"I am not a horsey person but hearing Dawn Westcott talk at Appledore Book Festival, I purchased her two books for my daughter, who works in wild horse rescue and rehabilitation. She thought the books were high quality, with wonderful photographs, and interesting writing about Dawn's work with Exmoor ponies. There are many 'horse' books on the market but fewer that relate specifically to wild ones who, let's face it, are often abandoned to their fate. Dawn's approach to wild pony whispering, two-way conversation, making ponies feel understood and safe, is important for anyone involved in the rehabilitation of wild ponies. It is also just a heartwarming story in itself. Well worth buying."
(5* Amazon Review Oct 2017)
“Dawn Westcott - you're a deep inspiration in the world for those interested in learning about love and empathy in action, about truly responsible leadership, whether with equines or people. You are a star, and thank you for all your devoted work for the amazing breed of Exmoor Ponies.”
Susannah Darling Khan
"I really enjoyed reading Wild Pony Whispering but I’m reading Wild Stallion Whispering again and it still has the same power to grab me and draw me in right from the get go. I don’t know why, but it’s just a fantastic, compelling read! Looking forward to Wild Herd Whispering in my Christmas stocking!"
"JUST FABULOUS BOOKS !!! Beautifully illustrated, with compelling ANECDOTES which draw you in!!!
So looking forward to Wild Herd Whispering at the end of this month !!!!"
"Positive storybook for young pony lovers. A gift to my grandaughter....she loved it !" George Hamilton
"This is a lovely book, full of interesting facts, and fabulous pictures. Insightful, and thought provoking. I'm so glad I bought it. Wish you all the best with your project and your herd. " Sue Thomas
"This is a lovely and inspiring true story, of an Exmoor foal's, Monsieur Chapeau, fight for survival and also the fight by Nick and Dawn Westcott to help ensure the survival of the Exmoor breed. It is well written with beautiful photographs and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in horses, Exmoor or natural horsemanship methods. I really enjoyed reading it."
"I bought this book as a gift for my friend. Beautifully illustrated to go with the heart-warming story of one woman's gift with these delightful native ponies."
"I gave this as a gift to a friend. My friend has recently started riding and volunteering with stables that have a program to help children with handicaps ride. Her love and interest in horses increases every time I talk to her. I heard about this book on NPR, thought of her, and thanks to the magic of Amazon, it was on its way that evening. She opened the box and started reading immediately. She loved it! " S. L. Simmonson
"I was given this book as a gift and have enjoyed it thoroughly. It tells a touching and heart-warming tale, and is illustrated by the most beautiful photos. It is also very well-written; the text is a pleasure to read. The story of this little foal and his rescuers demonstrates how we can relate to ponies, and in general to one another, in a more gentle and meaningful way. I highly recommend it."
"LOVELY BOOK." Mike How
"This book is fantastic and learned so much about this beautiful breed."
"This delightful book celebrates the beauty, character and versatility of the Exmoor pony, and highlights some of the modern day challenges this now rare breed faces. It focuses on the true story of an orphaned pony found close to death. The pony was rescued and nursed back to health, but there followed a battle to get him recognised and registered as a true Moorland type. Author Dawn Westcott is committed to the preservation of this ancient breed, and her passion for the cause - and the ponies -shines through. The words are complemented by superb photography."
- Jan 2016 issue.
"This really is a wonderful book - richly illustrated with hundreds of stunning photographers. Seeing Monsieur Chapeau's transformation from a severely emaciated little foal in the first few pages to a confident and trusting young gelding by the end is truly heart-warming."
Athwenna Irons - Western Morning News
"West country author Dawn Westcott's inspiring tale of an Exmoor pony foal's battle to survive has captured the hearts of readers nationwide - and become a commercial success. In just six weeks Wild Pony Whispering has topped the Amazon and Waterstones best seller lists for horse and pony books and attracted national media interest with features in the Western Morning News, Daily Mail and The Times."
