Meet Our Staff
Kellie Grayden is our Program Director and a therapeutic riding instructor certified through Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. She has over 20 years of equine experience and grew up riding and showing American Saddlebreds at the state, national, and world levels. Kellie spent her summers and free time up until college as a groom working with horses as much as she possibly could. She is also a professional with the United States Equestrian Federation.
She attended the University of North Dakota. After college she spent time as a trainer and riding instructor teaching Saddleseat, Hunt Seat, Western/Western Working, and Driving to adults and children of all ages and abilities.
Kellie and her husband, Anthony, live in Hugo and own a business together called Card Connect Midwest. She enjoys working with all of our riders
Kjerstin Berg is an instructor. She has been riding and showing horses for over 20 years. She started in the Arabian show world with her horse, Bugsy, and eventually moved into the American Saddlebred world. She spent many summers and weekends grooming, showing, and helping at horse shows before going off to college. She completed her undergraduate at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. After college she spent time riding and caring for Icelandic and Morgan horses. She has been working in the behavioral health field for ten years. Kjerstin is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and has recently completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology. She is also working towards achieving her state license as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.
Sara Shockency is an instructor. Sara resides in Stillwater with her two son’s, Benjamin and Zachary and their dog, Goldy. She has worked in the insurance industry for about 25 years.
Horses have been a huge part of her life. She started riding when she was eight years old on a Shetland pony named Blaze. After her family moved to Chicago, she started taking English lessons. When she returned to Minnesota, she purchased her first hunter/jumper and became a member of the Minnesota Hunter and Jumper Association. Sara showed hunters for the first two years and then ventured into the jumper ring. Taking a break to have her son, Zachary, Sara returned to horses with her sister, Lisa, and her niece, Jessica, and started to train on the west side of the cities with Bill Nunn and Len Danielson. Throughout this adventure, Sara primarily focused on the jumper ring. In 2003, Sara left the horse world to have her son, Benjamin. Since then, her life has been filled with raising two boys and attending lacrosse and hockey games.
In September 2017, Sara was happy to join the St. Croix Trail Blazers and continue to pursue her passion for horses and children.
Ellyn Thom is an instructor. More information coming soon.
Kate Dikareva is an instructor. More information coming soon.
Meet Our Board
Karen Harjes is one of the original founders of the St. Croix Trail Blazers and the Executive Director/President. She’ll admit to being a complete “city girl” until stepping out of her comfort zone to assist with the development of the team. Her son, Austin, is a rider with the St. Croix Trail Blazers. With the help of several staff, Karen keeps the team organized and running.
Karen Malmskog is our Vice President. She previously volunteered with We Can Ride and Stable Pathways. Karen loves spending time at the barn with the horses, clients and families, volunteers, and staff. It also allows her to share a special interest with her daughter, Kellie.
Johanna Martinson is our Secretary and also a weekly volunteer. She enjoys being involved with St. Croix Trail Blazers because it gives a person a chance to work with the horses, meet incredible riders, and learn more about the many benefits riding lessons can offer. When not at the barn, Johanna is likely hiking, kayaking, Netflixing, playing cards, or brewing homemade kombucha tea with fun combinations of fresh fruits. Her previous roles include working in the mental health field for over a decade, providing foster care for children in need, and coaching volleyball for student athletes. More recently, she is a free-lance nanny for families in her neighborhood. She lives in St. Paul with her husband, little dog, and tom cat.
Brette Springob is the Treasurer for St. Croix Trail Blazers. Brette grew up with a love for horses and competed in 4-H, WSCA, and AQHA throughout her youth. She is a 2020 graduate from the University of St. Thomas with degrees in Finance and Accounting. Serving on the board gives Brette the opportunity to combine her business skills and love for horses to help others.
Kellie Grayden is our Program Director and a Board Advisor. She has over 20 years of equine experience and grew up riding and showing American Saddlebreds at the state, national, and world levels. Kellie spent her summers and free time up until college as a groom working with horses as much as she possibly could. She is also a professional with the United States Equestrian Federation. Kellie is a therapeutic riding instructor certified through PATH International.