Getting to know Kathleen (Kitty) McLaughlin:
Growing up in Wyoming, Kitty was introduced to horses at a young age. Horse crazy doesn’t even describe how much she loves horses. Not being able to afford one, Kitty hung around those who did, and begged to do odd jobs just to be around the horses. Payment was always being able to ride. And so the journey began.
Kitty has followed many paths with many different horsemen who are devoted to their craft. She has studied and taught many different disciplines both western and dressage. She has competed in dressage, western dressage, endurance, competitive trail and western timed events. Kitty chose to concentrate on dressage. She sought a dressage teacher and found Frances Carbonnel.
Upon moving to Colorado, Kitty met and married Gary McLaughlin and her disciplines changed. Gary is part of Larimer County Sheriff’s Posse Search and Rescue Team and a professional team roper. So she learned to team rope and helped teach horse skills to the Posse. They all received schooling in basic dressage fundamentals. It is the fundamentals that Kitty feels is most important in training the horse. A horse with a good foundation can go on to any discipline the rider and horse are suited for. A rider with a good foundation can help their horse get there.
These foundations must be based on lightness, respect, trust and mutual understanding. Dressage concepts and techniques can benefit any horse, so a natural blending of western and dressage has finally evolved. After closely studying this new discipline of Western Dressage, Kitty has embraced the mission to inspire western riders to a higher level of horsemanship. This new association strives to Honor the Horse, value and build the partnership between horse and rider and also celebrate the legacy of the American West.
For over twenty years Kitty has taught at Fox Creek Ranch in Platteville Colorado. In May, Kitty attended the Train the Trainer for Western Dressage and joined an elite group ready to take this new program forward.
Statement from Kitty:
“I want all those that I am privileged to work with to know, I never judge your abilities as an equestrian. Every time I ride or am around a horse they teach me something new. I never ever find fault with the breed or type of horse you choose to ride. Horses are the most wonderful creatures in the world. The fact that they let us into their world is reward enough. I want to help you achieve the harmony and communication skills needed to ride and compete in the new Western Dressage Forum, or just establish the foundation with which to progress into other disciplines.”