Have you seen the message that has been pinned to a gatepost at the top end of Skaigh Lane since late April? Written by 11-year-old Emily, it has attracted the attention of all who pass and has sent them on their way with a smile:

I love Spice.
I’ve noticed that Spice loves rolling in the grass.
When I see her and she sees me, she walks over and comes to greet me.
Her muzzle is like velvet and she loves her carrots.
The flies gather around her eyes so I think a fly mask would be nice for her.
She’s beautiful and all sorts of wonderful.
I love her to bits and I want to spend more time with her.’

Rachel Francis, who lived in the village at the time, remembers Spice’s arrival; in the autumn of 1996 I saw a Welsh cob stallion being led down the road at Sampford Courtenay – such a stunning horse that I stopped to find out about it. Back home we had a great cow pony, Copper, and arranged for her to visit …

August 1997; I went to check Copper. The foal had arrived, a stroppy one, kicked back with both legs and went off down the field squeaking, looked just like her father. Spice was a strong personality from the outset. We backed her at four and by the time she was five I was riding her out on the moor. Across the years lots of people have enjoyed riding out on Dartmoor on this great little horse including all three of my sons. She has rounded up sheep and cows, she has cleared the range for the army, she has taught quite a few people how to ride and she has been a part of the farm, staying there all her life. I always look out for her when passing through.

Margaret Martin, Rachel’s mother-in-law, checks on Spice every day; We did try a fly mask on her but she just shook it off. Spice has been retired a year now. I bring her water and hay and move her between three different fields. She’s a lovely horse.

Emily would agree, having looked out for Spice ever since she first visited Belstone when only four years old. Nothing pleases her more than when Spice is in the paddock next to the lane.

Chris and Marion Walpole