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  2. Please note that Exmoor Pony Project and Wild Pony Whispering updates, news and information can now be found at Thank you. Dawn Westcott
  3. OPEN LETTER TO THE EXMOOR PONY SOCIETY Without Prejudice To: Mr David Brewer, Chairman of the Exmoor Pony Society Dear Mr Brewer Re: Revocation of the Membership of Nick and Dawn Westcott to the Exmoor Pony Society Following your public, published statement about the revocation of our membership on the EPS facebook page and website, without any discussion with ourselves, we are replying to you openly: We note receipt of your letter of 22 July that you and the EPS Trustees have terminated our membership to the Exmoor Pony Society on 21 July, which is a great disappointment to us as well as a serious concern. This you have done without allowing us a right of reply and we are not guilty of any malpractice. We have done nothing wrong – only express concerns regarding EPS practices and the conduct of various officials, officers and members. This has included the illegal multiple hot branding of domestic Exmoor pony foals, certainly since 2007; excessively rough handling of foals and stock; unnecessarily high slaughter levels, aided by a complicated and obstructive inspection and registration system and unsupportive attitude; subjective registration and inspection practices; the refusal to embrace and preserve valuable additional genetics for the endangered gene pool; refusal to share access DNA information for further research; bullying, cronyism and intimidation and other issues outlined in our summary of concerns and various correspondence. The majority of the proposers of the resolution to revoke our membership are showing competitors and breeders (mainly hostile to ourselves) who will profit – and are already profiting - from our exclusion from the society, some of whom who directly and publicly try to discredit us and other moorland farmers. The EPS only supplied a statement substantiating its ‘allegations’ on 1 July, before which time it was not appropriate or possible to meet with the Trustees as we had no information to understand or respond to. You were advised to supply the statement by Mr Tim Brigstocke, the ‘independent’ facilitator you appointed without our approval or Declaration of Interest, at one of the preceding meetings. The confusing 30 page EPS statement contains various misinformation and in places, untruths, and the EPS did not allow sufficient time for us to read, take advice on or reply to it. In the myriad communications you bombarded us with, and which we had to expend considerable time replying to, it was made clear to you that the standard 20 working days was required by ourselves to reply to the statement - and that the Trustees would also need appropriate time to consider such a document before a meeting took place, if they were to be expected to make an objective decision. You only allowed 13 working days and set a meeting in the Midlands for 21 July, when you were informed that we had a long standing family holiday commitment on 21 July – so could not attend. Mr Tim Brigstocke accepted our reasons and requested that the meeting was rearranged. You failed to acknowledge his request and held the meeting regardless, in which you revoked our membership without receipt of our reply or discussion with ourselves. You also failed to supply a Declaration of Interest for the Trustees, or respond to our concerns that various of them could not make an objective decision due to their hostility towards us, including a violent, physical assault and an announcement overhead at the EPS AGM that this particular Trustee was going to ‘get heavy now’. Furthermore, it transpires that Mr Tim Brigstocke has close connections with EPS Official, Mrs Sandra Mansell (at the very least) through the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and FanGR, but you failed to declare this. We requested but failed to receive any opportunity to meet with Mr Brigstocke to put our side. The ‘facilitation’ was therefore conducted in a way that could be considered biased and to favour the EPS. We expressed our requirement for both of us to attend the meeting, particularly due to the severity of and sustained campaign of persecution executed against us by various of the EPS officials, officers and members (during which time has included ‘anonymous’ obscene telephone calls and death threats, the content of which is linked to previous long-standing abusive correspondence). You have remained intransigent regarding all discussion on all issues relating to this abuse and refused to take action against any of them for their bad behaviour. The proposers, and others associated with the EPS, continue to intimidate, denigrate and attack. A ‘Celebration’ of the revocation of our membership apparently took place at the home of one of the EPS Trustees on Sunday 27th July, which became public knowledge and was discussed at a local family horse show, and which has caused further embarrassment to ourselves as well as bringing the EPS into disrepute. EPS member and proposer, Peter Yates, has contacted and intimidated a supporter of ourselves, with the order to, ‘stop licking Dawn Westcott’s arse’. These are only two examples of recent continued bad behaviour. This sustained campaign is designed to isolate and discredit us, and intimidate others, and is a disgrace. It is also negatively affecting the image of the Exmoor