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About Us

Heartshore is a family-run centre with an aim to facilitate learning and development using a natural and thoughtful approach to people and horses. An Empowered Herd is the foundation to all of Dawn's work at Heartshore which is why she allows her horses to live naturally within a herd, giving them freedom, security, and a sense of place. 

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​Dawn and her family work with people and horses in a variety of ways which can include Equine-Assisted Learning, Horse Riding and Horsemanship for Autists and for children and adults with special educational needs and disabilities and Natural Horsemanship. Dawn also offers more spiritual workshops, such as Horse Dance and The Medicine Journey. In each and every one of these activities first and foremost comes a connection with and deep respect for the horses, who live naturally as a herd on Heartshore land. Horse Riding is less about technique, more about relationship and communication; the technique can be learned and practised, but it is the connection here that is most important for our clients and horses.


Dawn works closely with Somerset based charity, Key4Life who have made it their mission to turnaround the lives of some of the most disaffected young people in Britain. In September 2020, iconic fashion magazine, I.D, worked with Key4Life on a fashion shoot for their 40th-anniversary edition. 
This short film illustrates exactly how working with horses therapeutically can generate huge life changes and a new, positive outlook.

Key4Life and ID Film

Heartshore land has been undisturbed for 15 years now, its sole occupants being the Heartshore Herd who live a natural lifestyle.

This made it a perfect place for, a not-for-profit social enterprise with a vision to create a sustainable food growing system that rebuilds soils and protects the climate. Crackstone is the first commercial site for, managed by Dawn's son, Luke Oakley-Smith. If you are interested in finding out more about Crackstone zero.dig or if you'd like to get involved with permaculture and sustainable farming yourself, you can do so here.


The Heartshore Herd are situated next to Gatcombe Park Estate. There are trail rides that take us through Gatcombe, deep into the beautiful Cotswold countryside, and other trails that weave and wind through nearby villages, woodland and across open common land.  

Some of the Herd are available to loan, a perfect opportunity for you if you're not ready for your own horse, and there couldn't be a better place to learn and collaborate. Find out more about our horses available for loan here.

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