Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy, Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined.
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
-Ronald Duncan, 1954
33 years of dedicated training culminates in the creation of the project "Healing Dressage."
Under Catherine's watchful eye, an ever-growing list of horses have visibly released tension, regained normal musculature and posture, improved mood and manners, recovered from lameness, returned from retirement, found joy in their work and enhanced the bond with their owner.
"My lessons integrate research on psychology, bodywork, breathwork, flow state, biomechanics, anatomy, visualizations, and history. Each horse in training is evaluated physically and emotionally, often receiving massage, kinesio-tape, or barefoot trimming as part of a session. Dressage, jumping, hill and field work, trail riding, in-hand, and long-lining all play a strong role in my program. Healing takes time, kindness and non-judgment - many horses flourish with 2-hour sessions 2-3 days a week."
Serving Atlanta | Chattanooga | Aiken | Tryon
Therapeutic Training Progression April - July 2017
Why In-Hand or Long Line?
Working your horse from the ground is wonderful at all stages of training. Build confidence in your horse and develop his trust in you as a leader by mastering this gentle and useful tool.
Training is Communication
When working from the ground, you can clearly communicate what is being asked of the horse’s body. The horse may try new movements without also balancing the weight of a rider. By focusing on his own body and balance, the horse may release any tendencies to brace, and once comfortable, engage his postural muscles.
Why Incorporate Bodywork?
By incorporating bodywork, correct trimming, and proper nutrition - you can achieve life-changing breakthroughs in health, happiness, and training. Let's deepen your understanding and explore the wisdom each horse has to offer.
Witness your horse:
become light and responsive to the walk, trot, and canter
develop balance without leaning or pulling
develop rhythm, timing, and problem-solving skills
strengthen the postural muscles essential for supporting a rider or pulling a cart
explore a 2-way communication system
With more than two decades of teaching experience and a background as a competitive dressage trainer, Catherine Respess brings both her passion and her expertise to the arena. Her commitment to horses, from a very early age, shaped her work ethic, professionalism, and easy going manner.
Catherine has been fortunate to train with many Dressage Masters, including, but not limited to: Jessica Jo Tate, Charles de Kunffy, Mary Wanless, Bent Jensen, Betsy Steiner, Tina Konyot, Heather Blitz, Laura Klecker, & Stephanie Mosley.
In 2017, Catherine embarked on a journey in studying equine biomechanics and classical in-hand training with Jillian Kreinbring, bodywork with Masterson Method™ Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork™, and natural hoof care with Liberated Horsemanship. In 2018, Catherine plans to begin the study of Cranial Sacral therapy before beginning certification coursework. May 2018 Catherine will attend a whole horse dissection by Ivanna Ruddock and Jillian Kreinbring.
A yoga enthusiast, Catherine incorporates breath work & visualizations to the practice of Dressage, creating a deeper connection to the horse. Catherine has a trusted team of professionals to consult on herbal remedies, homeopathy, dentistry, acupuncture, nutrition, and any special needs that you may need help managing.
"Catherine has ridden with me for years and on many different horses. Her kind, patient approach is always received well by the animals. She is a lovely rider and great competitor that is correct and effective with a passion for constant improvement. As a professional that has built my own training business it's very hard to find someone that you can trust with your clients when things get busy or life's little inconveniences get in the way. There have been times I have had Catherine pick up some of my rides and I can always feel comfortable that she will show up on time, presented well, treat my clients with respect, and give the horses a great school. I am thrilled she is getting the opportunity to have her own program but she will be missed very much by mine!
Catherine's skills with the long lines have proved very helpful as well. Sometimes if I have a horse that's not quite wanting to travel really through their bodies and over their back, I will have Catherine put in some sessions with the long lines. Her clear communication and patience for teaching the horses consistently comes through in their work."
- Laura Klecker, USDF Bronze & Silver Medalist
Horses remained a constant in Catherine’s life as her ministerial family was relocated regularly. Switching trainers opened Catherine to many styles of riding and instruction, cultivating a passion for learning. Dressage, in particular, held a strong attraction, and by high school, Catherine moved to her trainer’s dressage training and equine importation facility. Catherine began riding 10 horses a day - gleaning her education from the wide variety of talented horses - green to Grand Prix. Upon graduating from high school early, Catherine moved to Wellington, Florida in order to train, compete, and sell horses before attending college at Emory University.
At Emory, Catherine worked with other students to launch the university’s first equestrian team. As the team developed and began competing, Catherine was elected Captain. Her senior year, she proudly earned the club's highest awards - 1st in Regionals, 2nd in Zones, and finally, 10th in the Nation in 2004.
After college, Catherine returned to the warmblood importation business for 2 years. Always one to crave a challenge, Catherine began playing polo for fun and quickly found herself teaching lessons and tuning horses for optimal play. A critical moment in her riding career, polo allowed Catherine to cultivate a more intuitive feel for dressage principles. With her new appreciation for balanced power, coordination, & lightness, Catherine started Red Mare Enterprises, LLC in 2008.
"I was reintroduced to Catherine in Aiken when I opened Bridlewood Farm in 2010. She has always been enthusiastic and positive around the barn. She is a very effective and sympathetic rider, staying in touch and in tune with the horses she rides. Along with that, Catherine is able to ride a more difficult mount and be very effective in getting the training job done.
I have used Catherine to ride and school my horses when I have been away at shows and I totally trust her judgement in handling my animals. In addition I have had the pleasure of watching her compete in dressage. She has a great presence and style in her riding and makes it all look easy.
Catherine has the gift to teach in addition to riding. She is encouraging, realistic and gives the rider a good classical foundation to build on in their riding career. It has also been my pleasure to consider her a colleague and a friend.."
- John Abbott, Bridlewood Farm Aiken