Monday, July 2, 2012

100 People - STEPHEN

In keeping with my ‘100 People to Meet Before You Die’ theme, I want to tell you about Stephen today.

Let me start at the beginning. Rachel and her family moved to the island at the end of March. She was having a hard time adjusting and when I asked her about it, she said that she missed her horses and the ability to ride. I can relate, but I had no ideas about how to help.

One Friday afternoon we’re at the beach. I’m out bobbing around neck deep, and this couple are out there also. Their talking and bobbing and not paying much attention. The guy comes up to within about two feet of me with his back turned. I figure he’s going to bump into me and come unglued. In the ocean bumping into something on a sandy beach that’s not a rock is not necessarily a ‘good thing’ (think large sea creature, like shark maybe-they like to bump you to check you out). So I say, hey I’m right behind you. He laughs and thanks me for helping him to avoid a heart attack. Anyway…the three of us get to talking.

The woman, whose name is Fran asks if I live here, how long, the usual ‘hi, how are ya’, conversation. Somewhere in there I tell her that Rachel has just come to the island and is homesick for her horses. Fran says; ‘she has got to meet Stephen’. I call Rachel out into the water to meet Fran and hear about Stephen.

St. Croix is filled with horses. There is a race track here and Cruzans are a betting kind of people. Unfortunately, horses only last so long on the track, then, they are pretty much on their own, here on island. Stephen, it turns out, is a horse rescuer extraordinaire. He takes in equines of all persuasions and in all conditions. He helps them get in shape and then does trail rides for the tourists. Stephen combines two of my favorite things; Horses and the Sea.

On Saturday mornings he runs ’free rides’ for the local kids and just about anybody else who wants to come along. Well Rachel went out the following morning and you guessed it. She got one great big cure for her homesickness. It was a win/win situation because Stephen was astounded to find such an incredible horsewoman willing to help him with the ’kids’ and his herd. Professionally, Rachel is a Vet Tech, so it’s a real big WIN/WIN for everybody.

Stephen is an Irishman with the greatest accent. He’s older than he looks at first, but incredibly young at heart. He was once a Catholic Priest. He left Ireland for the American West to work with horses. Somehow, like the rest of us, he ended up down here in the Caribbean and with all his horse sense; he put his dreams to work. I first saw him out in the ocean with his horses and a group of Cruzan kids – of course, it was a Saturday morning.

I haven’t had my turn out in the sea on horseback yet, but it’s coming. I had to sell my herd to come down here, and I hope the nostalgia won't get to me too badly, but I’m gonna take that risk.

Stephen is most definitely one of those ‘100 People You Want to Meet Before You Die’. It was actually Rachel who told me that. She also asked me how I got so lucky to run into people like Fran who would lead us to people like Stephen. I told her ‘luck has absolutely nothing to do with it’. There are no coincidences.

You can just barely see Stephen in front of the horse at the far right. He has a white straw cowboy hat on.

From here on out I'll be posting my '100 People You Want to Meet Before you Die' pieces on Fridays. Next up IWSG (because the first Wednesday of the month is the 4th of July, we have the option to post for the IWSG on Tuesday or Thursday. Not sure what I'll do. I'll surprise us.

Speaking of 'SURPRISES', I had one today that almost shocked me into next week. YIKES! 


  1. That is just so wonderful, looking after horses, and having a Vet Tech who will work with you. And letting kids ride. And letting horses and people ride into the ocean (thought I wonder how the salt water effects the horses skins).

    "Coincidence is when God choses to act anonymously," someone told me, once.

    Happy Independence Day on the island!

  2. I couldn't read this blog bit without thinking of one of my all-time favorite movies: 'The Black Stallion'.

    It's simple arithmetic:
    The beach + a horse = 'The Black Stallion'

    What do you love most? Great performances? Great cinematography? Great horses? It makes no difference, because the answer is: 'The Black Stallion'. (The way they shot that scene, that dance, that "ballet", when Alex first gets aboard the Black Stallion? "Art" at its finest!)

    >>..."Speaking of 'SURPRISES', I had one today that almost shocked me into next week. YIKES!"

    Oh, do tell!

    Nitro Wilbury Babskiddo?...
    Uh... Hello?...
    Are you alright?...
    Are you OK?...
    Can we talk?...


    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  3. Never a coincidence - those people are placed in our path for a reason.
    Riding horses in the ocean. You really need to try it sometime.

  4. coincidences. You are so right. And I had to laugh when you were telling about bumping into things in the ocean. You never know when a rogue 'anything' will be there. And how fabulous that Stephen rescues horses...and all that he does. And from Irish priest, to the American West, to St. Croix. Sounds like a book to me.

  5. Wow! Horseback riding in the Caribbean! Sounds like a blast! And I agree about the no coincidences! :D Great story, thanks for sharing it!

  6. Ah yes... I remember the days when the horse racers would swim their horses at Long Bay on St. Thomas, an area now covered over by Yacht Haven Grand. It's nice to know someone is looking out for the horses on St. C.

  7. Awesome story. I believe coincidence is just the universe juggling things around so they work out despite the chaos we normally encounter.


  8. No fair teasing like that!!

    Isn't it a great feeling when you serve as a conduit to bring two people together who really need each other! Kudo's to you in this story! :)

  9. I went horse riding last summer for the first time, and now I'm hooked. Riding horses on the beach sounds like a dream come true. Minus that whole water part. They don't make equestrian floaties, do they?

  10. Love this story. It's amazing how the universe works to bring people together.
    Play off the Page