Information about the equines of Epona
History: James was the first resident of the Refuge. He was rescued from a horse sale as a tiny foal that had been taken off Dartmoor and separated from his mother. He was so young and weak he was fed by hand for the first few days. James became a good little riding pony and was especially good at cross country.
Did you know? James is able to open the kitchen door and is often caught helping himself to food. When the door has been firmly secured he waits outside until he is provided with a snack.
History: Bess was rescued from a horse sale shortly after James and brought back to the Refuge to keep him company. She was a little black foal at the time of rescue, but she turned white as she grew older. She was a super gymkhana pony and won many trophies.
Did you know? Bess loves wild garlic, which she would often pick out of the Devon hedgerows.
History: Blue was also rescued from the sales as a tiny foal, and had to be hand fed at first. Despite his difficult start he became a wonderful riding pony who was especially goo with tiny children.
Did you know? Blue does not see very well anymore, but knows perfectly where everything is and wanders freely round the Refuge with the rest of his little herd, where he is never far from Cola.
History: Cola is an exmoor pony who was rescued from the moorland sales. Although she has spent her life at Epona, she has remained very close to her wild roots and has always been extremely wary of humans.
Did you know? Cola has never had her feet trimmed by a farrier, but they remain perfectly filed down because she often encounters rough, stony ground as she wanders round the refuge.
History: Iris arrived in spring 2010, having been rescued from appalling neglect. He had been shut in a stable for a whole year, and his hooves were severely overgrown. He now recieves regular care from a specialist farrier, but the former neglect of his feet has meant that he is unable to walk completely normally. However, he enjoys life with the group of older ponies, and has become a firm favourite with all the visitors.
Did you know? Iris was one of the last ponies to start shedding his winter coat this year. He obviously thought it would be best to hang onto it in case the weather turned cold again!
History: Harry was bred as a racehorse, but had an accident as a foal and broke his hip. However, he was loved by his owners who did not want to send him to the abattoir and they handed him over to the Refuge. Although he can never be ridden, his former injury does not prevent him from enjoying the same freedom as the other horses, and he wanders over the fields like everybody else.
Did you know? Harry is especially friendly to visitors and always comes up looking for a fuss.
History: Palouse arrived at the Refuge in 2009, along with Kenzo and Cascade. Their owner had had to move back to the UK, and was unable to find a home for the three of them together. Palouse has settled very happily into life as part of the herd, and can usually be found with the other cobs. We are now beginning to do a little training with him, which he has taken to extremely well.
Did you know? Palouse is actually an appaloosa, but you can only see his spots when his summer coat comes through.
History: Not much is known about Prisca's early life, but it seems that she was unsuccessfully trained as a trotter. She was then bought for a twelve year old child who had difficulty riding her and she was handed her over to the Refuge. The tranquil atmosphere here has turned her into a calm, friendly mare, and we are gradually beginning to retrain her.
Did you know? Prisca often prefers to socialise with the small ponies, who all seem to enjoy her company.
History: Dondook was handed over to us by the Veterinary Services in December 2010, along with Caroline the mule. They had been rescued from a field where there was no shelter, and only a pile of bread to sustain them. When he arrived he was desperately thin, but has filled out beautifully over the winter. The two friends are now living together at a lovely foster home.
Did you know? Dondook does not like to be far from Caroline, and starts whinnying for her if she gets out of his site!
History: Caroline was handed over to us by the Veterinary Services in December 2010, along with Dondook. They had been rescued from a field where there was no shelter, and only a pile of bread to sustain them. Caroline spent a comfortable winter at the Refuge, and is now living with Dondook at a lovely foster home.
Did you know? Caroline is equally popular with people and ponies.When she was here over the winter, the other horses would often begin following her around and grooming her.
History: Nijinsky came in to the Refuge in 2010 with his mother L'Ile Heureuse, as their owner had died and his wife was worried about their future. Despite his young age, he had been pushed very hard as a racehorse, and this had resulted in a hernia. He came into the Refuge as a stallion, but we have recently had him castrated so that he can enjoy life as part of the herd without being separated from the mares. He is extremely friendly and laid back, and we hope that he may eventually be reintroduced into gentle work.
