Our Horses

The horses lie at the heart of everything we do at HorseBack UK. They are trained using a variation on techniques and although calm and quiet are extremely responsive when being worked on the ground or ridden.

Learning to work with a horse is one of the most intricate and challenging things anyone can do. Gaining its trust, teaching it to follow you and respond to your signals, requires a combination of confidence, calm, patience, and thought.

Once the relationship is built, the sense of achievement it brings to our participants is profound. Many of them find it hard to put the precise effect into words. “Fantastic”, “Brilliant”, “Emotional” is the most heard reactions, but it is their smiles that tell the full story.


Nimits is the original member of the HorseBack herd. He is the alpha horse and has yet to meet anyone willing to test this. He is only 14hh, but clearly thinks he’s 17.2hh. He is generally extremely laid-back, although he has a strong spirit in him, and a very powerful character. He has been known to have moments of grumpiness, and can take or leave human affection, but he is highly schooled, incredibly responsive and clever, and very easy to work with.


Ellie May is one of the nicest horses ever to exist. She is an interesting cross: Quarter Horse with a bit of Dartmoor pony The native breed is very noticeable in her, and gives her an earthy, grounded quality. She is kind, gentle and exudes goodness. She’s particularly good with complete beginners and is our Number One go-to horse for anyone who is at all nervous. She is very soft and affectionate, and loves being made a fuss of.


Red is a beautiful bright bay mare who is extremely sensitive and clever. She is always eager to come and greet people at the gate and is genuinely pleased to see new faces. As one of the older mares she is well respected amongst the other horses, is never moody or grumpy, and is a very reliable character. She’s extremely popular on the courses.


Polly is a coloured cob who arrived in the early summer of 2013 from World Horse Welfare. She had been rescued by them having suffered hideous neglect and severe physical injuries, and WHW did a great job in returning her to health and fitness. Following training at HorseBack Polly is now a trusting and very affectionate horse which is astonishing considering her past life. She is not the smallest of horses so when she decides to gallop up the field to see her friends the noise can be heard for miles around. She has recently undergone additional training so that she can now pull a cart.


Blue is a dapple grey Quarter horse, highland cross. He is a big favourite on the courses as he is incredibly calm and takes all aspects of his work in his stride. The Highland Pony aspect of his nature adds strength to his physique as well as on occasion stubbornness to his nature.


Apollo originally belonged to one of the Hutchison girls before becoming a regular course horse. Having done the round of pony club activities and local shows he was quite happy to slow things down and sometimes this can be taken to an extreme. He can be a bit grumpy at times but always makes the course laugh with his constant farting.


Rodney has a very strong character. Happy in his own company he is very definite about what he wants. He is not a horse for the weak and faint hearted but if you are up for the challenge and can lay down the law on first meeting, Rodney will then behave impeccably.


Spotty is an apaloosa originally from Argentina. She was bought into Europe on a meat ferry and was rescued by a friend of Emma’s, Annie Haresign. Annie worked with Spotty and trained her to be a fantastic polo pony where she played in Germany for many years. As Annie was a polo instructor Spot has given many people their first experience of polo. With Annie relocating to the UK she kindly donated Spotty to the charity. At the grand age of 23 she does not suffer fools lightly. She likes her food, her job but can give or take the affection.


Toots was born at HBUK so only knows of his life here. This means that he has not had any bad experiences and so goes through life in his own little world. Although he has a very beautiful head the rest of his conformation is not quite as good and because of this he had found getting his legs going in the right order a bit taxing for his peanut sized brain. He is a typical naughty teenager, more interested in picking up the cone in his mouth than going round it. It takes a lot to excite him but when he does his tail goes right up and parades like an arab.


Twiglet is half sister to both Toots and Gus but with a thoroughbred father. She has a very different take on life to her brothers and is one of our most dominant mares. Ridden mostly by Emma she is used for groundwork on the courses as she is extremely responsive.


Deano is a big gentle giant of a horse and is loved by all who work with him. He is not the most athletic of horses but is strong and dependable and respected by the rest of the horses in the herd. He was the second horse that was funded by money from The Worshipful Company of Loriners to whom we are extremely grateful.


Brooke or Peopleton Brooke as he was once known is a retired racehorse. He competed in over 90 sprint races, winning 15 and being placed in more. At the end of his career he suffered a tendon injury and was turned out. In 2014 Brooke came to HorseBack UK via Retraining of Racehorses.

The idea was to give a horse who had been at the peak of his career a chance at another career. For the first few months Brooke was just turned out into the herd where he had to learn to interact with the horses. Once he had discovered that they were not interested in how fast he could run he calmed down and following several years working with Jock is now a regular course horse. He was recently awarded the ROR (Retraining of Racehorses) Special Recognition Award.


