Sixteen South & Nelvana saddle up for A Horse Named Steve

EXCLUSIVE: An adaptation of a Kids Can Press book, this 2D-animated comedy series is Sixteen South’s first Canadian co-pro.
March 28, 2023

Irish animation studio Sixteen South has partnered with Nelvana to develop and co-produce A Horse Named Steve.

The 2D-animated comedy series (52 x 11 minutes) revolves around a self-absorbed horse and his endless schemes to capture attention and stand out from the crowd. This deal marks Sixteen South’s first Canadian co-production.

The project is an adaptation of writer/illustrator Kelly Collier’s Steve the Horse picture book series, which is published by Corus-owned Kids Can Press. Colin Williams, creative director at Sixteen South, says he discovered the IP in a recent Kidscreen roundup of book titles available for option.

Although the picture books target kids ages three to seven, they have a self-awareness and “dry humor” that make it easy to age up the series concept for eight- to 11-year-olds, explains Williams. “It has an intelligent humor for older kids. It’s smart and snarky, and we’re dead-excited about its unique visual design, which will let us exercise our creative chops.”

The silliness of the books is what drew Nelvana to the property, says Athena Georgaklis, VP of Nelvana Studios. “[It’s] a really clever and laugh-out-loud story.”

There are currently two books in the series: A Horse Named Steve (pictured, 2017) and Team Steve (2018). In the first title, Steve starts wearing a unicorn-style horn to get attention, but experiences unexpected challenges in disguise. In the sequel, he has to compete in a relay race with a turtle and a snail on his team, and learns the lesson that teamwork is more important than winning. Digital storybook platform Vooks adapted the lead book into an animated short, narrated by Rainn Wilson (who played Dwight Schrute in The Office) in 2021.

Williams says the plan is for Sixteen South and Nelvana to pitch the series together at Cartoon Forum in September, armed with a bible and an animated trailer. They’re looking for broadcast partners—and he’s hopeful that the Corus networks will be interested.

A Horse Named Steve is a sign of what’s to come at Sixteen South, as it expands its slate and shifts more focus to comedy, adds Williams. “We have two preschool series in development, and we pitched Spaghetti Sisters last year. We’re expanding with this comedy-driven show that skews a bit older.”

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News editor for Kidscreen. Ryan covers tech, talent and general kids entertainment news, with a passion for kids rap content and video games. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at



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