Stepney Stars April 2021

26th April 2021

We’ve got a very special Stepney Star for you this month – and I think many of you will recognise her!  We’re very lucky that Sara Newson has agreed to share her experience of the stables and beyond with us, so I’ll let her tell you all about it!


I started to ride and volunteer when I was 10 years old and the stables were part of Byker Farm. There was one pony (Judy) and two donkeys (Lucky and Charlie). I wasn’t a natural and fell off a lot! Those donkeys had a sense of humour and could buck! I broke my arm quite badly on my first fall and was a very nervous rider for a long time afterwards. (very glad you got back on, Sara as you’re a fab rider!)


When I was 16, I went to do Horse Studies at Kirkley Hall and after that I went on to gain a BSc in Equine Sports Science from Lincoln University. During holidays I would do some teaching at Stepney and then came back to work as Yard support Worker when I finished my degree.

Learning life skills was key to my time at Stepney; so much about being resilient, being afraid but carrying on anyway and being able to stay (outwardly) calm in difficult situations. I’ve also made some amazing friends at Stepney and benefitted from some incredible role models. I rarely get through a day without thinking ‘what would Paula (Stepney legend) do in this situation?!’


Working at Stepney in various roles on and off for many years plus freelance teaching, riding and grooming eventually made me realise that my skills were more suited to working with people than working with horses! After managing the youth project at Stepney, I eventually moved on to a role with National Citizens Service (recruiting some of the Stepney crew to take part!) and then into a role managing the youth work team at NE Youth. My current role is Manager of Recyke y’Bike so just up the road from Stepney. (and I know Sara would love to see you all there!)


I think if I had some advice for my 10 year-old self it would be; be a bit braver, but stay away from donkeys! And lunge lessons. Lunge lessons are key!


Ah, thank you for sharing all of that with us Sara.  We love hearing about where people go when they move on from Stepney, so that’s just perfect – and you’re still just along the road too!

I think you’ll like the photo that Sara’s sharing with us – it’s one of those lunge lessons!!  You can still have lunge lessons at Stepney and they’re excellent for improving your seat, balance and connection with the horse, so ask at Reception if you’d like to try.

Do you know anyone who could be our next Stepney Star?  Let us know who you would nominate and we can feature them here throughout the year.