Rescue ponies enjoying new life in Hatfield Broad Oak feature in children's books
Two rescue ponies who have found a loving home in Hatfield Broad Oak are the stars in a new series of children's books.
In 2015, Huckleberry and Dash were taken in by the World Horse Welfare after they were found neglected and emaciated.
Huckleberry was just a few months old when he was discovered tethered alone on an old rubbish dump next to the remains of another horse. His owner was nowhere to be found. He was removed and taken to the safety of World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm in Norwich.
His story was featured on BBC TV’s Countryfile in 2016. Huckleberry was shown playing happily at Hall Farm with Dash, another rescued horse, in whom he found a kindred spirit and formed an inseparable friendship.
Dash had been brought to Hall Farm in August 2015 as a very young colt. He was not receiving the care he needed and World Horse Welfare’s field officer who discovered him described him as ‘skin and bones’.
By August 2016, the duo had completed their rehabilitation and were ready to find a new home – which is where Samantha Perry, who lives in Hatfield Broad Oak, comes into the story.
Sam, 32, adopted both Huckleberry and Dash as the thought of separating them was unbearable.
She said: “When I saw them on the website they were so adorable, and reading about the bond they have inspired me. Also, I have a little boy who would be able to grow up with them and enjoy riding them.
“I feel it’s important to rehome animals if you have the opportunity – they deserve our love, care and time. Plus, I had a spare field and love horses!”
Under her care, the ponies have flourished and their individual personalities have shone – Huckleberry is the cheekier and more exuberant of the duo, whereas Dash loves affection. “As soon as they stepped foot on the land they’ve come on leaps and bounds,” Sam said.
“Along with backing both ponies to ride, we go for long walks with them and they’re very well known in the area as little celebrities.”
Inspired by the horses’ personalities and high jinks, Sam has co-written a series of children’s books with Nikki Bull, 46, a graphic designer, whose daughter Olivia, 11, rides and trains Dash.
“She’s had other horses before, but the bond she’s got with these two is something else,” Nikki said.
“We’ve written Huckleberry and Dash Get Ready for Christmas – that’s our first book – and we’ve done a cookery book, Huckleberry and Dash Cooking Up a Treat For Children,” said Sam.
Olivia and Sam’s two-year-old son, Jack, have each had an input in the books – Olivia, for instance, has written a recipe for Nanny’s Apple Pie for the cook book – while Sam’s mother, Alison Sumner, has drawn the illustrations for the Christmas book.
Nikki and Sam are also selling calendars featuring 12 seasonal pictures of the ponies taken by 14-year-old equine photographer Heidi Pyle.
The books and calendars are being sold for £8.50 each, and Sam and Nikki are donating 50p from each sale to World Horse Welfare. They are being sold at Cammas Hall Fruit Farm in Hatfield Broad Oak, The Tack Room at Eastwick Lodge in Harlow and The Toy Box in Dunmow.
• To find out more about Huckleberry and Dash, check out their social media pages @huckanddash on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.