About Us

10 Minutes with Zephania and Oakridge Equestrian

In 2019, Zephania Steele purchased the business from Kelly and Grant Stewart and continues to expand the Oakridge Equestrian brand and its product portfolio.

Ending up in the equestrian world is not surprise for Zephania, who has been involved with horses her entire life. However, she never dreamed she’d end up owning a business like Oakridge Equestrian.

Originally from Auckland, she completed a Bachelor of Communications majoring in Journalism at AUT, before shifting to Rotorua and becoming involved in marketing and sales.

Although owning a business was not something she’d considered, when Oakridge was presented to her it was too exciting to pass up.

With a growing business she no longer competes in Eventing and Dressage however, she is still involved in event committees and coaching.

Most weekends Zephania and her trade truck (Fat Amy) are attending a competition somewhere in the country. If you would like her to attend your event or you would like to find out when she’ll be in your area, please feel free to get in touch.

Fat Amy on the Desert Road

Fat Amy on the Desert Road

Read the Q&A with Zephania below if you’d like to know more about her and Oakridge Equestrian.

Firstly where does your name come from and how do you pronounce it?

“It’s a bit of a family joke that one, my Dad chose it out of a name book. It’s of Hebrew origin and my legal name is actually Zephaniah however, Dad was meant to remove the H when he registered me as that is masculine and for it to be feminine would be to finish with an a. I was most upset when I found my passport at age seven to see it had an H at the end and no one had ever told me.

“To make matters worse my older brother is just plain old Oliver! My mum use to tell me it was character building when I was little. These days I do quite like it, I’ve never met another Zephania and I do have a good laugh when the poor commentators have to try to pronounce it over the speakers.

“I pronounce my name Ze-fā-nia however I have been told the correct pronunciation is Sfañya which to me sounds Russian! Still, it’s better than being called Zefannyia which happened at one prize giving.”

How did the business get its name?

“When we brought Oakridge Equestrian it was already under that name. Kelly and Grant have beautiful old oaks lining their driveway which I guess is where the name came from.

“I possibly could have changed it but I think Oakridge was synonymous with Kask and Parlanti and if I had changed the name it would have been a lot more difficult for me to enter the market. As it was, it probably took two seasons for people at events to become familiar with me.

We’ve discussed planting a couple of oaks on the ridge at the bottom of our property alongside the road but by the time they’re grown a lot can change!”

What is your first horse memory?

“Probably being three years old and watching my brother have riding lessons at the local riding school and begging to owner to let me ride – they didn’t take kids under the age of four – I won that battle in the end.

Eventing at Clevedon

Eventing at Clevedon

“In the end my parents also caved and brought me a pony for my fifth birthday. Her name was Princess and she came with a big red bow around her neck. The rest is history!”

What do you love about horse riding as a sport?

“I love that it is a great leveller, particularly eventing. You can win for weeks on end and then all of a sudden you’re at the bottom of the field. I think it keeps rider’s a bit more down to earth and you know that if someone can win back to back to back that they’re extremely talented.

“Similar with Show Jumping and Dressage, I alway think it’s incredible when you see a rider producing multiple horses at the top level or riding two vastly different horses and giving them the best rides possible. My appreciation for just how tough show jumping is has really grown since owning Oakridge and attending more shows.”

What is your favourite thing about Oakridge Equestrian?

“Oakridge has definitely given me many feathers to my bow. When you’re a one woman band you have to learn to do a bit of everything (that doesn’t mean I do them well). But I also love to still be able to be a part of the sport even if I’m no longer competing myself.

“I also love the sales side of the business, it’s always satisfying helping someone find a great fitting helmet or a pair of boots. Recently we’ve managed to get boots that are wider than what we’ve been able to get in the past and I love being able to fit more people into them now.”

Oakridge at Takapoto

Oakridge at Oro Equestrian Dressage by the Lake

What is your least favourite thing about Oakridge Equestrian?

“Paper work! I’m not great with paper work and tend to avoid it, which always bits me in the bum! One day it would be great to be in a position to hire someone to do it for me but for now I’ll keep my accountant on his toes checking up on me.”

How far has Oakridge travelled with Fat Amy?

“So far we’ve travelled up as far as Woodhill Sands and as far South as the National Equestrian Centre at McLeans Island in Christchurch.

“During covid times as restrictions started to ease, I spent quite a bit of time at events down in Foxton, Manfield and Hastings as they were able to run events.

“The majority of my weekends are spent at the Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre in Taupo, it’s a great venue to catch all of the different disciplines and super handy being just an hour and a bit down the road.”

What’s your favourite event to attend?

“Oooooh that’s a hard one! Often times the ones I really enjoy are the ones I get to be with friends and the ones with good weather!

Making good sales is always nice as well but some events I might not have many sales but I will do a lot of fittings and they can end up being great shows in the long run.

If you were to compete again, which Kask helmet would be your pick?

“I’m an absolute sucker for the Star Lady Carbon. I like that the colour sits between the Pure Shine Chrome Black and Anthracite making it versatile across different coloured jackets and because it is carbon fibre it is slightly lighter than the regular Star Lady.

I’ve had my eye on it since I brought Oakridge, but I feel I really need to be competing if I’m going to splurge on one of those!”

What has been your favourite Oakridge Equestrian moment?

Kiwi flag at Pratoni

Kiwi flag at Pratoni

“In 2022 I travelled to Europe to visit my suppliers and while I was there I got to go to the World Equestrian Eventing Games in Pratoni, Italy where Tim Price finished third and the New Zealand Team won bronze.

All while where Kask helmets and there were a few pairs of Parlanti boots in there as well, it was a very special moment to see the kiwis up on the podium with our flag flying high!

Kiwi team Pratoni

Oakrige Equestrian sponsored rider Clarke Johnstone alongside Monica Spencer, Lizzie Green and Nicoli Fife.













“A little closer to home, at the recent 2024 Land Rover Horse of the Year, Oakridge sponsored rider Abbey Thompson won the Fiber Fresh 3* which was incredibly exciting having watch her work towards it for so long.

“We’re going to head to Adelaide to watch her ride at the three day before she heads to the UK to work for Harry Meade and looking forward to cheering her on.”

Abbey Thompson after her win at Horse of the Year

Abbey Thompson after her win at Land Rover Horse of the Year


What are your plans for the future of Oakridge Equestrian?

“An absolute goal of mine is to have the dominant brands from Oakridge across the different disciplines. It’s very satisfying when you look out at an event and can see a wave of Kask helmets and Parlanti boots.

“Behind the scenes at the moment we’re going through the process of integrating a point of sales system which should mean I have less paper work to do. But we are still having to iron out a few wrinkles.

“Personally I’d like to continue up skilling in website development. As a small business you’re always loathed to pay someone else to do a job you think you could do yourself, but you still have to learn how to do it!

“I’m also hoping to take Oakridge back down to the South Island and enjoy some more southern hospitality!”

Final thoughts for the road?

“Being able to work in the equestrian world with Oakridge is a real privilege. There aren’t many jobs that would let you hang out with your passion, so I never want to take it for granted. Just like riding horses you never know quite where its going to take you.

I hope my clients can enjoy the time they get to enjoy with their horses, (whether that is riding casually or competitively) and that they can do it in gear that is safe, comfortable and just a little bit stylish!”