"Encouraging kids to thrive…one hoofbeat at a time”

  • B.A. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Minor in Special Education, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, Int’l (PATH, Int’l)  

Karen is a licensed elementary and special education teacher, who still has a passion for helping young people. Having taught for 21 years, she has learned how to build relationships with many different people. Even though she loved teaching, Karen felt that the education field had become more about academic standards than promoting a love for learning and validating children for who they were, not just what they can do. She was torn on what to do, because she wanted to help her students develop the social-emotional skills they needed to successfully navigate life, but that was becoming harder and harder to do within the school system. Something needed to change. Moving to Ellensburg gave Karen her aha moment. As she learned about equine-assisted learning and experienced it herself, she saw a way to combine her passion for horses, people and teaching skills, which she could offer to her community. She became certified through PATH, Int’l as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning in 2014.

Shadow Wing Ranch


shadow wing ranch Founder and Program Director  - Karen jackson

B.A. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa 
M.A. in Reading  from SUNY at Albany, NY

Robin became a member of the Shadow Wing Ranch team during 2014 as a volunteer. She and Karen Jackson became friends during their teaching career and discovered they had a shared passion, horses.  Robin’s 30-year Teaching career included Reading Specialist, 3rdand 4thgrades, and Pre-K. She also coached Track and Field, Cross Country, and Basketball. Outside of school she was a Sunday School Teacher, Youth Group Leader, and Girl Scout Leader. She’s always been involved with her daughters’ activities, including their horseback riding lessons and coaching their basketball teams.Her passion for horses, began as a young girl. In school, she read every horse book available. Growing up on a farm with her mom and dad and her 8 younger siblings, dairy cows, chickens, pigs, her very own Shetland pony, Boots, and Quarter Horse, Frisky, introduced her to many life-skills, such as building relationships, responsibility, building trust, pride, and confidence. 4-H was also instrumental in helping her acquire those skills. Her fond memories have stayed with her and lead her down the path to today. Her life experiences working with children and animals led her to Shadow Wing Ranch. “It is so powerful to see kids’ smiling faces as they are reunited with Karen’s horses each week! The kids build friendships with the horses and adults, which melts my heart.” Being a part of Shadow Wing Ranch is a highlight of her week. She is excited about her role and the new adventures awaiting.

Her dream became so much more than simply having her horses at home. She could provide people – especially youth – a safe, encouraging environment where they could have connection with others, learn life skills and grow personally through guided experiences with horses.