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Nancy Spratt: Horsing around

Nancy Spratt has a connection with horses that goes back years.   - Jenna Hauck/ Progress
Nancy Spratt has a connection with horses that goes back years.
— image credit: Jenna Hauck/ Progress

Nancy Spratt’s love affair with horses began as a little girl back in Cornwall, Ontario. Sitting on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Cornwall is one of Canada’s oldest settlements and is steeped in rich and diverse history. It is a rather quaint community and Nancy clearly remembers those simpler days when milk was still delivered to the family home. “The milkman used a horse and cart to make his deliveries. The horse was wonderful. He wore a straw hat with holes for his ears. I’ll never forget it because we were allowed to feed him carrots. I have never forgotten that horse,” she laughed.

Nancy grew up in a close knit family. She was the oldest of four children and to this day, family remains very important to her. “My parents have now passed away and my brother died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 22 but I am still very close to my two sisters,” she said.

Her father was involved in the transportation industry during his entire career while her mother was a nurse. Although her mother did take some time off while the children were growing up, she returned to nursing once they got older. Her father, meanwhile, was a dedicated, resourceful and accomplished man who was dedicated to his family and his work. For his dedication, the SeaBus Terminal in North Vancouver was designated the Charles A. Spratt SeaBus Terminal in his honour. “My father saw that project through from its conception to its launch. He was also the Marine Manager of the system until his retirement in 1988.”

While growing up, Nancy’s interests and passions were mainly centered on two things; books and horses. “I learned to ride when I was nine and by the age of eleven, my parents had bought me my first horse. Even at a young age, owning a horse meant that I had to learn to be understanding and patient. Also, more than responsibility, I learned accountability. I had to be accountable because I couldn’t run away from the responsibility that I had for my horse.  I had to take care of him,” she explained.

By the time that she was in her twenties, Nancy’s focus shifted temporarily. She began living on the MV Meander, a boat that allowed her to explore every inch of BC’s coastline. “I did so much stuff on this boat from blockading cruise ships with Greenpeace to taking the American ambassador and his wife out for the day in the Queen Charlottes to taking the Vancouver Aquarium to Nootka Sound on a collecting trip to commemorate Captain Cook’s arrival,” she enthused.

Once back on terra firma, it was time to move on. Nancy worked at a veterinarian clinic for awhile but shortly after, was hired by the Liquor Distribution Branch. “I was one of the first three women in BC to be hired by the Branch. After fourteen years, I decided that rather than selling alcohol I would import it,” she chuckled. She took on a job with Pernod Ricard, a French multinational corporation and for ten years, she enjoyed the work immensely. “When the corporation began to restructure, I was told that I would have to move to Montreal and because I wanted to stay in Vancouver, I decided to parachute out,” she said.

Although Nancy had been involved in the alcohol industry for twenty-four years, she resolved that it was time for a change. She set up her own company and began doing contract work instead. “I did communications work for Mountain Equipment Co-op as well as taking on other contracts. Eventually, she decided to move to Chilliwack and about a year and half ago she took on the position of Event Coordinator for the Chilliwack Fair, a position that she is well suited for. After all, she has a good understanding of the agricultural industry and she enjoys event management. Nancy is busily working on this year’s fair which takes place at Heritage Park August 10th through 12th.  “It is certainly busy and there is always so much to do. Leading up to and during the fair, I go to bed late and rise early, although I don’t get a whole lot of sleep in between. There’s too much adrenalin; it’s high octane,” she laughed.

When not dedicating herself to her job, which is all encompassing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and her thirteen year old Quarter horse named Jordan. He’s a reining horse and can really work a cow. I truly enjoy reining because it’s a pure sport and it’s challenging. I’m also a tackoholic. I love to collect tack and I especially love Western tack. I think that it’s beautiful,” she smiled.

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