Reviews of Dorset Heavy Horse Centre,
Review by White on 13th June, 2017
Add your review Date visited: 13 june2017
This is the place to go . It's clean it's friendly and well worth the money . We all enjoyed our day from 70yr olds to 3yr olds. We will go back and next time eat in the cafe the food looked good and was very reasonably priced. Well done to everybody that made the day so enjoyable.
Date visited: 13 june2017
Review by Jacob Miller on 2nd April, 2016
Add your review Date visited: 01 april 2016
Lots of people had recommended this place to us, we hadn't been before and thought we would try somewhere new... Firstly what great value it was!! Nobody likes to spend a fortune, with tractor driving, horse and cart rides and the wicked tractor trailer rides we all felt it was money well spent! It was worth every penny if not more! Secondly, we we utterly surprised which how much there is to do from the timetable of displays and activities with the children to all the attractions such as parks and play barns. Thirdly, that special touch. We felt soo welcome, the guy that runs the farm works his utter socks off and made us laugh! All the staff were friendly and really encourage our children to get stuck in. They had such a unique experience! A lot of thought has clearly gone into the set up and activities as we felt it really is aimed to entertain everyone from young to old. The farm is well maintained and clean. Lastly, we all thoroughly enjoyed our visit at Smokey Joe's Cafe. Even though it was very busy as its clearly very popular our food was delicious we enjoyed the large hearty portions, the setting was brilliant, staff cheerful and helpful and food delivered to our table very quickly. We will soon return! We learnt so much and our kids have a whale of a time. This place really is a hidden gem and all the animals are so well cared for. Keep up the great work. We could tell a lot of work goes into this place and a lot of love. Its obvious the owners passion is animals and pleasing visitors. A job well done! This has been our top attraction! We arrived at 10.30pm and stayed until closing. To all the team a HUGE THANK YOU - The Miller family, Bournemouth. If you haven't been GO!
Date visited: 01 april 2016
Review by Chris Smith on 8th April, 2011
Add your review Date visited: 2nd september 2010
I Finally got round to going to the heavy horse centre last year and i really have to say, My wife and my 2 kids loved it. entertainedn through out the day, so much to do we did'nt get round to it all. All animals kept in amazing condition, epecially as most of them are rescue and have problems, which the freindly staff do well to look after and also teach about. I found the talks inspiring. My kids loved the go-karts, play area, trampolines, straw fun barn, etc And best of all, all of us got to drive a real tractor...Only place in the uk you can do this.. Highly recomened!!!!!
Date visited: 2nd september 2010
Review by zena marie on 2nd March, 2011
Add your review Date visited: 1990s
I visited this place on many occasions whilst visiting martin mercer i was most delighted by the capacity of the place as well as the love and care that went in to the horses i am sad to read reviews that it is not the same anymore and hope it will soon be the fantastic day out it once was.
Date visited: 1990s
Review by niccy on 4th August, 2010
Add your review Date visited: 4th August 2008
What a wonderful centre! So much to see and learn, with incredibly helpful and informative staff. Especially great for children with suitable attractions for all ages as well as play areas use up all that energy! I was delighted to find that the cafe served homemade food. The passion of the owners is clear - from the care of the animals and their commitment to providing fantastic value for money. Truly worth a visit! Make a day of it for sure!
