Inland Communities Chapter

Meet My Trainer, Kathy Pavlich
Kathy Pavlich

My trainer is Kathy Pavlich. Like so many of us, Kathy was bitten by the horse bug at an early age. She started riding with her father and sister on rental horses at age 5. As a teenager, she’d swap horse care for riding lessons. ( Sound familiar? ) She finally bought her own horse when she was 25, a running quarter horse. The pair showed English pleasure and hunters. Kathy’s mare was....shall we say.....”expressive.” Her trainer suggested that the pair take dressage lessons to learn some discipline (Dressage....the Catholic school of equestrian sports!) and so began Kathy’s journey in the world of dressage.

Kathy has trained and shown an eclectic array of horses; off-track thoroughbreds, running quarter horses, paints, and, of course, warmbloods. She has been training consistently with Bert Rutten (Netherlands) since 1995 and with Judy Harvey (Great Britain) since 2000. She has also trained extensively with Debbie McDonald.

As I was compiling Kathy’s award history, the word “plethora” came to mind. She started making her mark in the record books in 1996 when she earned the title of National Dutch PSG Champion. Since then she has amassed quite an ensemble of Reserve Championship and Championship awards (Region 7, State, and National) from 2nd Level through I1. A grand total to date of 24!!! Not surprisingly, she is a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medal- ist! I asked Kathy what she would consider the highlights of her dressage career so far. She said earning a 72% on her Grand Prix test in 2005 on her Dutch gelding, Havanna, and qualifying for the 2007 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions (Gladstone, NJ) on her Hanoverian gelding, Bocelli, in which she finished in the top 10 of the country for Intermediaire 1.

Kathy trains horses and riders through Grand Prix at Shadow Ridge Equestrian Center in Highland. She offers full training, show coaching, and monthly clinics.


Kathy Young (and Huey): After our first lesson with Kathy last year, Huey stopped bracing when I asked for any upward transition because Kathy suggested I reach forward with my inside hand. That simple suggestion made me aware of the “feel” of the outside rein, which was a big step in learning to ride dressage. Kathy’s clear instructions and wonderful exercises are helping me believe that this journey is really possible!

Ruth Corrao-Harris (and Lexington): Kathy’s low-stress exercises have dramatically improved Lex’s topline and degree of self-carriage. I had no idea that his gaits could have so much suspension, or that he could be so light off of my aids. It’s like I have a brand new horse!

Susan Williams (and Fabian): Kathy follows the clas- sic principles of back-to-front and inside leg to outside shortcuts! She is always positive and upbeat. There is no problem that can’t be overcome.

Lena Persson (and Tiny): To ride with Kathy is to always push yourself a little beyond, a little bit more every time. Her knowledge of dressage and her ability to teach both horse and rider is commendable. What puts her in a category of her own is that she gives it her all every time you ride with her. She truly loves and respects the sport and the horses. For us who are fortu- nate to know this special lady, Thank-you , Kathy, for all that you give us and our horses!

Cathy Ghazal (and Samaki): As a dressage rider, Kathy helps me to be light on the reins while maintaining a steady contact on the bit with a secure sit. I’ve learned to work my horse over his back while engaging his hind legs and remaining in balance with harmony, cadence, and rhythm. My horse’s musculature and topline are continually developing and improving. Kathy has an eye for fine detail and an ability to express herself firmly in a positive, eloquent manner. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to train with her in my quest to become a better rider.

Sara Diefenbach (and Dawn): Kathy is a wonderful instructor! Each time that I clinic with her I am amazed by the amount of knowledge she has. My mare keeps getting better every time we have an opportunity to work with Kathy. The mixture of her knowledge of the sport and her fun loving personality make the lessons both enjoyable and challenging. I LOVE the clinics!!!!

Linda Fitzmorris (and Wes): Kathy is an outstanding rider and person. She possess character qualities of honesty and integrity. She has an educated eye and an ability to diagnose a problem, create a plan, and then execute an individualized training program for each horse and rider. Kathy can stretch a rider’s limits without exceeding their abilities or comfort limits. Her utilization of positive training techniques makes training with Kathy a joy!

Liz Rothman (and Una): Kathy has developed a great wealth of knowledge and is able to communicate the correct approach to connection and riding very clearly. Her enthusiasm and love for the sport of dressage comes through in her teaching. She makes lessons fun! Kathy encourages me to have sympathy for my horse and to give my mare the benefit of the doubt, which facilitates relaxation (in both of us!). I look forward to each lesson and to the regular progress that I am mak- ing with my mare.