News

Veteran trainer credits horses with lifting her up

Karen Foran with Kamilaroi the horse and Breeze the dog. Photo: Blainey Woodham / Tweed Daily News
Karen Foran with Kamilaroi the horse and Breeze the dog. Photo: Blainey Woodham / Tweed Daily News Blainey Woodham

THERE'S an old Arabian proverb that says the horse is God's gift to mankind.

It's a belief that performance horse trainer Karen Foran thoroughly subscribes to.

It was horses that helped rescue her from a depression that at times was so severe she was unable to drag herself out of bed after her second daughter Alice was born profoundly disabled in 1994.

It is being outdoors with horses that she says boosts Alice's health and wellbeing now as a mostly wheelchair-bound 21-year-old who still endures bouts of ill-health.

It is horses that have enriched Karen's life since she was five years of age growing up just outside of Queanbeyan.

"Once you've got their trust they totally give to you unquestionably," the 58-year-old says.

"They can be so incredibly honest.

"You know what a horse's thinking and feeling, they don't hold back."

Karen is the owner of Kamilaroi Equestrian Centre, a not-for-profit organisation that trains both horses and riders at Round Mountain near Cabarita Beach.

Karen's students are the young disabled and able children, along with adults and international competitors hoping to gain a place on their nation's Olympic squad.

Students can learn basic riding skills through to advanced performance like vaulting and jumping.

Such is Karen and her primary school teacher husband Wayne's commitment to the centre that the pair subsidise its running to the tune of $400 a week and family and volunteers pitch in.

Oldest daughter Emily is married to world-renowned Australian horseman/entertainer Guy McLean.

The centre is on an 18ha property they have leased for 12 years, but Karen has been training horses for 25 years.

As a teenager she trained under highly respected Australian Olympic coach Franz Mairinger.

Mairinger is recognised for radically improving Australia's fortunes on the world equestrian stage when he moved here from Europe to coach in the 1960s.

Karen subscribes to Franz's philosophy that there is no one-size-fits-all model to training a horse.

Each must be approached as individuals like you would a child, according to their specific temperament and aptitude.

"I was fortunate enough to see that every horse and every person has something to give, to look for the positive in people and horses and build on that," says Karen of what she learned from Franz.

"Yes, I have a profoundly disabled daughter but focus on what she has to offer."

Karen trains and supplies the legendary percheron horses to the NSW and Queensland mounted police force with interest also coming from South Australia.

It's her job to make sure the horses remain unflappable in extreme circumstances.

"The horse and the rider become a team," she says.

"They become very reliant on each other in bad situations."

Her horses are also in demand for Anzac centenary commemorations as the percherons were used in the First World War in the light horse divisions and for artillery purposes.

In 1997, Alice was three years old and enduring another bout of serious illness and Karen was at her lowest ebb.

She carried guilt and blame for her daughter's state of health.

She recalls on numerous occasions standing in the shower wishing she could be washed down the plughole with the water.

Professional psychological help was not making a difference.

At their wit's end, her husband Wayne and best friend, Cabarita vet Nerridie Fury, intervened in an act of tough love.

They dumped Karen at the horse centre at 7am with no way of escape and left her for the day to take care of the young students and the horses.

Prior to that she had been avoiding the farm and doing just the bare necessities, leaving others to pick up the slack.

"Human intervention was not going to help any more. It had to be horses and myself," recalls Karen of their reasoning.

It worked.

Karen cites this episode as the turning point that helped her slowly claw her way out of depression, embrace her role as a wife and mum again and start to see the beauty in life.

Having to focus on the horses and children's needs and not her own misery was the circuit breaker she needed.

"It's definitely therapy," she concludes.

"Horses bring out the best in people."

Topics:  depression horses therapy trainer



Where to find the best coffee

COFFEE snobbery is at an all-time high in Australia with the hipster movement carving a whole new breed of caffeine-loving consumers.

10 best street art spots to take an Insta selfie

Send yourself on a scavenger hunt around Brisbane to discover the incredible street art.

GET your phone and selfie-stick ready!

Theatre royalty graces Brisbane stage

Don't miss Charles Edwards in this incredible theatre performance.

WHEN acting royalty comes to town, you sit up and take notice.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

NBN now reaches 15,000 in Tweed with more connections coming

NBN connections increasing.

THE NBN continues to be rolled out across the shire.

Lawyers fight extradition of man set to face murder charge

Police have been investigating the death of Michele Lord.

Lawyers fight application to extradite man to charge with murder.

Clay's courage for sister a sign of brotherly love

LITTLE HERO: Clay Ferruccio, 12, defended his home against a woman trying to steal their family 4WD.

Tweed teen confronts woman to protect his older sister.

Local Partners

Tweed light rail could lead to all Northern Rivers one day

THE planned light rail connection into Northern NSW from South-East Queensland has been identified as a big step forward in cross-border transport.


REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

Jimmy Kimmel opens up about Oscars stuff-up

Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel gives his take on the epic Oscars envelope error: “It was the weirdest TV finale since ‘Lost’”

Groom threatens to walk out of Married At First Sight

Andrew is just about done with his “horrible” relationship with Cheryl.

ANOTHER explosive breakup is looming after a disastrous home visit.

'I wasn't naked': Blanca Blanco speaks out

Blanca Blanco arriving at the 89th Academy Awards. Picture: Ian West/PA WireSource:AAP

"It was a nude colour, it matches my skin, so I wasn’t naked.''

‘IT’S A LITTLE SAD’: Trump makes Oscars bungle all about him

US President Donald Trump claims Hollywood's elite were too busy mocking him to pay attention on Oscars night.

Donald Trump ‘explains’ Oscars stuff up.

Lama and Sarah’s ‘epic’ MKR fail

My Kitchen Rules contestants Lama and Sarah.

Tempers flare as Lebanese feast turns into an epic fail.

Oscars 2017: How did biggest award get stuffed up?

Presenter Warren Beatty shows the envelope with the actual winner for best picture as host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looks on at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The winner was originally announced as La La Land, but was later corrected to Moonlight.

'Guys in headsets starting buzzing around. They took the envelope.'

Lisa Curry can't marry her fiance

Lisa Curry breaks down in the jungle.

Lisa Curry says she can’t get married to her fiance

Casino boss loses $4m on waterfront Sunshine Coast home

The owner of this stunning Noosa home accepted much less than he had initially wanted for the home.

When illness struck owner forced to try and cash out of property

Providing service for Tweed landlords

QUALITY SERVICE: TCM Rentals Coastal property consultant Wendy Hotchkiss  wants to provide quality service to Tweed landlords.

A new property management style.

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

A place to stay at the Gold Coast Airport

PLANS TAKE FLIGHT: Passengers could be staying at a new hotel at the Gold Coast Airport by 2019.

A new hotel at the airport could become a reality.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!