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Set your eyes on this chestnut beauty. Above, we captured Scarlet’s childhood in an oldie but goodie photo while also sharing how she has grown into a stunning adult horse. The self-proclaimed Grand Dame of the barn, a Tennessee Walker, born and bred into the Giant Steps program. Scarlet teaches confidence while carefully protecting her rider as one of her own.

In 2001, under the care of Giant Steps founders, Robert Pope and Lee Justice, Scarlet was born surrounded by Giant Steps’ staff and volunteers. Amy Brasil, a former volunteer turned instructor joined Giant Steps when she was just 14 years old. She remembers that exciting night.

“It was the best sleep-over ever,” says Amy. “I was there when Scarlet was born.” Her younger sister Gracie and brother Pepe came later. “If ever there was a trio, it was the three of them. Three goofy babies,” adds Amy. “They lived in a green pasture together their entire young lives. Scarlet, Gracie and Pepe were three years old before anyone put a saddle on their backs. Over time, they became program horses.” Gracie has since retired from the program, but Scarlet and Pepe are still with us.

“In her youth Scarlet was the quintessential older sister. At times, she’d be put off by Gracie and Pepe’s immaturity. But she never wanted to be without them, that is, unless she was being given 100% of the attention. She’s intelligent. A smart horse, confident in herself. She knows what she’s doing. She knows her job.”

If we were to give Scarlet human characteristics, they would be these: confidence, sass and benevolence. She loves being the center of attention and demands the first stall at the entrance of the barn to be sure she is not overlooked.  She pins her ears back at other horses in the arena, yet steadfastly cares for her riders.

“To put it succinctly,” Amy says, “Scarlet was meant to be a Giant Steps horse. She is so happy to be there under the loving care of the current staff. It makes me emotional to see the Founders’ dream come to fruition. They wanted a place where people and horses come together to help those with disabilities thrive. And now, as a parent with a child who has a disability, Giant Steps will always have a place in my life.”

Scarlet is partially sponsored in Memory of Bernice W. Henig.