Training Testimonials from Clients & Peers

Client Testimonials

Client Testimonial 1
  • Client: Marion and Winston

“I had always intended to back my warmblood youngster myself but when I got him home, I quickly discovered just how anxious, sensitive and sharp he really was. This was not going to be nearly as easy or as quick as when I backed my beautiful Irish Draught mare. I wanted to take a classical route where the horse's welfare is put first and, aware of the importance of groundwork and that I needed some support, I contacted Kat.

Kat has been amazing in the way she has guided me over the last couple of years. Although very willing with a lovely nature, my youngster has not been the easiest, mainly due to his anxiousness. Kat was very methodical, patient and thorough in her approach in how to prepare a horse for backing despite the many challenges he gave us along the way.

Finally when I did get on, thank goodness it was all very uneventful and I truly believe this was due to the groundwork training and all our preparation. I now have a calm horse who understands what is being asked of him and who willingly obliges. The slow, steady, concise and sympathetic approach has truly paid off and I am so proud of the horse he has become. I am very grateful to have met Kat and for all her input in helping me to achieve my dream and my vision. With her help I now have the most wonderful horse and I am so looking forward to the many good times ahead and all the fun I hope to have with him”

Client Testimonial 2
  • Client: Briony and Reo, Jethro and Jack

“Hi Kat, the insights you gave me last week after riding Reo have made a HUGE difference, we have just managed a reasonable half pass in trot, at least the best we’ve ever done. So excited! Please ride him again next time!!.....I first met Kat in 2016, and for the last two years I can honestly say she has changed my life and those of my 3 horses very much for the better. Back then I was competing my Spanish horse in British Dressage, and not making much progress despite training with a number of different coaches. I was also not very happy with a number of things I was seeing in the competition world. Reo, my horse, was tense, had a poor walk and was afraid of contact with the bit. Although I was given odd clues, no one could give me a comprehensive means of solving our problems. After a couple of lessons with Kat I could see and feel huge improvements, and a way forward. Reo began to let go of his tightness, to understand the contact, which now did not hurt his mouth or cause him to overflex. He began to stretch his neck forward, to understand the new, now much clearer aids and exercises, to walk with a slower, clear rhythm and best of all he had a smile on his face, as did I!! Subsequently we have seen great improvements in contact, in suppleness and balance, in the use of his hind legs and in relaxation and focus and enjoyment of our training. 

Kat also helped me with backing my rescue pony, Jethro. In this she was patient, kind and thorough and I felt very safe in her hands. Sadly, it became clear that Jethro could not comfortably carry the weight of the rider due to injuries he obtained during the physical abuse he suffered as a baby before I got him from a rescue charity.  So, instead, Kat has shown me how to train him on the lunge and with in-hand work and I now have a pony who, despite not being ridden, is supple, well-balanced, beautifully muscled and capable of some very nice work including Shoulder In, Traver, Renver, Half Pass, Pirouette and Jambette!

Sometimes my 22-year-old cob has also done sessions with Kat and she has shown me how to teach him to lift his forehand so that he trips less and we can still enjoy our hacking together, and how to keep him supple, happy and enjoying life in his later years. 

I cannot thank Kat enough”

Client Testimonial 3
  • Client: Anna and Noah. Equine Behaviourist, Instructor and Holistic Livery Yard Owner.

“I am an Equine Behaviourist and Riding Instructor. I was looking for a long time to find a trainer that could support me from the ground on my journey with my young horse who was a giant, extremely uncoordinated and weak. I had been searching for an instructor with heart, ethics and a deep and thorough knowledge of biomechanics and the art of classical riding. I got exactly that when I met Kat! Kat is a kind and trustworthy person, who walks her talk. She cares deeply about the horses and is mindful in her work to “do no harm”. She has excellent teaching skills and is a good communicator. She manages to make the often inaccessible world of classical dressage accessible while still remaining true to its principles. Highly recommend!”

Client Testimonial 4
  • Client: Marie and Gabriel

“I waited for many years to find a trainer who could teach me to ride and train a horse in a classical way. Kat Layfield has proved to be such a trainer. She has worked magic with me and my horse Gabriel over the time I have been training with her.

