Carolyn Lowe

Starting Out

Carolyn Laurel has been instructing, training, competing, and building horse-related businesses for over 30 years. Specializing in dressage and western performance – western riding, reining, and western pleasure – she is committed to sharing her expertise with riders of all levels. Carolyn was born into the family-run riding business in River Falls, Wisconsin, a town that’s also home to a university with a nationally renowned equine program. Here Carolyn began her mission to ride with and learn from extraordinary horsemen. She and her sisters grew up in the saddle, joining her father’s 50-year-long career in trails, sales, and instruction.

Building Experience

During her college years, Carolyn continued the learning experiences that would come to shape her current business. She studied equine sciences at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, focusing on reining and cutting. After graduating from college, she went to California and worked as equitation instructor for a cutting horse ranch; she taught dressage, jumping, and western pleasure, as the Primary Instructor at Ojai Valley Farms. Carolyn also worked as a producer in the film industry. This production work, together with her experience in the horse business, led her to produce shows for the National Reining Horse Association. Carolyn’s western showing experience includes the American Quarter Horse Association, the National Cutting Horse Association, and the National Reining Horse Association.

Carolyn returned to River Falls in 1995 to open her own business, Kinni Valley Riding Academy. After purchasing her retired father's business, Kinni Valley Riding Stables, the family legacy of riding excellence has continued since 1928.

Training Influences

Carolyn began dressage training in her late teens and college years, with German cavalry officer Max von Bluecher, of Fortuna Farm in Long Lake, Minnesota. At the same time she continued to developed experience in reining and cutting, and studied with Ray Hunt, whose philosophy of training has deeply pervaded her own training and teaching practice. Carolyn has continued her dressage career through clinics and training visits with several trainers including, Isabelle Judet and Jean-Claude Chéret.

Carolyn’s teaching and training philosophy blends the precision of classical dressage with the simplicity, directness, and lightness of communication that emerges from the French dressage tradition. She also believes that focus on one’s center, giving the rider a confident seat, secure balance, and open dialogue, allows for ultimate communication with the horse. These ideals and ways of interacting make the horses and riders at Kinni Valley successful, relaxed, confident, and happy.