Date visited: 4th August 2008
Review by tilly on 28th June, 2010
Add your review Date visited: 21may
it was so fun i liked the caffe food she was called um janene april was so cute and friendly ah ah ah comming back soon my children loved it they had so much fun on the cinderrea
Date visited: 21may
Review by Joanna White on 21st May, 2010
Add your review Date visited: 20 May 2010
I went for my first visit with my old school friend. We had a 3 children with us!! I feel bad I haven't been before as this is a local attraction that needs support!!! Its truely one of the best days I have had!! Loads to do. My 2 year old was so excited she had a tractor ride. A tiny little tram ride with Cinderella who was just too cute!!! Once in it was all free which I thought was amazing. The owner Richard is so passionate about the horses that he has rescued so many sad stories but wonderful outcomes. If you get a chance to go make a day of it its truely worth the visit. I will be going back very soon. xxx
Date visited: 20 May 2010
Review by Amy greenwood on 15th March, 2010
Add your review Date visited: 22nd dec 09
A LARGE GROUP OF US VISITED THE HEAVY HORSE CENTRE AND WE ALL HAD A FAB TIME, WE SPENT THE WHOLE DAY THERE AND WAS AMAZED HOW MUCH THERE WAS TO DO AND LEARN, WE ALL FELT ITS GREAT EDUCATION FOR ALL AGES, THERE IS SOMETHING TO INTEREST EVERYONE. THE ANIMALS AND STAFF WERE VERY FREINDLY AND HELPFUL AND COULD NOT DO ENOUGH FOR YOU. THEY ARE DOING SUCH A WONDERFUL JOB LOOKING AFER THE ANIMALS THE ANIMALS WOULD HAVE ENDED UP IN A UNCERTAIN FATE IF IT WASN'T FOR THE NEW OWNERS.CANT WAIT TO GO BACK TO VISIT,WE WISH THEM WELL FOR THE FUTURE.
Date visited: 22nd dec 09
Review by N. POTTER on 25th February, 2010
Add your review Date visited: October 2oo9
We visited the park with todlers and grandparents we were all kept entertained for hours staff are so friendly and helpfull and the talks are very interesting too. Amazed at the hours of work that go into caring for these magnificent creatures that have been badly neglected in the past the owners have dedicated their lives to this worthy cause. I wish them all the best and will be visiting again next time we are in the area. Thanks for such a great time.
Date visited: October 2oo9
Review by Josh brown on 25th February, 2010
Add your review Date visited: 11/12/09
I had an excellent day at the centre a lovly day out.The animal wer kind well look after and freinly.overall a brilliant day out.can't wait to go back!
Date visited: 11/12/09
Review by shirley on 15th January, 2010
Add your review Date visited: december 2009
The centre relies a lot on dedicated volunteers who work very hard to make sure the animals get the best of attention,these are not show horses they are working horses.The horses are only stable bound during certain hours of the visiting day,the first 3hrs of every day is spent mucking out feeding and watering and attending to all the animals,during which time the horses are at "playtime in the fields"We have allways found the horses to be patient and well behaved and have now visited many times.
Date visited: december 2009
Review by Mrs Randall on 15th January, 2010
Add your review Date visited: october half term
I would like to say I am a very postive person, and try to see the best in most things i do or see, or particpate in. However i struggled to find many good/positive points about the "heavy horse centre". I noticed when i first arrived a grey pony in the field left of the car park, it had issues with the flies bothering him, why no fly rug, or at least spray, I am an expirenced horse person, owning horses my whole life including heavies, i have been able to put fly spray on the most stubborn of horses. Then when i walked in there was no one in, what a way to make a first impression. Then walking into the main yard, i found a very old minature shetland, she was pulling a cart with two 5stone children at least in it, they should be pulling about 7stone, considering this poor little shetland is a bag of bones. Then to further disappointment the heavies had barely any bedding which is appauling considering they are in from about 9:45-4:30 according to them. they should have thick long beds to ensure when lying down they dont hurt themself. lots of the horse looked bored, i noticed wind sucking, head swinging. None of them had enough water, and it wasnt even cleaned, it looked like new water on top of dirty water. I am now not happy about the work about the big gray does. I noticed he was still partically lame, i take into account his canca, but is this fair on the horse? Then off to the rabbits, i actually feel so sorry for them, if i had the time to take them all home i would, fully grown male in a small cage, when a worker opened this i managed to see layers and layers of old, wet straw, that was flithy. a rabbit living in a small hutch is the equviliant of you living in a toilet. not fair. baby rabbits being handled at an age to young. The only postive thing about this is the young workers, i believe their names are michael and bradley who seemed very postive and helpful.
