“How did all the horses and ponies end up at Paintedhorse?”
The story behind our most asked question
Livvy bought Danny, a hunter, to ride. He was an impulse buy as she was suffering with empty ‘stable’ syndrome after losing her last horse Frank suddenly. Livvy admits that she over-horsed herself with Danny and he bucked her off as a pastime. So much so after another fall, she got up and thought about selling him to someone who could ride him. She felt energy at her back and heard the words ‘Please don’t sell me’ and when she turned around Danny was staring at her with intense dark eyes. ‘You heard that didn’t you?’ Livvy had heard that and didn’t sell him, and always figured he came into her life for another reason. As it turned out later this chap would become the gentle herd leader at Paintedhorse and his leadership style seems to be ‘less is more’.
Livvy bought Gunner, an ex-racer to ride instead of Danny and he was her perfect match. They did endurance rides together and early morning hacks. He was her confidant and he seemed to like this special role in her life. Gunner is a gentleman with a good sense of humour. Nowadays, he appears to have a role as Danny’s silent wing-man and helps him privately with the responsibility of the herd. They often go off together seemingly to have a conversation when Gunner returns in the morning after being stabled overnight.
A friend of Livvy’s asked if she knew anyone who could take on Prada who was an injured ex-racer. Livvy took her for company for Danny who was on his own when Gunner was out and when he was stabled at night time. Prada is a nature spirit, she is often away with the fairies and can be playful with the others. Nowadays, she is still found hanging out with Danny and Gunner, and occasionally with Hope as they are on a similar etheric wavelength.
Livvy spotted a little skewbald foal on a Dartmoor Hill website. She was doing her equine training at this point and thinking about the business name ‘Paintedhorse’. She went down to buy Hope and was asked if she wanted a piebald foal too. Grace came back with Hope and they lived in Livvy’s back garden for a little while. Nowadays, these two bring bags of fun to the herd, they often start the running around and are quite the pair. As the herd has grown and they have grown up Grace will spend time with the others, particularly Epona and Gunner. She seems to have a caring/peacemaker role in the herd. Hope is a free spirit, a lone-wolf and often wanders off on her own to investigate things. She is very bright and up for new challenges, in fact she watched a gate being opened which required 2 hands one day, and by the next one little mouth must have held a latch up, whilst another mouth slid the bolt back and let all the horses out of their field onto the rest of the farm – twice (as we thought it was human error the first time).
Livvy then noticed that a French Trotter cross called Ulha a skewbald/paintedhorse was looking for home. Livvy thought she would make a good mother figure for the Dartmoor foals and made enquiries with Claudia her owner. Originally Claudia had spotted her on a website ready for meat in France and bought her along with two others. Ulha bonded with a young lady who helped at Claudia’s farm and they did a lot of bareback and rein-less riding and jumping. Although a replacement human was sought after she left, Ulha bucked them all off and as it turns out she had different plans. Ulha did become a mother figure to Hope and Grace and at that point the ponies lived separately to the horses. Nowadays, Ulha is a force of nature who only has her feet moved by Danny, she is a definite warrior within the herd but a softie with humans. Since being in a bigger herd, she has let go of her tight grip on the Dartmoors and allows others to step in in a guardian role, a role Prada and Epona enjoy. In contrast Danny does not enjoy being left with solely with the kids.
Epona and Logan were already at Homeway Farm and their previous owner didn’t have enough time for them due to family commitments. Paintedhorse bought them and began to address their health conditions and try to rehabilitate them so they could live out 24/7 and join the main herd. Previously they had been stabled 16 hours a day and were in grazing muzzles when out. Dartmoor Epona had laminitis and was overweight, whilst Gypsy cob Logan just didn’t quite look right, his muscle conformation was very odd, he also had seedy toe, knees that clicked, possible gut issues, he had an odd way of pooing and he displayed fear aggression so would strike out with a shod foot without the normal warning signs that horses would display.
Several months later they were introduced into the main herd with help from an animal communicator. Weeks after the introduction Logan’s health visibly changed for the worse, the stress of the herd dynamics and a clash with Ulha triggered his cortisol levels and a blood test confirmed this was an issue because he had PPID (Equine Cushing’s) and he needed to start medication immediately. He was taken out of the herd and put into his own field. Epona remained with the main herd as it was beneficial for her fitness and health. Nowadays, she lives out on grass 24/7, muzzle free and is back to an ideal weight. She is fearless, sassy and has great affection for Grace and more recently with fellow warrior figure Ulha. Epona has been a mother to two foals in the past, so carries this energy with her.
Claudia had spent a year rehabilitating an ex polo pony for his new owner who wished him to play once again. With ‘high mileage’ it wasn’t possible and it was agreed Claudia could rehome him for an easier life. Rio’s back legs still needed more work to help build the muscles up as he looked more like a quarter horse at the rear. He came along initially to be a companion horse for another at Homeway Farm, but ended up being Logan’s new companion. Rio was laid back and Logan didn’t feel threatened because he could move Rio’s feet. Nowadays, Rio seems good friends with Logan and doesn’t stress when Logan pushes him forward by his nose on Rio’s backside, it feels like affection on Logan’s part. Both boys like to mutually groom with another horse at the Farm over the fence, but haven’t been spotted grooming each other as yet.
A friend of Livvy’s had a sudden health condition which meant she could not be as physically active as she used to be. Eventually it meant she had to find someone else to look after her mares Polly and Blossom. The girls were placed in the other half of the field to Logan and Rio and although longer haired really looked like their doubles. On day 3 Blossom was found on the boys side so the divider was removed and the herd allowed to form and settled well as a herd of four with a view to joining up with the main herd in Spring 2018.
After a long wet winter on the levels in 2017/8 all horses and ponies have been off the land for about 5 months. Thankfully they are now all back out on the land together as a main herd and the dynamics of moving feet are ever changing as roles form and reform, the only constant being that Danny still moves everyone’s feet. Blossom was diagnosed with seasonal laminitis early this year as daylight length increased and has been stabled for longer and hoping to join the main herd again soon.
And they lived…