Project Astride

growth. healing. horses.




Clare Palmquist
(since 1986)

Clare Palmquist has been a NARHA Certified Advanced Instructor since 1995. She is the current program director of Project ASTRIDE and has been teaching with the program since1986. Clare has ridden, competed, instructed, trained and owned horses for 30 years. She currently competes in recognized Dressage shows. Clare has and is active on the national level of NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped).

Some of her accomplishments are:

  • Being the NARHA Region 6 representative for five years
  • Being an on-site lead visitor for the NARHA Accreditation program, since 1998.
  • Co-developing the NARHA volunteer manual in 2000.
  • Being a member of the NARHA Accreditation Committee for 4 years and is currently an advisor.
  • Being a NARHA CAT and Accreditation SiteVisitor Faculty member
  • Being Host chair of the National NARHA Conference in 2000 and hosting multiple regional conferences.

Clare is married to Dean and has four grown children. Dean and Clare own and operate a dairy farm where they milk 81 Holstein cows, raise their own corn, alfalfa and replacement heifers. They own horses, dogs and numerous farm cats.

Laurel Theis
(since 1996)

Laurel has volunteered with Project ASTRIDE since1987. After many years of volunteering she developed an interest in becoming a therapeutic riding instructor and obtained her NARHA Registered Instructor Certificate in 1996. She has been on the Board of Directors for many years and continues her involvement with Project ASTRIDE. She published and implemented the first Project ASTRIDE Newsletter in 1999 and is still writing, publishing and distributing our newsletter on a quarterly basis.

A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (C.O.T.A.), Laurel has worked in a geriatric setting since 1984. She is also involved with her son in Boy Scouts and  volunteers with Girl Scouts as her daughters troop leader and is also the Community Coordinator for 4 local towns.  She is a Certified Trainer for the Girl Scouts.   In other words, Laurel is a leader of leaders. She enjoys her family and her VERY busy life.  Her motto is “Boredom is your own choice.”

Laurel’s recognition includes:

  • 1999 NARHA Region 6 Volunteer of the Year,
  • 2002 Girl Scout Outstanding Volunteer Award,
  • 2004 Girl Scout Appreciation Pin Award,
  • 2005  “Friend of Youth” certificate of appreciation from the Optimists Club for her work with the Girl Scouts.
  • 2008 Recipient of the Cold Spring Chamber, Hometown Pride Award for her involvement in Girl Scouts and Project ASTRIDE.

She is a member of:

  • Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association,
  • NARHA  (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association)
  • National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Incorporated
  • Lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of America.
  • Lifetime alumna of Boy Scouts of America
  • Charles L. Sommers Canoe Base, Ely, MN – Northern Tier High Adventure Base

Shellie Kremers
(since 2006)


Heather Kraft
(since 2011)

Heather earned her PATH certification in October, 2011, and began conducting her own sessions in April, 2012. She has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Luther College, and earned her Master’s degree in Recreation Therapy from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, in 2003, as well as working as a Director of Recreational Therapy.

In addition to her instructor responsibilities, Heather, her husband, Dan, and their children, Sadie and Peter, have lived in St. Cloud for five years. Project ASTRIDE is fortunate to have Heather as part of the team, with her 12+ yr.’s experience working with individuals of all ages with physical cognitive, and sensory processing disabilities, as well as individuals with mental illness.



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Copyright 2008
St. Cloud, Minnesota

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