Who We Are
Since it's inception in 2009, KA Equestrian has evolved from offering backing and schooling services from rented facilities, to now being able to offer a range of livery options in addition to our training and coaching services from our own yard set in beautiful surroundings.
Our priority is to provide a family friendly, welcoming environment for our clients to enjoy and their horses to thrive in.
We welcome you all to arrange a viewing and we'd be delighted to show you around.
KA Equestrian Yard Owner and Manager
Having started out like many other kids obsessed with ponies, Karen took part in all Pony Club activities but especially liked show jumping and cross country - dressage was a necessary evil rather than an early passion. Following on from the perfect 13.2hh school-mistress, Karen persuaded her parents to buy a very angry, sharp and (most importantly) fast 14.2hh pony called Star who she thought was going to be her show-jumping dream. Very quickly, Karen found out that the reason Star was so fast, sharp and angry was through pain - poor basic confirmation coupled with years of poor training, ill-fitting tack and heavy-handed handling meant that jumping consistently proved to be a bit of a challenge. She had no option but go back to basics, employ the assistance of a dressage coach and, at the age of 14, learn how to re-school an extremely hollow and crooked 13 year old pony. Those years were tough and many hours were spent in tears of frustration - at not getting the results she was looking for plus watching her peers climbing up the show-jumping ranks while she was trying to persuade Star to relax, stretch and become straight. Time passed though, and the consistent little by little approach started to produce change. That was the moment Karen got hooked on schooling horses - the initial desire to be out competing with her friends started to be replaced by being given the opportunity to school other people's horses.
On leaving school in 1997, Karen went to work on a backing and schooling yard with a dressage rider and that's where she started learned how to start horses under saddle from scratch - over the years she's honed and developed her own technique and approach but that time starting a variety of different horses of all sizes and breeds, mares, gelding and stallions, only added to the 'thrill' she had experienced in being able to educate horses. Around that same time she got her horse Gigha, a 16.2hh Scottish Sports Horse by Secundus (years later she was to purchase another, stunning Secundus youngster Alemar, who tragically had a fatal field accident which meant he never had the opportunity to fulfil his competitive potential), who she trained up to Advanced Medium level before having to retire her due to kissing spines.
At some point, Karen considered a career other than horses and went to The University of Edinburgh to study Psychology and Sociology, leaving with a respectable 2:1 honours degree. Throughout and beyond her studies, Karen continued to offer freelance backing and schooling services around central Scotland but always had a hankering to return to it full time.
Fast-forward to September 2009, and having been signed off work for 3 weeks with suspected Bird Flu, Karen set up a website for 'KA Equestrian' offering backing and schooling services in Scotland. At the time, there were plenty of people offering these services on the side of other equestrian businesses - livery yards, dealers etc, but what KA Equestrian was able to do was make training young horses their speciality and area of expertise. Karen did not foresee the amount of interest she would get from a simple website and a facebook page, but on returning to work she found herself being able to hand in her notice a few months later a dedicate herself completely to the new business. Trade stands at county shows, a magazine deal to provide editorial features about starting young horses, and holding demos around the country created a 'buzz' around KA Equestrian to the point they were able to have 12 horses in for schooling at any one time and a 6 month waiting list. A few months after starting, Karen was able to employ her first employee, Kelly O'Connor, straight from school and they worked together for 5 years developing a system, an approach, a philosophy and ethos that she now calls 'The KA Way'.
As any new business owner will tell you, those initial few years are a challenge and Karen remembers making plenty of mistakes and learning some pretty major lessons in quick succession, but through these challenges you grow, develop, evolve. And grow, develop and evolve is exactly what KA Equestrian has done.
With a big leap of faith and considerable investment, KA Equestrian was relocated to their very own property, Fossoway Stables in Drum near Kinross, in June 2011. Several years on, with further development, the property now boasts fantastic facilities including a large brick-built American barn housing 10 well-appointed stables, a luxury tack room and owner's lounge, feed room, rug runs, a kitchen area and client WC and shower. Outside there are 70 acres of well maintained grazing, a newly up-graded 20 x 40 all weather surface, floodlit arena, a selection of show jumps, on-site hacking trails incorporating 6.5 furlongs of all weather surface gallops, a mini cross country course, and a large grass jumping arena.
In early 2012, Karen and husband Chris welcomed daughter Cora to the world and in August 2013, son Callan also joined the clan. A few years of reining back on labour intensive backing and schooling clients followed the arrival of the young McConnells but with them a little bigger now and with impressive social lives to entertain them, KA Equestrian has entered a new era.
KA Equestrian is living up to it's tag line and more. A 'Home Of Happy Horses'......and Riders too.