Next to reading, horses were Karen’s greatest love as a child. She had countless books on horses and knew about every breed. A few of her friends owned horses so Karen learned to ride, took horseback lessons, and went to horse shows with her friends. She used to collect porcelain and plastic horse statues and we had them lined up on the fireplace mantel in our bedroom. And YES, they all had names! For fun we would play with the horses and create amazing adventures with them, using our vivid imaginations, to take them to horse shows or on trail rides. And sometimes the barbie dolls would join in the fun!! As we got a little older, we would even set up horse jumps in the yard and pretend we were jumping horses at a horse show. As an adult, Karen’s love for horses remained and she continued going to horse shows with friends.
Karen would have loved having a real horse but that was not practical in a family of 6 kids that moved around every few years. So, being the practical person Karen was, she transferred her love of animals to dogs. Dogs were something that she COULD talk Mom and Dad into. And by the age of 12, Karen had her first dog, a mutt from the pound, named Candy. That was the beginning of her dog training career, as well as her collection of dog related books! Eventually, Karen fell in love with English Springer Spaniels and became an expert on the breed. She spent many years raising, breeding, and showing them. They were a HUGE part of her life! Her dogs were not just pets– they were her family, and provided emotional support and loads of love throughout her life.