BREED: PRE - Spanish/Andalusian
LIKES: Soft mints, galloping hell for leather with Pete & rapturous applause
DISLIKES: Being told what to do!
SKILLS: Lying down, Spanish Walk, Bowing, Reverance, Jambette, Liberty Work, Garrocha, Dressage, Jumping
Storm is our absolute rock, he is our 'Black Gold' and the most generous and big hearted of horses you could ever find.
He adores performing, particularly Garrocha displays as he only has to share the lime light with Pete who he affectionately refers to as his 'lackey'!
He learns his parts in the shows thoroughly to the music and takes his work very seriously, having recently promoted himself be the company's 'Artistic Director'!
Storm takes great exception to being told what to do and therefore one tends to 'coerce' with soft mints in the event that (God forbid) a change should ever need to be made. Under no circumstances does one approach the matter 'direct line'!
He is utterly convinced that an audience, however big or small, has gathered there for the singular reason of seeing him and watching his performance and he revels in the atmosphere during his galloping garrocha charges as children gasp and ladies swoon (as does Pete), wondering whether he will manage to stop before the end of the arena?
Of course its all for effect, and as he swaggers out after his act to rapturous applause with a wry smile across his face, he is congratulating himself on his dexterity and the technical brilliance of his performance.
BREED: PRE - Spanish/Andalusian
DISLIKES: Having his face washed or teeth done
SKILLS: Spanish Walk, Piaffe, Rearing, Liberty Work.
Berry is a true gent! He is the type of horse who rises to any occassion and puts his heat into everything that is asked of him.
He may be a little older than the others, but he is still fighting fit and loves his work and performing in front of crowds.
In this years production of 'A Fairy Tale on Horseback' he is Prince Charming's steed, which he plays extremely well and he enjoys showing off his rear in hand which is something that he learnt this year - who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?!
In addition to being a wonderful display horse, Berry has also become a Dad this year two and has produced two beautiful little fillys with the help of his wives Amapola and Estrella.
They are a very happy family!
One of the fillys has a very unusual coat colouring known as 'Rabicano', which means that Berry himself has this gene, although not expressed on his own coat. It is quite exciting as you do not see this colouring often in Spanish horses and it gets stronger with age so we look forward to see how it develops and what his future sons and daughters inherit along with his dashing good looks and wonderful temperament.
BREED: PRE - Spanish/Andalusian
LIKES: Storm, indulging in hypochondria
DISLIKES: Being on his own
SKILLS: Spanish Walk, Spanish Trot, Piaffe, Passage, High School Dressage
Grasshopper is a talented, but unusual chap.
He could be compared to the cartoon character from Disney's Madagascar 'Marvin' on account of his extreme inclination to neurosis and hypochondria and is the type to 'self diagnose' all sorts of imagined ills!
However, in spite of this, he is a most valued member of the team who is a very highly skilled performance horse and who is also fabulous to ride.
He lacks Storm's bravado, being a somewhat more modest fellow and he likes to be ridden confidently and directed in the shows, rather than dictate them, which suits Natasha well and the pair enjoy showing off his exceptional passage and Spanish walk together.
He is a hard worker and very generous in the 'meet and greet' after their performance, where the audience can come and stroke the horse's noses. He always makes time to say hello to everyone, in particularly children and he seems to genuinely enjoy the attention.
Most of all he really hero worships Storm, which Storm loves of course, and Grasshopper is his grey shadow that follows him all over his field and across the UK!
The only time friction occurs is if Pete and Natasha decide to swap horses in the 'Paso Double' and Pete rides Grasshopper, then there is trouble.....! Storm, who as previously mentioned likes everything to be regimented precisely as he has learnt it, is enraged if Pete has the audacity to 'replace him' or change a part in the act and he makes his sentiments known by careering furiously across the arena throughout the Garrocha to make sure Pete never makes the same mistake again!
The first time this happened we thought it was just coincidence, the second time we realised it was retribution.....there is unlikely to be a third time, us Olivants learn quick!
BREED: Thoroughbred X Fresian
LIKES: His head and ears being massaged
DISLIKES: Any kind of sprays/Fun Fairs
SKILLS: Liberty work
Magpie is a wonderful horse, he has great presence and integrity and he just oozes wisdom.
It takes a long time to get to know him and you really have to earn his respect, he certainly doesn't give it away lightly and he can be quite formidable with people or other horses if he finds your manner... 'abrasive'. He soon lets you know in clear terms what is and isn't ok!
However, once you have proved yourself worthy and he lets you into his 'circle of trust', he's very loving and caring and he always looks out for his friends, making sure Billy doesn't get picked on by bigger horses, he is genuinely affectionate to those he holds dear-human and equine.
Out of the two of them, Magpie is far more sensitive than Billy and finds certain things like fun fairs quite off-putting, even as a seasoned showman, and it can lead him to be a little bit naughty if he feels justified. This is something that traditionally manifests when Billy has just hopped off his pedestal with the intention of trotting around and under Magpie's belly to perform his 'death defying stunt', but by the time he gets there (he has short legs of course!), Magpie has vacated his own pedestal leaving poor Billy in unscripted territory which quite takes the wind out of his sails!
