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but she lost interest in horses. When Stephanie’s trainer at the time, Eric Ferrier found the five year old, he did not have a lot of training. Eric convinced Stephanie’s family to buy Ollie and let him ride him for

a couple of years, so by the time Stephanie started riding Ollie at age seven he had some experience and good training behind him. Though Galoubet offspring are known for being

temperamental, Stephanie says that Ollie is an intense kind of character, but not naughty. He loves to work and loves his feed at the end of the day, but he is relaxed about all the travel and demands that go along with being an international superstar. For a rider to have only one horse at the top level of

the sport, any stone bruise or strained tendon can mean the difference between competing and sitting on the sidelines. Stephanie treats Ollie with the care he deserves, but remarks, “Even if I had a string of upper level horses I would be super careful with all of them. I have a huge amount of respect for what this job takes out of them, and I feel like it is my responsibility to do everything in my power to make it easier for my horse.” Though she has met some pressure along the way to get another horse, she does not yet have the resources to be the owner of another upper-level horse. “I do own a three-year old OTTB, Kojo, that is probably a sale project for the future, and I am going to have to find some support to afford to compete him,” she says. “For now, owning and riding Port Authority, in addition to the work that I do training young event horses, has been enough to keep me busy. I’m only 22, so I feel like I can just take this one step at a time!”

The Road to Kentucky When Stephanie moved to The Fork Stables to work with Rebecca Howard in February 2007, she says the hardest part was leaving her family behind. “The biggest challenge that I have faced in my career is an ongoing one,” she says. “I made the decision to leave home after high school and move to the Eastern United States. I was at The Fork for a year and a half, and I was very glad that I had someone who I felt so comfortable with because I had a hard time adjusting to the huge change of pace being so far away from my family.” Rebecca says, “I have known Steph since she was

probably ten or so; I used to babysit her back in our home town! Steph has always been wiser then her years, extremely focused and honest with herself. All this has led to the amazing job she has done with Ollie and the

Above: An early photo of Stephanie competing Ollie.

partnership those two have. I was extremely proud to be on a team with her last year at the WEG.” With Rebecca’s help Stephanie worked towards her

goal of competing at the NAJYRC. As a six-year-old Ollie had been competing at Training level; a few years later in 2008, after relocating to the U.S., the pair claimed a bronze medal at the NAJYRC. In December of 2008, Stephanie made a commitment

to further her education and moved to Ocala, Florida where she began training full time with David O’Connor, following Team O’Connor back to Virginia for the summers. “I have settled in here, and think of it as home,” she says.

“I have been away from my hometown for over four years now, and I feel like I have such a great support system as far as friends both in B.C. and here in Virginia.” By the end of the 2009 spring season

she had completed her first CCI3* at Jersey Fresh in New Jersey and that fall she competed at the Fair Hill CCI 3* (Maryland). With a successful year of competing at the three-star level under her belt, Stephanie began to plan for the 2010 competition year, which led her to the Rolex Kentucky CCI 4* and eventually a position on the team at the World Equestrian Games. As a member of Team Canada

Stephanie also has the opportunity

to train in dressage with Gunnar Ostergaard. “Gunnar provides a great attitude towards the process and a wealth of knowledge that is definitely appreciated by all of us,” she says. With lots of hard work and team training sessions under her belt, the WEG was a spectacular success. She shaved eight points off her score in the four-star dressage test as compared to the score from Rolex. Because of her position as third team rider Stephanie

was able to watch a lot of the competition, which she found beneficial for her own mental preparation especially before cross-country. Watching some of the world’s best riders go around the massive course helped her get in the right frame of mind to go out and give it her best shot. This paid off with a clear round, inside the optimum time. “I felt pretty level headed in warm-up [for cross-

country], and Ollie was ready to rock, so by the time we left the start box I was so ready to go and get it done,” she says. “He was amazing!” A memorable double clear show jumping round in

front of a packed stadium capped off their week placing Stephanie and Ollie in ninth place individually. The duo had helped to secure the Silver Medal for the Canadian Team. Looking back, Stephanie says that she loved the team

Warmbloods Today 35

Courtesy Trish Bosch

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