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 and Western Judge 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 Ecole De Légèreté' – EdL (School of Lightness) in order to pass on his philosophy of training horses with lightness and respect. In 2014 Philippe Karl decided to start a second UK instructor training course. After a vigorous selection process Kat was very fortunate to be one of those hand picked eight instructors selected by Philippe Karl and she was incredibly lucky to be trained directly by him. In 2020, after 10 years of training the UK Instructors in EdL Philippe stopped teaching in the UK, however he put in place one of his Masta teachers, Sylvia Stossel to continue training the EdL UK Instructors and Kat continues to train with and support the organisation of Sylvia’s UK clinics.

Kat has competed successfully in dressage, show jumping, one day events and showing on both her own and her clients’ horses. She has judged dressage tests and at in-hand and riding horse classes both as a riding judge and conformation judge at riding club and charity shows.

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 continues to work through the EdL Exam certification.  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 independent, qualified (MSFC) 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. Since 2021 Kat has developed her own ‘natural living’ yard where her own horses live as a herd and have both a surfaced and grass track. 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 clinics and lectures.

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