Karen Mathews has been in the horse business for 35 years. She began her career as a groom for several Olympic show jumping riders. Although Karen loved show jumping, she always felt the connection to the horse was the main source of any foundation, regardless of what discipline a rider chose.
After exploring eventing, dressage, and natural showmanship, Karen realized that the horse’s movement was a result of the mind, body and soul working synergistically. She recognized that the horse’s performance was really more about trust, understanding, empathy, and communication, and less about carrying a rider and being a mere athlete.
Her training philosophies were presented to her from many different horses over the years. She had a choice, either accept what she was learning or allow ego, selfishness, and outside influences to block her (the challenge many riders face). With some hard work and a lot of luck, she was able to learn this lesson early on. Today she says everything that she has learned about horses has come from the horse. She believes that the horse is our best teacher, and that all of the most valuable information is right in front of us. She believes riders can learn these lessons at any age with any degree of experience. Understanding what the horse is trying to communicate should be our first and foremost action, before we involve outside sources such as a vet, blacksmith, saddle fitter, chiropractor, etc.
Karen also has an extensive teaching career that began with her first student at age 19, which led her to teach thousands throughout her career running stables and programs for herself and others, intercollegiate coaching, Pony Clubs, and intensive junior rider empowerment camps. Settling in Hawaii for 15 years, Karen started a grass roots program developing riders from all different levels and ages. Eventually working with more serious students, she started matching riders with mounts from other islands, the main land, and Europe.
Karen currently resides in Ojai, in Southern California, and trains all over the country. She offers her services for the rehabilitation of horses, and teaching their riders to have a better understanding of balancing the mind, body, and soul of their mounts – so they can have happy, sound horses.