Martin Whitley, of Dartmoor Hawking and the Recycled Racehorse Falconry Team, is an inspiration. Devastating circumstances led him to his forte and now, he’s offering retired racehorses a second chance and a second career. And what a fine one it is.

Martin has had an interest in working with birds of prey for many years and only recently incorporated his love of horses, and subsequently ex-racehorses into his career. As the popularity of Falconry Days grew exponentially, he looked to adding Falconry from Horses days to top his repertoire, solely using retrained racehorses.

As an ex-racehorse owner and lover myself, my interest instantly grew. Based in the beautiful scenery of Dartmoor, their offering is unique and wholly exciting.

“I’ve been working with ex-racehorses on and off for 20 years now, but it’s only in the last 3 years that I’ve been using purely ex-racehorses and nothing does it better,” Martin explains.

“They’re quick on their feet, they cope well with the less than giving terrain of the Dartmoor and they’re so intelligent, they adapt to many different situations and take it all in their stride. They absolutely love it. They’re agile, versatile and have a trying heart of gold.”

“The 3 things I love most about ex-racehorses? Their agility, versatility and their heart.” 

As Thoroughbreds so often get a bad press, Martin is spreading some positivity, highlighting their talent and showcasing the diversity of what they’re really capable of. If an ex-racehorse can have a great Falcon, one of the fastest animals on the planet who can top diving speeds of 240mph, flying towards it and landing on its rider, then surely they’re capable of anything?

One of the unique offerings is that Martin’s base is of exclusive use to his clients. There are no members of the general public; exclusivity at its finest and a real day that revolves around you. Set on the beautiful Dartmoor and in the grounds of Bovey Castle Estate, space and scenery are both exceptional and plentiful.

“We offer a day’s tuition, using our own horses. The day would start with an introduction to the birds of prey, the way the various hawks would have been flown, and discussion as to where and why horses would have come in, followed by handling lessons to make sure you can carry a hawk correctly. Lunch at Bovey Castle follows before the afternoons sessions which will be spent working with Hawks and horses as you learn to work the two together. You will get to work with both hawks and falcons and the day will end with you flying one of our eagles from horseback. It really is an entirely unique opportunity and such a great day out.”

The Full days that Martin offers are a really fun, hands on experience of a lifetime. Great for team bonding, special birthdays and hen and stag do’s, it gives you a real life, close up opportunity to see into the world of these great birds and to see exactly how they work.

The Recycled Racehorse Falconry Team are available for displays to offer you an experience you’ll never forget. Whether you want to try Falconry from Horses at Martin’s base on Dartmoor, or have the Falconry team entertain at an event, their passion and Martin’s expertise will shine through. Village fetes, county shows, weddings as well as private functions offer a fun, hands on and interactive experience for the audience. “We can tailor our display to whatever requirements our client may have,” says Martin.

Just imagine having an owl fly your wedding rings down the aisle or the engagement ring when you pop the question. Yes it’s really possible…

Martin feels very lucky to be able share with you his real life passion. He’s incredibly knowledgable, talented and passionate. The result is a cocktail of fun and an enviable lifestyle.

“Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for. Mould your career around your lifestyle, not your lifestyle around your career.” 

For more information, to view Martin’s incredible collection of imagery and video work or to enquire about his services, please visit or like his page on Facebook now.