Regenerating Habitats and Landscapes through Equine Grazing

National Trust

“Dru delivered a pony lookering course for our team of rangers and pony lookering volunteers. The course covered everything we needed from procedures and protocols, diseases, signs of ill health to look out for, animal behaviour and condition scoring. Dru’s enthusiasm and knowledge were engaging and informative and the training has enabled us to move forward as a team with refreshed procedures and a clear idea of what each of our roles are in lookering and managing our in-hand herd of Shetland Ponies down on the Cornish Coast.”

RSPB Ouse Fen - Managing Equines For Conservation Grazing Course

Hi Dru I feel the study day was very worthwhile. Your passion and enthusiasm shone through. For me who had some knowledge of grazing benefits but little of equines it was of great interest ( and importance!). You conveyed the benefits of semi - feral ponies to conservation. To ensure the success of introducing equines to a conservation area it is important that the herd’s welfare is taken seriously by vigilante, appropriately trained staff and volunteers. I look forward to my lookering responsibilities. With kind regards Pia Ashton

Yarner Wood National Nature Reserve

I am a conservation and access volunteer for the national park and signed up to this course to increase my understanding of conservation grazing and gain some pony welfare skills. I found this course to be informative and engaging, and left feeling a lot more confident in all areas of pony grazing and welfare. The course teacher is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about conservation grazing, which kept the group motivated throughout the day. I would highly recommend this course for anyone, from complete beginners to established conservationists, you will be certain to learn a lot! Many thanks. Ellen Smith Conservation and Access Volunteer

Genuinely One of the Best & Most Enjoyable Courses I Have Been On!

I spent the day exploring the keeping and use of Equines for Conservation grazing with Dru Butterfield, a horse whisperer with endless knowledge on the phycology, physiology, behaviour and welfare requirements of equines and other livestock. A brilliant course where I learned a lot and definitely helped my confidence for entering my new role! Thanks for answering all my questions. Highly recommend it for those managing or checking horses! Kelly Hunt Magdalen Farm Environmental Trust August 2022

Sourcing, Handling & Taking Delivery of 28 Dartmoor Ponies for Conservation Grazing

Hi Dru Just to say a massive thank you for all the work you have put in with the ponies, all the work and effort is recognised and we now have a fine herd of fit and healthy Dartmoor ponies to look after. Brilliant, we have finally got there! All the best Ash Pearson Countryside Manager West Cornwall National Trust

Managing Equines For Conservation Grazing Course October 2022

It was all highly valuable, informative and I have come away with more knowledge. I wouldn't have changed anything. Many Thanks Maria Bailey

Grazing Agreement & Advice Given to RSPB

Dru has been incredibly helpful in sharing with us her knowledge of Dartmoor ponies and advising us on a variety of issues from infrastructure to pony numbers for the site, and introduced us to Paul our grazier. From the off, Paul has been very enthusiastic about the project and was always very flexible and accommodating to meet our grazing requirements, dropping off and collecting the ponies on the requested dates. The ponies themselves have been a huge success with both visitors and the job they were brought on to do. They have helped knock back the encroaching rank grasses on our heathland, nibbled away at the scrub (including birch, bramble and broom) as well as lightly graze the heather, which will help encourage new growth. The team also enjoyed the discovery of dung beetles after the delightful task of rummaging through some of the dung. Overall, it has been a very easy process to hire the ponies Alan Kell Warden, The Lodge RSPB The Lodge Nature Reserve

It's All About Trust!

We have been working with Dru for many years now, in fact some of our original ponies have their twentieth birthday this year! Dartmoors are an ideal breed for us on our heathland restoration sites – hardy, able to eat a wide range of vegetation, and they hold their condition well, even in a year like this where a severe drought in the summer is being followed by a cold winter. Although we breed our own cattle and sheep we have always felt it the right thing to do to buy ponies directly off the farmers of Dartmoor – helping to conserve a rare breed and adding to the local economy. Being some distance from Dartmoor having someone we know and trust to act between us and the farmers is invaluable; Dru understands exactly the type of animal we want and how tame we want them. She liaises with the farmers to source, select and handle the ponies for us, taking away most of the risks in buying remotely. Having local contacts with transport providers also helps to ensure that Equi Pheonix is a ‘one stop shop’ for conservation ponies and I have no reason to think our relationship won’t continue long into the future. Jon Nature Conservation Manager