The Cowboy from Newcastle


A recovering addict from Newcastle turns his life around through his love of horses.

After years of addiction and many stints in prison Steven goes into rehab. When he starts volunteering at Still Mountain stables, an unlikely friendship develops with  the owner, Irene and a neighbour, Alison M who stables her horse on the land and helps Irene to run the place. With each of them helping each other with their own personal challenges, of which there are many, a surprisingly deep bond develops between them. As Steven moves out of rehab and into his own flat, he becomes anxious about starting to use again without his key workers on hand. Nurtured by Irene and Alison M, he learns to ride ‘Western’ on Irene’s prized imported American horse, Breeze. He is trained by one of the UK’s most highly skilled horseman, Joe Midgley. His dream is to leave addiction far behind and make a life working with horses and riding.

During the following months serious issues and allegations cause the relationship between Steven, Alison M and Irene to break down and Steven is at risk of his life unravelling. Then another Alison steps in. Alison Garner is Irene’s other neighbour and runs a livery and training facility next door at Brook Barn. A seasoned Eventer she offers Steven a chance to train with her and recognising his natural talent and gift with the horses she fights hard to get him an official apprenticeship. Steven blossoms under Alison Garner’s guidance and he gets the opportunity to ride a variety of competition horses. Their plan is to enter Steven into some affiliated events next year. Life has never been so good. But then Steven’s health takes a serious turn for the worst and he awaits the results from his tests. He wonders if he has it in him to face another fight. 

The Cowboy from Newcastle is Directed by Debbie Howard of Big Buddha Films. Produced by Colin Pons, Studio of the North and Shirine Best, Other Productions. Cinematography and Editing by Jim Wraith. Made with support from Sheffield Hallam University. 

Read about Steven’s journey in this Horse & Hound article by Eleanor Jones. 

Steven’s story was also featured in The Yorkshire Post written by Sophie McCandlish.