However, blessed with a good sense of humour and a friendship going back longer than a decade, the two always find the funny side to any situation and love to get up to all sorts of mischief together on and off the show circuit!
BREED: Mini Shetland
LIKES: Food....of any variation!
DISLIKES: Being referred to as Magpie's baby!
SKILLS: Liberty work
Billy is a legend. He may be small, but he is big of heart and such a professional performer...you might almost call him a 'Diva'!
He knows he job and he knows his rights too and takes the Big & Little act very seriously, rarely making an unintentional mistake. If he feels those rights have been infringed and Natasha hasn't been forthcoming enough in the treat dispensing, he has all sorts of ways of 'missing his cues' mid performance and he is quick to remind her that the deal is 'no treat no trick'!!
He is very clear about his performing terms and insists on fresh organic hay (unlimited supply) for the duration of his booked event. He also stipulates that he does not go on tour without an entourage of at least one other be it Magpie or Bertie, who he likes to share his stable with as a security measure as he is conscious of his fame and keen to avoid being disturbed in the middle of the night by fans trying to steal bits of his tail as a souvenir!
One of Billy's pet hates is being mistaken for Magpie's baby, it makes him see red and he cannot understand why some humans are unable to grasp the idea that you get small horses in the same way that you get small dogs? Dont ever bring the subject up with him as he is very sensitive about his stature and liable to launch into a tirade againt 'Heightists' !
We always reassure him that he is perfectly formed and we certainly never use the word 'cute', having found that he prefers comparatives such as 'dashing' and 'hansom'.
The truth is though, we think he is singularly the cutest and most gorgeous furry black and white pony on the planet and our heart still melts every time he trots under Magpie's belly!
We consider ourselves very privileged to be his guardians and the ones who are able to straighten his forelock at home and sneak a cuddle if we can get one, not that he lets us very often though as he is way too cool for hugs! (He thinks!!)
BREED: Mini Appaloosa Shetland
DISLIKES: Nothing we have established so far!
SKILLS: Billy's PA
Bertie is our youngest team member and is a core member of Billy's entourage.
He joined us in 2013 after Billy had indicated he wanted a protige to pass his tricks onto and keep the Big & Little legacy alive after his retirement, thus Bertie was initiated into the herd. Of course he is still too young to do much in the way of learning, but he worships Billy and undertook his first public engagement this year at The Sandringham Flower Show as Billy's chief 'Shetland in Waiting' where he showed great promise as a wonderful future display star, taking it all very much in his stride and enjoying the public attention.
In 2015 he will start to do a little bit of simple liberty work, but it will be a few years yet before Billy can hand over the reins and retire to his villa in the Costa del Sol!
AGE: 18...or maybe older!?
LIKES: Cuddles and learning new things
DISLIKES: Anything Scary!
SKILLS: Dressage, Rearing, Spanish Walk, Crossing his legs.
Carlito has been with us for the best part of 10 years and he is our longest serving horse and equine friend.
He was given to us originally as a companion pony as he had a history of rearing up and going over backwards with his passengers, but we quickly realised that the reasons for this were his sensitivity and lacking confidence.
We did a lot of work with him and he soon understood that we were friend not foe, becoming the most devoted chap who really loved his work and he formed strong bonds with us his humans.
He will always be a sensitive soul, but he has learnt to control his fears and trust in us and over the years he has done displays, helped to bring up foals, been used to teach more refined riding skills as he is highly schooled and generally been a stalwart companion to us all, hence his nickname 'The Wonder Horse'.
BREED: Hungarian Nonius
LIKES: Racing around his field with Leggy/Itching himself on anything and everything!
SKILLS: Lying Down, Sitting, Bowing, Playing Dead.
Lid is an easy going chap who has had a very interesting life thus far....
He came from his homeland in Hungary in 2010 having run away to join Giffords Circus, where he heard there was a role in their production of 'War and Peace' that he fancied turning his hoof to.
After a season enjoying life on the open Cotswold roads as a performing equine star, he then took a sabbatical to work with Autistic children in Somerset for two years, which he enjoyed immensely.
However, bitten by the bug, he couldn't resist a return to the limelight and decided to use his skills and come and work for the Olivants looking for a slightly faster pace of life.
Since being with us he has proved a wonderful character, a distinctly good natured horse at all times who loves people and other horses and has a very polite way of always managing to be top of the herd in his field!
He does not see the need to over exert himself in a ridden capacity and sets a steady pace at all times, but he loves an opportunity to show off his routine of tricks and he always insists on a cuddle whether you want one or not!
This year he has excelled in liberty work, doing a routine at the Three Counties Show infront of lots of fans and he is now working on a liberty duo number with Magnifico, though there is some discussion about who is going first in the line up, which needs to be ironed out before we can bring this one into the public eye! Old rivalries die hard in showbusiness!