Quick Questionnaire With Stephanie Danhakl

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Photo by KIND Media, LLC

Rider status: Amateur  •  Hometown: Boston, MA •  Trainer: Scott Stewart

As a horsewoman, I am most proud of: my ability to empathize and connect with my horse. 

As a horsewoman, I would most like to improve my: knowledge of training young horses. 

I’d be lost without my: Charles Owen helmet in my tack trunk and my lucky spurs in my ring bag. 

I think the biggest misconception about our sport is: that it’s easy. 

My best piece of advice for young riders is: never take your emotions or frustrations out on your horse. Always keep a cool head no matter what happens. 

My favorite horse book is: Black Beauty. 

My favorite non-horse book is: Vanity Fair. 

The part of riding I struggle most with is: doing proper lead changes. 

The part of riding I’m best at is: keeping a smooth, balanced rhythm to the jumps and around the course. 

I’m a sucker for: a horse with a good eye. You can tell a lot about a horse from the eye and expression. 

On Mondays, you’ll find me: working on my dissertation. I also love to needlepoint, bird watch, and hike. 

I sometimes wish I had the time to: learn how to read music. 

I’m afraid of: head injuries. 

The horse person I most admire is: my trainer Scott Stewart because he has an uncanny eye for a good horse and is an expert at all aspects of training, riding, horse care, and horse management. He is a consummate horseman. 

Something I say ten times a day is: “you can do this.” 

My greatest show ring victories are: any time I am able to perform my best under significant pressure. Earning Grand Champion at big shows like Devon and Indoors is exciting, especially when I need to win the final class in order to make it happen. 

One of the best horse names I’ve ever heard is: Golden Rule. 

My absolute favorite show is: Devon because it has the toughest competition.

My motto is: Respect yourself, respect others, and respect your horse.

*This story was originally published in the July 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!