Stephanie Tassos-Reimers has always been a rider—saddle seat as a kid, then polo through college—but starting her love affair with eventing required years of patience.
“I worked for a polo player, and his girlfriend did combined training. She always used to talk about this amazing horse show in Lexington, Kentucky, called Rolex [now Land Rover],” Tassos-Reimers recalled. “It always intrigued me. I always wanted to get involved, but my parents really couldn’t afford a horse for me to do that back then.”
It would take graduating from college, leaving horses to start a professional career, and eventually leaving that career for one that gave her more time to ride, before the San Antonio, Texas, native finally was able to get her start in the sport she’d been interested in for so long.
Once she got into eventing, she didn’t hold back: Around careers in energy trading and commercial development, Tassos-Reimers has competed through the intermediate level, groomed at the country’s biggest events and volunteered for the Area V Council and her local Greater Houston Combined Training Association, as well as pursuing her technical delegate’s license and her ‘r’ judging license.
For her contributions to the sport, Tassos-Reimers was recognized with the 2022 USEA Amateur Impact Award during the U.S. Eventing Association Annual Meeting and Convention, held in December in Savannah, Georgia.
‘OK, It’s Time’
Tassos-Reimers, Fulshear, Texas, is a lifelong equestrian. She grew up riding saddle seat on Saddlebreds and Arabians, then branched into polo, which she continued through college before leaving horses temporarily to start a career in energy trading and build some financial security.
“I always knew that if I got back into horses, I wanted to event. So finally, back in 2010, I said, ‘OK, it’s time,’ ” she said. She made the change from a consulting position that required full-time travel to one as a gas trader, working in an office, the stability of which allowed her to get back to the horse world and start eventing.
Once immersed in the sport, Tassos-Reimers never looked back. Under the tutelage of such professionals as Will Faudree and Joe Meyer, as well as current trainers Rebecca Brown and Nikki Smith-Taylor, Tassos-Reimers progressed through the levels up to intermediate with Catalina, a mare formerly campaigned through the four-star level by Jennie Brannigan.
Since Catalina’s retirement, Tassos-Reimers has been competing Pearl, a green Oldenburg mare she purchased a year ago, and has high future hopes for Moorea, Catalina’s first foal, born in 2022.
Tassos-Reimers’ heart now belongs to eventing, but she still has a fondness for polo.
“I still go stick and ball when I can,” she said. “But I just love the adrenaline rush of eventing, and I love the horsemanship aspect of it all.”
Jumping In To Help
While Tassos-Reimers isn’t competing at the advanced level herself, she’s found another route to being involved in the top end of the sport, thanks in part to a coincidence in 2015.
“I was at Will Faudree’s farm for a couple of weeks to train with him. While I was there, he broke his neck at Five Points [Horse Trials (North Carolina)]. I was there for three weeks with nothing else to do, so I jumped in to help. I started learning the back-office side of things, like how to take care of and manage upper-level horses,” she recalled. “Once he was back up and running, [his grooms] let me help them at Fair Hill International a few times. The first time being in the vet box as part of that team was just a great feeling.”
Experiencing upper-level eventing hands-on was so enjoyable that Tassos-Reimers found herself seeking out additional opportunities to groom. In 2021, she volunteered to help New Zealand’s Joe Meyer at the Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*-L, and that led to more five-star grooming opportunities.
“Max Corcoran was his groom; I was there just volunteering and helping her,” she recalled over her first trip to Kentucky with Meyer. “She’s just the most amazing groom and horseman there is, so I got to learn from the best,” she explained. “I’ve helped groom for Joe a few times at Land Rover and Fair Hill now, and it’s been really fun.”
Her favorite aspect of grooming is the perspective it gives her about what goes into making a successful horse and rider.
“It’s the way the riders, grooms and horses interact behind the scenes,” she said. “Most of the public only sees the horses and riders compete, but it’s really amazing to see the importance of the bonds that those riders have with their grooms and their horses behind the scenes. It’s not just the horse and rider out there competing; it’s the whole team.”
‘Competing Is Actually Secondary’
Once immersed in the eventing world, Tassos-Reimers became a regular volunteer at her local Greater Houston Combined Training Association events, often jump judging and pitching in wherever necessary. At the recommendation of fellow volunteers, she pursued a vacancy on the USEA Area V Council as a further opportunity to get involved and give back.
“I knew I would probably never run Land Rover [Kentucky], but I wanted to give back to the sport, so I figured I would become a part of the sport from a leadership perspective,” she said of her motivation to join the council in 2018.
Being an active competitor allowed Tassos-Reimers to bring a new point of view to the council.
“When I came on board, we were really struggling with losing [competition] venues and with membership [rates], just like the rest of the country. A lot of the members on the committee had been there for a long time and didn’t really compete anymore,” she said. “I think I was able to bring a competitor’s perspective back into the committee.”
As the young rider coordinator and later the chairman, Tassos-Reimers focused on education for the next generation of eventers and emphasized the sense of community in the local eventing world. COVID-19 effectively eliminated in-person events, so in the pandemic’s wake, Tassos-Reimers prioritized the return of face-to-face interactions. She organized social events at local competitions to rekindle the sense of camaraderie and excitement around eventing and to stimulate membership numbers.
Beginning in 2024, Tassos-Reimers will again assume the position of Area V Council chairman after a two-year stint back in her young rider coordinator role. She hopes to reinvigorate the Young Rider Program, bring the modified level to Area V, and find new venues for training and competition.
Somehow, Tassos-Reimers finds time to groom for upper-level event riders, serve on the Area V Council, and manage her own riding and competition schedule, all on top of her full-time career in commercial development. She credits her husband Mike for making it all possible: “I wouldn’t be able to do this horse thing without his support.”
Not only is Tassos-Reimers not slowing down, she’s adding another venture to her plate. This year, she plans to pursue her technical delegate license and her ‘r’ judging license as additional ways to serve the eventing community she loves.
“Competing is actually secondary to the time and effort I spend on the Area Council and otherwise volunteering in the sport,” she says. “I really enjoy the sport, and I want to contribute and give back to it. So I became a part of it at a leadership level; I think that’s the main way I can give back.”