Life After Racing - No Way Else

In our life after racing series we highlight standardbreds and their journey after racing. This time we chat to Katie Steffert who is the new owner of No Way Else who won eight races during his career, six for Arna Donnelly and two for Terry and Glenys Chmiel. 


How did you come to have No Way Else and how long have you had him?

After a few years of not riding while I was at university I knew I wanted to get another Standardbred and to get back in the show ring.  

I saw Percy’s (No Way Else) advert on a Standardbred rehoming page and he was everything I wanted but the timing wasn’t great as I was still living in Dunedin while I finished writing my Master's thesis.

I contacted Alicia Harrison who was rehoming him on Arna’s behalf and was blown away when Arna offered to continue to graze him at her own property for a month until I was back in the Waikato to collect him.

I think this just shows how much they both care about him, and that getting him into the right home was more important than moving him on quickly.

I’ve had Percy for 7 months now, he’s had a pretty quiet start to ridden life just getting the basics under saddle sorted. It’s been great to take the time to get to know him, he has such a cheeky personality.

He raced for a long time so I’ve just been giving him time to get used to his new life and will start working on his more formal schooling this coming spring. He has a beautiful canter in the paddock so hopefully this translates under saddle.


Have you ridden Standardbreds before?

Percy is actually my second Standardbred.

My first horse, Danny, was a Standardbred who raced as Shebar Chris. When I went to view him I didn’t even know what a Standardbred was but he was kind and very quiet.

He took care of me while I learning the ropes and taught me so much, I’ve had him for almost 10 years now.

We competed in a bit of everything including showing, dressage and jumping. Danny was mistaken for a warmblood more times than I can count!

Danny was also used at the Te Aroha and Districts Riding for the Disabled in his twilight years and only had to retire due to recurring colic.

Danny is now almost 24 and has been retired for the last two years. I love that I have been able to provide him a happy retirement home, he really is one of a kind and I am very lucky to have him.


What do you use No Way Else for in his riding career?

Percy is destined to be a show horse, and all-rounder.

He is beautifully put together and I’m really excited to see how to stacks up against the other lovely Standardbreds that are out in the show ring now.

The first time my vet met Percy he didn’t believe me that he was a Standardbred and went around to check for a brand!

While showing will be our focus we will also hopefully do a bit of dressage and jumping as well.


What are the best parts of riding a Standardbred?

They have such great attitudes and fun personalities.

At the end of the day, they’re just another horse breed and I think more people should take the opportunity to offer them a life after racing.

There’s also a great group of fun and supportive people who show Standardbreds in the upper North Island so that makes it a great environment to be a part of.


What are your future plans for him?

This season I am hoping to get Percy out to his first few A&P in hand shows to give him some experience and confidence in the show ring.

I’m hoping to take him to his first ridden show at the North Island Standardbred Association Championship Show in February.

This season is will be about gaining experience while giving him time to fill out and develop topline.

Long-term I’d like to have him at Horse of the Year within the next 3-4 years.


Would you recommend taking on a Standardbred after racing to other riders?

Most definitely! They’re awesome horses and there are some beautiful types out there plus it’s awesome to give them a life after racing.

I just want to extend my thanks to Arna Donnelly and Alicia Harrison for giving me the opportunity to give Percy a life after racing.

It’s been awesome that they both have such an interest in this next chapter of his life, let’s hope it’s as successful as his racing career.


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