REVIEWS!

Dawn Westcott - Book Reviews

Please scroll down this page for Reviews of Wild Herd Whispering, Wild Pony Whispering and Wild  Stallion Whispering

Wild Herd Whispering Reviews

Wild Herd Whispering - Published Oct 2017

"This is a fascinating book, illustrated with such beautiful photographs it is a pleasure just to look at it, but once you start reading it is difficult to put it down. Dawn Westcott shares with great honesty her developing understanding of the lives of Exmoor ponies. By having an ever-expanding herd at their farm, she and her husband Nick have created a natural environment for these semi-wild ponies,where they can enjoy living as a herd, but be observed on a daily basis. The book is full of insights into the way they think, their individuality and intelligence, and takes the reader through many situations of herd dynamics and behaviour. More characters are introduced as it develops, and the complexity of life in the herd becomes more apparent.
Dawn believes in a gentle, empathetic approach, never forcing her intentions on the ponies, and learning from them all the time. Not only does she make us more aware of how we respond to animals, she also makes us look at our own approach to life itself. The importance of watching and listening, rather than rushing in and imposing our will. The importance of being 'in the moment' and honest with ourselves and others. Dawn shows us how you can make connections without words, and it is heart warming indeed to read about the bonds she has made with these wild creatures, and her respect for them.
I have always loved horses and ponies, but, with her insightful books, Dawn has helped me to understand them far more . I cannot wait to get back on Exmoor and to see more of these beautiful, strong and fascinating ponies.
A truly inspiring book!"
Rebecca de Mendonca - 5***** Review

"Whether you are a horse lover or not you cannot help but be captured by this beautiful book. Just looking at the pictures alone is enough and I have done so several times. The photography is stunning and shows these enigmatic ponies enjoying life, capturing many aspects of their communications with each other and with Dawn. But when you read the book you get the full story of how remarkable Exmoor Ponies are. They are quirky, individual and full of character and Dawn has taken the time to get to know each one, they maybe a herd but they are all different and all need careful handling.
"I have been lucky enough to visit Dawn on a few occasions and spend time with the herd, just from watching them, interacting with them and from reading Dawn’s other 2 books I have learnt so much. I’ve used this knowledge with the horses I ride and I’ve seen a difference in the way they respond to me, in the way they greet me in the field and now follow me around as I’m doing the chores, they want to be with me.
"Thank you Dawn for the wonderful work you are doing for Exmoor Ponies.
"To everyone else, buy the book to help support Exmoor Ponies, you will not be disappointed.:
Diddley - 5***** Amazon Review

"I have read Dawn's other books, and enjoyed them but I think this is my favourite of the three. The focus of this book is the herd as a whole, which allows the various pony characters to show up more clearly. It does demonstrate why Monsieur Chapeau and Bear deserved their own books though. This is not only about ponies, it's also about mindfulness, and acceptance. It's quite a philosophical book, written in a very readable style. I dipped into it over a few days, then when I had time, I read it through in one sitting. Undoubtedly I will go back and read it again. It's a book which can be enjoyed even by those who don't like reading, as there are plenty of photos to keep them entertained. The pictures are excellent quality and illustrate the text very well indeed, as well as showing off this rare breed of pony. Here they are, the wild and the tame, and the incredibly cute!
Yes, this is a good book." Sue Howes  5* review

"Another wonderful book by Dawn Westcott. This one too is full of fascinating information on the habits and lives and needs of wild Exmoor ponies. The many stories of how the ponies relate to each other are so interesting. And there is much to learn about the kind, intelligent, respectful methods Dawn uses to communicate with them. In a world where many animals are often treated carelessly or cruelly, or as if humans have rights to dominate them, it is so important to learn about this ethical way of being with wild animals, which they respond to so generously. The photographs are, as in all Dawn’s books, really exceptional and give a tremendous sense of the special qualities of the type of Exmoor ponies the Westcotts are trying to preserve and encourage. This book will make a very special gift for anyone interested in either Exmoor ponies or in very good communication between humans and highly intelligent equines."
Jane W (5**** Amazon review)