Date visited: october half term
Review by Sophie brett on 19th December, 2009
Add your review Date visited: July
When i went to the Heavy horse centre i was expecting a friendly welcoming environment. However i was not welcomed and i did not know where to pay as there was noone at the till. I saw the horses and they looked ok from a distance but i thought they could have had more attention as they were dirty and looked bored in their stables (maybe this is why they tried to bite my cousin) One of the little ponies who pulled the cart didnt have any water and i felt sorry for him. All the small animals such as the rabbits didnt look healthy, they looked stressed laying on the floor and i couldn't see much water and food between about 15 rabbits in one pen. Apart from that it was a nice day out.
Date visited: July
Review by justin summers on 18th December, 2009
Add your review Date visited: 18 december 09
i went there once with my girlfriend. we thought some animals were underwieght and as we took my little sister she had a pony ride whcih is too expensive £2 to go round a tiny tiny field once maybe twice if your lucky. and if they would still sell you pony rides like a couple minutes before it stopped. i noticed 2 horses nip but they have no warning signs. also some of the shetlands or pnys live in muddy fields with no shelters. but the workers there are very nice and seem to do everything they can to help the animals, they also have a really long day. i notice one girl who was there since 8ish who mucked out, fed, harnessed up cindrella, done cindrella rides when they stopped she went on to do pony rides and then had to do pony grooming, and lots of other stuff, she seemed to be puffed out alot and had a short lunch break, i think that they should have more priviliges.
Date visited: 18 december 09
Review by Holly on 18th December, 2009
Add your review Date visited: last summer
After hearing so many good comments about this attraction i thought it would be great to take my horsey mad 7yr old daughter. There are plenty things to do and some of the staff seemeded happy to help. However being knowledgeable about horses myself as i looked closely to a couple of young male minature shetlands, i realised they werent in best of condition, their teeth were long and so were their hooves they had no shelter and were practically stood in mud 24/7. My daughter enjoyed the cart rides and tractor rides, and enjoyed grooming the minature ponies however, they were quite boisterous and i wasnt to happy for my daughter to be grooming them as one of the youngs boys who was holding the pony made no attempt to try and control the pony from threatening to kick out. Overal i was let down by this farm the rabbit petting area was found to be dirty and some of the rabbit pens had no food or water and had dirty bedding, some of the rabbits also nipped, showing sighns of boredom, many were just shut in tiny hutches with no room to run around all in all i wasnt to pleased. I found the day knowledgeable but would not recommend this as a good attraction, i hope to see improvements if i am to repay a visit, but that is higly unlikely.
Date visited: last summer
Review by Mike cain on 19th September, 2009
Add your review Date visited: 15/09/09
One of the few survivng heavy horse centres in the U.K,The horses are amazing,true gentle giants stepping out of the pages of Britains Historybooks.A must for anyone visiting Dorset,the staff and volunteers are the most dedicated people you will ever meet,the guided tour and wagon rides are great,but its the animals themselves that will steal your heart,you'll want to come back again and again.
Date visited: 15/09/09
Review by Sir David Harding on 20th August, 2009
Add your review Date visited: 20/8/09
Thankyou all at the centre. It has been some years since I was around such fantastic horses. What a wonderful place with the staff being so passionate about the care for these gentle giants.Plenty to see with factual talks & good humour. It is good to remember that without these horses & those who care for them our history would be something we could only access from a book or the internet. Thankyou.
Date visited: 20/8/09
Review by mrs gourlay on 15th July, 2009
Add your review Date visited: june 09
haveing worked there in the 80s/90s going back there with children of my own was sad for me as it will never be like it was a true heavy horse center but moveing on with the times my children enjoyed there few hours there but it is a tolaly diffrent place now good luck to the owners
Date visited: june 09
Review by Lisa on 27th May, 2009
Add your review Date visited: 24/5/09
We had a fabulous day at the centre. The staff were extreemly polite and helpful and we literally had to drag the children home at the end of the day. The only downside was that we felt although the food was pefectly adequate it was poor value for money - we wished we had taken a picnic. All in all a great day out.
