Training the Trainers

“Do what you love, the money will follow.” We’ve all heard that advice. But is it true?

Karen Rohlf, author and creator of Dressage Naturally, is an internationally recognized clinician who is changing the equestrian educational paradigm. She transformed her decades of experience as a dressage trainer into a successful global business. Not only does she teach riding students around the world, through her live clinics and virtual programs, she also mentors professionals in the horse industry in her “Transform Your Business Seminar” and her “For the Love of the Horse Mastermind & Mentorship” program. Her next seminar will take place in Ocala, February 12th and 13th, 2020.

We chatted with her about her own love for horses and how horse professionals can work smarter.

Just loving horses isn’t enough, is it?

It’s the best place to start! Most trainers and instructors I know got into this profession because they love horses. It’s wonderful to get paid to do the thing you love. The danger is that it’s too easy to over-do it. Many of the horse professionals I know are exhausted and spread themselves way too thin. These people are so dedicated to serving students and their horses that they often don’t make their own horses or lives enough of a priority. This is not sustainable. What I love to do is to take these amazing teachers and trainers, who are so giving, and I show them how to give more value to their students, while gaining more time and income for their own lives and horses.

What inspired you to create this seminar?

The same reasons I am inspired to do most things: to help horses have happier lives and to empower people to be the best they can be.

When I transformed my own business, I had to learn it from people outside the horse world, then translate it to apply to this niche. I wished I could have learned how to work on my horse business from someone actually in the horse business. This seminar is for people just starting out, for the ones who are already working in the horse business but they know that it’s not going as well as it could, or for people who are totally burned out and know that something’s gotta give. What I teach in the seminar helps them realize their own unique genius and talents, what sets them apart from their peers.

How have you seen the horse business change over the years?

I don’t think it has much, and maybe that’s a problem. For sure there are more people offering virtual learning. When I started my first online program back in 2010 there wasn’t as much of that as there is now. But the standard industry model of teaching and training hasn’t really changed. That’s why I also run a mastermind and mentorship program where we all learn to help each other and collaborate instead of always going it alone or competing with one another.

How did you come to live in Ocala?

I came to Ocala in 2003…to stay for two months to escape training in another New York winter. After six weeks, I called home and said I wasn’t coming back! Ocala is just so special for those of us in the horse business. It’s wonderful to be somewhere where so many people are dedicated to horses. The resources available here are amazing. Outside of horses, I love kayaking on the springs and visiting Ocala National Forest. It’s my home now.

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