"Wow! Beautifully written and illustrated and full of wonderful examples of “reading” ponies by observing, “listening to” and learning from their interactions. Dawn intuitively puts adults/youngsters/mares and foals into ever-fluid groups or herds, dependent upon the individual needs and dynamics at any particular time, thereby creating a virtuous circle of help and support. Sensitive handling by Dawn and her husband Nick, combined with herd dynamics help to bring out self-confidence and trust in each and every herd member. No pony of whatever age or stage is forced, overlooked or neglected and it is the invaluable help Dawn has received from the herd members themselves which is surprising and illuminating. Dawn generously shares the lessons she has learned from the herd in this book.
Dawn and her husband Nick have campaigned against the horrendous multiple hot-branding of young foals taken off the moors at the annual gatherings and on other welfare issues surrounding inspection and registration which directly affect the outcomes for young moorland-bred Exmoor ponies. This seems to have made them a target in some quarters.
Dawn is a gifted writer and has an extraordinary way of tuning in to the ponies. Although her own chances of showing success with her own stock and her amazing stallion, Bear, were thwarted, there are many ponies whose lives have been saved or whose life chances have been immeasurably improved because of her whole-hearted dedication to the welfare of the moorland-bred Exmoor ponies, whose free-born, wild-living way of life has provided them with the challenges and terrain (not to mention the extensive “larder” of herbs and medicinal plants) that have created the tough, resourceful and intelligent Exmoor pony of today. 
Dawn expresses her concerns regarding the avoidable loss of important purebred Exmoor Pony bloodlines from the gene pool of this “endangered” breed and tells how she and equally concerned fellow moorland breeders are trying to keep these purebred bloodlines going despite the obstructions which currently prevent those ponies being registered or upgraded in the Exmoor Pony Society pedigree stud book. 
I wish her every success with her continuing efforts and with this remarkable and beautiful book." Dawn Perkins5* review

"Beautiful beautiful foals with bags of personality and intelligence, how can we not safeguard their future! Dawns latest book [Wild Herd Whispering] gives an amazing insight into their lives, their interactions with each other and the bonds they are capable of forming with the right humans which enhances the lives of people and ponies." 
Sue Butterfield

"I have just read this beautiful book from cover to cover, unable to put it down. To say that it gives an insight into the workings of the animal mind is an understatement. It draws you right into the pony herd mindset, and their interaction with us humans, and each other. Absolutely fascinating. The wonderful pictures link so well with the text, you really know who you're reading about. It also highlights problems the herd owners have to contend with in trying to safeguard this breed. Let's hope this book will help in finding solutions. I highly recommend this lovely read to anyone!" 
Heather Williams 5* review

"Well Done Dawn - 'Wild Herd Whispering' is most definitely 'A Winner.' After reading 'Wild Pony Whispering' and 'Wild Stallion Whispering' it was lovely to read about the ponies I already knew and to hear of their progress and involvement in the herd. Dawn is an unique lady who has the ability to understand and care for each pony according to their individual needs. Maybe because she is a Reiki Master too she has the ability to communicate with the ponies in a kind and caring way which makes them trust her and feel at ease. Let's face it ponies are very intelligent animals! At times I almost felt I was part of the book when she was dealing with all the problems etc. in her professional way. I thoroughly enjoyed 'Wild Herd Whispering' and would certainly recommend it to everybody, not just horse lovers or horse owners but to anyone who likes animals generally. ( I am an old lady living in London who has never ridden a pony in my whole life.) Therefore this is why I feel it is a book for all to read. It has beautiful pictures of the lovely Exmoor ponies and the text really does give folks a broad insight into the life they lead on Exmoor. After reading 'Wild Pony Whispering' my husband and I visited Dawn and Nick to see for ourselves how they devote their whole lives to caring for the ponies. Of course I fell in love with Monsieur Chapeau and feel that through his intelligence he has acquired some of Dawn's Reiki methods himself as through his upbringing with Dawn seems to have developed some of her techniques when 'Pony Whispering' to the rest of the herd.xx"
Annette Barrett

"Am very excited .. Wild Herd Whispering by @DawnWestcott has just arrived😀📚 I have her other two books,they are amazing." 
Evie Gibbons


"A captivating, must-read book of interwoven stories that reveal much about herd dynamics and how ponies think and learn - thoroughly enjoyable." Jo Browne - Editor - Horse Magazine




"Just reading my copy, some great insights into equine body language and communication. As well as such great photographs of this ancient breed." June Eckhart

"Once again, Dawn Westcott has written another wonderful book about the beautiful Exmoor pony. If only everyone who judge these animals as being 'difficult ' would take the trouble to read this, and her other books, they would see that through our ignorance, it is us who are in fact, being difficult !!"
Mumble (5***** Amazon review)