Did you know? Nijinsky is great friends with Venus, our Normandy cob. When Venus was recovering from her operation and had to spend some time in the stable, Nijinsky would often hang around waiting for her in the nearby orchard.
History: An ex-racehorse, L'Ile Heureuse came in to the Refuge in 2010 with her son Nijinsky Blue, as their owner had died and his wife was worried about their future. She has a very sweet personality, and is currently living in a nearby foster home with her friend Lord.
Did you know? Lillie also gets on extremely well with Venus, so she clearly approves of her son's choice of friends!
Age: 18 months
History: Violet was born here at the Refuge. Her mother is Ladybird, and her father is Pinto. She has grown into an extremely intelligent little pony, and she has already mastered the art of eating all different kinds of bread, including the round loaves that many of the other horses find difficult.
Did you know? Violet often prefers to socialise with the bigger horses, away from her Mum and Dad. Ladybird isn't always so sure that this is a good idea and keeps whinnying for her.
History: Trotteur came into the Refuge in 2010 with Radis the donkey. His owners had split up, and his age had made it difficult for them to find him a new home. He has formed a great friendship with Bubbles, and the two of them often go out to foster homes together.
Did you know? Trotteur likes to keep close track of Bubbles. In the winter, the older horses would go out during the day and make their own way into the stables at night.Bubbles would always come in last, and Trotteur could never relax and eat his hay until she had appeared!
History: Pompom was given to the Refuge in 2009 when his elderly owner no longer felt able to look after him and was worried about his future. He was still a stallion when he came in, but the decision was taken to have him castrated so that he could enjoy life as part of the herd without being separated from the mares.
Did you know? Even though he is now a gelding, Pompom remains extremely popular with all the mares. Eglantine is especially attached to him, and the two of them are currently living at a lovely foster home together.
History: Lord came into the Refuge in 2009. He has wobblers syndrome, which is a neurological problem that affects his coordination. He is the original gentle giant, and is sometimes a little timid. He is currently living out a lovely foster home with L'Ile Heureuse.
Did you know? Lord is 17.2hh, which is extremely tall for a horse.
Age: 18 months
History: Victor was born here at the Refuge to his mother Mip-Mip. He became great friends with Wilf, and the two of them spent last winter out at a foster home together. Victor has rather a mischievous personality, and is another of our accomplished escape artists!
Did you know? Like all the other horses born in 2009, Victor's name had to begin with the letter 'V.'
Tchykas du Chesnai (Chesnay)
History: Chesnay arrived at the Refuge in 2009, along with Fanny and Betty. She had been rescued from slaughter and was then handed over to the association. She was extremely thin when she arrived, but soon put on weight. She has always remained extremely attached to Fanny, and we always make arrangements for them to live together.
Did you know? Over the winter, when the older horses came into the stables at night, Fanny would often let herself out after breakfast. This worried Chesnay, who would whinny until she was let out to join her!
History: Fanny was rescued from slaughter and given to the Refuge in 2009, along with Chesnay and Betty. She was very panicky when she arrived, and her breathing could be heard from 5-6 metres away. She also had serious problems with her stifle (at the top of her leg) which made her very lame. Yet with proper care she soon recovered. She is now as relaxed as all the others, has no breathing problems and walks normally.
Did you know? Although the name on her passport was Fanny, this little mare arrived under the name of Urkalay.
History: Betty was rescued from slaughter and given to the Refuge in 2009, along with Chesnay and Fanny. She was very underweight when she arrived, and had a skin disorder. However, these problems proved fairly supericial and she was soon restored to full health. She has now settled into a fabulous foster home with her friend Arthur.
Did you know? Betty came in under the name Shania, although this was clearly not her real name.
