IllyAnne’s Herd

We had a phone call about 4 horses from France that had been bought over on the ferry by their English human Mom who had been living in France but had the start of Alzheimer’s. 

She deposited them at a Livery yard temporarily but never returned.  After a weekend turned in to two weeks the livery yard realized that they would need to rehome the four horses and we were called.  We originally went to collect the elderly French pony called Madeleine but when we saw the four of them snuggled together in the field and were informed that they had loved together as a herd for 10 years we knew we had to take all four of them to enable them to carry on being a family as the heartbreak of separation would be too much and unfair. Dodger, Dune and our beautiful lady Madeleine who has since crossed the rainbow bridge were the other three horses in the original herd. The herd has grown since!

Ilyanne was the herd leader to the four of them and she is now herd leader to eight horses.  She is a wise, strong, fair leader. However, after falling in love with our beautiful white English-speaking horse Westie (who allegedly had arthritis and would jump the fence to get to her) we put them together. They lived happily together for several years until he sadly died in 2018.  Ilyanne’s heart broke she stopped eating. Her grief was overwhelming, and we thought we might lose her.  We tried every natural therapy we could and even had a lovely shaman lady journey with her and reunited Illy with Westie in the spirit world so that they could reconnect and communicate. He told her he would always love her and continue to be by her side. The shaman also told us humans that we couldn’t take Illyanne’s pain away, but we could walk beside her and help her through the pain.  Since this experience Illy started eating again and has now recovered from her grief and broken heart.  We appreciate she will always miss him physically but have comfort that his spirit and love is still around her.


Dodger was the only boy of the group from France and we believe that he is delighted that in his new herd he has several other horse friends that he plays, confides and eats with.  These include Louie, Michael and Max.  Dodger is a soft, gentle, sensitive boy and he can also be very kind and protective to those he loves, humans or horses.  A few years ago, Dodger had a nasty accident, cutting his face open and blood pouring everywhere.  We supported him, spoke to him gently and gave him reiki healing until the vet arrived.  Dodger was so brave during this experience and allowed us to care for him.  His face healed perfectly, and he is still a very handsome boy.  That experience has made him even more loving towards us humans as he knows he can trust us to always take care of him.  He really is an exceptional boy.


Dune is a pretty, shy, sensitive and also stubborn little girl.  She knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like, and she will tell us. Dodger watches over her and they are exceptionally close.  When she had poorly feet a few years our previous vet wanted to take her out of the herd and put her in a stable. We refused, explaining that her emotional and mental health were a key factor in the healing and recovery so instead we built a small fenced paddock within her herd’s field together with building her a field shelter too.  We popped her and Dodger in the small paddock enabling us to be able to monitor her condition, give her medicines and supplements and also healing, she was still with her beloved Dodger and could still chat to the rest of her herd over the fence. Against all odds she made a full recovery and is now back with the main herd.


Ruby is a beautiful lady who we refer to as “posh”, she now knows who she is, what she likes and what she doesn’t.  Sadly, this was not the case when we first rescued her.  Ruby came from a competition yard where her life consisted of either being in a stable, being exercised on a horse-walker, travelling on a lorry to competitions or competing. When she arrived at the sanctuary and we popped her in a field she was frightened of the horses in the field next door. She didn’t want to explore the field, run or play and she didn’t realise that she could eat the grass.  We had not observed this behaviour in any of our rescued horses before. We knew we had to treat her very gently and teach her how to be a horse.  Who better for the job than our elderly 30-year-old gentle pony called Cottie? We introduced Cottie to Ruby and magically Cottie took on the role of Ruby’s grandmother and started teaching her that the grass was for eating, the field was a safe place, the horses next door could be approached without fear and that us humans were kind. Years later even though Cottie has now transitioned over Rainbow Bridge her teachings live on as Ruby is a very happy, confident lady who now manages Illyanne’s herd with her and they are the best of friends.


We received a request to help a lady who sadly had terminal cancer.  She had two beloved horses Max and Ringo who she loved dearly.  It was her wish that they both could go to a loving sanctuary together where they could live their lives in peace and love.  At the time this request came, financially it didn’t make sense to agree to take on two more horses, but our hearts knew we had to help this lovely lady and her family.

Max is a very large boy.  However, he is such a sensitive soul and fits the description of gentle giant perfectly. He loves his horse brother Ringo and has grown in confidence since he had become part of Illyanne’s. He regularly plays and has fun with Louie, Michael and Dodger.  We are so happy to have helped as we have now developed a great friendship with the lady’s husband who visits Max and Ringo regularly and kindly supports us with what we do.


We received a request to help a lady who sadly had terminal cancer.  She had two beloved horses Max and Ringo who she loved dearly.  It was her wish that they both could go to a loving sanctuary together where they could live their lives in peace and love.  At the time this request came in financially it didn’t make sense to agree to take on two more horses, but our hearts knew we had to help this lovely lady and her family.