Western Morning News
"This is a very well written and beautifully illustrated book based on a true story. It is not an instruction manual, but contains insight into how to handle wild and not so wild ponies with empathy and kindness, in order to socialise and tame them. It is very moving, but also informative, and set against the glorious background of Exmoor it is the perfect read for a very wide range of interes ts a nd ages. I do not understand the negative reviews on this page, and can only assume they are based on some personal agenda, and as such should be disregarded. There is nothing negative about the book, except for the fact that it exposes the worrying issues which are threatening the gene pool of the ponies who live in semi feral conditions on the moor. It is a good read, it is also a starting place for more research for those interested in British Rare Breeds, and it would make a brilliant gift!"
"As an Exmoor Pony enthusiast for over 30 years I found that this book tells a heart-warming rescue story. It also illustrates to all 'horsey' people some inspiring,trust-based techniques in engaging with equines. These methods give us the tools to make meaningful contact with any equine - wild or otherwise. Exmoor Ponies can have the reputation of being 'difficul t'. Considering their start in life when as a weanling, the registration process involves the younster being restrained and multi branded this procedure must surely in part explain this reputation. Some of these practices have changed and others are under review which can only be welcomed. Many species have become endangered because of loss of habitat. WE HAVE THE HABITAT. As stewards of the Exmoor Pony we must not jeopardise their future by bad practice and by over regulating their registration.The understanding of their nature and the inspiring methods conveyed in this book can only give the ponies a more acceptable and secure future.This book projects an imperative message to anyone dedicated to the safeguard of one of our national treasures - The Exmoor Pony."
(long-standing Exmoor pony breeder ' Collabear Stud')
"WILD PONY WHISPERING is a must read for equine enthusiasts and all individuals who revere the integrity of any animal species. This is a true-life story about the struggle to safeguard the free-living ponies of Exmoor National Park. Through aiding Monsieur Chapeau, a malnourished, wild orphaned Exmoor foal, Dawn Westcott observes, develops a “foal’s eye view” and understands how respect and knowledge of equine parameters allows for a connection with the equine mind. This leads to a positive, trust-based handling and socialization that will benefit all the ponies. Spectacular Exmoor pony photography enhances the narrative and brings the pony characters to life. The eye-catching dustcover photo of the author with Monsieur Chapeau draped across her lap entices the reader into the story. Inside, the reader experiences incredible Exmoor scenes and shots of shaggy-coated ponies interacting with each other and with the author and other humans. This book is a joy that will be read more than once to revisit thought provoking ideas and the delightful pony images of Monsieur Chapeau, Stumpkin Pumpkin, Uncle Harry, and Imperial Topaz among others."
"Wonderful photography. Simple, no nonsense style of writing, that made me realise what I'd been doing right, and what I needed to change."
(verified Amazon purchaser 5*****)
"This book is mesmerizing from the first page.Beautifully illustrated,it tells the story of the endangered native ponies of Exmoor from the point of view of a person with only their welfare at heart. A truly altruistic story,the author's love of Exmoor,wildlife and specifically the plight of the Exmoor pony shines through in the excellent prose.An amazing debut. "
"Starving, bedraggled and all alone - this wild Exmoor foal was within days of death from hunger and pneumonia...Mrs Westcott has now written a book telling of her remarkable relationship with Monsieur Chapeau, who was rescued in January 2014 and is now aged two."
