Conversations with Ocala’s Equestrian Women: Karen Rohlf

Karen Rohlf

Creator
Dressage Naturally

Dressage Naturally (DN) is a holistic, comprehensive and integrated system for horses and riders of any discipline who want to enjoy the process of creating stronger partnerships and healthy biomechanics. DN is the culmination of internationally recognized clinician Karen Rohlf’s lifetime of training in dressage and natural horsemanship. She teaches students of all disciplines and levels, from around the world, in her clinics and virtual programs, and is changing the equestrian educational paradigm.

Karen believes in getting to the heart of our mental, emotional and physical partnership with our horses. But being a professional horse trainer and author is more than just a job for Karen.

“It is a way of life,” she offers. “Being my best with horses requires me to be my best self every day. Working with horses demands constant honing of my physical and emotional fitness, creativity, self-awareness and personal development, which I find endlessly satisfying. I am extremely grateful that I have been able to build a career and life around my passion for horses.”

Her passion for teaching extends beyond horse training. Her “For The Love Of The Horse: Transform Your Business Seminar and Mastermind/Mentorship” programs are designed to help heart-centered equine professionals thrive.

She also knows firsthand how that passion can potentially create unhealthy habits.

“When you love what you do for work, it is possible to overdo it and live in a constant state of exhaustion,” she cautions. “I burned out once, but I found a way to change my career by embracing my unique niche, leveraging my business and creating digital resources early on. This approach improved my life and now I mentor other professionals on how to create more fulfilling, sustainable and profitable lives.”

She is also keenly aware of the importance of giving back.

“Last year my business gave away over $10,000 of partnership-based horsemanship education through our “Share The Love” campaign. We targeted winners in the categories of youth, equine rescues, equine assisted therapy programs and upper-level dressage riders. I also donate to the Horse Farms Forever and the Alachua Conservation Trust organizations, which work together to protect the unique beauty of this area.”

That beauty is one of her sources of inspiration.

“I love wild Florida,” Karen enthuses. “Of course, I love it here for the horses, but I also love going to local rivers, springs and forests to enjoy the amazing scenery and wildlife.”

Her advice is to be bold and lead with your heart.

“Tap into your passion and express it in action. Trust your instincts and don’t try to be just like everyone else, doing things the way they have always been done,” she advises. “This industry is steeped in tradition and the truth is sometimes those traditions need to be updated. When I first combined natural horsemanship and dressage, people fiercely criticized me. In this industry, sometimes ‘being professional’ is equated with being less heartfelt and emotionally connected to horses, and that is a shame. If you know in your heart something needs to change in your industry, be an example of a better way. And never underestimate the possibility for things to improve in ways you cannot yet imagine!”

Learn more about Karen at www.dressagenaturally.net

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