Wild Pony Whispering - Reviews

"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." Dawn Robinson(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!" Josephine Laing

"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 !!!!" Sue Butterfield

"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." Fiona Riley

"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." Louise Middleton-Blake

"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." Rosemary Brown

"LOVELY BOOK." Mike How 

"This book is fantastic and learned so much about this beautiful breed." Roselyn Meng

"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." Horse Magazine - 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!" Jo (UK)

"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." Sue Byrne (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." Robin Meyer(USA) 

"Wonderful photography. Simple, no nonsense style of writing, that made me realise what I'd been doing right, and what I needed to change." Mumble (verified Amazon purchaser 5*****) 

"Fantastic." Margaret Marshall

"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. " A Hele (UK)

"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 (UK)

"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. " 3 Shepherds (verified Amazon purchaser)

"Fantastic, so well written and full of information ." Karla John

"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!" Lilo

"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???" 
Helen K(UK)

"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." 
Kate H(UK)

"Congratulations to you and Chapeau, a wonderful inspiring first book. Looking forward to many more." Michael M (UK)

"Just finished the book it was brilliant a really lovely read. " 
S Smith (UK)

"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." Sue B (UK)

"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 (UK)

" 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." Joyce Kielda - UK

"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 - UK

"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." June E (UK)

"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." 
Avril W (UK)

"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. " Amazon Customer

"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." Raphael (UK)

"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 (Amazon review)

"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." Goodman (Amazon Review)

"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. " Helen M

"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." Amazon Customer 

"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." Saurus (Amazon review)

" 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." Haywain - UK

"A book recommended for all ages. Emotional, heartfelt stories, fascinating photos showing what can be achieved with love and dedication. Thoroughly enjoyable." Jean T(UK)

"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." Diddly (UK)





"Lose yourself in a great read with our guide of some of the best offerings - all with a Somerset connection... Wild Pony Whispering is the real-life story by Dawn Westcott of a wild, orphaned Exmoor pony foal and how he survived and thrived. The author runs the Moorland Exmoor Foal Project." Somerset Life Magazine - January 2016 issue.

"I have been following the incredible story of Dawn and Nick Wescott and their tireless and gallant efforts to support, preserve and improve the lives of one of the oldest horse breeds in the world- the Exmoor ponies of Great Britan (over 10,000 years old!) When I first heard about the story of the rescue of an orphan pony foal and the almost divine effect that he had on the author's efforts, I thought to myself that the story should be presented in a book or a TV documentary. I was so pleased when the story was published! The story of Monsieur Chapeau, the orphan foal, provides the backdrop for the current plight of the Exmoor pony breed, as well as the very progressive gentling methods (hence the name of the book) that Dawn Wescott and her enterprise Holtball are pioneering. In many ways the "whispering" to the ponies as a way of gentling them was the gift that Monsieur Chapeau gave to the author, but also to his fellow Exmoor ponies. The methods, which are described in colorful and elaborate detail, are what will help this feral breed become socialized to the human world, and in doing so, ensure it's survival into the future. A wonderful read for horse lovers everywhere, and for anyone who appreciates any endeavor that improves the lives of animals. (The photography is spectacular as well- wow!)"
Leslie Nichols - Equine Liberty Sports - USA

Published in Horse Magazine Spring issue (18 Feb-17 Mar 2016: "I had to write in and tell you how much I enjoyed reading your extract from Dawn Westcott's book Wild Pony Whispering in the Spring issue. I had already bought the book and read it from cover to cover, but I really enjoyed reading parts of it again, along with the accompanying photos. I have bought two extra copies of the book to give to friends as presents. It was delightful to read about the delectable Monsieur Chapeau and the thoughtful ways that Dawn invites the ponies to learn and connect with her. It is a book that will appeal to both amateurs and professionals, and I would thoroughly recommend it to any horse loving person." Milly Shand

"Whoo hoo! Look what I just opened when I got home! It was sitting waiting for me on top of my postbox. So excited!" Julie Cope (UK)

"Got my copy this morning and spent the rest of the day reading it from cover to cover. Absolutely loved it. You should be very proud Dawn. A wonderful book. The pictures are so beautiful and the story of not only Monsieur Chapeau, but all the other ponies, is extremely well written. I could not put the book down, and I'd recommend it to not only horse lovers, but anyone who likes animal stories. Well done Dawn, I can't wait for your next book." Heather Williams(UK)

