As the driving force behind Spring Creek Equine, a world-class facility on 35 acres in Victoria’s Yarra Valley that provides a range of services including rider coaching, horse sales and schooling, agistment and rehabilitation, Sam and Chris have between 30 and 45 horses in their care at any time. While that may sound like a lot, this energetic pair’s passion for providing a holistic, tailored approach to the management of all horses in their barn means no stone is left unturned and no detail is missed. As the last 12 months have shown, their thorough and compassionate methods have also made them a perfect fit for rehabilitating and retraining horses who enter Racing Victoria’s RESET Program.
“The one joy of Covid last year was that I got to catch up on a lot of admin,” Sam laughs, explaining that they used the downtime to apply to become Racing Victoria Acknowledged Retrainers. Having always believed in thoroughbreds’ suitability for eventing careers, Chris and Sam were noticing Racing Victoria’s Off The Track program’s increased presence at events through sponsored OTT classes and the like, and it seemed like the right time to get involved with their initiatives. “Interestingly, our application came about at a really great time for Racing Victoria as well, because we had an established rehabilitation business and they were just about to launch the RESET program,” says Sam.
Racing Victoria’s RESET (Racehorse, Evaluation, Support, Education and Transition) program offers a safety net in the form of direct support and retraining for thoroughbreds that have struggled to find the right home following the conclusion of their racing careers. Recognising that some thoroughbreds have specific needs following their racing career due to factors such as their age or veterinary history, the program utilises the skills of the RV Acknowledged Retrainer network to ensure these horses are given the best possible chance to lead a happy and productive life off the track.
“There were horses entering the RESET program that had really great potential for second careers after racing, but their opportunities had been limited because they needed a certain amount of rehabilitation prior to being retrained and rehomed,” Sam explains. “It was a great fit for us, because we were in a position to take those horses that needed some rehab before they started their retraining, and it meant those horses could go to one place to get everything they needed from both a rehabilitation and retraining perspective.”
When they established Spring Creek Equine in 2014, Sam and Chris chose to extend their services beyond horse and rider training and agistment, by offering a comprehensive rehabilitation service. Having invested in state-of-the-art technology including a water treadmill, they take on a wide range of cases, from abscesses where the owner doesn’t have anywhere dry to keep the horse, through to complicated post-surgery and soft tissue rehabilitation cases.