Philanthropist Karin Taylor Talks Horses, Helping Others + Why Humidity Is Not Her Friend
In the run-up to Thanksgiving, I received a pitch on behalf of Karin Taylor, a Florida-based philanthropist who is co-owner of the Weisberg Family Foundation and sponsor of The Big Heart Brigade, an organization that has provided 1.5 million (yes you read that right - 1.5 million) meals to people in need. For Turkey Day, Taylor and her army of selfless volunteers were about to prep a massive meal to be staged at Fire Station 63 in Palm Beach Gardens.
Though I didn't get the word out about that event in a timely manner, I knew Karin, a former model and actor, was a slam-dunk for FBP. A stunning mix of style and substance, she's right up our alley. I wanted to learn more about her equine therapy work with horses, and, how, as a mother of five, she carves out the time to take such obviously great care of herself.
Off we go.
FBP: Your family's Weisberg Family Foundation has created and supported so many philanthropic endeavors. But as an animal lover, I'm super intrigued by Weisberg Stables. When did you open it, and how do the equine therapy programs work? Can anyone just pop by for the petting zoo?
TAYLOR: We started Weisberg Stables in December 2015. We're a private facility that isn't open to the general public. We use our farm primarily for philanthropic outreach programs such as our Sensory Petting Zoo experience or Equine Assisted Learning Programs, and our Unbridled Power program. In 2018, we'll be offering opportunities for small groups to book a private tour or a birthday party event at our facility and that will help offset some of the costs related to the philanthropic programs we offer.
Because of the interest in our farm - and the fact that I love sharing it with others - I've tried to make our website, WeisbergStables.com, as interactive and informative as possible. On it we describe the animals we have at our farm, the care they require, how they are used and have a lot of videos and pictures as well.
I'm very excited to offer Equine Assisted Learning programs at our farm. Basically, EAL is an experiential learning approach that promotes the development of essential life skills through groundwork activities using horses as the teacher.
Utilizing objectively driven exercises involving the horses, participants learn critical life skills and develop a heightened self-awareness that has parallels to their everyday lives. Self-awareness can reveal patterns of negative behavior and gives participants the opportunity to think in a new way, while improving non-verbal body language that may be negatively impacting them in their everyday life.
While many of us have learned how to bluff our way through life, you can't bluff a horse. In fact, horses can even hear our heartbeats. Being around them forces us to be authentic and confront the issues that may be holding us back in our life.
Since 90 percent of our communication is non-verbal, it's necessary to learn the art of tuning in to those around us.
FBP: Do you have an equestrian background yourself?
TAYLOR: I actually do not have an "equestrian background" - unless you consider summers spent at my aunt's house in Fort Lauderdale where I rode horses with my cousins bareback, barefoot and with no helmet (or riding lessons). We would go on "trail rides" and race the dogs through the orange groves, falling off many times each day. I would never let any of my children, their cousins or friends do what I did. And yet, it was a really fun time and somehow I survived.
FBP: Ditto for me in Oklahoma! Riding bareback with no helmet! Insane. Back to you: You grew up in Orlando. What are some of your other fond Florida memories?
TAYLOR: My father worked for Walt Disney World when I was a child and I remember spending almost every weekend at Disney the first few years he worked there. I was later a dancer in the Electric Light Parade and I still get very nostalgic about that when we take our kids to Disney. Disney to me is synonymous with 'happy childhood.'
Other memories include trips to Cape Canaveral to fish with my family and catching crabs in nets with my little brother. Also, weekend trips down to St. John's River where we would always see manatees, which I loved.
FBP: Did you enjoy modeling? What did you like and not like about it?
TAYLOR: I really enjoyed modeling because it offered me an opportunity to see the world, and for that I will always be grateful. During catalog season on South Beach, it would get to the point where, after so many wardrobe changes and shooting outside all day, you would not want a single soul to touch you one more time. It was constant powdering, pinning, smoothing, adjusting and restyling of your hair. So if I had to name something I didn't like about modeling, that would be it.
FBP: What made you decide to home-school your children? You must be wildly organized to teach five kids!
TAYLOR: I'm not really sure what inspired me to home-school. I had never known a single person who home-schooled before I started home-schooling our children. I suppose if I had to name something, it would be the desire to be with them as much as possible after struggles I had with infertility. I enjoy teaching and I enjoy children, so it was a natural fit. I also love a color-coded schedule, and that's helpful too!
FBP: Now let's talk beauty. This site is dedicated to the unique...ahem..."challenges" of living in Florida. What do you find trickiest - hair, skin and body-wise - about living here? And what are your "workarounds" for dealing with those issues?
TAYLOR: Humidity is not my friend. I have naturally curly hair and that's my biggest struggle. I work around that by popping in some clip hair extensions sometimes, which helps add a little weight to my hair. I absolutely cannot live without Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream and Living Proof Style Lab Prime Style Extender.
FBP: What are some of your favorite local haunts for hair, skin, nails and wellness services like massage?
Since beauty starts from the inside out I really love RevitalIV in Jupiter. Their custom IVs have really made a difference in my skin and energy levels.
I love the blowouts at Blowtox. I won't tell you the name of my favorite stylist there though because she's already hard to get an appointment with!
FBP: The million-dollar question: How do stay model-slim after all these years - and five kids?!!! What's your workout routine like?
TAYLOR: Honestly, I'm very erratic in my workouts. The only consistent thing is working on the farm. It really is a workout working with these animals - cleaning stalls, carrying 20-gallon buckets of water and grooming horses. Also, keeping up with five active kids is another workout in itself!
When I'm taking time for myself I enjoy paddle boarding, paddle board yoga, acro yoga and Pilates. I am blessed to have a Pilates studio in my house as I've been doing Pilates for about 18 years now. I have an instructor who comes to my house for Pilates, and another one who is awesome about doing yoga anywhere - my house, farm, beach or on a paddle board, or even with goats and on the back of a horse.
FBP: I'm sensing your next venture: Equine Yoga! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us,
BELOW ARE A FEW SNAPS OF KARIN IN ACTION WITH HER YOGA INSTRUCTOR, AS WELL AS A FEW OF WEISBERG STABLES. ENJOY!