Meet the ponies
Monty the 16 year old New Forest pony first came to the sanctuary as a youngster, having been ridden too young by his previous owners. Once he was older and had been re-trained, Monty became a lovely, safe hacking pony. Monty has been out on loan twice but tends to be difficult to handle, so now remains at the sanctuary with his friends.
Paddy is a four year old small gypsy cob who came from a lady who had rehomed him. Paddy is very sweet, gentle and calm, with a really willing attitude. He has a lot of admirers! Paddy is slowly getting used to all of the things he will need to know once he is ridden.
Reggie is a little long-term resident pony who is about 14 or 15 years old. Reggie used to have severe food aggression and would attack people, but has improved a lot; nowadays he is very relaxed and will often lie down next to people! Reggie is very friendly but prefers being one-on-one with a person, rather than with large groups.
Romeo is a 10 year old gypsy cob who was handed over by his previous owner. She had rescued him and he was nervous of new people and situations. Romeo has a strong fear of the farrier due to being kicked and hit by one in the past, so requires sedation to have his feet done. He is currently being clicker trained to build new positive experiences about having his feet trimmed.
Simba came to us about six years ago, as his owner no longer had time for him. Simba was extremely fat when he arrived and today we joke that he looks like a Friesian-Holstein cow! Despite his appearance, he is probably a Shetland x gypsy cob. Simba has never been ridden and lives with our retirement herd. He has a wonderful cheeky character and often acts the clown.
Storm has had quite a few homes. He has a scar on his hind leg from when he had got his leg trapped in a cattle grid as a youngster. His last home was very good to him but when he was professionally backed, he kept bucking, throwing the trainer off. He came to us for rehabilitation as his owner didn’t have the time required. He now lets Val's six year old granddaughter ride on him at walk on the lead rein.
Tilly is a three year old gypsy cob who came to the sanctuary as a yearling. Tilly is generally very sweet, but she definitely has a cheeky side! Tilly can get overwhelmed easily and sometimes become defensive, but she is improving. Tilly is learning about being handled and getting used to all the things she will eventually encounter when she starts to be ridden.
Rupert the miniature Shetland is the smallest of our ponies, but what he lacks in size he makes up for with his huge and cheeky personality! Rupert is great with children and people with disabilities. Rupert has been a huge influence on Jensen, an 8 year old who has gained a lot more confidence since meeting Rupert. Jensen visits Rupert as often as he can and comes to any local events to be with Rupert!
Solo had been through a lot of psychological trauma before arriving at Spirit of the Herd. After a long rehabilitation, Solo became a very loving calm pony. He has given children with autism many pony rides and let them play with him. He is protector of the mini ponies; they are his own little herd.
Star started life as a stallion at a Welsh stud. He then fell into the wrong hands, and bears many scars from that time. Star was taken away by two kind ladies who had him gelded, but then could not give him the rehabilitation he required, as he was petrified of people and certain situations. Even the sound of a breaking carrot terrified him. He has been with us for three years and is doing exceptionally well in his rehabilitation.
Hope is an Irish sports horse x cob, who came to Spirit of the Herd with her mum, Angel, at around five months old. Hope was a very defensive and scared youngster, who would lunge and bite when people approached. Over time she is starting to trust people more, but she easily becomes overwhelmed and defensive. Hope is being gently trained to help increase her confidence and improve her trust of people.
Daphne is a 13 year old Shetland who is a popular part of our mini herd and often used for the sessions with children. When she first came she was rather head-shy and didn't like to be caught, but she has improved a lot over time. Daphne loves children and having attention from people, and you'll often find her getting as close as possible to people and then having a snooze next to them!
Duncan is a seven year old cob who has been at Spirit of the Herd for about a year. Duncan had been ridden at a very young age and then put through auction, then handed over to us. Duncan initially had a very sore back, which improved with treatment. Duncan is a very nervous horse and finds it difficult to trust people. He is slowly improving and he is being gently trained to increase his confidence.
Blue is a six year old gypsy cob who can be ridden, although he is still learning about how to behave on the roads (he has a tendency to sneak over to the verge and grab a mouthful of grass!). Blue is inclined to explore things with his teeth and lips, such as trying to unzip pockets and bags! Blue loves attention, particularly from children.
Boxer is a gentle gypsy cob, but we think he is part Shire due to his huge ribcage and head! He is four this year, but still looks like he has more growing to do, probably because he had a poor start in life. Boxer came to Spirit of the Herd as a yearling, having been rescued from his previous home. Boxer was very underweight, lice-ridden and with a heavy worm burden when his rescuer took him on, but he is doing well now.
Romany is a small and very handsome gypsy cob, who is nearly five years old. Romany is very confident and clever, and is currently learning all he will need to know to allow him to be ridden at some point soon. His intelligence can sometimes be directed towards his own ends; Romany tries not to let obstacles like fences prevent him from being where he wants to be!
Bonnie the Shetland came to us with Maddie and her son Rupert when their owner could no longer care for them. Bonnie is very friendly and patient with children, and she and Rupert enjoy going to different events to meet people and give them some pony love. Bonnie is often used for our pony care and pony pampering events, and enjoys the fuss from children in particular!
14 year old Shetland Daisy has been with Spirit of the Herd for a long time. Daisy used to give pony rides for small children, but she only likes teenagers and grown ups to groom her, so now she lives with our retired herd group.
Magic is a very sweet and gentle little pony of unknown breeding, but she is probably a part-bred Welsh pony. Magic had a good start in life but then was sold, and life didn't quite work out for her until she came to us. She has become more confident, but does like people to be calm around her and can be timid if she feels unsure. Magic loves being groomed and handled by gentle people and children.
When Maddie the miniature Shetland arrived she was nervous of people, but she soon started to improve. Her hooves were initially an odd shape, but this was improved with corrective trimming. It took a while for Maddie to become used to people, but on her journey with us she has become a very friendly little pony, often resting her head on people to snooze while they eat their lunch!
Gypsy-Rose is a 25 year old New Forest pony who first arrived at the sanctuary 18 years ago. Gypsy was on loan for 14 years, but came home when her loaner could no longer care for her. Gypsy used to be steel grey, but has slowly gone grey over time!. Gypsy has some mild arthritis in her back legs, but doesn't let this stop her running around with our retirement herd!