In support of
A Horse-Crazy Girl
From a young age horses fascinated me. My family has reminisced of my extensive collection of plastic horse figurines and the multitude of piggyback trips on my father's shoulders to the famous 5-cent Port Dalhousie Carousel (sorry Dad for the back pain!). I even once tried to order a horse online! Thankfully, when I asked my parents for their credit card number they quickly ended the transaction, which was most certainly a scam.
Although my family was not of a 'horsey' background, they supported my interest in the sport (perhaps believing it might just be a phase) and purchased a lesson package at a local riding school. Luckily, or unluckily for my parents, this once thought of phase soon turned into a lifelong obsession and passion.
Little Stefanie at one of her first riding lessons
Soon after seeing pictures of the famous Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding school, I fell in love with dressage. Often compared to ballet, dressage is the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility, and balance. The intense connection between both human and equine athletes is a thing of beauty to behold.
I have been privileged to compete in dressage to the FEI Junior/Young Rider level and learn from wonderful horses and coaches over the years. My particular favourite moment was riding in a two day clinic with Ingrid Klimke- one of my riding idols (next to Uta Graf and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl).
Riding with Ingrid Klimke, two-time Olympic gold medalist
However, my passion for sport did not just stop just at dressage. During the Vancouver 2010, I became truly consumed by the magic of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as the torch ran past my home town.
As a result, when Toronto 2015 arrived, I was determined to be a part of it. I started out as a Volunteer Program Ambassador but eventually took on many roles within the Organising Committee from Venue Management to Revenue and Planning and even a performer in the Opening Ceremony. It was a whirlwind of an adventure and I loved every minute.
Ultimately, this experience brought me to Lausanne- the Olympic Capital- to attend the number one sports management masters in the world known as AISTS as I looked to continue to grow my career in the industry. Through this education, I was able to work with the FEI (the international equestrian federation) to conduct research on horsemanship competence and create a mandatory course for all FEI Officials.
I have also had the opportunity to work with many other sport organisations and agencies since that time including Equestrian Canada, CAA Eleven, Infront Sport and Media and She Sports Switzerland.
My first job in sport as part of the Toronto 2015 Organising Committee
Visiting the IOC Headquarters
Representing Equestrian Canada with Dave Ballard and Beth Underhill at the 2018 NAYC
A Horsey Adventurist
No matter what though, I am still that horse-crazy girl and my favourite place to be is in the saddle. Whenever I travel (which is more often now that I am married to a Swiss pilot!), I seek out horsey adventures in order to experience the country from a different perspective. To name just a few, I have ridden a lusitano in Portugal, a fjord in Norway, an Icelandic horse in Iceland and even a cow in Switzerland! I have created an Instagram account to document these stories @bucketlisthorseadventures.
However, this is just the beginning, I plan to continue to explore the world on horseback, pursue the upper levels of dressage and make meaningful contributions to society and the sports industry.
So come join me on this exciting adventure and help make competing in the Mongol 2022 Derby in support of Right To Play possible!
Some of my many horsey adventures