Karen Bates


I was born and grew up in Belgium and for as long as I can remember, horses have been my biggest passion in life. I started riding when I was about 10 and as a child I was involved with ponies and jumpers and attended many summer camps with horses, where horsemanship was being taught. I would ride my bike to the local barn after school every day to be around them and do chores in exchange for lessons and once I got married in 2003 and moved to North Carolina with my husband, I bought my first horse.

About my Education

In Belgium, I have studied at the University of Leuven and got a degree in Economics specializing in International Business. I worked as an international sales manager for several years before taking a sabbatical and traveling around the world for two years. Once in North Carolina I worked for a trading company in the hospitality industry before starting my own business in Equine Photography, allowing my passion to become my job.

In 2010 my husband and I moved to Canada, where I studied Equine Sciences at the University of Guelph with the emphasis on Equine Nutrition, Advanced Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.

About Karen Bates Whole Foods for Horses Wholesome Equine Nutrition

About my Mission

While I have always been interested in healthy nutrition, the courses at Guelph have only emphasized the importance of a balanced and healthy diet of real foods for myself and my horses. Once I started to apply these principles to my own horses, I experienced tremendous changes in their health, work ethic and overall demeanor and happiness which only confirmed my conviction in a whole foods diet. This is what inspired me to start the business of Wholesome Equine Nutrition; to help educate people about nutrition, health and well-being for the horses. These profound changes I have experienced in my own animals drives me to share my knowledge with others and help guide them through the overwhelming amount of choices that are out there.

I have chosen to do this independently without representing any feed company or feed label, but by sourcing the best available options in the market to accomplish a wholesome diet for the horse.

I am currently located in the Atlanta area, north of the city in the middle of horse country. However, I can help people long distance and work with products they can find locally.

Riding Background
and Other Hobbies

After originally moving to the U.S. in 2003, I focused mainly on the dressage discipline and have been fortunate enough to own several horses who taught me the ropes. In the meantime, I have received both the bronze and silver Medal from the USDF and completed the L-graduate program for USDF judging with distinction. In the past 10 years I have worked with many well-regarded trainers in the sport and I actively compete at national level. I currently own and ride two young dressage mares which I imported a few years ago from Germany. Both of them are being trained up the levels and are being competed at the national level. I also own my retired FEI mare who had some metabolic issues during her younger years, which have completely been managed through healthy nutrition. She has inspired me to do the studies in nutrition and is there reason why I am where I am today. I have two children, who were born in 2009 and 2011, and who keep inspiring me to live a balanced and healthy life. The importance of good nutrition is one of my main concerns for myself and my family – including my horses. In addition to horses, my hobbies include languages, traveling, photography, reading, movies, pilates and exercising in general, as well as spending time and sharing my passions with my husband and children.

About Karen Bates Whole Foods for Horses Wholesome Equine Nutrition