Age: Early twenties
History: Eglantine came to us in March 2011. Her owner had sadly died, and his family were worried about her future. Like many horses, the dry winter had given her a heavy louse infestation, but her sweet personality was clear from the start.Having been treated for lice, her coat has grown back beautifully. She has formed a great attachment to Pompom the pony, and they are currently enjoying life at a lovely foster home.
Did you know? Unlike most of the horses at the Refuge, Eglantine is not very keen on bread.
History: Pomponette came to us early on in 2011. She was the worst case of neglect that we have ever dealt with. Her feet had been allowed to grow so long that she had begun to walk on her fetlock (like the human ankle). Although her feet were trimmed shortly after her arrival, the years of neglect had resulted in a permanent disability, as the bone had become fixed in a deformed position. Unfortunately, a series of x rays have suggested that it willl not be possible to get her to walk normally, but we are currently thinking of creative solutions to make her more mobile and comfortable.
Despite all her problems, Pomponette has blossomed since her arrival at the refuge. She is very ambitious, and her disability doesn't prevent her from wandering about in search of the tastiest patch of grass.
Did you know? Pomponette has a very independent character. In the early days, we would often put a headcollar on to try and help her out of her shelter and into the garden. Yet she soon made it quite clear that she did not need this kind of help, turning her head away from the collar and walking out on her own!
Age: 18 months
History: A stunning Normandy Cob, Venus came to us early on in 2011. She had grown too quickly, which meant that her limbs were too straight and she was falling forward on one hoof as the fetlock joint (like the ankle in humans) bent the wrong way. She was destined for the abattoir, but one of our supportors heard about her plight and brought her to the Refuge.
Venus has recently had an operation to enable her to walk normally. This went well, and the vet is pleased with her progress. The next stage is to begin corrective farriery.
Did you know? Venus already stands between 16.2-17hh, and she has not yet stopped growing!
History: Bubbles was rescued from the Moorland sales at the same time as Cola. She could not be approached for the first six months, but Ann gradually earned her trust. She then became a fabulous riding pony with a real talent for long distance riding.These days she is thoroughly enjoying her retirement in France, where she is never far from her close friend Trotteur.
Did you know? Bubbles is an Arab x Exmoor, which probably helps to explain her abilities as an endurance horse.
History: Lenny came to the Refuge in 2009. He had been a dressage horse, but his owners were worried that he had become dangerous. However, Lenny soon soaked up the relaxed atmosphere of the Refuge, and with kind but confident handling he has become a lovely horse to be around.
Did you know? Lenny likes to keep track of all the mares around him, and can ofte be found whinnying to round them up again!
History: Molly was rescued by one of our trustees in the UK. She had been very roughly treated in the past and this had made her wary of humans and difficult to handle. After a few years with our UK trustee, she came to our Normandy Refuge in 2008. We are still working on building up her trust, as she has remained very distrustful of humans, particularly women.
Did you know? Molly puts weight on very easily, so we have to be careful when the spring grass comes through.
History: Archie came into Epona with Wilf in 2004. Both ponies had been found abandoned on Dartmoor. Although still a stallion at the time of his rescue, he was castrated to enable him to live as part of the herd without being separated from the mares. He then came over to France, where he has enjoyed a life of complete tranquillity. He is one of our most laid back residents, who is fabulous with anyone he meets.
Did you know? Archie has unique facial markings that are much too slight to be called a star and stripe!
History: Wilf came into Epona with Archie in 2004. Both ponies had been found abandoned on Dartmoor. Although still a stallion at the time of his rescue, he was castrated to enable him to live as part of the herd without being separated from the mares. He then came over to France, where he has become a great favourite with all the children.
Did you know? Wilf is great friends with Victor, but the two of them are the perfect size for escape acts. They spent the winter out at a foster home together, and they had to be retrieved from neighbours' fields on several occasions!
History: Valentine was originally sold to a family along with a house, but the child outgrew her and she was given to The Epona Trust. She is a super little riding pony who is especially good at dressage.
Did you know? Valentine's coat colour is known as roan, because it has a mixture of white and chestnut hairs.