"Look what I found in the post box when I got home! From a quick flick through it looks every bit as good as I was expecting. Super!" Mary W (UK)

"Well written, beautiful pictures, a joy to read ." Amazon Customer

"What a wonderful book!" Robin Meyer (USA)

"Lovely book I just got mine too xx" Jane B(UK)

"The charming relationship between a woman and an orphaned Exmoor pony foal has become [ing] the subject of a book. Wild Pony Whispering is the story of Monsieur Chapeau, a severely malnourished pony found on Exmoor. Alerted to his presence by a concerned walker, Dawn Westcott, of the Moorland Exmoor Foal Project, found the pitiful, bedraggled horse. Starving, with a swollen belly, Monsieur Chapeau needed help to stand for the first ten days in care. It survived and thrived beyond all expectations, teaching carers the secrets of creating a bond of trust and friendship with the wild Exmoor ponies. Ms Westcott was to learn that 'pony whispering' techniques to develop a rapport with the horses were the key to helping the Exmoor ponies adjust to the constraints of life away from the moor without undue stress."The Times

"Just thought I would let you know how much I enjoyed reading Dawn Westcott's book 'Wild Pony Whispering'. I read it from cover to cover, enjoyed every word and every photo, and bought two extra copies to give as Christmas presents! It was delightful to read about the delectable Monsieur Chapeau and the thoughtful ways that Dawn invites the ponies to learn and connect with her. It is a book that will appeal to amateurs and professionals alike, and I would thoroughly recommend it to any horse loving person." Milly Shand Concordia Equestrians

"Dawn Westcott's new book charts, in depth, through endearing pictures and words, the rescue, rehabilitation and subsequent socialisation of an Exmoor pony foal using 'pony whispering' methods, the roots of which lie in the new ideas of training such as those extolled by Monty Roberts; of training equines by communicating through 'equus', which Dawn wholeheartedly embraces. She describes the other end of initial training (although rarely practised today), denouncing brutal methods of socialisation and handling. The book also raises ongoing contentious issues such as hot branding and DNA testing, the latter being more problematic to resolve due to the nature of free-living herds. The obvious problem of being able to verify parentage, in order to register individuals, currently leads to the problem that unregistered individuals struggle to find homes. One decides that a common-sense approach is the way forwards, with perhaps some concessions made from all parties."Cindy Cowling - Exmoor Magazine


"This is a book which will appeal to everyone who has respect for animals, in particular horses, and is keen to find better ways of communicating and interacting with them. The photographs of the ponies in their native setting of Exmoor are spectacular. Dawn has set out very clearly just why the conservation and preservation of these pure-bred, moor-bred, semi-wild ponies are so vitally important, both in terms of genetic diversity and in respect of their unique characteristics which are shaped by successive generations of mares within the free-living herds. By skilfully and thoughtfully making use of the herd dynamics and combining them with positive, trust-based handling and training, Dawn is ensuring that the foals’ transition to domesticated living is as stress-free and enriching as possible. I hope this inspiring book will help some of those foals to find suitable new homes. Although the book centres on the remarkable and moving story of Monsieur Chapeau and on the Moorland Foal Project, anyone involved with horses and/or ponies will find Dawn’s training methods gentle, effective and inspiring. It is beautifully written and illustrated and would make a brilliant Christmas present for anyone who loves ponies! " Dawn P(UK)

Monsieur Chapeau meeting Nicole Scherzinger at the ITV This Morning studio in London
"What a lovely story and beautifully illustrated. My daughter is in her 40's but has always adored Ponies. She will be thrilled when I give her this book. Would recommend. "Jack & Francie's Nanny - verified Amazon purchaser

"Whisper it - something very special is happening on Exmoor. It involves a former twice International Horse Agility World Champion and a wild, orphaned pony foal. The result is a remarkable book, Wild Pony Whispering, by Dawn Westcott, which provides an invaluable practical insight for anyone interested in connecting with horses and ponies using a gentle, trust-based approach." James Hastings - Society Magazine (Somerset Gazette)