pony breed. As the EPS has refused to follow a democratic and fair process with regard to the revocation of our membership, and has exercised blatant discrimination with regard to ourselves, and has denied us a right of reply and the opportunity to put our side, or discuss the issues, and has therefore acted to damage our reputations, damage our Exmoor pony interests and discredit us – we reserve the right to defend ourselves as necessary. As the EPS put the matter into the public domain on 12 April without discussion with us, or our permission, and its officials, officers and members have been denigrating us and discussing this matter in the public domain, and you have denied us the opportunity to reply, we reserve the right to discuss and set matters straight in the public domain, as we consider necessary. It remains a situation of serious concern that the EPS has asked the membership to vote on whether our membership should be revoked, without the membership understanding the situation or hearing our side. Many members are angry that the EPS would act in such an undemocratic and discriminatory way and many are also now fearful of being persecuted themselves if they express concerns about the society’s practices. A serious culture of bullying and intimidation is evident within the society towards those outside of the ‘core gang’ and this is becoming increasingly apparent. The members who voted on the resolution do not represent a majority of the members and it is therefore NOT the will of the society (as promoted by yourself to various people) that our membership was revoked. As the EPS has forcibly revoked our membership and obstructed our work with Exmoor ponies, which is comprising the reputation and potential success of our Exmoor pony stud and projects, we will seek recourse as necessary. With six foals and yearlings to inspect and register, we do not accept your increased charges as a result of being forcibly excluded from the EPS and we do not accept that you can obstruct us from vital stud book, bloodlines, DNA database and other essential information required to ensure best practice with regard to Exmoor pony breeding and management. By forcibly excluding us from our breed society and therefore cutting us off from that information, support and advice, we consider this to be a direct and unreasonable obstruction to ensuring good practice in Exmoor pony breeding and management. We also note that you have publicly stated on the internet that the EPS will be making a ‘detailed statement’ in the Summer Newsletter regarding this matter [the revocation of our membership]. We are notifying you that if you mention ourselves in any capacity whatsoever, without our permission, in a public document, that portrays us in a negative light and which could cause anyone to change their perception or opinion of us in a negative way, causing further damage to our reputations, or discredit us in any way – we will seek recourse. In our Interim Statement (not right of reply) sent to the Trustees on 20 July we made every effort to demonstrate our willingness to seek a progressive way forward and work together, for the good of the Exmoor pony breed. We said: “We suggest all reaching inside ourselves, taking hold of whatever grudges, negativity, dislike and other black things lurk there, taking it to a fast flowing river and letting the current carry it away. We suggest meeting around the table not to admonish, attack and denigrate or feed those negativities and perpetuate this mess – but with a new attitude. With smiles, friendliness – a new start. To discuss ideas without ego, pride, fear and bitterness – but with open minds and hearts and all united by a genuine love of Exmoor ponies. Let’s use this opportunity in the run up to the Exmoor Pony Festival to do what might look impossible to some. Let’s build the strongest ever bridge – for both people and ponies. Let’s bring the Exmoor Pony Society, the Exmoor Pony Club, the Moorland Exmoor Breeders Group, the Moorland Exmoor Foal Project, and the Moorland Mousie Trust together – for the good of Exmoor ponies. Let’s ensure the management teams are pure of heart, pure of intention and strong enough to stand up to and encourage those committed to nastiness, spite and rudeness, to quieten and join this new attitude. It can be done, if we want to see a bright future for Exmoor ponies. We’re willing. Are you? This is a situation very well illustrated by Dr Sue Baker’s sign post. We all know where one road leads. Are we brave, willing and strong of heart enough to take the brighter road?” The EPS rebuffed this and revoked our membership with no discussion with ourselves. This interim statement will be made available in the public domain. It is our opinion that the EPS officials and Trustees have acted in an undemocratic and discriminatory manner, and further, acted in a malicious and denigrating manner designed to destroy and discredit us, our stud and our Exmoor pony projects – and we consider that the EPS, under this management, is not fit for purpose and we will be contacting DEFRA, the Charity Commission and other appropriate authorities to protest about the persecution of ourselves and the damage being done to our Exmoor pony interests and to the image and integrity of the Exmoor pony breed. Yours sincerely Mr & Mrs N G Westcott Holt Ball Exmoor Pony Stud Moorland Exmoor Foal Project The Exmoor Pony Club
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