We have achieved what I would never have believed we could. With her combination of the application of classical equitation and her extensive knowledge of human and horse biomechanics and her endless knowledge and patience, she has taken us from a very low starting point to working on canter half pass, flying changes and taking steps towards piaffe.

I am thrilled and Gabriel looks and feels fantastic. Kat truly puts into practice the old adage that ‘Dressage is for the horse, not the horse for dressage’. I can’t recommend her highly enough”

Client Testimonial 5
  • Client: Rachel Baragwanath

“Kat is an exceptional trainer who’s methods are clear, easy to understand and very effective. The horse’s welfare is always of the utmost importance and with her brilliant eye for detail and vast knowledge of classical riding, tack, equine anatomy and equine psychology; Kat can suggest techniques to improve the horse’s straightness, balance, happiness and consequently, quality of movement. I have learnt from Kat that only when you have mastered the basics can you attempt to move forwards successfully, that there are no quick fixes and that patience; time and empathy towards your horse’s unique character are paramount. Above all, Kat has a wonderful, warm personality and I always come away having had a thoroughly enjoyable, as well as incredibly educational lesson. Thank you Kat!”

Client Testimonial 6
  • Client: Mary and Molly

“Kat is a wonderful instructor who has incredible patience for both me and my horse! She combines her extensive understanding of classical dressage, horse physiology and horse psychology beautifully to create a partnership between horse and rider which encourages willingness without force. Both me and my horse were new to classical dressage but she has been hugely supportive has a wonderful way of explaining her methods clearly and making them seem possible, even for us! Her compassion and love for horses is obvious in her teaching and she always puts the needs of the horse first which is one of the reasons she is one of the few people I trust my horse with unconditionally! I would wholeheartedly recommend her, without hesitation, to anyone I know”

Client Testimonial 7
  • Client: Xu-Xu and Summer

“When I first started working with Kat I soon realised that I had finally found the truly horse friendly trainer I had been looking for! Her knowledge and experience of training and keeping horses seems endless. Her understanding of biomechanics and horse psychology contribute immensely to her holistic, sensitive and empathetic approach to training both the horse and the rider. She is incredibly generous with her knowledge and is a supportive and patient instructor. She has an eye for the subtlest detail and a true talent in being able to communicate her insights clearly so that I am able to refine my own understanding and ability. What is so refreshing about Kat is that her first concern is always the horses comfort and wellbeing. I feel so lucky to have found Kat and I hope to continue to work with her for a very long time!”

Client Testimonial 8
  • Client: Katie and Wolfie

“I cannot thank Kat enough for the transformation that has occurred with myself and my horse in a few short months. We still have a long way to go, but the results so far have been above and beyond what I thought possible.

When I first contacted Kat, my horse was in a mess and had a lot of issues from previous ‘training’ and I didn’t know which way to turn. Kat’s vast experience, knowledge and understanding of horse’s means that she has been able to not only help Wolfie but also teach me how to work with him correctly so that I can continue the re-training in-between our lessons with her.

Kat’s ability to explain the world from my horse’s point of view has been truly enlightening and means that I am much more equipped to give him confidence and lead the way. She has such a kind approach and is an excellent teacher. I cannot recommend Kat highly enough to anyone and I look forward to many more years of training with her. Thank you!”

Client Testimonial 9
  • Client: Rachel Keevil – Human & Horse Osteopath, BSc (hons) Osteopathy/Dip Animal Osteopathy

“I have been training with Kat for almost a year now, she has a brilliant eye for seeing key weaknesses in both horse and rider and is able to give clear instructions to correct problems so every lesson achieves goals on which to work on in a clear concise way which is understandable to both horse and rider. I highly recommend Kat and 'The School of Legerete' training style for any horse and rider to give a clear and calm understanding of the aids and correct muscle build up in achieving true balance and lightness. I have recommended Kat to many of my Equine Osteopath Clients for training. I have also used Kat for saddle fitting and I have recommended my Osteopath Clients to her for this to!”