"This is actually two books melded into one. It begins as a heartwarming tale of survival by a dedicated animal lover, who's pony dispels stereotypes about the Exmoor breed being difficult, proving that that's a reaction to man's treatment, then Wild Pony Whispering seemlessly moves into simplified techniques and insights of advanced horsemanship, suitable for training any young or new horse, to develop a better working relationship, whilst revealing why the way we keep horses impacts their behaviour. All without deviating from the biography of an individual pony. It will bring a happy tear to the eye, improve equine welfare and help bridge the gap between humans and horses." Mrs A R Phillips (Southern Bulgaria & UK) 
"This is a very thought provoking book centred around the rescue of a foal on Exmoor, but it has a very real underlying ,message to all of us "Respect for an animals intelligence". I am also one of these people who have by marriage migrated from the city to the countryside and over the last 40 odd years I have come to realise how very intelligent animals are, and though they cannot speak our language if you stop to look and listen you will see how they communicate with you. In this book you will see how through the eyes of a rescued Exmoor Foal he learns to trust the humans and the human learns to understand the language of the pony. Anyone interested in animals be it dogs,cats,birds,sheep,cows etc will find this book of great value in quietly learning to understand and respect animals. Just like us humans they are all individuals and have their individual needs and temperaments. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who have animals and especially to anyone who actually doubts animals intelligence. I would also recommend this book to any Exmoor lover as the pictures of Exmoor really shows this very beautiful environment, a hidden gem in England and therefore I will be giving this book away at Christmas to a lot of Exmoor friends."
Mrs Berit M Floyd (UK) 

"It is a stunning book with beautiful photos and the most obliging and photogenic Ponies you could ever meet. Fabulous heartfelt storyline. What an absolute winner !!!!! I can't praise it any higher. An absolute must for everybody and sold for an inspirational lady who cares passionately about the welfare and upkeep of Exmoor Ponies and who deserves every success with this book and to raise as much revenue as she can for the Exmoor Foal Project. So please please please go out and obtain a copy. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Once you pick it up you won't be able to put it down." Janine R (UK) 

"This book is partly the story of a orphan Exmoor pony foal, found in a desperate state in woodland on Exmoor National Park; a polemic; and a book of instruction in training these wild ponies. The author acknowledges the influence of the pony, Monsieur Chapeau, who survives after a period of intenstive care, to become the conduit by which other foals come to trust their human handlers. The lot of the Exmoor pony is not all good. Their introduction to the ways of man start in the autumn roundup called 'gathering' in which the herds are taken from the moor where the mares and foals are separated. Traditionally, foals are then hot-branded to indentify them to their owners. In the past each foal has had up to seven marks, applied in tree to four batches, burnt into their flesh. Dawn and her husband have campaigned with others to have the brand marks reduced to four, all of which are now located on the flank. In the past some brandings have caused terrible skin conditions and that is not the only effect it has : ponies with these brand marks can have difficulty in fully trusting humans. The trauma may explain the reputation for naughtiness that Exmoor ponies have. Another issue that compromises the future of the breed is that an animal whose sire and dam cannot be traced is relegated to being judged and Exmoor 'Type' rather than a Pedigree Exmoor pony and is therefore more difficult to sell or breed from. This includes Monsieur Chapeau, who, being an orphan, cannot be given pedigree status due to DNA testing not identifying his dam. As the Exmoor Pony is on the Category Two Endangered Breeds' List we need to ensure a sufficiently wide gene pool. Fortunately a group of farmers and landowners are working together to improve the management of the herds on the moor. Dawn demonstrateds that with gentle handling the Exmoor pony reveal themselves to be engaging characters who can tackle a variety of horsey disciplines. She writes in an amusing syle and I love the names she gives the ponies - 'Lady Stumpkin Pumpkin' is particularly memorable. The narrative is beautifully illustrated with photographs of Monsieur Chapeau himself and his friends, the other ponies who live on the Westcotts' farm in Somerset. Especially appealing are the pictures of Dawn sitting down with Monsieur Chapeau lying down with his head on her lap with an expression of beautific repose and contentment. This book would appeal to anyone who likes ponies and is interested in learning how to create a bond with these gorgeous animals." M J Dobinson (UK)

Wild Stallion Whispering - Reviews

Wild Stallion Whispering

"The main story of this very readable and beautifully illustrated book is of the author's training of 'Bear'. 'Bear', an Exmoor pony stallion, was born and grew up on the moor for the first summer of his life. Through careful work he grew up to channel his energy and use his natural abilities to become a top show pony and World Champion in horse agility. The author shows the reader the sensitive communication with which she works with 'Bear' through their successes and problems, and also some practical suggestions to try with care.
"The 'undercurrent' of the book is the trauma to moor-bred foals when they are rounded-up, handled for inspection, and sent to situations entirely strange to them. Exmoors, especially the moor-bred ponies, have a finely tuned sensitivity for survival which, if allowed, makes them brilliant companions able to turn their skills to work with their handler in any activity, and the book shows how possible this is. "
Joan A

