Three gentle giants arrive at Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has welcomed three magnificent Shire horses following the closure of a rare breeds country park.

The trio – Fusilier, Duchess and Major – were offered a place at the country's largest horse sanctuary after their former home was forced to close due to lack of funding. Shires are known for their size and power and the trio certainly live up to their reputation, with one of the three – 12-year-old Fusilier – standing at an impressive 18.2hh. The other two – three-year-old Major and Duchess, aged 19 – are not far behind in size and they made for an imposing sight on arrival at Redwings' Norfolk HQ. Major is a grey Shire x Percheron with Duchess being his Shire mother.

Redwings agreed to make room for these gentle giants as, owing to their size, Shires' demands far exceed those of a normal horse, and in particular Duchess, an elderly mare who may need extra care to keep her happy and healthy.

Redwings Sanctuary Farms Manager Emma Lacey said: 'The group have always been together, so to separate them at that point in their lives was not an option. However, to find a private home willing to accept three such demanding horses was virtually impossible in this current climate.

'We are currently at capacity at the sanctuary, with only exceptional cases being considered.

'These three horses are just that – exceptional.'

Although still officially listed as a 'rare breed', Shires numbers are now stabilising as people fall in love with their placid, calm nature.

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Emma added: 'After settling in at our Norfolk HQ, it is hoped they will be able to move to one of our four visitor centres, where our supporters will be able to meet and greet these magnificent horses for themselves.'