The Vision - Rainbow Ponies in the Cloud
I was blessed to grow up on Dartmoor, in south west England. Having struggled through school with severe dyslexia, and experiencing the upset of my parents splitting up, Dartmoor ponies became my best friends and my stabling influence.
So I have first hand knowledge of just some of the difficulties that children might have to face. I want to encourage others who are facing challenges of their own to experience the therapeutic effects of handling Dartmoor ponies. By telling stories of my own life, I can show how they can overcome the obstacles and live their dreams.
Vulnerable children and Dartmoor ponies will be a win-win combination. This special British native breed, recognised by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, has a wonderful temperament and is an ideal children’s companion.
To watch Tracey’s film about Dartmoor ponies and her vision, click below:
I grew up with Dartmoor ponies, running wild in the lanes and on the open moor. My lifelong love of these ponies was inspired by my mother’s own passion for breeding them at Shilstone Rocks – our home on Dartmoor. I can’t even remember when I started to ride! I had learning difficulties and continually struggled at school, but my happiest childhood memories always involve these ponies. Please click on the pictures to view them larger.
On our one and only family holiday, we camped in the horsebox above Sennen Cove in Cornwall, and rode bareback, sliding down the sand dunes and racing across the beach. On my seventh birthday, my father led a bay Dartmoor pony into the kitchen, wrapped in brown paper! His name was Little Goose, and he had black points and a big star on his forehead. But my father left us, so as I faced difficulties both at school and at home, my equine friends offered me stability (even though I was constantly falling off!). I remember walking back from my primary school, in the village of Widecombe, and taking a bridle to the field to catch Little Goose for myself, and another pony for a friend. We didn’t bother about saddles – we just jumped on bareback and raced our ponies around the lanes and over the moor, playing cowboys and indians – on one day I’d have a bow and arrow, and on the next I’d have my toy gun. I always dreamt of being a cowboy, a dream that was to become a reality decades later when I rode Quarter horses from Mexico to Canada.
The Vision: Having experienced learning difficulties and separated parents, I understand some of the challenges that children might face. I plan to help them through my passion for Dartmoor ponies, which are ideally suited to young riders, while at the same time, saving this increasingly rare breed. With God’s help, these ranches will bring healing (spiritually, emotionally and physically) to both people and horses. These ranches will be initially in New Zealand and Colorado. In January 2013, I exported two Shilstone Rocks Dartmoor in-foal mares to New Zealand. Their names are Shilstone Rocks Mountain Bay and Shilstone Rocks Sugar Snap.
I was so determined to photograph the Dartmoor ponies in the falling show, that I attempted Chittleford hill out of Widecombe valley, which I should never had done in those conditions. I resolutely pushed the Landrover gear stick into overdrive and put my foot down, but on the steepest part of the three in one hill, on the corner the wheels started spinning – then the heavy vehicle started sliding backwards – the impact with the granite wall sounded worst than it actually was, but it was jammed across the road. As time was of the essence, I abandoned the landrover and proceeded on foot climbing the steep hill to catch the mares and the stallion Shilstone Rocks North Countryman in these falling snow scenes , a few weeks before they departed on their journey to New Zealand.
“So you think I look like a clown huh!”
The week before the mares left mid winter on Dartmoor for quarantine and fly into the New Zealand summertime we clipped them out and dressed them up in layers of rugs to keep them warm.
April 2013 – Mountain Bay and Sugar Snap being led by Bridget MCCormick, Hawkes Bay. We are excitedly expecting as they will be foaling in October, which is spring in New Zealand!
September: I am currently editing a short film I have been shooting throughout the year, about the Dartmoor Ponies on the moor combined with the story of Shilstone Rocks Sugar Snap and Shilstone Rocks Mountain Bay emigrating to New Zealand!
October 3013: We have a new baby boy and a girl! Shilstone Rocks Mountains Bay had a strong bay colt on the 10th October, while Shilstone Rocks Sugar Snap had a pretty filly on the 23rd October! Both foal have a strong resemblance to their sire Shilstone Rocks North Countryman.
I’m so thrilled and thank God that we now have two beautiful, healthy Dartmoor foals, born on the far side of the world from where they were conceived – in New Zealand!
My mother kindly gave two young mares to me and my sister claire MCCormick (who lives in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand), a legacy of her life spent breeding Dartmoor ponies.
People ask me how much it cost to export them to the far side of the globe. “A whole lot!” I reply.
It wasn’t just the cost of the flight that made it so difficult, but also the struggle to understand the required vet’s checks and lab tests. It made things even more complicated that we’d decided to transport two mares in foal, so we were basically flying four ponies out, not just two!
I did ask to travel out with them, but despite working with ponies all my life, and having looked after race horses on a flight from Auckland, I was told I wasn’t qualified!
I recently came across the expression ‘visions aren’t for the faint of heart’ and it’s one that I absolutely agree with! Dreams and visions are going to cost you, and you have to work hard to make your dreams a reality. However, hearing that we have two healthy foals has made all the effort and expense worthwhile.
“Build a dream and the dream will build you.” Robert H Schuller
JANUARY 2014 – What a view of central Hawkes Bay from part way up Waitomo farm!
Claire, Bridget and Ashleigh McCormick and myself have been handling the foals and are starting to break the mares in under saddle (train them to be ridden).
The Native Pony Magazine have recently written an article about The Shilstone Rocks Dartmoor Ponies travelling to New Zealand. To read this article please click on the PDF below:
December 2014 Two New fillies arrived in New Zealand! shilstone Rocks Sugar Snap had a black filly and Shilstone Rocks Mountain Bay had a brown filly both by Dingmac Eagle Rock, who was kindly lent to us by Holly Norman.
The Western Morning News ran an article about Tracey’s vision for the Dartmoor ponies.
Our herd in New Zealand is expanding! Now we have another two super fillies, which we are calling shilstone Rocks snap Dragon who is out of shilstone Rocks Sugar Snap and Shilstone Rocks Mountain Bird out of Shilstone Rocks Mountain Bay. Both fillies are by the lovely stallioon Dingmac Eagle Rock kindly lent to us by Holly Norman.
Photo thanks to Rosemary Bremner
The line up at the North Island All Breeds show at Taupo, New Zealand has it’s moments!
On January the 6th 2017 we took a truck load of Dartmoor ponies to the Taupo show. the ponies slept in the stables while we all slept in the truck!
Yes a truck load which included one mare and foal, three fillies and a three year old stallion, shilstone Rocks Mountain Man who I exported in 2013 in his mother’s Mountain Bay’s womb!
So from those two mares I flew to New Zealand in early 2013 we now have ten Dartmoor's in NZ!
Here they are:
Shilstone Rocks Mountain Bay who flew here as a three year old in 2013 with Mountain Man in her womb.
Claire showing Shilstone Rocks Mountain Man at the All Breeds show at Taupo, NZ.
Shilstone Rocks Mountain Man 3 years old at the North Island All Breeds Show.
Shilstone Rocks Mountain Flame – 1 year old out of Mountain Bay by Dingmac Archie
Shilstone Rocks Mountain Bird (2 years old) out of Mountain Bay by Dingmac Rocky.
Shilstone Rocks Sweet S.D. (2years old) out of Sweet Pea by Dingmac Rocky.
Shilstone Rocks Bright Star.