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Karen McGoldrick rides, teaches, and trains dressage  at her own Prospect Hill Farm in Alpharetta, Georgia.

She is a United States Dressage Federation certified instructor/ trainer; earned her USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medal rider awards, all on horses she trained; and she graduated “With Distinction” from the USDF “L” program.

Karen got her first “working student” job by answering an ad in her community newspaper at the age of 12. Before, during, and after college, she worked on and off for a variety of trainers until she and her husband bought their first farm in 1992.

Karen is an award-winning contributor to USDF Connection magazine, and she is a regular columnist for the Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Association newsletter.

Karen feels that the best part of being a dressage instructor is sharing the insights, joys, and sorrows that riding, training, and loving horses have brought to her life. Writing a novel is one more way to do this.

The Dressage Chronicles comes straight from her heart.

 

Books

Lessons With Margot

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Author Karen McGoldrick found her first job at age twelve by answering an ad in her local newspaper. Now, fifty-eight years later, with over thirty of those years dedicated to dressage, Karen has collected a wealth of knowledge and "in-the-saddle” practice in riding and training horses. Having been a voracious reader of fiction all her life, Karen understood the power of fiction to tell truths in a way that was just not available in most non-fiction riding books. 

In hopes of filling that niche, she wrote a four-book series called The Dressage Chronicles. In her novels, the character of Margot came to represent all of the best Karen had experienced in her trainers and mentors. To the character of Margot she gave words of wisdom that had been given to her. When the wisdom delivered just wasn't right for the character of Margot, she invented other characters that were better suited to the lesson. 

But storytelling limits how much of the actual training theory can be imparted. The plot carries the reader forward and demands movement rather than too much time spent on formal theory, and so the idea for this final book was born. And while this slim work is not intended to be a complete guide to training and riding dressage, it offers up a more cohesive presentation of the theory and practice, gleaned from the best of Karen's "Margots." Karen continues to write in a way that is both educational and light in tone, yet dead-on realistic. While the book can be read without having first read the series of novels, readers who enjoyed the novels will relish taking one more trip down centerline with Karen.

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Paperback | ISBN 978-1-947309-13-5 | 178 pages
SPORTS & RECREATION / Equestrian
EDUCATION / Teacher & Student Mentoring

 
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Rings of Fire (Book IV of The Dressage Chronicles)

When it comes to fear, horses and humans are not so different; emotions can overtake reason. The rubber snake might as well be a real snake—the nightmare reality—when they elicit the same response. Blind fear will make both horse and rider try to outrun lions, even when those lions are made of paper. Blind fear can send you straight over a cliff, and even if you manage to pull up before the edge, that is no way to live life.

It is only through training, training, and more training, and then testing that training, that you learn to turn and face fear, find courage, and welcome the ride, wild though it promises to be. 

These are the rings of fire, the trials that lie ahead for all of us, whether they be taking command of a spooky horse or navigating more human problems. Once trained, with worthy companions marching with you, shoulder-to-shoulder, you are ready for the ride. 
  
Welcome to The Dressage Chronicles IV: Rings of Fire.

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Paperback | ISBN 978-1-944193-78-2 | 412 Pages
FICTION / General
SPORTS & RECREATION / Equestrian

 

The Right Girl for the Job (Book III of The Dressage Chronicles)

Margot tells Lizzy that nothing in life is ever really settled, not until they “pack the earth over your grave, darling.”

And of course, as usual, Margot is right.

Although Lizzy is living her dream at “Equus Paradiso Farm” there is no guarantee that her future is settled.   She is terrified to think that despite her hard work, despite her commitment and desire, her efforts may not be enough.

Regardless of the shifting sands beneath her feet, Lizzy still has a job to do. It is a job with growing responsibilities, without regular hours, without weekends off, that pays almost nothing and keeps beating her up physically and mentally.

And while success is not guaranteed, failure in part or whole appears to be.

Maybe she is foolish with her rainbow and unicorn thinking; maybe her nay-sayers were right all along and reality is coming to kick her in the rear and eject her out of paradise and back out into the ordinary world.

Not all good deeds are rewarded, or efforts even appreciated as the territory of her daily routine gets trickier to navigate.

Life is not fair. But giving up before the battle is finished is not an option.

Though she’ll be tested, though she’ll know doubt and failure, she will come to discover, she is indeed, the “right girl for the job.”

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Paperback | ISBN 978-1-944193-76-8 | 462 Pages
FICTION / General
SPORTS & RECREATION / Equestrian

 
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A Matter of Feel (book Ii of the Dressage Chronicles)

As it is with people, so it is with horses. There is what you see on the surface, and then there is what is churning below. Lizzy’s good work ethic, and a desire to learn, will take her only so far. To go beyond the books, beyond the riding lessons, she will need courage. Why?

Wild Child. 

He is beauty coupled with power, but mean as a rattlesnake. He triggers reactions in everyone who sees him; envy; ambition; and fear. And he is her responsibility. But not her only challenge. Some rattlesnakes are two-legged.

She will find some of her teachers in unlikely places she could never have imagined. She will develop that special quality known among horsemen as “feel.” So the journey of The Dressage Chronicles continues. Put on your helmet.

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Paperback | ISBN 978-1-937565-61-9 | 468 Pages
FICTION / General
SPORTS & RECREATION / Equestrian

 
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The Dressage Chronicles

You know what happens to all those girls who are just crazy about horses?

Once they discover boys, the horses are history.

Or maybe not.

For Lizzy, and others like her, no boy, no man who knows what’s good for him, speaks the unspeakable—“It’s me or the horse.”

It’s no contest.

And so Lizzy snips the threads that hold her, however tenuously, to a conventional life, and begins her journey into the world of horse sports.

She signs on as a working student for dressage superstar Margot Fanning, heading to south Florida with her six year old mare, for “the season.”

She immerses herself in an extraordinary world of high-dollar horses and ambitious women and receives an education in more than just riding dressage.

Welcome to The Dressage Chronicles.

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Paperback | ISBN 978-1-937565-65-7 | 382 Pages
FICTION / General
SPORTS & RECREATION / Equestrian