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21 September 2008

Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Redwings is a well known horse sanctuary, with several shelters around the country.

I visited one of them for the first time recently and it was a wonderful experience.

The shelter we went to is one of the smaller ones, but the paddocks are large and beautifully maintained and the stable yard well constructed. I was very impressed by the cleanliness of everything. It’s not very often you get to see horses and find the paddocks spotless. I’ve no idea where they hid their muckheap, but there was no evidence of rose fertiliser anywhere!

We were greeted on our arrival by a charming lady at the gift shop-cum- reception centre-cum-cafe. After handing us some explanatory leaflets and giving us a receipt for a couple of rugs we’d donated, she gave us some directions and off we went. There were not many horses in the stables, as they are mostly out in the paddocks during the day, and they were enjoying the sunshine. Nearly all the paddocks have roomy shelters and those that don’t have good hedges and trees for shade or protection from the wind. We saw equines of every type, from Shires and Clydesdales to tiny Shetlands and donkeys. They all looked very happy and contented and in great condition. It’s sad to think that they’re all there because they’d been mistreated or neglected, but it’s wonderful to know that there are such places, staffed by dedicated people who obviously love the animals.

After we’d walked around all the paddocks with our little dog, Bouncer, and seen as many of the horses as we could, we popped Bouncer back in the car to sleep off his walk, and went back to the shop, where we purchased some gifts for Christmas presents (yes, I know, I don’t usually start Christmas shopping until November!) They have some beautiful things, mainly horse related of course, but also gifts depicting cats and dogs as well and a selection of chocolate, jams and preserves. It was also good to know that our purchases were going to help feed the horses and ponies and maintain the high standards of the sanctuary.

We took our lunch outside in the sunshine to eat before we left. The beautiful autumnal weather added to a wonderful day out and it’s so good to know that however much they’ve suffered in the past, the equines at Redwings will spend the rest of their lives being lovingly and expertly cared for.