Jester Park Equestrian Center Goes International

Jester Park Equestrian Center Manager, Claudia Starr, has earned international recognition through the EAHAE International Association for Horse Assisted Education.  This organization certifies and partners with equine-assisted professionals throughout the world. Starr joins 316 professionals from 41 countries and five continents who incorporate horses into their practices to help people.

A division of Polk County Conservation, Jester Park Equestrian Center is now the only EAHAE member-based facility in Iowa and surrounding states. According to Polk County Conservation Deputy Director Doug Romig, “The Equestrian Center is expanding mental health and wellness programming to reach more groups in the community who can benefit from the healing aspects of horse interaction. Along with our successful Veterans program called Horses Helping Heroes, we plan to offer services to first responders, health care workers, survivors of domestic violence, and other groups who can benefit from this proven therapeutic model.”

Starr has worn many hats in her lifelong career with horses. She was a Thoroughbred jockey and trainer, showed jumpers and western horses nationally, worked as a movie stunt rider, served on the faculty and as the Equine Studies Department Chair of a Midwest University, marketed both the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup, served as a Corporate Compliance and Ethics professional, and more recently was director of one of the largest equestrian centers in the Middle East called Al Shaqab.

According to Starr, “I am impressed with the Train-the-Trainer standards that EAHAE requires for certification.  Jackie Lowe Stevenson’s Professional Practitioner program included facilitation techniques for human-horse communication, stress and anxiety reduction, leadership and organizational development, and understanding how herd behavior helps in self-discovery, relationship building and positive change. These competencies will be an asset to our horse inspired wellness initiatives, mental health programming, and the exciting new programs for youth leadership and women’s groups soon to be announced. The Equestrian Center now has an extensive network of worldwide experts with whom we can collaborate.”

Jester Park Equestrian Center serves the most extensive county population base in Iowa. The center, nestled within thousands of acres of park wilderness along the banks of Saylorville Lake, is magical. It offers over seven miles of equestrian trails, indoor and outdoor arenas, educational and recreational programming including summer camps, trail rides, wagon rides, horse education, in addition to its focus on mental health and wellness.

For more information and photos
Contact: Delaney O’Donnell

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