Kristen and Valentino, Ohio, USA

Apprentice Experience with Karen

"I met Karen a year ago when I had the opportunity to see her work with a horse that I knew very well. The horse, normally anxiety-ridden, tense, and ill-mannered, was, when handled by Karen, engaged, quiet, and confident. As I watched her work with him, I was completely confounded I had no idea how she achieved these results with this particular horse. She was not using any pressure, wasn¹t driving him, backing him, or using any methods to train him that I was familiar with. I knew then that I needed to learn more.

KristenI have been a trainer and riding instructor for nearly twenty years, and was trained first in classical dressage and then in natural horsemanship. I run a successful training and lesson business and I have been lucky to have learned from some talented and well-known trainers in my life. But in the year before I met Karen, my professional and personal life was in a bit of a crisis. The horses I was training were well-behaved, yes, but they were also dull and bored, tuned-out to me and my students. I had to keep adding pressure and teaching my students to use more pressure in their legs and reins to achieve results. My own horse was becoming more resistant and emotionally shut down by the day and I was growing increasingly frustrated and even angry with him. I felt like a failure like I was letting down everybody, the horses, my students and myself. I desperately wanted to do right by the horses and to coach my students in a way that made me feel proud, but I knew I needed help.

I began taking regular lessons with Karen soon after watching her work with that horse and I was sold when I saw the way my own horse responded to her. Within a few minutes, she had reached him in a way that I had never been able to. He seemed to open his heart to her and offer himself wholly. She never used pressure, never asked for more than he had to give her, and she knew exactly what he could offer. There was no resistance or brace when Karen worked with him and I saw the horse within him return.

Since then, Karen has been helping me to learn Feel and Release so that I can have the relationship with my horse that she showed me is possible. Karen is a kind teacher, with a clear yet thorough communication style and a way of making her students feel successful and empowered. She is intelligent and informed about so many disciplines and encourages her students to think and ask questions.

I was so impressed and impassioned by Feel and Release that I wanted to share it with all of my students. Because this method is so different from what I¹ve learned in the past, I know that it will take a long time before I am ready to teach my students correctly and completely in Feel and Release. So I invited Karen to work with my students and our barn to help all of us learn how to communicate with our horses through feel. The results have been amazing.

Thanks to Karen, we have a barn full of horses that seem more alive and engaged, but also more calm and responsive. Now, the horses seem to truly enjoy their time spent with humans and we are all learning so much. I am so grateful to have found Karen not only has she helped us create a whole new barn atmosphere, she has helped me to become a real partner to my horse. Most of all, she has given me the tools I need to feel pride once again in my work with horses and riders."

Kristen and Valentino, Ohio, USA