Client Testimonial 10
  • Client: Anette and Phil

“My love for riding involves being at ‘one’ with the horse, almost like dancing together. I know this sounds very cliché and a bit mad, but this is how I perceive riding. For me the horse comes first and this is also Kat’s philosophy.
Getting the horse to first be physically able to actually do the moves one is asking for, and then teaching the rider to ask correctly is something Kat is brilliant at. She also has the understanding of the experience of the rider and has guided me patiently to a greater understanding and a more confident and competent rider.
Kat does not judge people whatever level they are and has the horse’s welfare at heart. This makes her a great and unique instructor which one does not find very often. I can highly recommend her”

Client Testimonial 11
  • Client: Hanna and Rintje

“My horse had suffered a suspensory injury in both his front legs as well as a pelvic injury and had been on box rest for 9 months. I knew that I needed to find a trainer who would not rush him, while at the same time carefully build up his strength and improve his posture. I am so glad that I found Kat to help me.

It’s not just Kat’s knowledge of classical dressage and understanding of anatomy, but also her never ending patience, kindness and bucket-loads of encouragement that make our weekly lesson with her such a wonderful experience and something I really look forward to.

My horse is improving with every lesson and even when things don’t go according to plan, Kat always manages to turn it into something positive for us. Kat also gives me exercises to do until we see her again, which continuously improve both my horses trust in me and my confidence.

As a Freisan my horses head carriage is naturally very high and it is vital that he learns to stretch forward, down and out and come to a good neck extension posture. This is something he has now picked up so easily thanks to the exercises Kat does with us, as well as the encouragement and praise she gives him for even the smallest step in the right direction.

As her pupil you will never hear Kat say “because that’s just how it’s done”. When you ask her the why, she will always explain the reason and the benefits of the exercise which I find invaluable.

Kat thank you very much for everything you have done for us so far, I am so looking forward to seeing what else you will teach us!”

Client Testimonial 12
  • Client: Rachel and Posie

“My Hanoverian horse Posie was imported from Germany as a foal. She started her life with a different owner who adored her and Posie had a promising future. Sadly, when she was 4, her original owner’s ill health meant she had to be sold and a competition dressage home bought her. Unfortunately this new home destroyed her sweet nature and trust in people and after just a few months in this home she was deemed too dangerous to ride and handle and was going to be shot. Her breeder was told of her fate to be and managed to find some very kind people to rescue her. Once rescued she had a full veterinary workup and no physical reason for her dangerous behaviour was discovered, but it was decided she needed to be let down and not ridden for some time. I then bought Posie for £1.00, as a broodmare and bred a lovely filly from her. After 3 years of owning her I decided to see if Posies’ faith in humans could be restored and if she would be happy as a riding horse again. That’s when I approached Kat Layfield to see if she would help me restart her.
Kat has an amazing way with horses, through her years of experience and knowledge she is perfectly in tune with them and seems to understand them in every way, listening and watching closely and gently asking them, when they’re ready to take another step into something they are terrified of, and for her they seem to just do it.
Kat has considered everything for Posie, ensuring that her bit, saddle and girth fit her correctly to rule out pain being the cause for her previous behavioural issues.
Kat worked with Posie for a number of months, gaining her trust on the ground first and helping her become more symmetrical and better able to carry a rider. It was clear Posie was very uncertain in the early days and that she had remembered her competition homes training abuse. Despite this, the new trust she gained working with Kat enabled Kat to re-back her and sit on her again, Kat and Posie have even had a solo ride! Through Kat’s caring approach Posie is making progress and although I know it will take time, I am certain that Kat will be able to fully restore Posie to a happy riding horse again”

Client Testimonial 13
  • Client: Marie-Angel/Savvy

“Kat teaches that good effective equitation is in the details. Details of posture for both horse and rider, in the hand to bit communication, in small muscle responses and in a careful progression and repetition of rider/horse work starting from the ground then backed at the walk, then trot, then canter/So balance and grace grow with ease as straightness and correct bend are both achieved. Kat makes me think about what I do and is equally patient with horse and human. She has a deep and varied knowledge of equine and human biomechanics, ethology and psychology combined. She is a pearl of integrity as a teacher, kind at heart and giving her time very generously for what she charges. And her passion for perfection carries me through my fears”

