15.31/2 hand bay Standardbred gelding, born 9th November 2002
Sometimes the greatest lessons can be found in the plainest wrapping…
Steve’s story begins in New Zealand – born in November 2002, the big bright bay horse began his harness racing career, under the name “He Has Risen” in May 2005. After nine starts, he was sold to Australian interests and recommenced his racing career in Victoria, Australia. Once retired from racing, Steve was sold to be retrained as a riding horse – from there he spent a number of years as a much loved adult riding horse until ill-health required his owner to sell him back to the original place that had trained him as a riding horse. From there Steve spent years as a school horse, teaching young riders the basics of riding, a pleasure riding horse, a session horse at RDA (Riding Develops Abilities) and paddock companion for other standardbreds undergoing retraining.
Anna first heard about a large, friendly Standardbred, with the rather plain name in late 2014. At the time, some inquiries were made and it was felt that, although the Steve would be good for Spark of Hope, circumstances would not work – simply the time was not right for another horse to join the herd. With a degree of reluctance the decision was made to let the horse go.
In April 2016, Anna heard about a horse that sounded like would be a good fit for Spark of Hope. Her initial inquiries discovered that it was in fact Steve, the same bay Standardbred that she had heard about over a year ago. On meeting him, Anna was struck by the gentle spirit exuded by the big bay horse. Arrangements were made and the bay gelding, with the plain name made his way to his new home at Spark of Hope.
Steve’s story has had many twists and turns. From New Zealand to Victoria, Australia, Steve has called many different places “home”. By the time he arrived at Spark of Hope Steve, through no fault of anyone in particular, showed signs of wear and tear – physically, he was a sore horse who needed to time to recover. It soon became apparent though, that mentally Steve was jaded as well. The rigours of moving home time and again had caught up with the big boy. He was reserved, stand offish – almost relunctant to let his guard down. In working with him, our challenge has been to rebuild the trust that he had lost – as well as learning to recognise that despite his size, Steve speaks in the gentlest of whispers.
It has been a long, at times frustrating journey, with the big horse – but it has also been a rewarding one. We have slowly seen Steve begin to unwind – to relax and accept that this is his new home. He is slowly beginning to learn that people are here to help, not hurt, and in turn, he has taught us the important lessons of observation, the power of touch to connect and the patience required to believe for that which seemed impossible. But perhaps, the greatest lesson, is found in his racing name – loss, sickness, even death, do not have the final say. Darkness does not win, because light will overcome it.