NickerViews: Katrin Silva

NickerViews is a series of interviews with horse folks in the Cayuse Communications family. These interviews consist of 14 set questions. Our next  interviewee is Katrin Silva, an arena presenter at the Best Horse Practices Summit. A New Mexico resident, she is a busy trainer as well as an avid ultra runner. Visit her website here. 

She has an upcoming book, “Dressage For the Rest of Us” coming soon!

Read more NickerViews here

  1. In 50 words of less, tell us about yourself and your life with horses.

I’ve been horse crazy since I can remember. For most of my life, horses have been my passion, my work, my inspiration, my main source of joy and frustration. They are my friends, my therapists, my teachers. They have made me into the person I am today. I can’t imagine living without them.

  1. Do you like group rides or riding solo?

I’m a hardcore introvert, so definitely solo.

  1. What do you recall as your finest horsemanship moment?

Amy Skinner and Katrin Silva at the BHPS

I was riding a young horse at a fairly important dressage show in terrible weather. It was so windy that the judge’s pop-up tent almost blew over. Leaves and plastic bags were flying across the arena. My horse was worried, but I could feel her putting her trust in me as we trotted around the ring before our test. She allowed me to reassure her and tried really hard to stay focused. This mare was not the fanciest mover in that class by a long shot, but we ended up winning it against all odds. That kind of trust made me cry after we finished. I want to be sure I deserve it.

  1. What was your worst horsemanship moment?

I worked for an abusive trainer many years ago, when I was first starting out. Because this person had won a lot at national and international competitions and had a big name, I thought I needed to do everything she told me to do, like use tranquilizers, thin twisted wire snaffles, and rock-grinder spurs. It took me months to realize I didn’t want to be that kind of a trainer. I’m not proud of what I did, but I learned from the experience.

  1. What frustrates you most in the horse world?

Arrogance. Life is too short to spend it looking down on others because they ride in a different saddle or come from a different kind of horsey background.

  1. What inspires you most in the horse world?

The dedication and energy so many adult amateurs are bringing into the horse world. They work long hours, then spend every extra minute they find and every extra penny they earn on their horse. My clients make me want to be the best trainer I can be. I want to be at least as dedicated as they are.

  1. Tell us about your favorite hat/helmet when riding? Why?

Haven’t found one yet. I can’t stand helmets or most western hats – they all seem to leave a dent in my forehead. I’m open to suggestions!

  1. What kind of saddle to you prefer to ride in? Please describe.

My ancient, scuffed-up basketweave western work saddle with the missing concho and the latigo that’s worn thin from years of use. I’ve spent so much time in it that it feels like home.

  1. What’s in your saddle bag?

Nothing – I don’t have a saddle bag.

  1. What’s your favorite trail food?


  1. What ingredient will wreck an otherwise delicious trail mix?

Anything but M&Ms

  1. Where would you like to be (in the horse world/with your horses and horsemanship) in 5 years?

I want to add my voice to the ongoing public discourse about good horse-human relationships. To do this, I would like to publish a book or two, give more clinics, and attend more events like the Best Horse Practices Summit. I would also like to earn the two scores I still need for my USDF silver medal, ideally on a non-traditional dressage horse I have trained myself.

  1. What’s something on your bucket list?

Katrin Silva

Running the entire pack burro race series in Colorado in one summer. I’ve run the Leadville burro race a couple of times, and I’m hooked! Read about her first burro race here. 

  1. What’s the most recent thing you’ve learned (related to horse work).

Something Tom Dorrance said many years ago: the slower way gets you there faster. I learn this over and over, almost every day.

Posted in BestHorsePractices Summit, Interviews.


  1. Rocky Mountain Hat Company in Bozeman, MT will build you a beautiful hat that you will forget it’s even on your head. They fit perfectly. I wear them all day, every day, summer and winter.

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