A world without horses is no world for our circus.

We try to ensure that the horses in our show have a good balance between work and rest, and that at some point in the year they get to go out in the lovely rolling fields of Fennells Farm and be horses. This means that they do not come in, they do not have rugs on but live out in the wild. They grow thick oily coats and live in little herds. For example having done a few good seasons work Full House, our Shire horse, is now out in the valley with his brother High Card.

All the horses, whether they are in work or not, are visited several times a year by the equine dentist, farrier, nutritionist and chiropractor, and are regularly wormed. This the base line of their care, although there are other consultants who input into their health, for example our wonderful vet, Tim Beauregard, our saddle fitter Kay Humphries and outside trainer Lotte Seal.

Our horses are given hay and some corn but are basically living like wild horses. They may even be out like this for up to a year as we move and rotate the horses in the shows. My first horse, Eclipse, is on permanent retirement and lives with a brood mare called Pearl, as a companion to her as she has her foals. I don't believe in putting winter rugs on these horses as I think it can interfere with their natural thermostat that is reset by these rest periods out in the wild. Rugs can also be quite dangerous as horses can get tangled up in them.

All our horses are owned and trained by us. Each year we buy and sometimes sell or re-home horses. This keeps the show new and interesting.

We do not hire in animal acts as we believe that if we own and train the animals ourselves then we know exactly how the performance of each horses has been achieved and how the horses are kept. It is the same for our dog acts.

We have two new additions to the team; a couple of lovely Eriskay ponies, Max and Percy.

Eriskay ponies are a rare breed and now endangered so we are delighted that we are able to give them a home on the farm. Eriskays are renowned for being honest and intelligent with a pronounced level of confidence and affinity with humans, so they will fit right in.




The chickens seem to love the dry airy barn and we have bedded them down in plenty of dry straw and they eat all the scraps from the kitchen. They lay about a dozen eggs each day. The chickens are ex-battery hens and we are going to get more chickens in April when we go into full circus production mode, with the aim of supplying our chefs with our own eggs to feed all the hungry circus performers and set painters.

The Wild West extravaganza was opened by a highly skilled chicken brought to us by Amazing Animals. The rooster has gone home to Chipping Norton with puffed up feathers at her starring role.

We had a Bison led cart, the Eriskay pack-ponies Max and Percy and the audience favourites terriers Griffin and Hades.  Everyone is enjoying the space and freedom that Fennells Farm gives one and all.

Jerry the donkey made a welcome comeback this year as the Sheriff's trusted 'horse' Silver Bullet. Although known to be stubborn by nature, he worked well under the supervision of the horse department and enjoyed his turn in the ring. On the run from the Sheriff was the notorious El Gifford and Giffords Circus' very own 'black beauty' Jim. 

Dandi, Cartouchio & Jack - our Spanish horses - transformed themselves this year in true western style. 'Dangerous' Dan Fortt rode Dandi expertly through the ring of fire. The line-dancing pair, Jack and Cartuchio did the Dosey Doe taking Dan and Dany through their paces. Since returning to Fennells Farm the horses have all been turned out and are enjoying a welcome break from the Wild West.


Hades and Griffin appeared in our 2015 show as ‘The Moon Dogs’. They are enjoying life at Fennells Farm and love the large sloping fields and thick hedges and woods. At night the dogs live in a kennel in the barn alongside the chickens.

Cartuchio and Dandi - In October 2014 Nell met with our head trainer Dany Cesar in Barcelona to search for some new horses for last year’s show Moon Songs. Nell wanted to explore the possibility of finding some rare Cremello or Albino Andulscian horses. They have blue eyes and a luminous cream coat, perfect for a moon show. Working with Tarma from Spanish Horses UK, Nell found what she was looking for in Barcelona, and Cartuchio and Dandi are now living at Fennells Farm.

Jack is a charismatic horse that enjoys performing in the show and being centre of attention. When he is not performing, he really enjoys the attention he gets from people calling into see him, hoping he might get a treat or two.  Back home at Fennells Farm Jack loves being in the field with the other ponies.  The only thing he is not too keen on is the wet and windy weather.  But who is?




Longhope - A few years ago Toti and Nell bought a little bay gelding. They called him Longhope. He had been a little overlooked in the yard where he was living, having not seen a farrier or dentist for some time. His old owner got in contact with Nell and he turned out to be a well-bred show pony by a successful show pony stallion called Ainsty Musical Dream. Last season he appeared in the show ridden by the bear. He has proved to be very calm in the ring, is not at all alarmed by the bear and seems to quite enjoy Toti and Nell teaching the dogs to ride him and lead him .He is about 13.1 and looks like a miniature racehorse. Toti and Nell had an interesting time fitting different saddles for carrying the bear, finally settling on a racing saddle which worked well being flat, light and having no cantle.

Jim is a Friesian Stallion whose full name is Tsijimke.  People think that Stallions are uncontrollable beasts but you would be wrong with Jim.  He used to pull funeral carriages before he came to join us in April 2015.  And he has settled in well and is enjoying his new job.

Jim does have a sense of humour. When he goes into the ring he pretends he has never seen the band before - he eyes them in a theatrical way, all for effect!  His favourite trick is doing a buck before he goes into a canter. He has a fear of  flying objects, like frisbees so the company are very respectful of the games they play when Jim is around.

When the other horses are turned out into the field they gallop off.  Not Jim, he regally walks off. Like a true showman.


The act that we trained last year with all the spotted animals has been disbanded, and new homes found for all the animals.


Domino and Tarquin have gone to loving family homes, where they will spend the rest of their lives as much adored pets.

Smartie and Stripe - the spotty horses including little Herman - have all gone to the same yards so they are still together.