Karen Rohlf is the founder of “Dressage Naturally,” a more natural approach to dressage training with a focus on the partnership between horse and rider as well as biomechanically correct movement – all the way up to Grand Prix.
Karen Rohlf’s riding presents a picture of harmony, playfulness, and lightness. All of her horses are very relaxed and at the same time highly motivated, always happy to cooperate. As an internationally successful instructor, she teaches her students how to help their horses become exactly that – happy athletes.
Creating an Opening for Positive Change with the “Happy Athlete Training Scale”
“For many riders, knowing how to build a true partnership with their horse is the missing piece. Afterward, they are able to do things together which they never thought were possible.” To pass on her findings, Karen Rohlf created her own training scale, the “Happy Athlete Training Scale,” consisting of the four cornerstones happiness, harmony, communication, and techniques. In her lessons, she helps horses and riders get to know each other better, build trust, and communicate as equals. Exercises for biomechanically correct movement are the link between the foundational partnership and the more advanced dressage training.
Mentors from two Different Worlds
Karen Rohlf got her first horse when she was twelve, initially just having a lot of fun. As a teenager, she was then coached by international dressage trainer and judge Anne Gribbons. With her backyard horse Brave Tom, Karen Rohlf moved up the levels in dressage and represented the USA four times at the North American Young Riders Championships. In the following year she became a professional trainer and celebrated many successes both as a competitor and an FEI level coach.
Years later, when she was given a dull and withdrawn Grand Prix horse, Karen Rohlf started looking for alternative training methods. Visiting her first natural horsemanship clinic with Linda and Pat Parelli, she realized that her horse wasn’t dull but rather stressed. When she learned how to help him find deeper levels of relaxation, he began to offer movements with amazing willingness and energy.
After that, Karen Rohlf decided to do dressage more naturally. She studied with the Parellis and developed her own way of combining the wisdom of both worlds.
Be in Love with your Horse
Today, Karen Rohlf lives on a farm in Florida together with her husband and her horses, no longer striving to fit into the traditional model of a dressage instructor. She inspires students all over the world with her philosophy and lives her dream. “I’m still feeling like a little girl in love with horses… And you can too!”
An Evening with Karen Rohlf
Dressage Naturally: Help Your Horse Become a Happy Athlete
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