Kat's Background

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Kat Layfield is a classical riding instructor and trainer and is passionate about the welfare of horses, whether training them under saddle, in-hand or in their housing and management.

She has ridden, owned and loaned horses since 1979 and started her teaching career in 1993. She has taught adults, teenagers and children in a range of disciplines on a freelance basis and at riding schools, riding clubs and the Pony Club.

In 1997 Kat started 12-years of training with Grand Prix classical trainer David Dodwell. Under his guidance she rode and trained horses in classical dressage from Prelim to Grand Prix, including all lateral work and the more advanced movements of Piaffe, Passage and Spanish Walk. Since then, she has continued to study and train in classical equitation, notably French Classical and her particular specialism is dressage, in-hand work and postural and straightness training for horse and rider where she has worked with all ages of horses and levels of training.

In 2011 Kat became an Auditor on Philippe Karl’s first UK teacher training course. Philippe Karl, is a world renound and highly respected French Classical Riding Master, author and former Écuyer of the Cadre Noir. After leaving the Carde Noir following 13-years of service, Philippe Karl created the school (French for lightness) in order to pass on his philosophy of training horses with lightness and respect. In 2014 Philippe Karl hand picked eight UK professional instructors to join the ‘School of Légèreté' as trainee instructors. After a vigerous selection process Kat was very fortunate to be one of the eight instructos selected and is currently completing the 3-year instructor's course, training with Philippe Karl in person.

Kat has competed successfully in dressage, show jumping, one day events and showing on both her own and her clients’ horses. She has judged in-hand and riding horse classes both as a riding judge and conformation judge at riding club and charity shows. She has judged unaffiliated dressage to Medium level. She is currently developing a new type of non-competitive classical training test, supported by the Moore Racehorse Trust.

In addition to her wealth of practical experience she is highly qualified, holding a First Class Equine Science Degree (specialising in equine behaviour and learning theory), a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE), British Horse Society Assistant Instructor (BHSAI) and a Monty Roberts ‘Starting the Young Horse’ certificate holder. She has also trained in rider asymmetry and straightness training using the 'Alexander Technique' techniques. She has published articles for ‘Tracking-Up’ magazine and the Equine Behaviour Forum and was a guest lecturer at De Montford University for the Equine Behaviour Forum’s 25th birthday symposium. Her pioneering dissertation on equine learning theory and training was awarded a ‘First class’ and was shortlisted for the 1999 Equvalan Thesis of the Year award.

Kat has many year's experience as an independant saddle fitter and offers consultations on saddle fit, design and saddling issues. She is currently designing her own range of saddles.

Kat promotes keeping horses in a more natural lifestyle whenever possible and has kept her own horses in an outdoor, herd environment since 1997. In 2000, she designed, built and ran an 'alternative' livery yard where horses had outdoor corrals attached to their stables, a type of housing solution that proved very successful. Kat also has an interest in keeping horses barefoot and has been keeping her own horses this way since 2010.

Kat is based in East Sussex, but teaches nation-wide. She is available for lessons, clinics, lectures and dismounted workshops and courses.

For an informal chat call Kat on 07816 512911 or email thinkingequitation@gmail.com