Date visited: 24/5/09
Review by MARY on 2nd February, 2009
Add your review Date visited: aug 08
I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY I AGREE WITH THE COMMENT ABOUT CHILDREN WORKING AT THE CENTRE AS WHEN WE VISITED THERE WERE ONLY 2/3 ADULTS IN TOTAL THIS INCLUDED THE CHAP DOING THE TALK AND THE LADY IN THE GIFT SHOP ALL THE OTHER STAFF SEEMED TO BE YOUNG CHILDREN(LAUREEN IF YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING AT THE CENTRE FOR 2 YEARS AND YOU ARE ONLY 14 NOW) THEN THE OWNERS ARE CLEARLY BREAKING THE LAW AS YOU WERE NOT OLD ENOUGH TO BE WORKING THERE. THIS IS A CONCERN AS THE WORK IS WITH LARGE ANIMALS. AND COULD BE DANGEROUS.EVEN THE CAFE WAS RUN BY CHILDREN. NOT GOOD AT ALL.
Date visited: aug 08
Review by Lauren H on 9th November, 2008
Add your review Date visited: All the time!
I work at the Hea Horse Centre and i want to say that i LOVE it their after working there 2 years on the trot and only 14 i will never ever leave. When i am old and wrinkly i will remember this as the place i grew up in! All the horses are extremly well cared for it is very clean, and the staff are very helpfull. however you have to remember all horses do ocansionally nip. After a preson called Claire a couple below had moaned on here because her child was nipped, there is many signs saying horses may nip. However anyone will love it!!!!!!!
Date visited: All the time!
Review by Liz on 29th September, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 29th Sept 2008
The Dorset Heavy Horse Centre was a brilliant day out. We loved it. There are lots of animals other than the heavy horses and it is great to see horses that would otherwise be slaughtered given the care, veterinary assistance and attention they deserve. It is uncommercial, family-run and full of charm. If you like horses you will love it here.
Date visited: 29th Sept 2008
Review by Caron Dunnigan on 28th September, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 28 September 2008
Really enjoyed it here. Heavy horses as you would expect but I didn't expect so many bits and bobs for little kiddies to do. My 3yr old was occupied every minute and loved it. Very safe...pond fenced. Netted big trampoline, pony rides, tractor,cart rides included,great adventure hay barn with slides for kiddies, go cart ride,little tractor rides,bunnies,donkeys,pigs to see. Lots of picnic tables with toddlers garden toys like swing,slide,house to occupy them whilst you sit and eat,good sand pit area,climbing frame. So many little things that kiddies like to do. Older children like the haybarn,trampoline,go carts and get to go with farmer on tractor rides. Adults can drive a trailor. Theres a educational talk and into to the horses which I found really interesting,probably cos the guy doing it was really funny and interesting. We all had a fab day and didn't know it was so good there. Apparently alot of people don't know there is so much more there than horses. Really recommend in my opinion.
Date visited: 28 September 2008
Review by pamela ditton on 23rd September, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 7th july 2oo8
we went to the heavy horse centre twice this year,and had a wonderful time.it was not run down or dirty,in fact a lot of work had been down to it.smokey joe was in a bad way with his feet last year,but this year he looked wonderful we have been going there for years and it gets better every year.we have never been biten by a horse,in fact they are so friendly.we also sponsor horses each year.it is a wonderful day out and well worth the money.looking forward to going back next year or sooner.good luck to all who look after the horses. mr&mrs roger.
Date visited: 7th july 2oo8
Review by Claire on 3rd September, 2008
Add your review Date visited: July 2008
We visited the Dorset Heavy Horse Centre this summer with our 3 year old daughter and were completely unhappy and disapointed with the whole experience! It was dirty and run down with serious health and safety issues..overall terrible value for money. I would urge anyone NOT to visit this place if you want a good day out. We have visited many other attractions in Dorset which all represent value for money in a safe environment. After a truly awful hour we left after our daughter was bitten on the neck by a horse. We were supervising her closely at the time and could have done nothing to stop this happening. After not receiving any first aid, complaining and asking for our money back the manager was not even prepared to come and talk to us..we therefore left empty handed! NEVER TO RETURN AGAIN!
