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Ollie's Story
Ollie - The 'Never say Never' Horse !
 June 2016 - Dawn & Ollie enjoying the sunshine
In early January 2014 we found Ollie for sale on the internet. Dawn was having a really bad time health wise and Dawn's daughter, Hayley, thought another horse would do the job of healing and helping.
Dawn was not convinced and was adamant that she didn't have the time or energy for herself never mind a horse! However, Hayley telephoned his owner and spoke to her about the horse. Hayley said this horse sounded amazing. He was young, healthy, had done lots of different activities already and that there was something about him that she couldn't ignore.
Ollie is a 17.1 hh, 6 year old,Full registered Bay Shire gelding out of the Shire mare Winestead Rosie by Shire Stallion Antaris Cosmic Dancer.
He had been started well by his previous owner and already tried his hoof at pleasure rides,cross country, show-jumping, dressage and hunting.
Here  is Ollie having fun in his previous home!
 Most importantly, his owner was not prepared to sell him to the wrong people, she said he had to go to a home where he would be loved and cared for. Strangely, we were told all  his adverts had actually been removed from the internet. Apparently someone had come to try him several weeks previously but they had not been nice people at all. Ollie  clearly was not happy with them so the lady had refused to sell him. She must have missed one advert though because Dawn's daughter, Hayley, found him for sale  ... on  a website called 'Right Horse' !
Ollie was so good when we went to see him that Dawn declined the use of the saddle and rode him bareback down a lane to try him . Despite the fact she hadn't ridden since her last horse, Paddy, went in summer 2011, Ollie seemed to know Dawn was not 100% well, and he  did not put a hoof wrong.
Ollie is such a lovely friendly character. Everyone who meets him loves him !He's very chilled in his stable and is good with all the other horses in the field. He was barefoot when he came and we've kept him that way. Barefooting is one of our passions and we strive every day to ensure our horse's feet are managed for their optimum health, comfort and performance.
Ollie was ridden previously in a bit, but we firmly believe in the benefits of  removing all iron from the life of our horses. He is now happily bit-less, ridden in a Solution treeless saddle,  and he has a growing collection of Rhythm Beads to wear when he  works . He likes them so much  he picks whichever set he wants for that day all by himself ! We hold them up in front of him and he will put his head down and mouth the set he wants to wear!
Here he is with Dawn's 3 year old Grand daughter Ashleigh-May ... they both look very happy with this set of beads today!
When Ollie first arrived he had to be politely reminded of his manners on occasion! He was quite noise sensitive and not overly keen on being clipped or being round anything with a trigger spray. He did not want his feet touching or picking out ... at all !!!! However, we believe the most important thing you can give a horse is time ... so we took things very slowly, showed him very clearly what we wanted . .and didn't, and why, and  he's made great progress. Now he is clipped without any problems and we can pick his feet out without him being haltered.
We've found that the Rhythm Beads have helped him with his noise sensitivity, especially out hacking, where unexpected noise sources can't always be anticipated. They provide a gentle  'white-noise' effect that the horse can listen to instead of focusing on, and reacting fearfully to, other sounds. The horse then retains its confidence and gradually becomes more relaxed over a period of time until the 'scary' noises are not an issue.  
Ollie is a classic example of  the  success of the 'less is more approach' .
He's mostly ridden bareback, or in a bareback pad, in the school and around the farm.
People have asked how we do what we do with hardly any tack. It seems that people think there is something strange about the horse wearing next to no equipment. The answer is simple. When you have no other agenda than 'being' with your horse, the 'doing' becomes so much easier.
Horses 'get it' immediately!
Ollie, like any other horse, will do whatever he is asked to do, provided:
 the communication is calm, clear, considerate and consistent.
April 2016: Hacking on the Great Northern Greenway near Derby ...
 .... bitless, treeless and barefoot !
Ollie has now been with us for 2 and a half years. He has given Dawn back her purpose and joy for life. He has also shown himself to be an amazing teacher  and healing horse. Ollie excels at giving and improving confidence to people, especially those who are new to horses.
Here is a perfect example. This is 3 year old Ashleigh-May's first time aboard a horse....she decided that you can never have too many Rhythm beads .. and Ollie agrees!  

Part of our plans for the future are to let Ollie be a Therapy Horse. People who are ill or feeling down will be able to come along and spend time with him, giving him a cuddle and a brush, and learning the amazing feeling of what it's like to be loved by a horse!!! To do this Ollie has already worked out that he doesn't need to be the fastest galloping, or highest jumping horse,in the world. All he has to do is keep 4 legs on the ground at once and 'be'. He 'got' that very quickly !
He loves to be pampered and very often we just go and sit in his stable with a cuppa and talk to him! !!! 

     Ollie  is a pleasure to be around and have fun with.
Here he is learning what a (rope halter) bit-less bridle & bareback pad are, for the first time! 
His favourite time is cuddle time !!
and finally .... the question we most often get asked ... ' Can he jump?'
Oh Yes ...  !!!!
Our latest achievement is to begin riding bridle-less .. here's our first session !
Visit our Equine Assisted Therapy Page to find out about Ollie's Therapy Work