History: Marcus was bought from a London meat market as a foal. His rescuers tried to keep him in the back garden of a terraced house, but he soon became too big and they handed him over to the association. He grew into a fabulous riding pony with a strong personality and a clear sense of humour!
Did you know? Marcus suffers from sweet itch, an allergy to midge bites, so he often chooses to shelter in the barn when the midges are at their worst.
History: Raffles was bought from a market for some children, but he proved too strong for them and was handed over to the association. He became a brilliant riding pony and his stunning palomino coat has made him the star of many an Epona poster.
Did you know? Raffles changes colour when he sheds his winter coat, turning from a light beige to a deep gold.
History: Fax came to the Refuge with his great friend Filou. Their owners were devastated not to be able to keep them any more, but visit them regularly and remain very involved. Fax is a wonderful horse to ride, and has clearly been very well educated. However, he tends to get very excited on the way home, and does not always act his age!
Did you know? Although Filou and fax are close friends, they often have little disputes, and always pull faces at one another when they come into the boxes to be groomed on open days!
History: Filou came to the Refuge with his great friend Fax. Their owners were devastated not to be able to keep them any more, but visit them regularly and remain very involved. Filou has a back problem so cannot be ridden, but is fabulous with all the children and loves being groomed.
Did you know? Although he is not very tall, Filou is very good at getting whichever pile of hay he wants, even if this means seeing off a much larger horse!
History: Vadrouille came into the Refuge when she had been outgrown. She had been a very successful showjumping pony, and her owners were worried about her future should she be sold. She has a sweet nature and is very willing to look after anyone who rides her.
Did you know? Vadrouille's name comes from the French for 'stroll' which is very appropriate for such a relaxed pony!
History: Papa came into the association in 2009. He was well loved, but his family were moving away and could no longer keep him. Luckily he was able to go straight to a lovely foster home. He has another donkey as a companion, and can enjoy playing with the children of the family, just like he did in his old home.
Did you know? When Ann first visited Papa, he seemed to be having great fun playing a game with two little girls that involved him jumping over a jump!
History: Radis came to the Refuge with Trotteur in 2010, due to a family break up. He is now happily settled in lovely foster home.
Did you know? When a horse and a donkey are kept together, we have found that the horse becomes extremely attached to the donkey, and gets very agitated if they move out of sight.
History: Pompom came into the association in 2010. Severe cataracts in both eyes mean that he is almost blind, but we are trying out a cataract cream to avoid the stress of an operation.
Did you know? We have another pony called Pompom and one called Pomponette, who are both skewbald!
History: A pure-bred Arab, Rhiannon came to the Refuge in February 2010. She has made great friends with Kenzo, and the two of them are now living at a fabulous foster home.
Did you know? Rhiannon was the Welsh goddess of horses.
History: Kenzo arrived at the Refuge in 2009, along with Palouse and Cascade. Their owner had had to move back to the UK, and was unable to find a home for the three of them together.Kenzo has made great friends with Rhiannon, and they have both settled into a lovely foster home together.
Did you know? Despite his age, Kenzo still finds it extremely easy to maintain weight.
History: A stunning Arab gelding, Abyad came up from Paris in 2009, when his owner became unemployed. He is now living in a brilliant foster home with Silver and Pivoine.
Did you know? An accomplished dressage horse, Abyad can also bow and do the Spanish walk!
Age: Early twenties
History: Living in La Loire, Belle was originally set to be shipped over to the UK, but she suffered an acute asthma attack which meant that she would not be considered healthy enough to enter the country. Yet these regulations did not apply in Italy, where she was going to be shipped to an abattoir. Luckily, a kind lady managed to buy her and handed her over to the Refuge where she arrived in 2008. When she first came, her traumatic past meant that she was very liable to panic attacks, when she would become very asthmatic. Although her asthma occasionally still troubles her, she is now completely calm and is learning to trust humans again.
Did you know? Belle is especially good friends with Lenny.
History: Cascade arrived at the Refuge in 2009, along with Kenzo and Palouse. Their owner had had to move back to the UK, and was unable to find a home for the three of them together. Cascade now lives in a fabulous foster home, close to Papa Noel.