Client Testimonial 14
  • Client: Aimée and Rocky

“Hi Kat, I just wanted to say a great big thank you for today! Your style of teaching/ understanding his physiology etc. is a breath of fresh air and exactly what I was looking for and more. Becoming a more mindful rider and becoming lighter / kinder with my aids is so in line with the rider that I want to become. I really enjoyed today and loved learning how to have kinder / clearer conversations with Rocky and I really loved learning how to listen to him more - to tune into / learn to feel what his body and reactions are telling me - to date all my education and the advice I have received has been about treating any perceived 'resistance'/'evasion' with stronger aids and force - something that was increasingly starting to feel so wrong to me, especially with such a willing and kind horse who was clearly doing his very best to please me but really struggled at times. I didn't know what the alternative was and feel like a big road block and weight of worry has been lifted. I have no idea how far I will get with my 'wonkey donkey' but I feel sure with you help we're now moving in the right direction - irrespective of whether we ever do any dressage or jumping - for me it is all about having a more relaxed and happy horse and I already saw signs of that today - I really can't thank you enough for that. Worth every penny and then some. Thanks again.”

Client Testimonial 15
  • Client: Jenny Philcox

“I have known Kat for more than 15 years. In that time she has helped me enormously with a few ultra-tricky mares I bought in Germany. Kats gentle but no nonsense approach gets results without the need for excessive, aggressive training. My horses were happier, learnt more quickly, enjoyed their schooling and I rode with more confidence. Kat is incredibly patient, approachable and explains things in a simple way without over complicating matters”

Client Testimonial 16
  • Client: Lesley and Orange

“Kat is a patient, understanding kind and calm instructor who has made a huge difference to my horse, she makes sure that everything she teaches is clearly understood ensuring that everything is done correctly, both myself and orange really enjoy our lessons and I now have a greater understanding of my horse”

Client and Peer Testimonial 17
  • Client: Dot and her horse Milo

“Kat is a very helpful and dedicated teacher of communication between horse and rider. Thank you Kat, you are a star!”

Comments from clients who participated in Horse Owners Certificate courses

“I thought this was an excellent course and really enjoyed it. Thanks very much Kat, for all the hard work you must have done” Louise Simmonds


“I would definitely recommend this course to other horse owners and riders’, I found it very helpful in all aspects for me” Vanessa Lambert


“This course was brilliant, it was really helpful with lots of good, clear information, I would definitely recommend, especially riders. Thank you Kat!” Jennifer Guard


“I wish I’d done it ages ago and will recommend it to others” Deanne Burgess


Saddle Fitting Testimonials

Fitting Testimonial 1
  • Client: Kat and Lexi

 “Kat has been saddle fitting my mare since an initial lesson in which it became apparent that I was ill-advised by a previous fitter. Although I was reassured by the previous master saddler that my mare was appropriately fitted (with a very pricey dressage saddle), Kat immediately spotted a lack of impulsion in my mare - due to a very tightly fitted saddle. My mare, like many horses suffered from muscle atrophy which was not been picked up on by my saddler. To the contrary, the saddle was fitted to her current ill-shape, not the shape she needed to grow into.

Since Kat has worked with me on the optimum remedial fit, my mare has gone from strength to strength (long may it continue!), putting on muscle tone and being generally much happier, forward and co-operative when ridden. Kat has since returned regularly to keep things in check. Her attention to detail, patience and expertise have been evident. Kat doesn't rush things, tries various options and always leaves us with the best and most appropriate solution. Her knowledge extends of course beyond fitting - she is an excellent teacher with the empathy and in-depth experience that is to be expected by someone trained in classical riding. 

I am glad I have found Kat - saddles are a minefield and there are many saddle fitters around with the main objective of selling saddles, often applying conveyor belt strategies and lacking actual bio-mechanical riding expertise. Many thanks Kat!”

Fitting Testimonial 2
  • Client: Kate and Betty

“I have a 9 year old, short backed, broad cob that is rather tricky to fit. After a disastrous purchase from a previous saddler it became apparent we needed a specialist. Kat came highly recommended and spent time to understand my girls shape and particular needs by discussion with me, a proper examination of her back – taking in how the saddle had been restricting her movement and altering muscles – and taking photos and a template of her to see how she would progress with future fittings. The saddle she felt fitted best was a Wintec All Purpose Wide which was shimmed with inserts to fit and sit perfectly. I queried the choice as Wintec have not always had the best reputation, but after the first hack out it was apparent that this was indeed the right saddle for the pony and me! After 30 uses Kat returned to see how we were going and the improvement was amazing. Not only was there no more slipping, but my girls slightly atrophied shoulder muscles were now plumping up because she could move more freely. I am so happy with the professional service Kat provides and would say to anyone who has a hard to fit horse, or who has been previously poorly advised, to put yourself in her hands and be confident that she will absolutely be able to help you”

