Stephanie began riding at the age of five. She worked her way through a variety of equestrian disciplines, including Western, barrel racing, hunters, and eventing. Now, she combines her training as a historian and her love for horses by focusing on classical dressage, an art form conceived during the Italian Renaissance. She works closely with acclaimed author and dressage clinician Paul Belasik, as well as with Don Sachey, who represented the United States in international three-day eventing. At OVS, Stephanie directs the equestrian program and instructs riders at both campuses. She lives in Ojai with her husband, John, their children, Alexandra, Matthew, and Emma, and a menagerie of pets.
Most memorable OVS camping experience
Rancho Oso in the Santa Ynez Valley. I had a group of six international students who had never been on a horse camping trip before. Their level of excitement was amazing. They had learned enough within our environment at school to take those lessons into the wilderness. They were able to have a great time but also be responsible and caring.
Favorite school horse
Snickers. He was my daughter’s old pony and has been at OVS for 9 years. He has tons of personality and is really charming. He always recognizes me and I always get a whinny — it’s really sweet!
One thing students don’t know about me
I once taught history at a university – and I like to dance!
Favorite teaching moment
It’s a really satisfying experience when our beginning riders make milestones, like being able to post the trot or canter for first time. The student is enjoying it so much and feels such an intense sense of accomplishment. It reminds me of all students I’ve taught, and even what it felt like when I was learning how to do the same things.