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Animal Whisperer Sings Angel's Praises

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

Karen Howieson with her beloved horse, 10-year-old Oran - gaelic for song, otherwise known as Schiehallion Harkspur - gaelic for fairyhill of the Caledonians. With help from a loan through Nelson Angel Women’s Loan Fund, Karen has been able to train alongside her work at The Nelson ARK, in equine-led growth and healing. Photo: Amy Russ.

Karen Howieson is an accomplished woman. One of the founding members, and the community coordinator, of The Nelson ARK, previously a health promoter and lecturer, with extensive experience in youth work and counselling, with a passion for animals and their welfare.

Now training in equine-led growth and healing through a Rangiora based course, Healing of the Herd, Karen says, “this learning is about equine-assisted coaching involving the medium of horses.”

She is looking to offer her services, named after her horse, called Schiehallion Services – The horses way to heal. “The training is about the horse’s way to heal and transform lives. If anyone is interested, please contact me.”

As anyone who has looked into furthering their education knows, course fees can sometimes be a little out of reach and can even make or break the decision on whether or not to you are able to enrol.

Karen heard from a friend about a community-based organisation that she could apply for a loan through.

The Nelson Angel Women’s Loan Fund, a community-based organisation run by trustees, offer small interest-free loans to women to help them with their business or studies.

Karen says, “I didn’t realise you could borrow for study, so when I found that out, I went for it. They were very, very supportive and it meant that I could negotiate the way I paid the loan back. And I liked that, by me going through them and paying my loan back, down the track other women could access funds as well.”

The whole process, Karen said, is very straightforward. “From the first point of contact and throughout I found it a really nice, very supportive and conducive process, really comfortable and non-threatening.”

Helping hundreds of women in the region since 2012, Nelson Women’s Angel Loan coordinator, Adele Smith, says that roughly between 20-30 new loans a year are approved. “The applicant has to be able to show what the loan is for and have a basic business plan. It is an interest-free loan, and they need to prove that they are able to pay it back.” Trustee member Lynne Ehau says they are looking for more borrowers and that any woman can apply for it. Whether it is for establishing or growing a business, or for education or training purposes, find out more on

Published in the Waimea Weekly 4 July 2018

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