Gus was born in the summer of 2012 and is one of several homebred horses. As half brother to Toots they share the same philosophy on life, nothing bad has or will ever happen to them. Unlike Toots he has grown into quite a large horse and is becoming one of the horses in the herd to watch in the future.


Cody is an extremely well bred quarter horse who is HorseBack’s ‘special’ horse. When we say special we mean it in the way that he does not see the world in the same way as other horses. He is extremely intelligent and can escape from any stable, field or halter knot which produces its own challenges. Although not used for the course ridden work he is a great horse once participants have gained some groundwork skills as he is extremely sensitive an responsive to the slightest ask.


Comet came to HBUK from a local contact. He had originally been imported from Ireland where he had suffered severe trauma and injury to his back leg. Originally he resented all human contact, refused to be caught and didn’t like being touched or groomed. Through quiet contact he is now a sociable and loving member of the herd. He is first up to Emma in the field but needs to learn the trust of new members on the courses. He is now used for the groundwork aspects of the course.


Mikey is one of the friendliest horses we have ever seen and seems to think that humans are a tremendous bonus in his life. Unfortunately the other horses don’t seem to feel this way about Mikey but he doesn’t seem too bothered. He is a very individual in his looks with is roman nose and small ears but he is extremely well trained and very easy to work with.


Niño was imported from Argentina by our vet Jim Dukes, to work as a polo pony. Having done that for a number of years he developed a condition on his back legs which meant he was not up to the rigours of polo, so he came to HorseBack to enrol in a very different line of work. Somewhere in his past, someone was rough with him. Occasionally the memory of this surfaces, and he can get a little head-shy and difficult to catch. Because of this, he responds well to firm but extremely gentle handling. Interestingly, the veterans who work with him, especially those with PTSD, respond to him on a very emotional level.

They can tell that he once went through some trauma just as they have, and it creates a profound bond of shared experience. It’s always touching to see a horse who has suffered in the past still retaining all their trust in humans. The team joke about him is that he is particularly happy if you address him in Spanish. When he first arrived he was hogged, but now he has the strength of Samson in his flowing mane.


Nugget is a beautiful palomino pony who is not bothered by much. We could not do without her for our schools programs. Her only downfall is that she can live on air and so has to spend most of her life on a diet but considering this she is always affectionate and happy to do her job without any fuss at all.


Jura is a Highland pony in every aspect.  He is strong, adaptable and hardy with a kind temperament and very strong will.  He was donated to the Charity several years ago and although it took a little while, he is now well established within the herd and he has the measure of the HorseBack staff.  Due to his shape and comfort he is often ridden bareback much to the delight of our beneficiaires.


Jack has now been part of the Hutchison family for 20 years. His attitude and behaviour is exactly the same now as it was then. Watch your bottom for being bitten, your feet for being stood on and your pockets for being robbed. He creates much hilarity on the courses as he insists on rolling in the sand immediately after being groomed and attempts to drag anyone to the nearest long blade of grass.



Chexy is a bright palomino with a very famous sire and participated in the European championships as a reiner. After many successful years competing she came here to start a completely different life and was one of the founding horses of the Charity. Over the past few years she has produced two beautiful foals, River and Nala who both have Balmoral Hercules who belonged to the Queen, as their father.

River and Nala

River and Nala are quarter horse x highland pony full sisters. Both will go on to be the next generation of HorseBack horses and we think the combination of the two breeds will give us fantastic course horses. Both have been integrated into the main herd and are certainly full of confidence and character.


Bodi is another HorseBack homebred who is just starting her training. Although quite an opinionated youngster she has become very loving and calm and much easier to work with than we had thought. You will see her being brought in with the other course horses to learn how to stand, relax and be a HorseBack horse.

The Minis

The minis or monsters as they should perhaps be called do not realise they are mini. They are their own little herd who do join the larger herd when the grass and the size of their stomachs will allow it. Many of our course attendees have had no contact with horses before they come to HorseBack and some are extremely nervous. At this point we ‘bring out the minis’. Patrick is the size of a labrador so although rather cheeky instills confidence into both children and adults so that they are ready to deal with the bigger horses.

Nellie and Bear

Nellie and Bear are both young thoroughbred horses who have only recently come from the racetrack. They will spend the next few years in the HorseBack herd and learning how to relax and go slow which is somewhat alien to them.


PJ came to HBUK from a friend who had had him since he was a yearling. He started his education straight away and after a few personal boundary issues is a joy to work with.  He is calm and confident and a firm favourite with the mares due to his good looks.  We are sure he will also become a firm favourite with the beneficiaries very soon.


We do not rely on government funding so any donations will greatly assist with the running of our charity.