From a feature in the Daily Mail by David Wilkes
"This is a beautifully produced book, on good quality paper. The photographs are clear, relevant to the text, and of course, there are many of the remarkable Monsieur Chapeau, who happens to be a very cute pony. The text is set out in short sections, which would appeal to all readers, reluctant or voracious. You would need to have a heart of stone to be unmoved by this story. In many ways it reminds me of the more old-fashioned type of pony book - it has a pony in trouble, a dramatic rescue, and a mystery to solve. There is much more to this book than that, however. Without giving too much away, within it you will find information about one of our oldest pony breeds, and useful sections on pony handling, and not just for the wild ones either. Throughout this book, Monsieur Chapeau's indomitable character bounces off the page. It's lovely to read of the developing relationship between this pony and his human, and how this lonely little chap came to be such a pivotal part of the Exmoor herd he has now joined. Just a word of warning though - the section on hot branding is not for the squeamish. I found this hard to read, but my goodness, how must the ponies feel about it?" S.Howes
"This is a really lovely book and would appeal to any animal lover, but especially to horse/pony owners and even more to people who love Exmoor ponies. I've given it five stars! It starts by telling the true story of how a little orphaned Exmoor foal was found by chance out on the moor, soaked through to the skin and severely malnourished but was rescued and nursed back to full health in the nick of time and in the process he became a true teacher and helped with the 'taming' of other wild foals. The book contains some beautiful photographs and goes on to show Monsieur Chapeau as he was named, blossom into a handsome young pony and how he became an ambassador for the breed. There is lots of information about Exmoor ponies and also shows there is a much gentler, more natural way of handling them which can be applied to any breed without the need for any force to be involved so it's also very educational at the same time. The beautiful Monsieur Chapeau features all through the book along with his other pony friends and I found it a very enjoyable (and emotional) book and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone. It would make a lovely gift for young or old or just a treat for yourself! I'm going to buy a couple more for Christmas presents as its a book that you know anyone would enjoy reading and looking at the lovely photos. I hope there will be a follow up book in the future by the same author as I'll be buying that too!"
Mrs J E Murkin(UK)
"Wonderful story with beautiful pictures, it was a Christmas gift which was delightfully received. "
(verified Amazon purchaser)
"Fantastic, so well written and full of information ."
"It's good to listen to whispers! Really well written and imparts much knowledge ."
Verified Amazon Purchaser
" The beautiful story of Mr Chapeau and his friends, like Imperial Topaz and Lady Stumpkin Pumpkin! Lovely Pictures of many Exmoor Pony's. Read between the lines and the pictures and one can feel the authress's heart beat for the Exmoor! Also a very clear and valuable message for everybody training horses, which ever method you work by, Parelli, TTeam, classic or more modern: go softer with your horse! Listen to what he has to say first, instead of telling him how to behave out of a human point of view. Think of the horse as the animal he is: He belongs in a herd and will learn much better, when he is in the company of his friends. A valuable thing Mr Chapeau and Dawn Westcott made me aware of!"
"A message for fresh Exmoor Pony owners: each pony has a different character. By listening to what your pony has to say and by seeing the world through his eyes you can build a connection of trust with your pony and have a friend for life. Not elitist, but down to earth good advice for pony owners. Reading the book gives you a feeling: I can do it and I will start this today. My copy arrived on Friday. Started reading straightway!!! I didn't put it down till I'd finished it!! A lovely, captivating read!! Well done Dawn !! When is the next one coming out???"
"Illustrated with the most fabulous pictures this book has a broad appeal whatever your age and whatever size/shape equine you are into. Very well written and lots to learn about a much more gentle approach to taming wild ponies, and with a fascinating story line too."
"Congratulations to you and Chapeau, a wonderful inspiring first book. Looking forward to many more."
"Just finished the book it was brilliant a really lovely read. "
"I'm absolutely bowled over by the most beautiful book that arrived this morning. I had tears running down my face. It is truly inspirational. I absolutely love it. It will become the most treasured book - thank you so much."
