Kathleen Elliot has always been a “cross-over” rider both during her formative years as a child and teenager as well as during her 20 years as a professional trainer. Her focus on developing riding skills in all disciplines, both English and Western, made Western Dressage a natural fit for her interests and skills. Whether training jumpers, hunters, endurance or western pleasure riders, dressage has always been a fundamental basis of Kathleen’s approach to training horses and riders. The precision and individual presence required to excel in the dressage show ring eliminates the possibility of getting lost in the crowd while the judge is distracted by other riders. The effortless riding and horsemanship demanded by the dressage discipline also transfers directly to the skills needed for effective western dressage.
In short, Kathleen believes dressage training increases the rider and horse team’s ability to demonstrate attention to detail and precision when engaging in the full range of movements and gaits. Western Dressage offers riders an opportunity to train their horse to respond without visible cues and to strive to achieve “perfect” movements in a manner that appears effortless. Western Dressage also offers Western riders the ability to develop these skills in a more familiar environment than traditional dressage shows.
Kathleen’s cross-discipline approach to riding and training is deeply rooted in her experience as a rider and trainer. She has always had an affinity for working with young horses and developing their potential. She also spent three years working at a horse hospital, which has provided her with a deeper understanding of the relationship between the physiology and health of a horse and the horse’s performance. Her broad range of experience across many disciplines and working with all breeds of horses has resulted in a high level of demand for her services, including conducting clinics throughout California and across the United States. Kathleen recently completed the Train the Trainers Western Dressage program in Canada. Kathleen has recently taught international clinics in Ireland & Holland.
Kathleen riding on the beaches of Ireland
Currently, Kathleen resides in the equestrian community of Murrieta, California (La Cresta) where she maintains a riding facility. Kathleen is ARIA Certified trainer. However, she also is an authorized trainer at the Canyon Lake Equestrian Center and regularly travels to communities throughout Southern California to train horses and give lessons. She trains a range of horse breeds in a variety of disciplines daily. When she is not traveling to horse shows or clinics, she gives lessons to a number of competitively oriented youth and adult riders.
I appreciate this opportunity to share a little about my background with you. During my twenty + years as a professional trainer, I have regularly taught students in lessons and clinics in all Western and English disciplines, but my focus was on dressage. The emergence of the western dressage discipline has allowed me to combine my experience in multiple riding disciplines and horse training by focusing in recent years on western dressage.
My experience in western dressage includes 3 consecutive years of garnering multiple top 10 finishes at the Western Dressage World Championship Show. I also have participated in attended the California and Canada Western Dressage Association of America Train the Trainers program. I also have had the privilege to serve as a demo rider in the WDAA Advanced Train the Trainer program. My success working with clients and their horses in western dressage skills is built on decades of riding and training in the disciplines of western, English, and dressage riding. My background also includes American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA) certification and in Level II Western Dressage.
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Kathleen and Red learning new tests.