Fitting Testimonial 3
  • Client: Susie and Indie

 “Kat was recommended to me by a Veterinary chiropractor as my horse’s back had been made uncomfortable by a previous ill-fitting saddle which had led to his back and pectoral muscles tightening up and had also presented as him lame in trot…Thank you Kat for producing a comfortable saddle for us, with all the extras and for your advice on my rusty riding. I’m now out competing Indie successfully and your help has contributed to a happy and successful 22 year old horse”

Fitting Testimonial 4
  • Client: Jackie and Max

“I’d love for you to use my experiences with you for your website. As I’m rubbish with words, please feel free to put something really nice on my behalf. I’ve nothing but good things to say about you and your service. So very happy with my saddle as you know”

Fitting Testimonial 5
  • Client: Anna Vickery with Noah and Lucas. Equine Behaviourist, Instructor and Holistic Livery Yard Owner.

“Kat is a superb saddle fitter! She takes her time and is an absolute perfectionist when fitting saddles. She will notice any slight irregularity and correct it. The horses have never gone better since using her. She has integrity in her work and will always work within your budget, offering free advice over the phone and helping you source saddles to try. No sales pitch, just honest saddle fitting to an extremely high standard. I use her and have recommended her to my liveries and training clients”

Fitting Testimonial 6
  • Client: Briony and Reo, Jethro and Jack

“It is always reassuring to feel that, as a qualified and extremely competent saddle-fitter, Kat is keeping an eye on our saddle fit and balance. She has done saddle fitting sessions with all 3 horses and is very knowledgeable, efficient and thorough. All the horses benefited greatly from the changes that she made”


Peer Testimonials

Peer Testimonial 1
  • Client: Sue Featherstone - BHSI, RIHS Judge, Chief Examiner British Horse Society

“Kat is a talented rider and teacher. She is very responsible and reliable. She is very interested and dedicated and her care for her horses is exceptional”

Peer Testimonial 2
  • Client: Sue Gardner - Equine Behaviourist and Co-Author for Applied Equine Behaviour

“Kat and I met through our common interest in the overriding belief that the horses’ welfare is always put first. Kats commitment to furthering her knowledge on equine learning theory, studying the classical works of dressage and bio-mechanics means that when she teaches she implements the bio-mechanics of both horse and human as well as implementing training cue's that offer clarity and consistency for the classical rider. Her delightful and positive teaching style is refreshing and I have recommended clients to her“.

Peer Testimonial 3
  • Client: Kelly Marks – Intelligent Horsemanship Monty Roberts

“Kat has a great natural ability for this (natural horsemanship) work with horses”

Peer Testimonial 4
  • Client: Rosie Jones, Intelligent Horsemanship Instructor and her horse Harvey

“Just had a fab classical dressage lesson today on horseface Harvey! (he had his ballet shoes on). Thank you Kat, I have given your number to some clients of mine that I think would like your approach”

Peer Testimonial 5
  • Client: Margaret Auld - Chief Instructor of the East Herts Pony Club

“Kat is a first rate teacher and communicator, she teaches with kindness, patience and rapport. Her teaching content is very good and always put over in an interesting way. We are very impressed with her teaching and turnout, setting such a good example”

Peer Testimonial 6
  • Client: Rachel Keevil – Human & Horse Osteopath, BSc (hons) Osteopathy/Dip Animal Osteopathy

“I have been training with Kat for almost a year now, she has a brilliant eye for seeing key weaknesses in both horse and rider and is able to give clear instructions to correct problems so every lesson achieves goals on which to work on in a clear concise way which is understandable to both horse and rider. I highly recommend Kat and 'The School of Legerete' training style for any horse and rider to give a clear and calm understanding of the aids and correct muscle build up in achieving true balance and lightness. I have recommended Kat to many of my Equine Osteopath Clients for training. I have also used Kat for saddle fitting and I have recommended my Osteopath Clients to her for this to!”