Date visited: July 2008
Review by Martin Mercer on 21st August, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 10/08/2008
Hello everyone......My name is Martin Mercer and my family used to own the Dorset Heavy Horse Centre along time ago back in the 80's and early 90's. I would like to add that the new and current owners are doing a fantastic and terrific job with the horse centre. I have visited in the past with previous owners incharge and was not impressed and truly upset. But I was overwelmed by the care and attention that the horses and animals at the centre are now recieving. It is so nice to be able to go back to my where I grew up as a child and remember the good times and see that the animals here are so well look after. Your doing a terrific job guys, keep it up. I would also like to add a little about the previous comments made about health and saftey at the centre. All of the horses at the centre are pure gentle giants, and they always will be, I expect all saftey precautions are made by the owners and there would never be any risk to anyone or anyones children whilst visiting the centre. But like I said before a truly magnificent and wonderful horse centre set in pure rural beauty in the south of england. Keep up the good work, I look forward to seeing the horses and animals again soon.
Date visited: 10/08/2008
Review by H. Harper on 18th June, 2008
Add your review Date visited: April 2008
Wonderful experience and day out run by a keen and enthusiastic team who look after horses that would otherwise have been put down. They are getting this centre back on it's feet having taken over recently.Ken Issac's comments are misplaced.You must accept responsibility for yourself and your children.It's legislation that puts small places like this out of business.If you feel you are at risk, ask for your money back and leave, which I'm sure Mr Issac did?!
Date visited: April 2008
Review by angela mihell on 21st May, 2008
Add your review Date visited: july07
Visited for 2nd time with four children aged 4 years to 14 years. What a brilliant time we all had. Its lovely to go to a place where the children can be free and not overrun by too many health and safety controls. As a responsible parent I keep an eye on my children! They love grooming the ponies, riding in the carts and having the opportunity to ride a pony. Where else can a 14 yr old boy get to drive a tractor? Good old fashioned fun. Definitely returning in 08. The children still talk about the horses now months afterwards. FANTASTIC
Date visited: july07
Review by Becky Smith on 19th May, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 18th may 2008
I thought the farm park was amazing all the horses are in great shape, as well as all the other animals at the farm like the ducks,goats,rabbits and my children enjoyed cuddling them all and mostly playing on the children frames we also learnt how to drive a tractor and horse and cart.What also made our day out so much fun was the welcoming staff,they always had a smile on their faces and bent over backwards for us and were always happy to help. eel the prices are good as uu only have to pay to get in and a pony ride,else everythink is free !!!Can't wait to come agen and see all the smiling faces including the horses !!!!!!
Date visited: 18th may 2008
Review by Maria Wood on 3rd May, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 02/05/2008
I would like to comment on the last persons review of the Heavy Horse centre as i have visited many times and it is great. The play areas are not supervised but then it is not a creche, children should be supervised by their parents when playing it is not a drop off centre. It is an excellent place to visit and considering the size of the horses they are very well behaved and it is extremely safe for people of all ages.
Date visited: 02/05/2008
Review by Ken Isaac on 8th April, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 02/24/08
Having taken my 3 year old gradaughter to the heavy horse centre I am concerned about the lack of safety measures that had NOT been put into operation. There were young children leading other young children on horse rides. None of the play areas were being supervised. I would suggest that a number of Risk Assessments be undertaken quickly. We were so looking forward to having a good time, but I am afraid that the lack of safety of the children did upset us.