“I really enjoyed 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!” Josephine L

"Much enjoyed."
Saranna C

"Wonderful books, inspiring, beautiful approach to the character of Exmoors."
Mary Jane W

"Excellent"
Cooperman  Amazon 5**** review

"I was very much looking forward to receiving my awaited copy of “Wild Stallion Whispering”, Dawn Westcott’s sequel to the delightful “Wild Pony Whispering”. I wasn’t disappointed and couldn’t put it down until I had read it from cover to cover. Dawn has cleverly woven different elements together to produce a captivating insight into the Exmoor pony world, which is at once enthralling, inspiring, educational, horrifying, worrying and hopeful.
The story could easily have focused on the magnificent stallion Bear (Hawkwell Versuvius) alone and would have made an inspiring read. However, bringing to light the plight of purebred moorland Exmoor ponies who are still, unaccountably, slipping through the registration net, making them very difficult to find homes for, since they cannot be used for breeding or show, gives the book an added dimension. The section on the multiple hot-branding of foals is harrowing. If foals could scream, I wonder if the forcible restraint and hot branding of these young, vulnerable beings would still be going on? Well done to Dawn and Nick for continuing in their efforts to stop this barbaric practice - in the face of considerable opposition, it would seem, otherwise why is it still going on?
The training tips and core connection warm-up exercises are extremely helpful and would be essential reading for anyone thinking of taking on young Exmoors in particular but are applicable to anyone wishing to start handling and training youngstock.I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is wonderful to read how Dawn’s personal journey to “going softer” has progressed and continues to develop, inspiring others to attempt the same."
Dawn Perkins(UK)

"This is a skillfully written book illustrating the progress of a highly charged and highly sensitive foal with a 'don't touch me attitude' resulting from the barbaric practice of having to endure multi branding for his registration.
Taking a pony to the dizzy heights of 2 world championships in agility and multi championships in the show ring is indeed a shining testimony to the trust based methods used by Dawn in handling and training equines from scratch.These accolades have showcased an Exmoor pony stallion on the world stage - an achievement not surpassed by any other Exmoor pony. The book also clearly sets out these methods that she has developed from observing untainted 'natural' ponies. This insight can enrich us all who are involved with equines. The book takes you on a roller coaster journey, from Bear's difficult beginnings, to fending off jealousy in the competition world, a physical attack, verbal abuse and much more. Dawn and her husband have bravely taken on crusades against branding and registration for the benefit and progression of the breed. The thread throughout the book is 'a chill wind'. It appears to be more like a 'hurricane!. Through it all Bear has become a beautiful, confident and balanced pony that anyone would be proud to own."
Sue Byrne - UK

"If you love horses you need to buy this book, it is great. The pictures are wonderful and the story so well written would definitely recommend."
Flick (Amazon purchaser and 5**** review)

"Beautiful photos, fabulous story. Heart warming."
Melanie Maddocks

"An excellent read for anyone who has spent time with native ponies, not just Exmoors, the trials and tribulations, the highs and lows of socialising with these amazingly clever and intelligent animals, and a tribute to which we should all aspire."
John Adams (UK)

"Nicely packed and is a good book, thank you."
Geoffrey W.  Amazon 5**** review

"More insights into this unique breed along with a very personal account of a journey from fear and suspicion to trust, mutual respect and a cross species bond. A fascinating glimpse into the pony centric world of Exmoor, the herds, the landscape, the people. This book will appeal not only to equine owning folk but also to anyone with a love of the British countryside and it's wild (feral) character and traditions."
June Eckhart (UK)

"I just finished reading Wild Stallion Whispering. This book covers so many topics about the Exmoor ponies in such a peaceful and optimistic manner : their personalities, their fears, and what they are capable of achieving.
The couple, Bear and Dawn, have paved the way for many of us Exmoor pony owners to learn how to communicate with our ponies in the most subtle and pleasant ways. It is so true that one can obtain so much from another by asking, rather than by demanding. I feel that I know Bear now, and I’m so happy he has gone this far to represent his breed. It must be magnificent to have such a partner. A wonderful book to read, and a good book to go back to for guidance."
Joyce Mrozielski (France) 

