From My Saddle

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle Changes
Karen Pickering

How it All Can Change in a Moment


Mark Pickering in September of 2014

December 11th was a busy day. My husband and I were finishing up the January issue and looking forward to the Christmas season. Then, in a moment, everything changed. Mark had not been feeling well and went to lie down. I kept working away, only stopping for a few minutes to make some tea. When I came out of my office Mark was trying to get up and couldn’t speak or move his right side. I called 911.

The last few weeks since Mark’s stroke have been a whirlwind of activity: making arrangements for animal care, magazine production, total emotional meltdowns, lack of sleep, staying at the hospital 24/7 the first week and now driving back and forth to Bellingham every day. The number of decisions to be made is overwhelming and the financial outcome is unknown (our best guess is about $52,000 in medical expenses not covered, long-term care, etc.) It was not the Christmas I had in mind.

It’s so difficult to look at the positive in these circumstances, but so incredibly important. I still have much to be thankful for: working from a home office where Mark’s care will be much easier, incredible friends, family and client support as well as the fact my husband is alive! Our future seems pretty uncertain, but I know we have an awesome God who is able to work miracles.

So, moving forward with the work that sustains me, I want to focus on a great February edition. Our cover story on page 6 highlights a beautiful farm that, despite many challenges, raises some of the nicest Gypsy Vanner horses in the nation. Finally, I have no idea if we will make it to the Washington State Horse Expo in February. If we do, I’d love to see you there and perhaps celebrate a little success story; your personal stories of hope which will inspire us as we navigate big changes.  If you would like to help visit: or if you’re located in Whatcom County, visit any Whatcom Educational Credit Union and make a donation to the Mark Pickering Donation Fund. A special thank you to Mark and Lee Bolender for hosting a fundraiser on January 11th, as well as Cindi Plendl from Butler Hill Equestrian Center.

Quote: “The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is opportunity for growth.”
Author Unknown


Published in February 2015 Issue

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From My Saddle
Karen Pickering

Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 16,000 copies and over 600 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!

Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.

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