Did you know? As well as an ex racehorse, Cascade has several miniature horses as companions at her foster home.
History: Umuline arrived at the Refuge in 2009, having spent her life competing in show jumping and teaching children to ride. Her tendon problems had put an end to her working life, and she had been retired for five years prior to her arrival at the trust. She is now living in a wonderful foster home with a vet in Brittany, who is able to keep an expert eye on her health.
Did you know? Umuline is the horse that lives furthest away from the Refuge, but we know that she could not be in better hands!
History: Hashty arrived at the Refuge with Arthur, having been retired from a career as a successful racehorse. Last month she moved to a wonderful new foster home where she has another retired thoroughbred mare as a companion.
Did you know? When Hashty arrived, she made great friends with Belle, and the two of them became known as the 'ladies in lavender!'
Age: Late teens
History: Arthur arrived at the Refuge with Hashty the retired racehorse. He is not very confident around people, so lives in a quiet foster home with Betty.
History: Ladybird belongs to a friend of the association, but lives at the Refuge on a permanent basis. She is usually to be found with her daughter Violet and Pinto, Violet's father. They are known as 'the family,' and get up to all kinds of mischief together. It is not unusual to hear them trotting round the farm and stirring up trouble in the middle of the night!
Did you know? Ladybird has two names. She is known as Ladybird by our English supporters, but Coccinelle (meaning the same) by our French ones!
History: Pinto was given to the Refuge after he was won as a prize in a game. He is the father of Violet, but has now been castrated so that he can enjoy living as part of the herd without being separated from the mares. He usually stays close to Violet and her mother Ladybird, as he likes to keep an eye on his family.
Did you know? A few weeks ago Pinto decided to graze with Pomponette, and their similar markings made them an adorable pair!
History: Doric's previous owners bought him as a stallion, but found him difficult to handle. They had him castrated and then handed him over to the association.He now lives in a brilliant foster home with Sable.
Did you know? Doric still has rather a mischievous streak, but this does not make him any less adorable!
History: Sally belongs to a friend of the association, but lives at the Refuge on a permanent basis. Her previous owner had had problems with her constantly escaping into the neighbour's field, so had decided to find her a new home.
Did you know? Sally has never lost her ability as an escape artist, and she is just the right size for ducking under fences!
History: When Anabele's life as a brood mare came to an end, she was going to be sold for laboratory testing. However, the grooms at the stud farm could not bear for her to suffer such a terrible fate, and so clubbed together to save her before handing her over to the Refuge.
Did you know? Anabele now lives in a lovely foster home, where she can enjoy the retirement that she deserves.
History: Breeze came to the Refuge at the same time as Sable. We know very little about his background, but his leg problems suggest that he has worked very hard as a trotter. He now lives in a lovely foster home, where he has another retired mare as a companion.
Did you know? Breeze is also great friends with Harry and Ega, a horse living temporarily at the Refuge while her owner finds some new land.
History: Sable originated from Brittany, but was handed over to the refuge by a local person. He came into the association at the same time as Breeze. He now lives in a lovely foster home with Doric.
Did you know? Sable's colour is known as cremello.
History: Pivoine came into the Refuge because her owners were having difficulty handling her. It soon became clear that she disliked any slightly overweight ladies, as she would try to knock them over! She now lives in a lovely foster home with some slim people!
Did you know? Pivoine is our only female donkey.
History: Mip-Mip lives at the Refuge on a permanent basis, since her owner was struggling to cope with her constant escape acts. When Mip-Mip lives in a herd with larger horses, they usually manage to keep her in check.
Did you know? Mip-Mip is our smallest resident!
History: Chipie came into the Refuge from Brittany in 2010. Having been outgrown, she was being kept by herself and had broken into a field to be with some other ponies. She now enjoys living as part of the herd, and her beautiful colour earns her a great deal of admiration from visitors.
Did you know? Chipie has never lost her ability as an escape artist. We have often had to retrieve her from our neighbours' field, which she can get into, but not back out of!