Lessons and Training
Woodson Hill Equestrian Center is proud to offer riding instruction and horse training with Kaitlin Salyer, Pat Watson, Denise Seah, Elizabeth Knechtel and Maple Kirby.
Scroll down to view more information on each instructor. Please contact the instructor of your choice to schedule lessons or training.
Kaitlin Salyer graduated from William Woods University in 2009 with bachelor's degrees in Equine Science and Psychology. She has been riding for over 25 years, working with several highly-esteemed trainers across multiple disciplines. With a special love for saddle seat, she has competed in many acclaimed shows with top-five finishes, including the American Royal. In addition to coordinating local shows and camps, Kaitlin has been teaching lessons for more than 15 years in saddle seat, hunt seat, western, groundwork, and training. She enjoys working with all breeds of horses. Because of her desire to serve those in need, for many years she has volunteered at--and served on the Board of Directors of--Changing Leads Equine Rescue, one of the area's longest-running horse rescues.
While horses have always been her biggest passion, Kaitlin also wants to understand the inner workings of personality and motivation for each student. Her additional background in psychology enhances her work with people and horses alike. She has been with Woodson Hill since 2010, and enjoys working with riders of all ages and experience levels. For more information, contact Kaitlin at [email protected] or 816-809-2311 (text or voice).
Pat Watson’s first love was always horses, and when her parents made the “mistake” of moving the family to a home with a barn, horse ownership was inevitable! A New Hampshire native, Pat started riding in her early teens and was an active member of Pony Club and 4-H Clubs. Many hours and miles of trail riding on New Hampshire’s dirt roads and logging trails contributed to her confidence and expertise on horseback in most any environment.
Pat’s riding instruction started summers at the Kingsbury Hill Riding Camp near her home. Over 8 summers she progressed from camper to camp counselor, barn manager, instructor and then chief instructor. The instruction was a beginner to advanced and included basic English equitation, cross country and stadium jumping, and basic horse care and horsemanship skills.
Prior to attending college, Pat attended the Porlock Vale Riding School in Somerset, England, and received her certification in Horsemanship and Instruction from the British Horse Society.
Pat has competed in and placed in 3-day events, horse shows, and dressage shows. She has experience judging horse shows and 3-day events for 4-H groups and Pony Club rallies. Squeezed in amongst her years with horses, Pat has worked as a physical therapist for 30 years, a mediator for 23 years, a zookeeper at the National Zoo and a veterinary technician.
A transplant to the Midwest and Kansas City, Pat was ecstatic to discover Woodson Hill and an outlet for her love of horse…and in the city no less! She is equally excited to begin her role as an instructor at Woodson Hill and looks forward to meeting new faces and fellow horse lovers. For more information call Pat at 913-909-8034 or email her at [email protected].
Denise Seah has been a professional riding instructor since 1986 she has helped many young and young at heart amateurs get their start in the show ring as well as first-time horse owners. Having trained in various disciplines Denise uses the Classical Equitation approach in all riding disciplines.
Denise’s high interest and deep love for horses make her account for a wide range of training methods for both horse and the rider while focusing on each individual’s goals and talents. Lessons are for the beginner, amateur rider and advanced rider focusing on balance and centering. The student will learn everything about the horse from the ground up while stressing the importance of safety and equine behavior. The student won’t just learn how to ride a horse but how to be a partner and confident trainer as well. Lessons with Denise are Western, Dressage, Hunt Seat and Saddle Seat.
Denise earned her BFA Fine Arts degree through Park University she also teaches Community Education classes through Parkhill, College For Kids and Denise Seah is a published artist and Children Illustrator for Purple Sky Publishing. Denise Seah has coordinated 4-H clubs in the Kansas City area was a former member of the Mission Valley Pony Club and a member of the Mid America Combined Training Association. Denise Seah has shown for many years Arabians at the American Royal and other Regional shows. Denise Seah’s professionalism and knowledge will help you reach your equestrian goals.
To schedule a lesson with Denise call 816-787-3392
Elizabeth Knechtel dove boots first into the horse world at the young age of seven. She rode Western for the first half of her youth, learning English as a teenager. Growing up in a single parent household, she often had to work in exchange for lessons, which quickly taught her the value of hard work and the importance of equine care. Through persistence and dedication, she was able to gain experience in the show ring with high success, including High Point honors with a local show series as well as top 5 finishes at the collegiate level.
She is currently a full time college student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City pursuing her Bachelors in English. Following graduation in the summer of 2021, she plans to teach lessons full time. Elizabeth specializes in Western and English Pleasure at the beginner and intermediate levels. She is very excited to grow her lesson program and share her love and passion for horses with each and every student. For more information, you can contact Elizabeth at (816) 673-5254 or by email [email protected]
Maple Kirby is passionate about teaching those who care deeply about their horses and who want to help those horses be happy, confident, and capable. After growing up riding through her childhood, Maple played equestrian polo for 4 years at the University of Michigan, then came to Kansas City to teach English Language Arts in the urban core. She taught 8th grade and then coached teachers for nine years. During this time, she rode at Woodson Hill and volunteered at the horse rescue on site. She spent the year during COVID training horses at Horse North Rescue—a rescue in northern Michigan—so that they could be adopted out as stable, healthy, happy riding horses. The last year of working exclusively with rescue horses, most with past trauma and lack of training, combined with many years experience teaching children and adults has ignited a passion to bring those skills together in teaching the equestrian art.
Maple strives to tailor her instruction to the goals and passions of her students. General baseline instruction will focus on being a competent and confident rider who communicates clearly with their horse. From there, we can focus on the skills needed to problem solve what your horse needs, in and out of the saddle. Maple’s riding background is in English: dressage and hunter on the flat. She is passionate about polo, liberty work, body work, and bridleless riding. She is looking forward to diving in and combining her two greatest passions: teaching and horses.
Please reach out! Cell: 231-883-6224. Email: [email protected]