14.3 hand brown/black Thoroughbred x Connemara gelding, born 23rd August, 1989
For as long as she could remember, Anna had dreamed of having her own horse. Every Christmas and every birthday came with only one wish – a four-legged, hay eating, fur friend. Birthdays came and birthdays went and that dream was banished to the land where a lot of childhood dreams are banished to – the land of adulthood filled with a thing we call “responsibility”. However, despite the passage of time the dream still lived. Occasionally it would rise up and say “why not” only to be banished again with a list of reasons why it shouldn’t. Then one day the reasons suddenly stopped and so the decision was made to look for a horse.
On first hearing about a black horse that was for sale, Anna’s reaction was “no, too old”, however, a voice much wiser than her own suggested not to dismiss old horses, as they will teach you so much. It was advice that Anna couldn’t shake, so on a wet Friday in June, Anna and Barry drove 90 minutes to check out the black horse. From the first meeting, both were struck by the kind, gentle, patient soul that stood before them. Without too much hesitation, a decision was made and a week later, Sparky stepped off a float and into their lives.
Just as the wise voice prophesied, Spark has taught us so much. He is a no nonsense, mostly unflappable horse. He has taught us the most basic of lessons of horse care and has instilled in us a confidence and belief that we can do this. He forces us to slow down, calm down and to enjoy the little things in life. Spark continues to be, for many people the “first horse I have ever touched or brushed or led or ridden”. And though we may be biased, we cannot think of a better horse to have partnered them through such milestones.
There is a postscript to this story. One Sunday afternoon, as we (Barry and Anna) sat in a cafe, dreaming of this organisation and what we would call it – we looked at each other and realized that there could only be one name – and so Spark of Hope was born – in honour of the power of a single spark to start a fire and the single Spark who started a fire within us…