gabrielle Diakon is the Owner/Founder of GMD Training. Gabrielle is an RYT 200 Certified Yoga Instructor and teaches ‘Yoga for Every Equestrian’ which aids riders with their mental and physical balance in the saddle.  Starting off as a timid junior rider and progressing to become a professional rider and trainer Gabrielle created a program to create confident and strong riders. She specializes in riders’ body awareness in order to optimize their effectiveness. All while helping riders create a strong bond with the horses they ride.

Yoga for the Virtual Equestrian Conference Attendee

A 30-minute class beginning with a positive morning meditation and then moving into a stretchy dynamic yoga flow. Light flow focused on increasing energy for the day ahead. I recommend having space on the floor that you can follow along, no need for a mat, just a rug or anywhere that you can be without pain on your knees.

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Via Nova Training – Positive Reinforcement Training

Shawna Karrasch is the Lead Positive Reinforcement Trainer and Behaviorist at Via Nova Training. She is a pioneer in the use of positive reinforcement training with horses. Her behavioral training techniques are an eye-opening experience for equine professionals, competitors, and amateurs alike. She has produced books and videos, podcasts and traveled worldwide to teach these concepts to horses and riders. After two years of consulting, Shawna recently joined the team at Via Nova Training, whose mission is to see the horseworld embrace a Priority to Positive®.

Contact info:

shawna@vianovatraining.com | vianovatraining.com | shawnakarrasch.com


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Susan Garside: Ways to Help Your Lesson Horses Succeed with Their Students

Susan Garside has been involved in the horse industry for more than 40 years. She has been the Equestrian Director at Akron YMCA Camp Y Noah in Canal Fulton, OH, since 2008, which is also when she was certified as a Master Instructor and a CHA Assistant Clinic Instructor. She oversees all lesson programming, summer camps, group and public trail rides, birthday parties, and collaborates with the local schools and her city to introduce more people to horses. She is a graduate of Lake Erie College’s Equestrian Program and competed on an Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team. She has traveled around the country working in the horse industry and has participated in 4-H, US Pony Club, dressage, jumping, rodeo events, and competitive trail rides.

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Jo-Anne Young: Understanding and Developing the Half Pass

Jo-Anne Young has been studying horses and how to kindly and effectively communicate with them her whole life. She finds great joy in guiding riders along the path to successful partnership with horses.  She is located in Houghton, New York where she has worked as a professor and riding instructor at Houghton College for many years. She has been a Certifier and regional director for CHA for many years as well.

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Dr. Bob Coleman: 4-H Resources: Ready for You and Your Youth

Dr. Bob Coleman grew up in western Canada and has had a lifelong interest in horses. He is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor degree in Agriculture with a major in Animal Sciences and a Master degree in Animal Science. Dr. Bob worked in the Canadian Feed Industry as a nutritionist for two major feed companies before moving to Alberta, Canada where he served as the Extension Horse Specialist for Alberta Agriculture. During his time in Alberta, he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta with a focus in Equine Nutrition. In 1998, he moved to the University of Kentucky as the Equine Extension Specialist.  In addition to his Extension duties, Dr. Bob teaches in the Equine Science and Management program. Dr. Bob is active in the horse Industry serving as Chairman of the AQHF research committee and has served on the executive committee of the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association.  Professionally, he is a member of the Equine Science Society and serves as the executive director, is a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, and is a Diplomat in the American College of Animal Science and a member of the American Society of Animal Scientists. In addition Dr. Bob is a member of CHA serving on the board as the President Elect and is a Site Visitor Trainer supporting the CHA site accreditation program.

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Patti Colbert: Keynoter for CHA Awards Ceremony on Friday evening – A Fun Look at the Different Generations

Patti Colbert has had a 50-year career in the horse industry from giving riding lessons in her 20’s to working for American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) in the 90’s, and being the creator of the extreme mustang makeover events. She’s seen a lot.

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Julie Broadway: Keynoter for CHA Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday evening – American Horse Council – Equine Legislative Issues

Julie Broadway has over 30 years of leadership experience in both for-profit and non-profit sectors. She was named President and CEO of the American Horse Council & American Horse Council Foundation in 2016 and has served on a variety of equine industry committees and boards. She holds a BS from University of NC, MBA from Weems Graduate School, Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Duke University and is a Certified Association Executive® with the American Society of Association Executives. Julie is a life-long horse enthusiast ranging from recreational rider, breeder, and show competitor. A native of NC, she and her husband reside in the DC area along with their Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Morgan horses.

