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Karen Polle

Karen Polle is the jumping revelation of these last years, and has the particularity to have reached the high level with only one horse: Wings, the horse of her life, before Kino or Little Lord came to support her success. After graduating at the prestigious Yale University, Karen is now focusing on her career by improving her equitation with Rordigo Pessoa. Horsealot Ambassador, and proud to represent Japan, her native country, during 5* competitions, she joined the Hermès Ambassadors' closed circle.

Hi Derek,

Yes, my vet, grooms, trainer, and I all communicate a lot with each other about each one of my horses. Since my horses compete at such a high level and travel so much, it's so important that everyone is in constant communication and that the horses receive the absolute highest level of care. I've learned so, so much from working with my vet, grooms, and trainer over the past few years. It's made me a MUCH better rider and caregiver for my horses, and I notice subtle things better now than I did even a year or two ago.

Thanks for your question!

Karen

Hi Elliott,

I worked really hard to develop a program that I think is best for my horses' health and that I think they seem to like, so I know the program very well. If I am working with a new groom, I go over the program with him/her, and explain the reasoning behind some of the things that I like to do. At the same time, I am very open to hearing their input or about different ways of doing things. Everyone has different experiences and while I like to keep things consistent for my horses, I am always open to and looking for ways to improve.

Thanks for your question!

Karen

Hi Jack,

I think one of the most important parts of developing a strong relationship with your horse is time. It takes a lot of working together and trial and error for the rider to figure the horse out, and for the horse to figure the rider out, too. At least for me, it always takes me a while to fully understand what the horse likes, what the horse is good at, what the horse needs help with, how much leg or hand I need, etc, and the only way to learn this is to practice and spend time in the saddle.

Thanks for your question!

Karen

Hi Jodie,

I am the main manager of the program for my horses, along with my barn manager/groom Johanna. We both work closely with Rodrigo to make sure the program is perfect, and he’s always available to answer questions or give us suggestions and advice. I learned a lot about horse care and developing my own program from my first barn manager, who worked with me for many years, and also from working with Rodrigo, my vets, farriers, grooms, and other very knowledgeable people in the sport. I’ve also learned a lot from the Young Riders Academy lectures this year.

Thanks for your questions!

Karen

Hi Matthew,

In general, I try to keep my program very consistent for my horses, so there aren't any major changes between home and the shows. The biggest difference for my horses is turnout. At home, they turn out in the field every day, but at the shows, this is obviously not possible. So instead, we handwalk and graze as much as we can. I don't like them to be stuck in their stalls all day. I think it's important for them to get outside, stretch, get some fresh air, and just be horses.

Thanks for your question!

Karen

Hi Tessy, it would be a huge dream of mine to one day get to participate in the WEG. It’s a big goal of mine and I’m working to improve my skills as a rider as much as possible so that hopefully one day I will be able to go!

Thank you for your question!

Karen

Hi Molly,

Yes, I like to work the horses loose occasionally because I think it’s a nice change for them and they can also get some exercise without a rider on their backs all the time, and without being in a tight circle on the lunge line.

To get the most out of the work, I try to make sure my horses are really pushing from behind. This will really help them build strength. And I used side reins as well— I don’t make them very tight but just to encourage them to use their backs. When my horses were working, they were actually pretty loose most of the time.

Karen

Hi Maddy,

I’m very lucky because I go to Florida in the winters with my horses, so we don’t experience super cold temperatures. But it does get below freezing at home before we head down to Florida. I think it’s important to make sure your horses get enough fresh air in the barn, even when it’s cold outside. I think opening doors and windows, even if it’s just a little bit, is important.

If your horse is coughing, you can try wetting the hay. Getting them outside and making sure there is fresh air in the barn will help too.

I hope this helps!

Karen

Hi David! Thank you so much!

I feel a little bit more pressure, but I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself to ride and perform well, even when I was a teenager. I’ve always wanted to do my best every time, both for my horses and my team, so I wouldn’t say that I feel a lot more pressure now.

Karen

Hi Alex!

It was pretty challenging at times. I always felt like I didn't spend enough time practicing with my horses. Whenever I would come back from school to ride, even if it had only been a few days without riding, I would always feel really rusty. This was very frustrating but I'm really glad that I did both riding and Yale. Both are very important to me and it was definitely worth the hard work, lack of sleep, and frustration!

Thanks for your question!

Karen