"It's a gorgeous, educational & inspirational book - Go & Buy it - I'm thrilled with mine - & anyone else who gets their hands on it will be too. A fabulous & very unique book . A powerful true story , enlightening , thought provoking , educational ,moving & inspiring in so many ways that can help people not only with their Exmoor ponies , but all horse owners who want to understand their horses & ponies better & learn how to develop better relationships & skills which are based on trust ,& kindness & the methods used to achieve this are clearly explained in very accessible language. The urgent current & future challenges faced by the Exmoor moorland ponies & the farmers & breeders are described plainly, & an awareness of these issues , & their solutions is vital amongst the wider equestrian community if this precious breed is to survive & flourish . . Stunning photography of the ponies & the beautiful Exmoor environment throughout makes the book visually vibrant & compelling - an absolutely fantastic addition to any equine library. " Judy B
" I loved reading this true story of a remarkable woman without whom this pony would have died. Dawn is an Ambassador for the breed: we do not want to see the breed die out. I love the photos, too. These animals have responded to her kindness in a most positive way. I would recommend this book to anyone concerned with the well-being of horses."
"Beautifully written book, amazing photographs and a heart warming story ( true) and an ideal gift for old and young alike, hope there are more adventures to come from the pen of Dawn!" Melanie Maddocks
"As a long time horse owner and with a great interest in equine/animal welfare and conservation, I have been very fortunate to have worked with Dawn. This book ticks a number of boxes as far as I am concerned. Firstly, in connecting with an international equine welfare movement, a spontaneous reaction against certain ways of thinking/training/keeping these highly social and sensitive creatures. Secondly, a growing human need to look for a deeper understanding and connection with our planet and its non human inhabitants. Finally it connects with a new and growing awareness reflected in the many Rewilding projects in the UK and worldwide. The importance of recognising the complex interconnected relationship between the environment and the animals that have developed and thrived there. This book provides a little glimpse of part of the unique ecosystem that is Exmoor."
"Very useful ."
Amazon 5**** Gill Reynolds
"My book has arrived, just beautiful with stunning images, thank you so much Dawn Westcott. This is a beautiful and very well written book filled with stunning images, I am loving it.You cannot help but be filled with emotion reading it and following the story of one brave little foal and the caring people who rescue him. Behind every cloud is a silver lining and in this story we see that Monsieur Chapeau is indeed a silver lining as he teaches trust and respect and a way to the hearts of these proud but majestic Exmoor Ponies. The story is on going but I am sure that all who read this book are behind Dawn and Nick and their work. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who loves Equines and Exmoor and life."
"Very insightful book, with a heart wrenching story to go with it. I feel like I've learned a lot from this book to develop a stronger relationship with my horse. I look forward to more books by Dawn Westcott. "
"This is a very well written and moving book about these beautiful and endangered animals.The love this author has for Exmoor and its wildlife and specifically the native ponies shines through from the start of the book. I defy the hardest heart not to be moved by the author's description of the rescue of an abandoned foal from the harsh conditions of the January moor. Beautifully written."
"A delightful book, beautifully written and tells the heartwarming story of a brave little Exmoor Pony who survived against terrible odds. Whilst you may need a tissue handy, over all it is a positive story and extremely enlightening. I feel this book highlights perfectly the resilience and character of the breed whilst highlighting what is often an uncertain future for them. This book would appeal to such a broad spectrum of people but from my own point of view, I particularly enjoyed reading about the the trust based methods used to encourage and develop these ponies to give them the best chance possible for rehoming etc. It demonstrates that you don't need to force a horse horse or pony to do what it is required of it, with the use of uncomfortable bits, jagged pointy spurs and whips. How rewarding it must be when your pony or horse does what is asked of it willingly and voluntarily. I hope people will be educated by the 'foal's eye view' and join in support to demand better treatment for these cheeky little ponies and secure a brighter, more positive future. I personally cannot imagine Exmoor National Park without this incredible pony. I assume the fate would be comparable to that if the Ravens were ever to depart the Tower of London!" Helen H
