Norfolk horse sanctuary provides a new friend for Bilbo

Bilbo and FleetwoodPicture: Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Bilbo and FleetwoodPicture: Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk horse sanctuary has helped to forge a friendship between two similar looking horses that will help people understand more about welfare of the animals.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary, which has its headquarters at Hapton, near Long Stratton, has lent a helping hand to the Wood Green animal charity by sending it one of its horses.

Wood Green approached Redwings for help while looking for a new friend for their horse Bilbo, who lives at their Godmanchester site near Cambridge and whose best friend of 10 years, Cherokee, has died.

Knowing how devastating it can be for a horse to lose a companion, the Redwings rehoming team quickly identified black cob Fleetwood, who was living at the charity's headquarters at Hapton, as a suitable new friend for Bilbo.

Fleetwood, now five years old, was one of 23 horses rescued by Redwings from a site in south Wales in 2012 having been found in an upsetting state of neglect.

However, fully recovered from his previous ordeal and having completed his training, Fleetwood has now formed a strong bond with Bilbo and they are both helping to educate visitors to Wood Green about the importance of horse welfare.

Rachel Angell, Redwings operations and rehoming manager, said: 'It can be incredibly heart-breaking for a horse when they lose a long-term companion so we were more than happy to help Wood Green find a new friend to lift Bilbo's spirits.

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'With his fun and friendly character, Fleetwood deserved to find a loving new forever home and we're thrilled that he has found that with Wood Green, especially as he and Bilbo will be teaming up to help spread the word about the importance of horse welfare, which is central to everything we do here at Redwings.

'We hope they'll be really happy together and enjoy many new adventures.'

Charlotte Ford, Wood Green's section manager for field rehoming, added: 'After meeting Fleetwood I was amazed at how similar he looked to Bilbo – they look like twins.

'His demeanour and character is very similar to Bilbo too, and although Fleetwood is a lot younger, Bilbo is very much young at heart and needed someone to play with.

'Seeing Bilbo's face when Fleetwood turned up was priceless and I can happily say that they have bonded very quickly. Bilbo's spirit has lifted and Fleetwood has been very accepting of his new home and family. Thank you so much Redwings.'

For more information about the Redwings Rehoming Scheme, how to apply and details on the latest horses looking for a new Guardian home, visit

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