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About Karen's Experience at a glance:
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About Karen Copeland in more depth:
My husband, Steve and I having lived our married life and much of our childhood's life--mine always--in Hillsborough, NC, were fortunate to purchase land just north of Hillsborough to build our home and farm. It was a work of pleasure as we built it ourselves and we have resided here since 1995. Both of us, again fortunate to retire early  from UNC at Chapel Hill, are spending time doing more of what we enjoy.   I, my horses and he, his boat.  

My love of horses has taken me in many directions.  Most of these directions were instigated by horses and their needs that I have owned or met over many years.  After selling my first small horse, Boogie aka Trigger, that my Dad had bought for me after much begging, and that looked to have six legs because I had grown so much, I purchased another horse after getting married.  He was, unknown to me at the time, quite an aggressive horse and scared me to death.  Ahab started me on my journey of horse training because I had no idea of what to do with him.   Although I ended up selling Ahab when another more agreeable horse came to me, he really was the spark that lite up my passion for training.

I became quite obsessed by it.  Fortunately John Lyons showed up at the Hunt Complex in Raleigh giving riders clinics.  I think I attended every single one of them.  To this day I do believe John Lyons to be one of the very best horsemen ever.  I followed him for many years and was fortunate to meet him to find that he is as kind and dedicated to our understanding our horses as I had thought.  He was also very honest and encouraged us to go to all clinics and trainers to learn.  He said even if we learned something NOT to do then it was worth our effort.  Many years later I found his techniques seem to me to parallel Classical Dressage and I have meshed the two.  I followed Lyons' advice and attended all the clinics that I could.  My horses would look at me on my return as though to say "Oh no, she's been to another clinic."  Of course they were my guinea pigs to see if what I had learned was something to use or not.  I am quite adept at applying techniques once I see them.  My timing and feel is quite natural as well so the training methods usually come fairly easily to me once I see them.  What was most important to me was that the horses fairly easily understood and that there was relatively little stress.  Of course all stress cannot be relieved.  There is always some stress involved when learning something new but keeping it to a minimum is paramount to me.

Also respecting the horse's feelings and having a strong amicable relationship is also VERY important to me.  It is not about just my wants and needs!  One horse in particular had a somewhat challenging personality.  He seemed to me to ask me "Well what is in this for me?"  He taught me a lot.  I had to spend additional time with him on the ground developing a relationship that made him feel there was something in it for him and not being so regimented and being more fun.  Some of my challenges with him were also issues under saddle.  It seemed that no amount of training for him to be soft on the bit would stick.  Solving that problem led to my current obsession with horse biomechanics.  He could not be soft on the bit because he was not balanced enough and not strong enough in his hind legs!!  He could not NOT push on the bit.  This realization has spurred me into an intensive study of helping the horse balance and become stronger which allows him to  carry the rider better and MUCH more comfortably.  Helping the horse to find this more comfortable way of going creates a MUCH stronger bond in relationship too.  They clearly begin to understand that you are helping them although in the beginning the work feels very foreign and sometimes not so comfortable as they build their strength and learn the correct balance.  My latest studies have been two study courses one with Marijke de Jong called Straightness Training Mastery   and one with Jean Luc Cornille called  Science of Motion In Hand Therapy Course   Both of these programs deal extensively with the biomechanics of the horse and also to create a more thinking horse.  Both are based on Classical Horse Training from the old masters in dressage.  Classical dressage (not so much Modern Dressage) very much is a basic training of any horse in any discipline--even just trail riding-- to strengthen it and prepare it for riding.  Specific exercises are taught to the horse that help the horse to achieve that.  Please do visit the websites links above to learn more about this very important training.

In summary, over the years I attended a multitude of clinics,  purchased another multitude of books, VHS tapes, DVD's, researched online in an insatiable manner and still do filling my mind with an enormous database of know- how.   And then there was RFD-TV on satellite TV.  I thought I had died and gone to horse knowledge heaven.  I tape shows to watch later when Steve is off on his boat so as not to drive him crazy with my addiction!!   Using this vast amount of knowledge I have trained numerous horses of my own plus helped others with their horses honing the methods and techniques to the ones that seem to me best and most quickly understood by the horses.  Above, in at a glance, I have listed a smattering of names that have influenced me.  There are too many to list but I do appreciate every bit of information that has come my way and influenced the way I work with horses.  Horse people tend to want to share what they know.   I cannot not live and breathe horses on a daily basis.  I cannot pick up on a horse's bridle or lead rope and not notice a brace and want to fix it.   :-)   I would be most honored to help you on your horse journey.
  • Over 35+ years of experience working with and owning horses  
  • An insatiable appetite for researching everything about horses resulting in an enormous knowledge base of a variety of horse related subjects  
  • Knowledgeable in many types of different training methods.  Compiling bits and pieces from many of the techniques that fit Karen's personality and which seemed most clear to the horses she works with, she developed her own style of training.  Methods and techniques include influence of: (naming a few that stand out to me)
Committed to helping horses and their owners  achieve clear communication for an extraordinary relationship and safe performance with a balanced horse that is physically prepared to carry a rider

--John Lyons
--Buck Brannaman
--Clinton Anderson
--Dennis Reis
--The Parellis

Natural Horsemanship
Classical Dressage/Dressage
(which also very much addresses the horse's biomechanics as well)

--Craig Stevens
--JP Giacomini
​--many books/videos of the masters
of Both 
Horse and Rider

--Marijke de Jong--Straightness Training
--Jean Luc Cornille--Science of Motion 
--Mary Wanless--rider biomechanics

Natural Horsecare

--Herbal Remedies
--Barefoot Trimming/Rehab
Contact Info

Email:  karen.copeland@mindspring.com
Phone: 919-732-8206

Location:  3705 Hunt Road, 
                   Hillsborough, NC 27278