Steph Taylor

Steph Taylor DressageSteph Taylor, from Hampshire, is a young professional dressage rider who runs a successful small livery yard in the heart of Meon Valley as well as competing her gorgeous three horses, Kapri, Inanda and Perugia.
Steph started riding competitively at the age of 16, and since then has competed at numerous Regional Championships, Home Internationals and Inter Regionals for the BD Youth A Squad. Steph was also part of the Hickstead Young Professionals Quadrille.
Steph’s main interest is producing young horses, and currently has two young horses she is producing up the ranks alongside her aspiring small tour horse.
We spent 10 minutes with Steph and found out what motivates and inspires her...

Tell us about the horses that got you where you are today…  

I got my first pony when I was 13, a super cheeky New Forest Pony who was bred by my Nan. Flora mostly taught me how to stay on and about resilience!

At 17 I got my first dressage horse, Dazzle. I couldn’t get him on the bit and I couldn’t get him to canter more than 20m! We grew together and I trained him up to Intermediare 1 before he retired and became my mum’s horse.

Steph Taylor DressageI then got my first young horse at 19 and oh my word if there’s going to be any horse that tested my stickability and patience, it was Perugia!. She was absolutely psychotic when she was younger and spent most of her time on two legs or bolting (including during a dressage test!). There were a lot of blood (literally), sweat and tears but in hindsight I laugh as I got some great videos from it to look back on. She’s now competing Prix St Georges/Intermediate 1 and has mellowed out a lot! She makes my two current young horses look completely sane but luckily not a lot phases me now because if it.

 

 

How do you relax at the end of the day? 

I get home quite late some evenings if I’m teaching, but my favourite thing to do is sit on the sofa with a glass of wine and my dog.

What’s your biggest luxury in life?  

Definitely my horses and being able to keep them at home. I’m so grateful to have my parents support which means I can own and enjoy such beautiful, talented horses. 

When the going gets tough, what keeps you motivated? 

I’m very lucky to have such a fantastic team around me who will keep me going and thinking positive even in the darkest times. Anyone that’s trained a young horse (or mare!) knows it’s not always plain sailing, and they’ll either make you feel like you’re riding Valegro or you need to go take your BHS Stage 1 again! I try to only surround myself with people that want to watch me succeed, so that in itself helps keep me going as I know people just want me to do well and be happy.

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge you face as a professional rider?  

For me, it’s my mind set and hoping I can do my horses justice. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well and be on top of my game all the time. Realistically that doesn’t happen to anyone but it’s so easy to fall into the trap of the ‘grass is always greener’ on social media where no one ever seems to have bad days! I nit pick a lot, and sometimes hate uploading videos of myself riding as all I can see are my faults and where I could better. I know where I need to improve and if it’s not 100% all the time I do beat myself up about it. But I’ve got to remind myself I’m only young and horses aren’t machines.

Steph Taylor in Honest Riders t-shirt

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