Gabriel Nivera

Pictures & Conversations

A collection of images and the stories behind their creation.

Karen de los Angeles

Agoura Hills, California


During my last trip to LA,  I was pleasantly surprised to find out a friend from home had recently relocated there and was working at a ranch in Agoura Hills.  We set up a time to hang out on an afternoon after my meetings. I love all things horses; growing up I used to show jump & dressage, so i leapt at the chance to see Karen in her element and learn more about how Karen got into the horse world. We chatted about her background as she prepped a beautiful Friesian, named Standing Ovation, affectionately known as "Ovi" for his afternoon exercise.

Karen started out young, "My mom put me on a horse in Baguio when I was 3 years old - I didn’t want to get off. It was love at first sight! Was obsessed with horses since then, and wouldn’t stop asking for a horse.  I Got my first pony, Ginger, at 8 and started formal lessons at Manila Polo Club."  Karen spent 15 years as an international competitive rider in show jumping and dressage. Accumulating numerous wins in local and international shows, with the highlight being a silver medal at the RP UK Cup, part of the FEI Grand Prix Series. 

Her dedication to the sport has led her to seek training under many great riders and coaches; Chris Delia, Eric Lamaze, Jos Kups, Hideo Watabe, Vicki Roycroft, Mikee Jaworski, Maree Hewitt, just to name a few.  She also founded and continues to operate MKL Stables in the Philippines.  With Karens move to the United States, she changed her focus from show jumping to dressage.  I asked her the reasons behind the decision, and she answered that jumping places an extreme physical strain and demand on the body, leading to increased risk of injury alongside her desire to find a new challenge.

Karen currently works as the Assistant Dressage Trainer & Instructor at Dressage for All Disciplines, under head trainer Tane McClure.  "I really love being a coach and hope to continue to do that. I love teaching people and kids of all ages and seeing them improve and gain confidence."  Her Long term  is to earn a USDF Gold Medal and represent the Philippines at the top level.  Follow Karen & all her horsey friends on her instagram  @kdlaequestrian.