Brantome Police Horses is run by Roland and Alison Phillips, who moved to the beautiful Dordogne, in the South West of France, in 2007. They are helped by their daughter Debbie, son-in-law Chris and twin grandchildren Izzy and Chloe, all of whom joined them in 2012.
The horses originally came from Police forces in the UK and were retired to a small Horse and Pony Sanctuary, located in Devon, set up by Roland's mother (Sylvia) and father (Terry) and has operated since 1976 to this present day. Roland and Alison still run the Devon Sanctuary, with the help of great people, who dedicate their time and love of animals to this cause.
In their own words:
"Our first Police horses, Karen and Kendrick, both from the Metropolitan Police Force, came to us in 1993. Sadly, they are no longer with us, but many more have been retired to us since.
We started to re-locate the horses, with the approval of both forces, in 2010, to make room at the Devon sanctuary for neglected and rescue cases, so, although we have reduced the numbers there, more concentration can be made on the care and rehabilitation of ponies and horses desperately in need. It was possibly the best move we could ever have made - although admittedly, it was very challenging and un-nerving at the time, but the difference in the health of the animals since we moved them is incredible. Horses that came to us with arthritis and some with breathing difficulties, are now so much better and others that arrived with stress related problems, are now much calmer and most show no signs of their original conditions. We can only put that down to the weather and obviously the 24 hour/7 day a week care that they're able to receive here.
All the Police horses we take on, have been retired through old age, injury or ill health and in most cases would have sadly been destroyed if they hadn't have been re-homed."
Currently, we have eleven Police horses in our care: Eden, Lewis, Johnny Johnston, Walter, Kingston, Galipolli and Guardian, all from the Metropolitan Police Force and Northavon, Matthew, Clifton and St Michael, from the Avon and Somerset Police Force. We also house a number of other residents, from various backgrounds, including Copperfield, a retired National Trust carriage horse from Arlington Court, Devon, his companion, Comic, plus Cracker, Fudge and Caramel, three very naughty Shetlands and Freddie, a Dartmoor Pony, all of whom are rescues.
We are also the proud owners of Dolly, a lovely grey (white) 14.2 pony, who we re-homed from the Vauxhall Inner City Farm in London, where she worked in helping children have a greater understanding of animals and also was a Riding for the Disabled for 22 years, for which she is the proud owner of a Long Service Medal. We don't know her actual age, but we think she is somewhere between 35 and 40 years old.
Back in the UK, we have sixteen permanent residents, all of whom require constant care and rehabilitation and many more who are residing in loving foster homes. We have adopted a commitment to take back and look after, any of our horses, ponies or donkeys that need to be returned to the sanctuary, for whatever reason. Obviously this requires a great amount of funding and thus, we are very appreciative of any donations or support we receive, in order to aid us in our work.