Karen Sander


Karen has been riding for 21 years, and has spent the last 12 years teaching and training.

Karen Sander

Karen Sander

She started riding Hunter/Jumper in Roy Schweitzer’s barn, before transitioning to Eventing (a combination of dressage, Cross-country and Stadium Jumping), under Erin Gregg and Laura Clarkson. Karen is also grateful to have had the opportunity to ride clinics under Elizabeth Madlener who was long-listed for the Olympics in dressage and Hanno Vreden a German dressage rider.

Karen later expanded into western riding and competed in Western Pleasure, Horsemanship, Barrel Racing, Pole Bending, trail, and mounted drill team. In 2008, Karen began working for a cattle rancher, gathering and sorting his cattle by horseback, competing in team penning, and teaching basic cattle working clinics.

While she has learned a lot from her human instructors, Karen also feels that the horses themselves have a lot to teach. She credits her first horse Pepper, an Arabian/Paint, for teaching her, “To be a preemptive vs a reactive rider, to ride by feel (working with the horse using body language), and to handle many non-horse life events. Horses are one of God’s most amazing creatures. They develop character and teach many life lessons!”

Passing that knowledge on to her students in a safe and fun manner is Karen’s passion. She enjoys teaching the pleasure rider as well as the show rider. Karen’s students have taken championships at the Eventing Regional Championship in WI, at Spring Grove Horse Shows, and at 4-H events.

Karen is a carded horse show judge through the University of IL Extension, and actively judges Open, 4-H and Schooling shows. She currently volunteers as part of the Mounted Rangers, is a counselor for many of her church’s youth activities, is the church’s reserve pianist, and coaches the McHenry County 4-H Senior HorseBowl and Hippology Teams.