Visitors get glimpse behind the scenes at Redwings horse sanctuary
- Credit: Redwings Horse Sanctuary
More than 1,000 visitors got to see the vital work being done behind-the-scenes at the UK's largest horse sanctuary at a once-a-year public opening.
Redwings Horse Sanctuary opened the doors to its Norfolk base, in Hapton near Long Stratton, on Sunday and the event proved as popular as ever.
The special open day offered many behind-the-scene glimpses into the charity's work, including tours of its Horse Hospital taking in its operating theatre, intensive care stables and special care paddocks, as well as the four-legged patients currently receiving treatment from the veterinary team.
There was even a special tour for children where budding vets of the future had the chance to test 'itchy' Redwings mascot Red for pesky leg mites and have a go at looking through microscopes.
The open day also included the Rehoming Centre where trainers showcased the handling and riding skills they have been teaching a number of rescued horses and ponies who will soon be looking for new homes through the charity's Guardianship Scheme.
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There was also an opportunity to enjoy cuddles with donkey Esther and her mum Martha, who had travelled from their usual home at Redwings' Caldecott visitor centre near Great Yarmouth, to be guests of honour for the day.
Their special appearance was in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of their rescue from the horrors of Spindle Farm, Amersham – a landmark rescue Redwings has been marking this year with a series of fundraising initiatives to help care for its survivors for the next decade.
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More than 350 rescued horses call Redwings Hapton home. The open day helped raised proceeds going towards the 1,500 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules in Redwings' care nationwide.
Lynn Cutress, Redwings' chief executive, said: 'We were thrilled to see so many people return for this year's open day. It's always an honour to be able to give our visitors this special glimpse into what we do because, as a charity funded completely by donations of the public, none of it would be possible without their support.'
While Redwings Hapton opens its doors once per year, Redwings has five visitor centres nationwide open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10am to 4pm. For information, visit redwings.org.uk/visiting