Karen Robinson – Vancouver, British Columbia
I have been riding ever since I was three, when my mother defied my father – who, before setting out on a climbing expedition said, “don’t you go to that auction, and don’t you buy her a pony”. My initial training was in dressage, though I turned to the adrenaline rush of three-day-eventing as a teenager. I trained with and worked for Canadian Olympian and Pan American Games individual gold medallist Nick Holmes-Smith. In 1985, with my quarter horse Sunset Snap, I was a member of the gold medal-winning BC team at the American Continental Young Riders’ Championships in Wadsworth, Illinois, finishing eleventh individually.
I have been a coach, trainer and barn manager for periods of my life, and I have competed in just about every type of equestrian event there is, from Arabian costume to trail class to ski jorring (a race that involves dragging a skier over a snow track). When I turned thirty, the part of my brain that administers self-preservation woke up, and I retired from eventing to the more subtle thrills of dressage. In 2000 I finally dipped my toe in the FEI dressage arena, competing at Prix St. Georges with my thoroughbred, Punch.
Intrigued by the freestyle since it first appeared in international competition, I started competing in freestyle classes at dressage shows in the mid-nineties, with immediate success. Helping a few friends with their freestyles turned into seasonal work, as more riders approached me. In November 2000 I finally quit my job as an operations manager in the publishing industry to pursue freestyle design as a full-time career. Well, not quite full time. I recently started writing articles for equestrian magazines, and I find this work an excellent compliment to the freestyles. I am also jumping through the first hoops of becoming a recognized dressage judge.
Visit Applause Dressage