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  • Writer's pictureDawn Oakley-Smith

Spring Update 2024

Updated: Feb 21

Snowdrops, crocii, primroses and, today, daffodils along the verges whilst out riding with Dylan. Two days ago the larks returned, flying high above HeartShore,

“Sing for the sun your lyric, Lark, of twice ten thousand notes …”, in the words of the Poet.

The Skylark, Britain’s highest-flying song-bird. Spring is approaching. The year is waking up and the HeartShore diary for 2024 is filling rapidly!

For a month now the Herd has been grazing on a local nature reserve. We were approached by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, wondering if we would like to graze at Stuart Fawkes’ reserve. At Stuart Fawkes’, two rare species of butterfly flourish, and the Meadow Clary, a plant that looks like the common Nettle but has purple flowers. Its particular medicine is efficacious in the treatment of feminine issues. The action of the horses’ four hooves on the Earth as they move around grazing, creates the perfect conditions for these rare species to thrive.

A group of us, the HeartShore Human Herd (!), walked our precious ten horses all together through the village of Minchinhampton to get to the reserve. It was a beautiful experience to walk them all together in this way – ancient, unifying, heart-opening, joyous !

So, for the first time in more than 20 years, since HeartShore’s conception, there are no horses on site; the Land is resting, recuperating. Apollo the goat has a new companion because, without the horses, he was all alone at HeartShore. Juno – pale, horned and very sweet – joined him from Ruskin Mill College.

There were also changes in our rabbit and guinea-pig community. Very sadly, Smokey Dan the rabbit came to a tragic end in the jaws of Zephyr. We buried him in the vegetable garden. Shortly after, little Luna Pig passed away. Now we have Ray-Ray, and Ren-Ren, two rabbity sisters. With Louis the cat, and Trevor the cockerel with his little flock – these are the residents of HeartShore until the horses return.

The Herd will return in April when our series of workshops and retreats begin...

For your diaries … 


In other news, The Empowered Herd is making its way slowly but surely out into the world, finding its way to where it is needed. The feed-back has been over-whelmingly positive, and I have been often moved to tears by things readers have said, hugely affirming. Soon the book will have its own page on the website which will record its progress as well as the various testimonials it has received. I also have a series of book-signings lined up throughout the year, at venues up and down the country, dates tbc.

I will be travelling to the States in May, and hope to be able to offer some work together with Niki Jones and her glorious HeartSing Herd, our Sister Herd in the States.

Hoping very much to see many of you at HeartShore this year, either for individual sessions or training, or as participants on some of our workshops.

Until then May The Horse Be With You ! 

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