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Positive Reinforcement Horse Training  Certification

Are the Horses Calling You? Do you want to learn horse handling-techniques that align with your ethical values?

Accepting applications for our fall program from 9/15/24 through10/11/24

Starr Horse Retreats offers unique hands-on, natural horse care, and R+ focused horse handling certification on site with a herd of 16 equine.

Testimonial video from graduates of our Spring, 2024 session 

There is a growing awareness in the equine world that there is a better way to handle horses than the traditional protocol of using pressure and release.


Our positive reinforcement (R+) horse handling certification program combines the knowledge and application for honoring horses and healing humans into one program. This course dives into science-based, holistic horsemanship training with our Whole Horse, Whole Human program. 

What is Positive Reinforcement (R+)?

R+ is a means to train behaviors without relying on pressure and release methods. It replaces methods of using fear/pain to cause discomfort, with a reward-based approach that motivates the horse to want to do what you want.  

Honoring Horses, Healing Humans

The Whole Horse-Whole Human program is a unique endeavor that covers natural horse care, Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA)  principled horse handling and care, R+ focused training, and lesson instruction, as well as the mental, emotional, and practical skills needed to productively work with horses, work with people, and launch and maintain a business.

For this blended learning, certain online modules are required before the in-person work, while other modules will overlap with your in-person work.

Some of the practical and demonstrative certification requirements can be met during residency, and the case studies will be assigned and completed after you return home.

In-Person Work 

- Two days per week of demonstration and coaching with Ari Krause at Starr Horse Retreats.

- Three days per week of completing experiential assignments with the herd at Starr Horse Retreats.

- Optional day trips to Haven Horsemanship for further coaching and to work with the herd there, who are further along in their work than most of the horses at Starr Horse Retreats. This option is an additional cost.

The in-person work for four weeks with a total cost of $2499.

No additional cost for lodging at Starr Horse Retreats. Participants will be responsible for their food, and housekeeping.

A $500 deposit is due upon registration to hold your spot.

Message Ari Krause.

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Although it is a common practice to use Positive Reinforcement (R+) for dog training, the horse industry has been slower to change.

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About the Program

Whole Horse - Whole Human covers three areas of training:

1. Equine Enthusiasts (Owners)

2. Equine Education Experts (Professionals)

3. Equine-Assisted Education

Areas of Training


1. The Horse Care Course​​

  • On-site, hands-on practicum with rotating horse-teachers

  • Off-site observation

  • Equine bodywork

  • Saddle fitting

  • Hoof care

  • Veterinary overview

  • Science-based training methods

    • Shaping plans for foundational behaviors

    • Shaping plans for husbandry behaviors

    • Shaping plans for groundwork

    • Shaping plans for ridden work

2. Business Development Course

  • Creating a business plan​

  • Developing a website

  • Branding

  • Social media

  • Client relations

  • Consulting and mentoring others 

  • Creating training plans

  • Creating shaping plans

  • Executing your plans:

    • Tailoring your sessions 

    • Reading your horse 

    • Adjusting your plan as necessary

3. The Horse-Human-ship Course

  • A psychometric tool for humans and horses to better understand problem-solving and communication styles

  • Tailoring and leveraging thinking and communicating preferences

  • Mental and emotional skill building for self, clients, and horses

  • Interpersonal and intrapersonal skills​

  • Studying and applying learning theory

  • Holistic healing modalities

About Our Teachers

Arielle Krause

Arielle Krause is our Positive Reinforcement Horse Training Coordinator. Ari is passionate about healing the relationship between horses and humans by honoring horses, and healing humans —individually, and together. She takes a holistic approach to support this evolution by supporting the mental, emotional, and physical development of horses, but starting with humans first. 

Positive Reinforcement at Starr Horse Retreats


Ari grew up in the traditional and often callous hunter/jumper world. She is proficient with traditional training methods and recognizes all the pros and cons of the competitive culture. But deep down it never quite sat with her conscious. She knew that honoring the sovereign being-ness of the soul of the horse was the ethically "correct" method that resonated with her values. So in 2012 she struck out on her experimenting and expanding her knowledge with positive reinforcement training.


Her methodologies encompass equine behavior and psychology, natural horse care, holistic horsemanship, and science-based horse training. As her experiences evolved she began to see tremendous results. Not only did the horses in her care eagerly participate in "school time", but they showed results with everything from bit-less riding to equine line dancing! Some of her horses even sit and fetch, just like a dog — all trained with R+ techniques. ​


As a holistic practitioner, Ari integrates the various skills that she has developed to train horses with wellness healing for humans too. She understands that the symbiotic relationship between trainer and horse goes beyond showing tricks or modifying behavior; It starts with the healing of the human. During our certification program, Ari brings in a variety of holistic practitioners to prepare residents for the synergistic relationships between horses, clients, and peers.

The Horses

Our best teachers are the horses themselves. Our herd of 16 equines at Starr Horse Retreats in Minden, NV consists of 11 horses, three donkeys, and two ponies. Our off-site, sister-facility North of Reno, NV at Haven Horsemanship, provides access to a larger herd of horses at various levels, sizes, ages, and behavioral and physical issues. All of our horse teachers are ready to empower you towards self-efficacy to launch your career into the R+ holistic horse handling world.

"Friday" is a mustang that has learned to dance, sit and fetch, all through positive reinforcement clicker training. 

About Your Stay


Residents of our Whole Horse - Whole Human R+ training certification program have free lodging in either the Chalet, Bunkhouse, or Container Cottage on our 30-acre equestrian facility at Starr Horse Retreats. Our facility has four arenas,  a 10-stall horse barnGathering Grounds, and 30 acres of pasture with multiple obstacle courses for walking and riding. 


We offer hands-on training, optional field trips,  and ancillary activities for integration. 

All meals and housecleaning are the responsibility of residents.

R+ Horse Training


​Sample Schedule

Week 1:

Sunday: Arrival, check-in, and orientation.

Monday and Tuesday: Hands-on training with Ari Krause.

Wednesday - Friday: Practicum with a herd of 12 horses.

Saturday and Sunday: Go home for the weekend, or optional field trips to Lake Tahoe, Wild Mustangs, Virginia City, and trail rides.


Week 2:

Monday and Tuesday: Hands-on training with Ari Krause.

Wednesday - Friday Practicum with a herd of 12 horses.

Saturday and Sunday: Go home for the weekend, or optional field trips to Lake Tahoe, Wild Mustangs, Virginia City, and trail rides.


Week 3:

Monday and Tuesday: Hands-on training with Ari Krause.

Wednesday - Friday: Practicum with a herd of 13 horses.

Saturday and Sunday: Go home for the weekend, or optional field trips to Lake Tahoe, Wild Mustangs, Virginia City, and trail rides.


Week 4:

Monday and Tuesday: Hands-on training with Ari Krause.

Wednesday - Friday: Practicum with a herd of 12 horses.

Saturday: Demonstration of proficiency.

Sunday: Graduation Celebration.

The total cost for 4 weeks is $2,499.

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