Kate Chadderton was born is Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Australia. Before coming to the United States, Kate spent ten years in New South Wales training with Heath and Rozzie Ryan, just outside of Sydney. I competed successfully in eventing at advanced levels for eight years and had won up to Advanced level (Australian) championships in dressage.
Because of my successes, I was won the prestigious Nescafé Big Break contest in Australia, which honors enterprising ideas and visions of all kinds, including my goal to compete on the international scene. I owe my success to my biggest fan, mum (yes, seriously), who got me riding horses by the age of 2 and encouraged me to seek my dreams through years of training and perseverance.
My Big Decision
I came to the States to visit in 2007 to “check it out”. My first stop was Rolex CCI four star event in Lexington, KY. From there, I drove East to look at Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. I found a promising position at a farm in Maryland. In 2008. I went back to Australia, gathered up my life and belongings and I was off to a new adventure.
I left everything in Australia, including my friends, boyfriend, dog and business, and made the move to America and all it has to offer. This was definitely THE most difficult decision I have ever made in my life. The biggest confidant and advisor was my fantastic and awesome landlord Jennifer Brown of Bellarimbah in Ourimbah, NSW. She really turned a crazy idea into a reality.
I felt very welcomed by the horse community and the people who have become my clients and friends. I had success with many horses in dressage and eventing as well as my students representing me in the best way possible, winning blue ribbons! It's easy to think that a rider can move to America and have great success and wealth thrown upon them.
The truth is that it's very hard work, as much as it ever is in Australia (perhaps more so). You start from scratch, no reputation, no contacts and no record. To build a reputation here you must ride a horse you normally would not want to or stay out in the stables teaching an extra lesson instead of watching Entourage and the latest Simpsons episode.
What Influenced my Teaching Methods
I worked for Boyd Martin for 3 years (2000-2003) and was based with Heath Ryan (2008 Summer Olympics dressage competitor and Australian eventing champion) and Rozzie Ryan (2008 Summer Olympics reserve dressage competitor) for 6 years. I also worked for Martina Hannover-Sternberg (top level dressage competitor, trained Rubinstein) in Germany.
What I learned from them is that the key to successful riding is understanding what makes a special horse tick. The psychology of each horse is as important as apprieciating the physical attributes of your competitive partner.
The partnership that you develop with your horse is also an important factor in your riding experience. Partnerships with your equine partners are developed over time. You must become the leader of the herd, and they must trust that you will not ask of them more than they can perform. In response, they will give their best when you ask.
I believe that we can always improve ourselves by learning from other successful riders. I will continue with my own education by working with Marilyn Little-Meredith, Philip Dutton and others.