Date visited: 02/24/08
Review by john pam on 10th February, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 7th july 2oo7
we have vistited the horse centre for the last 3 years,and have had a wonderful time. the horses are looked after very well and the owners are doing a wonderful job,nothing is to much trouble when you ask them anything.we intend to visit again this year when we are on holiday.we have been sponsoring shires for many years and are glad to see it back to how it used to be. carry on the good work. pam john
Date visited: 7th july 2oo7
Review by Rachel on 4th September, 2006
Add your review Date visited: 24th August 2006
Looked forward to our visit but where sadly disappointed. The overall appearance of the place was scruffy with poor quality childrens play facilities which were well past sell by date. Lots of dog mess also in childrens area. Horses stood kicking at doors and seemed unstimulated and bored. The old horse carts/wagons looked like they had been dumpted without thought. Stayed about 1 hour. Wouldn't recommend as not value for money.
Date visited: 24th August 2006
Review by John & Janet on 3rd September, 2006
Add your review Date visited: 2nd September 2006
We were very pleased to see Jerry a.k.a. "cowboy carter" working his old magic with the animals. We are overjoyed to see the centre revamped and tidy and all the animals fit and healthy, most of all - happy.We would like to congratulate the new owner on what he has achieved and look forward to paying many more visits.We feel we should all support centres like this as it is so important to them financially. Thanks for a great day to everybody who works at the centre. J&J.
Date visited: 2nd September 2006
Review by Mrs Lawrence on 28th August, 2006
Add your review Date visited: 27/08/06
I would like to say what a lovely time my family, friends and I had. The staff were very knowledgable, the animals friendly and the play areas excellent for the children to use up some energy while we sat and had a lovely cup of tea! We will definately be coming back again. Thankyou so much for making our day out so enjoyable. Sue Lawrence
Date visited: 27/08/06
Review by jill on 31st May, 2006
Add your review Date visited: 7th may 2006
We went to Dorset Heavy Horse Centre on Sunday 7/5/06. WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY.Could not get over how well run the centre is and the fact so much to do for kids and adults. The animals seemed so relaxed and happy. The new owner certainly had time to talk and answer any questions, he was very experienced. Well done keep it up, a wonderful day out.
Date visited: 7th may 2006
Review by Karen on 28th September, 2005
Add your review Date visited: August 2005
The best day of our holiday in the New Forest. The horses were fantastic but my non-horse mad 4 year old son loved the tractor ride and the mini tractors and the go-karts! The owner was the most interesting man who made the day memorable with his stories and anecdotes of the horses and the romany way of life. Can't wait to go back again.
Date visited: August 2005
Review by Shirley Glenister on 1st September, 2005
Add your review Date visited: August 05
We had been with a couple of friends about a month before and enjoyed it so much we wanted to take our Grandchildren. Well what a hit it was! they really didnt want to come away. They rode horses, groomed them, fed them and rode in carts, and wagons. Toby our grandson who is only 2yrs six months, drove a tractor (with the help of the owner) his face was alight, he tells everyone he drove a tractor on his own, he is tractor mad so it really made his day. We also wanted to see if the donkey had had her baby, and what a lovely litte thing that was. We will be visiting again, it really is such a friendly place, the people are all nice and nothing is too much touble for them. We Thank them all for letting us have such a lovely day in our holiday.
Date visited: August 05
Review by kimberley on 18th June, 2005
Add your review Date visited: 10.6.05
It is a great place, Cinderela the shetland was amazing,Jimmy trod on my toe and it was very painful that is how heavy shires are I now know why shires are called heavy horses,"ouch."It is a great day out, there is even a hospital pen for injured horses. There are also rabbits,guini pigs,goats,chickens and ducks for people who don't like horses as much.
Date visited: 10.6.05
Review by June on 17th June, 2005
Add your review Date visited: June
We bought a season ticket for the Heavy Horse Centre as we're local and the children love it! The new owners are excellent, they couldn't be more helpful and welcoming than they are. It's lovely to see the animals being looked after by people who genuinely care about their welfare and have a real interest in them. We always have fun at the Heavy Horse Centre, plus we learn something too!
Date visited: June