BDFEG Rider Profile 

Steph Conway

What you need to know about Steph! 

When did you first start riding?

 My parents bred and raced harness racing horses, so I've never known life without horses.  

When I was 4 or 5 Santa generously delivered a Welsh Mountain pony for Christmas called Penny, who my two sisters and I learnt to ride on.  Mum and Dad later bought and loaned some more small white ponies for us (singlehandedly supporting the purple shampoo industry) until we had one each. As children my sisters and I quickly realised that taking the ponies to the house yard and asking for help with three girths and saddles was a ridiculous waste of riding time, so abandoned our saddles and any notions of decorum or "hands down -heels down" and rode around the farm and river unsupervised, bareback without shoes, practicing riding in saddles once a month the Saturday before pony club.   

On the farm I also helped Dad harness and drive the racehorses most days of the week, from a slightly concerning young age, always going to the races and later learning to break in the young horses which I loved.  

Between my sisters and I we rode lots of inexpensive but nice horses, mainly OTTs and focused mainly on jumping and cross country. Of all of them a favourite pony of mine was a Welsh B called Gabby who was spooky, occasionally bit, frequently bolted and possessed an Olympic level talent for shying and spearing you off the front. Due to the afore mentioned personality and temperamental defects Gabby had been turned out with the yearlings for a few years before I decided (heavily influenced by reading “My Friend Flicka”) that I wanted to ride a Mustang and since she was the closest thing we had, I claimed her as my own. After an accelerated apprenticeship in the art of riding naughty ponies, we got on fabulously and she became almost sensible, and we completed years of pony club together.  

Favourite Achievement: 

A tricky question, probably the progress I have made with educating Willow to this point. When I bought her I think I underestimated how challenging it would be working with a frightened horse with more emotional baggage than her rider, but she has taught me a lot about patience and introspection and I am grateful for the experience and the progress we have made together.  

 Favourite discipline / anything I want to achieve.  

My favourite discipline was always eventing, because nothing can beat that Cross Country adrenaline high. Realising that you won't win a ribbon at a horse trials if you are last in the dressage has motivated me to work a lot harder with my dressage and I am enjoying regular lessons and the improvements I have made. My long-term goal is to keep jumping but also learn and execute some of the fancier dressage movements on my own horses.