Two quick trivia items:

  1. One of Julie’s dogs “Colby” has been to Westminster twice!
  2. And in 2017, Julie won a reserve World Championship on her Morgan horse.

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Tara Reimer: Turnbacks & Rollbacks

Tara Reimer owns and operates Cloud 9 Ranch in Steinbach, MB Canada where they offer western and English riding lessons, vaulting lessons, equine assisted psychotherapy, training and boarding. A student of the horse, Tara has created a solid program that works with toddlers to mature adults, riders with disabilities and therapy clients in a safe space with the focus on the horse. Whether developing trustworthy lesson horses or high performance show horses, Tara has learned enough to do that, but says there is so much more to learn! In Tara’s lessons you learn about much more than just the manuever itself, join her to understand your horse to a deeper level. Tara is a regional director for CHA and a CHA English/Western Instructor Program Certifier for us.

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Julie Fischer: Grant Writing & Fundraising

Dr Julie Cooney Fischer holds a BS in Accounting with minor in Management, a MBA with Concentration in Accounting, and Doctorate of Management with focus on Organizational Leadership.  Her background includes experience in equine fields, educational fields, Grant mgt, Accounting (profit and non-profit), Finance and analysis, government finance, management, organizational leadership, disaster accounting and disaster grant management, and disaster leadership/management.

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Julie Goodnight: Simple & Flying Lead Changes

Julie Goodnight is a Master Clinician and the International Spokesperson for CHA and is known for her weekly RFD-TV show, Horse Master, and her no-nonsense training for riders of all disciplines. Her methods are grounded in natural horsemanship, classical riding, and understanding horse behavior. She teaches at clinics and expos everywhere and offers online education, how-to DVDs, and her own tack and training tools at JulieGoodnight.com.

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Jochen Schleese: The 8 Myths of Saddle Fit

This session will explain problems in saddle construction today due to outside market changes and the 8 different types of saddle fit prevalent in the market today with pros and cons for each one.

Jochen Schleese received his initial training in saddle making in Germany. In 1984 he was certified as the youngest master saddler ever in Europe, and was asked to come to North America from Germany in 1986 to be the Official Saddler for the World Dressage Championships held in Toronto. In 1990 together with the Canadian government, Schleese developed the first ever authorized school for saddle makers and saddle fitters. Jochen confers regularly with industry professionals and is a guest speaker at veterinary associations, equine veterinary schools, riding instructor conferences, and teaches equine ergonomics on five continents through Saddlefit 4 Life, founded by him in 2006 as a global network of equine professionals dedicated to the comfort and protection of the horse. Saddle Fit for Life is also a CHA LifeTime Business Member.

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Courtney Smith: How to Teach the Boring Stuff In A FUN Way!

Courtney Smith, a resident of Tennessee, holds a Masters of Science degree with a concentration in Equine Education and Coaching from Middle Tennessee State University. Courtney is the owner of Need A Hand Horse Training where she has spent her time being actively involved in the equine industry through training horses, competing, teaching clinics, and coaching youth and adults from local to national levels. She is the Head Coach of Team Need A Hand, a member of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association and is involved in multiple organizations holding positions such as the IEA Western Region 4 president, the TN State 4H Horse Show Committee, and as a Board Member for the TN Stock Horse Association. Courtney is a strong advocate for youth involvement in the equine industry which is seen in her passion for teaching and helping others.

“Putting the FUN in FUNdamentals”

“Why aren’t we riding today?” A frequent question asked by many new students at their first lesson, on a rainy day or camp. As riding instructors, we know the importance of teaching our students all aspects of horsemanship from learning the parts of the horse to the basics of nutrition. The reality is most students do not want to learn the “boring” stuff. This is where it can become a challenge to educate our students while keeping them engaged. We want to transition from “boring” to interesting and relevant. This workshop will share strategies to help put the FUN in the FUNdamentals. We will give instructors an overview of available, and often free, resources to use when teaching non-riding activities that make learning interactive and applicable. I hope it will give you inventive ideas and ways to inspire and liven up your teaching routines.

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