"I know the author well and have watched her mercilessly persecuted over a number of years by representatives of the Exmoor Pony Society bitterly jealous of her success in the show ring with her moorland stallion, at horse agility and now with this book. She has shown exemplary skill in taming and training Exmoor ponies and astonishing generosity in helping to widely promote the breed including the ponies of fellow competitors and breeders. She has objected to illegal hot branding and spoken out against the unnecessary slaughter of ponies, woefully inadequate Exmoor pony registration system and the cronyism and bullying in the society. She has endured hate mail, attacks on her and her stallion, abusive telephone calls and vile behaviour at events as well as endless malicious gossip trying to slur her character. She has exercised much patience with people who have visited her home under the guise of ‘helpers’ when in fact they had ill intention. She has been dignified in the face of a level of sustained bullying that would have most people in shreds and has seen a decent business ruined that she had created from scratch. Through it all she has continued to speak out for the ponies and work tirelessly with other Exmoor farmers to safeguard their future. She is well regarded and respected on Exmoor. Not least for demonstrating the resilience to stand up to bullying and push for much needed change in Exmoor pony management. While running the Moorland Exmoor Foal Project and managing her own herd she has found the time to write this excellent book which goes some way to shedding light on one of the worst periods in the history of Exmoor ponies and helps equip other people to better understand and work with them. The Exmoor Pony Society should hang its head in shame for hounding Dawn Westcott out of the society and allowing badly behaved members to run riot, driving the reputation of what was once a viable breed society into the gutter. Watching the continued persecution of Dawn Westcott and the way the public are embracing this gem of a book despite these bitter attempts to ruin her excellent work, I take my hat off to her. Keep speaking up Dawn Westcott - you are a voice Exmoor ponies need."
"I loved this book. It's a wonderful story about a really cute pony. The photos are beautiful and it's a good mix of hard facts and entertaining story. Bravo. As its that time of year I may as well mention it Would make an excellent Christmas present for any pony/animal lover or Exmoor lover. "
"I can thoroughly recommend this book, a heart-warming true life story of the rescue of an orphan Exmoor foal and the pain-staking efforts made to enable the foal to find not only good health, but to play an important role in focussing attention on the survival of the free-living Moorland Exmoor ponies. But the book doesn't stop there. The rescued pony has helped the author in her methods of socialising young foals. and there is much here for anyone who is interested in ponies and horses to learn.The book is well-written, has many excellent quality photographs and is full of helpful guidance for current and future owners alike. Also at the cover price , the book represents outstanding value for money, and would make an excellent Christmas/birthday present."
"I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it's a beautiful telling of a true story which really invokes the amazing spirit of these animals and the stunning visual grandeur of Exmoor. Highly recommended."
" A heart warming true story of how a sick Exmoor foal separated from it’s mother was rescued from the moor and rehabilitated using trust based methods. I found this book very inspiring, it’s well written and contains a multitude of excellent photographs. A recommended Christmas present for any horse lover/animal lover and you won't have to be an Exmoor enthusiast to appreciate the author’s sympathetic approach to handling the wild ponies of Exmoor. It was also great to see Monsieur Chapeau on This Morning recently. He looked in marvellous condition and so different to the pictures from when he was first found on the moor. Such a credit to his owner, the author of this book."
"A book recommended for all ages. Emotional, heartfelt stories, fascinating photos showing what can be achieved with love and dedication. Thoroughly enjoyable."
"Wild Pony Whispering is a delightful book, full of stunning photographs of beautiful Exmoor Ponies. It’s an emotional tale of the rescue of an orphaned foal, Monsieur Chapeau who was found severely malnourished with pneumonia on Exmoor. Dawn and her husband took the foal to their farm and Dawn soon realised that he was no ordinary pony. To continue the preservation of these magnificent Exmoor Ponies and to help give wild Exmoor Moorland foals a good start in life, Dawn has endeavoured to improve their welfare, wellbeing and opportunities - and the way they are handled and trained. Dawn uses positive, trust-based handling and training methods and with the help of Monsieur Chapeau she shows that there is more that must be done to ensure the successful preservation of the wild Exmoor Ponies.I have read a number of books on Liberty horse training, this is not an instructional book of how to train equines, but an insight into how these methods can achieve a great connection with horses and ponies. I shall be buying more copies for Christmas presents for my horsey friends."