"This is a brilliant follow-up to 'Wild Pony Whispering'. The new volume has everything...the story of an unwanted Exmoor foal that with patience and skill the author successfully transformed into a super-star agility World Champion. This latest book is a masterclass of storytelling but also has masses of helpful advice and tips, so I'm sure it will become a 'turn to' reference work for many pony owners (not just Exmoors). In its favour also are the multitude of excellent high quality colour photographs. At this price it represents possibly the best value-for-money around and would make an ideal birthday or Christmas gift. Well done Dawn Westcott (and Bear!)"
Peter Hotchkiss (UK)

"Having loved Wild Pony Whispering, I was delighted to get my copy of Wild Stallion Whispering, and from the wonderful cover picture, through the fascinating story of Bear, to the numerous tips to horse owners, it does not disappoint. It gives a marvellous insight into what can be achieved with patience, an affinity and love between human and animal. A book that will appeal to all animal lovers. Congratulations Dawn, I loved it."
Mary Miller (UK)

"Excellent book. Recommend to all equestrian and Exmoor lovers!"
Amazon Customer

"Simply amazing read. Highly recommend. This book gives a true and very real feeling of getting to know and understand Bear the beautiful Exmoor stallion. Dawn has been able to capture moments and record them on paper in a way that you can almost feel you were there too. Spectacular read. Loved it x"
Carrie Woolley (UK)

"What a lovely book!! A Must for every Pony or Horse friend or owner. This book realy helps for bettter understanding between Human and Pony/Horse. Magic Fotos and the most importend, an absolutly heartful and honest Story.
Many points in the book i know from myself with halfwild Exmoorponys.
I can't stop reading this Masterpiece."
Matthias Mickelat 

"I am really enjoying Wild Stallion Whispering. As with Wild Pony Whispering, it's very hard to put down. Excellent - well done Dawn."
Denise F (UK)





"I really enjoyed this book. It's a touching story, and also an instructional book which could be of use to any open-minded horseperson. It's beautifully illustrated with clear photos of the magnificent Bear, he is a true star and the camera certainly loves him. Readers will come to realise how lucky he was to find a home where he is appreciated, and the book also makes the point that this is not the case for all moorland foals. Books like this are needed to publicise the plight of the 'unwanted' foals, and hopefully it will generate interest in the breed."
S.Howes(UK)


"Such an enjoyable read on so many levels! A lovely uplifting story beautifully illustrated with photographs that make any pony lover's heart melt. The way in which Dawn took on this high octane wild stallion, deeply distrustful of humans after being hot branded as a foal, and forged a bond of trust and love with him over the years is really amazing. Plus there is plenty of excitement as she describes the several hair raising incidents they went through together at various events. It is also a wonderful tribute to the uniqueness of the moor bred wild Exmoor ponies (currently on the endangered list) helping to change the perception that they are 'difficult'. They have so much to teach us about how to interact with them and with ourselves. I also loved the section in the middle which explains the gentle trust based methods Dawn has developed in order to work with wild Exmoor ponies, which of course can be used with any pony or horse or indeed any animal wild or not. Learning how to connect on this level must be an incredibly rewarding experience; so for anyone who feels uncomfortable with the standard breaking and training advice this is a must read. It is a great story with excellent practical advice on how to achieve deep level of connection with your equine. Truly revelatory." 
Millie Ker


"Managed to pinch Eleanor's copy and am half way through. Nice to see the highs and lows, the successes and disasters all featuring making it a totally natural down to earth read that I'm sure anybody with any experience of native ponies can relate to."
John Adams

"Dawn has woven an amazing story of the fasinating journey she and Bear made together in her latest book ' Wild Stallion Whispering'. It is full of detail, showing how respect and love can produce a wonderful partnership which is never dominated by the human will, but which thoughtfully, sensitively and patiently draws two beings together. She describes the highs and lows of this adventure which is full of fascinating detail. The photographs highlight beautifully the script and gives the reader a strong awareness of the wild beauty of Exmoor and its fabulous ponies. Bear's story in Wild Stallion Whispering is an inspiring account of one of our wonderful native ponies and beautiful Exmoor."
Sue Butterfield 

"Again, another touching, informative and beautifully photographed book from the Champion of the Exmoor Pony. Absolutely loved it."
Mumble (Amazon review 5****)
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