Ringo is a beautiful spotty pony with distinctive markings.  He is gentle and stubborn at the same time.  He has a strong will and likes to keep himself to himself a lot of the time and will choose when he interacts with the herd.  He has recently had some health issues including challenges with his feet.  We have popped him into a separate paddock next to his herd so his feet can be bandaged regularly and be kept of the mud and have his regular medicines, supplements and reiki healing.  However hilariously he decided to break into our next-door neighbours’ field and strike up a friendship with her elderly horse. We are so happy to have helped as we have now developed a great friendship with the lady’s husband who visits Max and Ringo regularly and kindly supports us with what we do.


We rescued Faith from a lady who had bought her cheaply from the internet only to discover that she was terrified of humans and could not be handled.  This was due to her being taken from Dartmoor as a wild pony and being sold to a university who performed experiments on her. During an experiment she was mated with a much larger horse to see if her body would handle it (lots of other ponies endured the same). Faith was fortunate in that she was able to give birth to her baby; the experiment was complete, and she was then sold to a horse dealer.  After agreeing to take Faith to the Sanctuary we were then told that her baby was alive and that the only way the dealer had been able to get on to a lorry was to walk her baby on first, she dutifully followed, then she was barricaded in and both mummy and baby screamed as they were separated and the baby collapsed in the road.  We were so distressed to hear this we tracked down her baby who at 3 months old had already been sold for £350 to a family who were not aware of the circumstances.  Our founder Susie sent text messages to everyone asking for financial help to raise £350 to buy him back so that he could be reunited with his mummy.  After various attempts to get Faith on a lorry back to the Sanctuary we finally manged it and unknown to her, her baby son was waiting for her in the safety of one of our paddocks. We will never forget the moment the lorry ramp came down and they saw each other. Her baby son dashed up the ramp screaming, and she stood there is disbelief and joy.  They both shrieked and whinnied and trotted off the lorry together and ran around in such joy everyone observing cried.  They have been inseparable ever since and we gave them their new names of Michael and Faith named after the mighty archangels of protection trusting that energy would give them healing and help them feel safe.  


Michael is one the two horses we ever paid for to be part of the Sanctuary.  We had been asked to take on Faith who we discovered had been taken from Dartmoor and sold to a university and experimented on.  She was fortunate enough to survive giving birth to Michael even though he was a very big baby.  Sadly, we learned that Michael had been taken onto a lorry and his mum followed.  She was then barricaded in to be sold and he was separated from her.  They both screamed when this happened, and we were told he collapsed in the road due to the stress.  We wanted to heal this situation and to apologise to Michael and his for what humans had done to them, so we miraculously tracked down who he had been sold too.  Our founder Susie text everybody she knew to raise the £350 needed to buy him and reunite him with his mum.  When we collected him, he was only 3 months old, frightened and alone. We knew it would be too scary for him to make the 3-hour journey on his own, so Susie sat in the trailer with him chatting to hi, stroking him and offering him healing, love and support.  When we reunited him with his mum as soon as he saw her, he squealed so loudly we all started to cry.  He ran up the ramp of the horse lorry that had arrived at the horse Sanctuary with his mum on it and the disbelief and joy was overwhelming.  Ever since they have been inseparable, and Faith has been a great Mum.  He has grown into a magnificent boy and even though he loves having adventures with his pony friends he is never far away and always on the alert to protect his mum.  We renamed him Michael after the Archangel hoping that that energy would help him heal and always feel safe.


Louie was an emergency rescue. A baby horse of just 12 months old who sadly had not been fed for months during one of the coldest winters.  When we walked him off the lorry, he was a walking skeleton. We placed him a small private paddock next door to Illyanne’s heard and he collapsed.  The vet was called, and diagnosis was not good, and he gave Louie 24 hours to live.  This sad little boy didn’t have a name, had never known love and was in a very sad state. Our founder Susie decided to text everyone she knew asking for help, love, prayers, distance healing and to hold the vision that Louie would stand up and get well.  Within 24 hours 52 people from all around the world had responded in various ways including 11 people who arrived at the Sanctuary the following morning to help.  Susie had lay with Louie on the grass under a duvet all night holding him telling him he was safe so when friends arrived it was a glorious moment.  A winch was made from scaffolding pipes and a harness to go gently under Louie’s tummy.  All the friends helped him to stand up and rather than eat his horse food he wanted Susie’s rich tea biscuits.  Over the following days Louie would collapse and we would gently winch him back up with his harness.  We noticed that “baby Michael” would watch Louie continually in our herd next door. So, we bought Michael in with him to encourage him to heal and get well.  This worked perfectly alongside his veterinary medicines, natural supplements, Bach Flower remedies, homeopathy, biochemistry and daily Reiki healing. Louie has grown into a magnificent young man, confident, cheeky, happy. He is friends with everyone within Illyanne’s herd and he and Michael have a particularly long and everlasting bond.  We feel Louie teaches us what love can do.

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