Redwings Shire horse Poppy waiting to be adopted

Poppy Redwings

Poppy Redwings - Credit: Archant

Redwings Horse Sanctuary's Caldecott Visitor Centre at Fritton opens tomorrow for the new season.

And waiting to meet the public will be the charity's special new Adoption Club star, Poppy, a 12-year-old Shire horse, who stands at a mighty 17.2 hands high.

Poppy arrived at Redwings early in 2013. She had lived in a private home with her mum, Lindsey, but was devastated when the mare suddenly died. Shires, like all horses, are devoted to their companions and the loss hit Poppy hard.

Her owners knew she would only recover from her grief if she could be around other horses, so they approached Redwings who offered a home for the special girl at the Sanctuary. Poppy soon settled down with the help of her new companion, another Shire mare called Gemma. Now Poppy's beginning an exciting new chapter in her life, as Redwings' latest addition to their popular Adoption Club.

Shires have a distinguished heritage as working horses and, in the centenary year of the start of World War One, it's worth remembering that draught horses such as Shires, commandeered in their tens of thousands from British farms, played a vital part during the fighting.

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Shires were valued for their intelligence, strength and willingness to work, and played roles such as pulling heavy artillery which smaller draught horses couldn't manage. Nearly a million horses and mules were in active service in the British Army by 1917, and it is estimated that over 200,000 gave their lives in the line of duty in the British Army alone.

Poppy can be adopted through the Redwings Adoption Club for £12.50 a year, which includes a certificate and two updates a year – or adopters can choose an online version to read her monthly blogs, watch her videos and even help 'care' for her, virtually of course!

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Find out more at The centre will be open every day 10am to 4pm, with free entry.

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