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Morning Star Adaptive Riding Center

Mission and History

Our mission at Still Waters Equestrian Academy is to share God's gift of horses with anyone, no matter their age, income, or ability. Morning Star Riding Center uses Adaptive Riding and Equine Therapy to serve children and adults with physical, intellectual, or emotional needs who may not otherwise have the opportunity to work with horses. 

Still Waters Equestrian Academy started its journey in January 2004 as Still Waters Ranch, LLC. The Coles, Arnie, Char and daughter Laura, found a home on twenty acres with a six stall barn and outbuildings that had never been completed. They selected this ranch site just north of Hickman, Nebraska to house their three horses when they relocated from California. Since then, the barn and property has evolved and grown along with the Coles’ purpose for the property.

Still Waters Equestrian Academy is now a nonprofit 501(c)3 entity that is able to serve more individuals due to the generousity of their supporters.   This includes the new therapeutic Morning Star Riding Center.  The ranch now has 40 acres with  2 indoor and  2 outdoor arenas, and currently accommodates 40 horses. The facility includes an educational center that is used for summer camp activities, meetings, clinics or just a place to “hang out” in the barn.

Still Waters Equestrian Academy's AAHS certified instructors offer lessons to all experience levels of riders, ages 5 to adult, using the Secure Seat Method.

The Coles have enjoyed developing into an equestrian center that can be a ministry in the community. They love being able to share God’s gift of horses and encouraging and supporting the horse dreams of others.

Meet Our Staff

Kristin Carlson

Program Director/Lead Riding Instructor

Kristin is the Program Director and Lead Riding Instructor for Morning Star Adaptive Riding Center.  She has a BA in Secondary English Education with a K-12 Reading Endorsement from Morningside College.  During college she worked as a trainer in Ponca, NE starting young horses. Later she used that knowledge to help train therapy horses and eventually got her RTRI Certification through PATH Intl. After college she worked as an adaptive riding instructor for Special Troopers Adaptive Riding School in Sioux City, Iowa while teaching 8th grade reading full-time at East Middle. During her eight years as a public school teacher and five years as an Adaptive Riding Instructor she has had the opportunity to work with children and adults with a variety of social, behavioral, emotional, and physical needs. This experience coupled with her twenty years of experience with horses has given her a solid understanding of horse behavior and movement, and how best to use the equine partners to meet the unique needs of the clients. 

When Kristin isn't at the barn you can find her camping, long-boarding with her dogs, or enjoying a long trail ride on one of her horses.   

Sara Campbell 

Program Coordinator 

Sara is the program coordinator at Morning Star Adaptive Riding Center and assists with scheduling clients, planning events, and providing support for the program director. She started riding horses after her daughter was born and quickly fell in love. When the opportunity arose to start volunteering with Morning Star Adaptive Riding Center, Sara was excited to help out! Her favorite part about the program is seeing the clients make progress on their goals while also enjoying the horses. When not at the barn, you will most likely find Sara spending time outside with her husband and daughter. Sara received her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2022 and hopes to incorporate equine therapy as part of her practice one day. 

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Meet Our Horses

We have so many wonderful therapy horses at Morning Star Adaptive Riding Center. 

It takes a special personality to be a therapy horse. Before a horse can even start training as a therapy horse they have to pass a temperament test. Then they have special training so they learn not to react to unexpected noises or movements that the rider may make. There is a great deal of training that goes into making them safe for a variety of different riders and scenarios. We are so proud of our wonderful equine partners and the amazing work they do. 


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