A Rider's Story Perspective -
My daughter started riding in 2002 (age 6) and started like most kids with once a week lessons. After five years of riding with two different trainers, she really wanted to compete at a higher level. Unfortunately, Karin's trainers did not see her as having the talent to ride at an A show level and probably to some extent, didn't see her parents as having the big money it took to take it to the next level. The problem was, her trainers didn't even try to help her or guide us through the process. If it weren't for a chance meeting with Stephanie, my daughter would not have realized her real potential in the sport.
We met Stephanie in 2008 when she substituted for one of Karin's trainers. During her lesson, Stephanie encouraged Karin to try a number of new things including roll backs. I recall during the lesson that Stephanie challenged Karin and Karin responded. It was the best lesson she ever had in five years of riding. During the next couple of months, we found ways to have Karin work with Stephanie instead of her regular trainers. We started working on finding Karin a horse and although Karin still had her other trainers, I found myself looking to Stephanie to guide us through the horse purchase. Finally in the fall of 2008, we made the decision to make Stephanie our permanent trainer and to have her work with Karin. I recall during one of Karin's lessons with Stephanie, Stephanie ask Karin who taught her to do a lead change. Karin responded, that no one taught her, she read it in a magazine. It was sad after five years of working with two other trainers, they did not take the time to teach Karin a basic element of riding.
Throughout the past four years working with Stephanie, Karin has gone from "just riding" in once a week lessons to learning complete horse care, riding five to six days a week and being competitive in the southeast. Karin has turned into a very good horsewoman and even our vet has commented on Karin's experience in working with her horses when they have been injured (bandaging, poultice, cold hosing, packing feet, etc). Stephanie has instilled a love of the sport and horses that I don't think we would have had if she had not worked with Stephanie. When Stephanie started working with Karin four years ago, Karin could barely canter and still trotted the corners. Karin now has a long list of accomplishments in the Hunter division including placing in two Hunter Derby's at Brownland Farm last year and is starting to compete in Children's Jumpers. Karin completed the USEF High School Equestrian program and the USHJA Young Riders program. She completed the online test this past spring and received a score of 83 on her first attempt. Stephanie gave Karin the opportunity to work with a green horse last summer that had never jumped. Karin showed the horse this past weekend and he had a 2nd and 3rd in the over fences classes.
Karin is now looking at Division I Equestrian schools for college as well as considering vet school. The opportunities and guidance provided by Stephanie over the past four years has fueled what I believe to be a lifelong passion for the sport and for horses.