Stephen started his career in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. His father was a University vet and his grandfathers were a head gardener and owners of a retail chain – forerunners of the supermarket world. In 1984 he qualified with the Royal Veterinary College in London.
Stephen always liked travel. His favourite trip was a one way ticket to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania in 1982, only just making it back in time for college after braving the wilds of overland travel down the River Nile in Sudan!
After visiting many countries around the world where people lived much closer to nature than back at home Stephen developed an interest in ethnic health practices. The importance of these practices first struck him in 1986 while treating cattle near the New Forest in Hampshire. He met farmers who still used unusual ways of keeping their cattle healthy. One farmer fed ivy to his cattle when the after birth would not come away. Another farmer used to feed earth from a mole hill when his cattle became toxic from using their body fat to produce milk. Yet another farmer treated mastitis in his cows by drenching them with large amounts of salt.
At the same time he noticed that the local horse owners that he was working with were beginning to buy tubs of mixed herbs to keep their horses sound.
At this time working in Southampton he pursued his spiritual interests and wrote a paper on the power of peace to change peoples lives.
Stephen worked with horses, cattle and sheep, and some dogs and cats, during these years.