My horsey life started aged 9 when my Mum took my sister and I to learn to ride at the nearby, and long defunct, Rosebrook Farm Equestrian Centre, a BHS training centre as it happened. I soon fell in love with it and other hobbies soon dropped by the wayside. Every waking hour would have been spent there if I’d been allowed and the working pupils there were even my introduction to going to nightclubs so close was I with them all!
I was lucky enough to be able to sit in on BHS stages lectures in holidays, as well as being around for competitions, lessons and general horsey life at weekends, but when I got to sixth form horses fell a bit by the wayside. It was only in my late twenties that I was able to have my own horse, Endy, a KWPN ex showjumper who showed me the ropes. I competed a little in dressage but he was really a RC all rounder for me and I learned a ton from him. He developed DJD of the coffin joint within a year or two of having him, hence my interest in feet as I needed to get up to speed fast on hoof function and balance.
I lost Endy in 2000 and in 2001 Winni (Winnetou KLT) and I came into each others’ lives, and I’ll be honest, he was my heart horse. Whereas Endy fell into my lap I went out and chose Winni, and I hope he chose me too! I learned more about feet, about low starch feeding, about bodywork for horse and human, more about classical approaches to training and a little more about saddles. A big driver for me at the time was the Mary Wanless book “For the Good of the Horse” – ultimately she’s the original trigger for me eventually becoming a saddle fitter!
Various circumstances combined to mean I had to sell Winni in 2007. I did own a fabulous coloured warmblood youngster (Volatis Hurakan) for a couple of years but in the meantime I had become a saddle fitter (2008) and he wasn’t going to be the right horse for me so went to a fabulous home. I’ve been horseless ever since but get my share of horsey snogs and cuddles from my daily work. I’m still at heart the 11 year old girl who doesn’t want to wash the horsey smell off her hands when she gets home!
I started off fitting a flexi panel saddle brand plus a regular brand for wider horses. Within a year of being out there fitting professionally the company split in two and my choice of who to stay with was obvious. After a challenging period, somewhat in limbo, Andrea Hicks, in 2013, and with a couple of her key fitters (Clare Molyneux and I), started AH Saddles and the rest is history. I still keep a passion for all those things I listed above – horses are complex and I always say we need about 3 lifetimes to really learn about them, but I’ll keep trying in just this one lifetime we’re all given.
In 2020, under the challenging conditions of on-off lockdowns, I finally contacted Maria Hallring of Ergox2 saddles in Sweden. I had long followed her comments on social media but was delighted that she was happy to supply me with saddles, and training, and a whole new chapter started for me, with my first fitting for the brand in summer 2021.
Steph’s Team - Lisa & Kirstie
Lisa is the owner of Virtual Go “virtual assistant” company; we started working together in April 2021 and, having got me well set up, Kirstie has taken over the bulk of my diary bookings etc, but you might deal with Lisa too. They do an amazing job with what is a very complex task when I travel over so much of the UK. Be nice to them!