Meet the L Graduate – Kathryn Butt


Kathryn Butt, currently of Aiken, SC, is a USDF Bronze and Silver medalist, USDF L Graduate, and past participant in The Dressage Foundation’s Young Rider International Dream Program, who spent 4 ½ years as a working student in Wellington, FL for Bent Jensen before returning to South Carolina to earn her Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Accountancy. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in Accountancy and operate her own modest training business, Mad Kat Dressage LLC. She is currently the youth coordinator for the SC Dressage & Combined Training Association (SCDCTA).

How long have you been involved in the sport?

Lifelong! My mother rode dressage horses professionally so horses have always been in my life.

How long have you been a USDF member?

Roughly 18 years

What made you decide to participate in the USDF L Education Program?

I wanted to further my education and expand my perspective of my sport.

How long did it take to complete the program, start to finish?

I was fortunate in that the year I went through the program one GMO offered all sections, so I completed it in roughly a year.

Do you plan to further your dressage education and to continue to apply what you learned in the program to become a licensed official?

Dressage education is never finished! Each horse teaches you something new. Yes, I plan to further my judging education when time and finances allow.

Do you serve as a judge for schooling shows in your capacity as an L Graduate? If so, on average, how many per year?

Yes, I judge about six SC schooling shows a year.

What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge?

It taught me to use succinct and correct verbiage to describe what you see. It also made very clear the difference between teaching/coaching versus judging. 

Name three things you took away from the program that you think every rider should know.

  1. Judging and teaching/coaching are very different. Just because you are talented at or enjoy one does not mean that you will the other.
  2. Corners are important! They aren’t for resting. They are part of the entrance or exit plan of the movement, and the movement is only as good as the getting in or out of it.
  3. The judge wants you to succeed. Contrary to the title “judge”, they really are friendly and want you to do well and learn from your experience in the show ring.

Have you participated in or completed other USDF programs? Describe.

Yes, I am a USDF Young Rider Graduate Program past participant.

Have you served in any other official capacity with USDF (council/committee member, council/committee chair, PM/GM delegate, board member/Regional Director, etc.)? Please describe.

Not for USDF, but I am the Youth Coordinator for the SC Dressage and Combined Training Association (SCDCTA), which is South Carolina’s GMO, and I am a SCDCTA board member. In 2019, my youth program received the USDF Creative GMO Sponsored Program Award! I am also one of The Dressage Foundation’s GMO Representatives.

Tell us about your horse(s).

I have four. Kinderwelt is my five-year-old stallion by Weltmeyer that will hopefully be my future competition partner. I have my now-retired 27-year-old young rider horse, Lanzier (AKA Hank). I also have an OTTB stallion whom I simply enjoy and a Mustang, Groot, that competed in the Extreme Mustang Makeover with a former colleague and hopes to learn dressage.

Phone: (843) 607-6442          


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