Katie Cook has studied at length under some of the most well recognized horsemen/women of the 20th Century including Spanish Riding School Chief Rider and United States Dressage Hall of Fame member Mr. Karl Mikolka and his student Anita Adams, and United States Eventing Association Hall of Fame member Denny Emerson. Her riding life began at age seven when she convinced her parents to allow her to take dressage lessons and with much determination she has, among other things, achieved her USDF Silver Medal, represented Region 8 at the Young Rider North American Championships. Katie has maintained a lifetime test score average over 60% at every USDF level up to Prix St. Georges.
Katie's first horse partner, a pony named Starlight, was purchased when she was nine and the pair began showing at Training Level in 1992. Starlight was a wonderful teacher and by age 14 Katie won the Region 2 Second Level Championships with her "too slow to make it to the track" Thoroughbred, Montage. Her love for dressage continued and in 2004 she represented Region 8 at the North American Young Rider Championships on her Ster/Sport Dutch mare Leolita. Leolita and Katie continued to show and train through Prix St. Georges until the mare was retired to become a valuable broodmare.
In the years leading to her time as a Young Rider and a USDF Silver Medalist, Katie was strongly influenced by the teachings of Karl Mikolka and Anita Adams, who were at the time training at Tempel Farms rooted in the Chicago area. The purity of the classical teachings, whereby the means of achieving a "well-trained horse" is more important than "winning at all costs" has always been a guiding principle in Katie's riding.
After earning a BA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, Katie spent 4 years training the young stallions of Tylord Farm in Vermont, starting the offspring of valuable Trakhener stallions such as Enrico Caruso and Unkenruf under saddle. She then took an opportunity to spend 6 months in Germany as a working student for Olympic trainer Ernst Hoyos and Danish Grand Prix rider Bente Kronborg-Jensen, which confirmed Katie's desire to train horses compassionately and correctly. Katie spent a year after her return from Germany as an assistant trainer to Anita Adams in the training of both adult amateur client horses and young Lipizzan horses imported by Blue Mounds Equine Center in WI in 2006. By 2007, Katie returned to Vermont, where she began teaching both children and adults, and training horses in the art of Dressage.
It is important to Katie to add to her skills and knowledge in order to bring the best information to her students and horses. Her current competition horse is the Trakehner mare Alyce TL *M* Pr* Pb*. In 2018 Alyce and Katie competed successfully at Fourth Level and Prix St. Georges, earning scores as high as 69%. In 2019, Katie showed her young horse, Jovialist, in Materiale classes and qualified for Region 8 Championships.
The past few year have brought Katie to a new passion: bit and bridle fit. When she recognized that there was a huge disconnect between how bits were marketed, and how they work in the real world, she wanted to know why. She had amassed quite a collection of random bits, bought off the manufacturer's descriptions, and was dismayed that they routinely did not live up to the hype. This led Katie to pursue formal training as a bit and bridle fitter. She now holds a LANTRA certification as a qualified bit and bridle fitter. An understanding of equine anatomy and biomechanics, as well rider biomechanics, allows Katie to provide an exceptional service to horses and riders by making sure that their tack supports their training.