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FEI Dressage Rider in Wisconsin: Get to Know Katrina Hiller

Katie Hiller Rohe is a Wisconsin FEI Dressage Rider. She owns Katrina Hiller Dressage and trains out of Wild Rose Farm in Walworth, Wi. Check out this inspiring, creative videography session that shows off the power and grace behind upper level dressage movements. It was important to me to not only show the performance and pizzaz, but also the heartfelt connection behind the scenes that Katie holds with her horse, Emma. Stay tuned below for a Q&A with Katie where she shares some of her joys and challenges of being a professional rider. To see her full video showcase, see here. Enjoy the show--volume UP!!

FEI Dressage Rider in Wisconsin: Get to Know Katrina Hiller, Photo and Video by Forest Road Photography
Katie Hiller Rohe and Emma

Q: Katie, tell us about your first horse or pony–how old were you and what’s your first memory of riding?


I started riding when I was 6 years old. My first pony’s name was Chico. I was 10 years old when my parents bought him for me, but I had been riding him for a couple of years prior. He was also 10 years old. He was a pinto rescue pony who was quite naughty. He didn’t trust new people, and was very quirky.

I came off of him constantly, and he really challenged my riding. When he wanted to be done riding, he would grab the bit and run through the arena fence (an actual 3 board wooden fence). He tried to do this with metal gates, too! He forced me to develop really good balance and an independent seat, and really shaped who I am as a rider from a young age. He taught me to embrace challenges and that the struggle is worth it! 

Q: At what age did you begin teaching/training other riders? What do you enjoy most about teaching? 


I started teaching when I was really young – age 14. I absolutely loved it. I used to practice by talking to myself when I would ride, and say out loud everything I was doing so I knew how to teach others. I apprenticed for JJ Tate in college, and she helped me develop my teaching. She would sit in on the lessons I would teach, and give me ideas and critiques. This was so valuable to my education as a teacher and helped shape my communication style.

There are so many things that I love about teaching, but my favorite is the feeling that I’ve helped someone achieve something. It completely lights me up.

FEI Dressage Rider in Wisconsin: Get to Know Katrina Hiller, Photo and Video by Forest Road Photography

Q: What advice would you give others who are considering a business in teaching riding lessons and/or clinics?


Many people get into this business because of the horses, and the best piece of advice I was ever given was “this is a people sport disguised by horses”. So many people quit because they think they’ll be working with horses and riding all day, but then struggle to communicate with riders. Riding is part of it, but learning how to communicate with riders, working with peoples’ different learning styles, and learning the difference between training horses vs coaching riders is the majority of the work. Unless you plan to ride only your own horses, you have to have good communication and people skills to make it in this industry. 

Q: What is one recent challenge you’ve had to overcome in your riding or in your business?


Self doubt. I think every rider struggles with this. We are our own worst critic, and we are often so hard on ourselves when we aren’t where we want to be in our riding or business development. I would not say that I’ve overcome this, but I’ve been giving the subject a lot of work and attention lately. 

FEI Dressage Rider in Wisconsin: Get to Know Katrina Hiller, Photo and Video by Forest Road Photography

Q: At the end of the day, what is one thing that fills you up (in the horse world) –a thought, a memory, a quote, a goal—and keeps you going strong through difficult times?


The thought that I’m making a difference in my horse’s lives. I’m helping them live a happy and sound life by developing them properly, and educating their riders how to ride them correctly and compassionately.

Abusive practices have always been around, but a lot of light is currently being shed on the topic. It is so discouraging and uninspiring to see and hear that this is happening at the top of our sport, but what keeps me going is the hope that I can make it to the top while still maintaining integrity and kind training methods with my horses. 

To see Katie and Emma's full video showcase, see here. Enjoy the show--volume UP!!

You can find Katie at

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