Our horses live out all year round (unless they are under veterinary care), because this is the most natural lifestyle for them. Horses are by nature outdoor animals and they thrive from the fresh air and exercise that this gives them, not to mention the companionship they get from being with their herd.
For our more elderly residents the freedom means they can stretch their legs and exercise as much or as little as they wish, while for the younger horses and ponies, they get to burn off all their excess energy and have fun!
As you walk around our visitor centres, you may spot a few horses wearing mesh visors on their heads. Don’t worry – they can see perfectly well through them, they’re just like wearing sunglasses!
The visors protect horses from pesky flies which are attracted to the liquid produced by the horses’ eyes to help keep them clean. They also protect horses from sunlight. Some of our residents have pink skin around their eyes, which can easily burn, so a visor filters out the harmful UV rays. They may also be wearing visors for veterinary reasons.
It’s common for us to answer questions over winter about horses not wearing rugs. For humans, when the temperature drops into single digits it’s very chilly, but for horses and ponies anything over five degrees can still be balmy!
So, at Redwings, we only rug our horses that really need it – usually the horses that are very young, very old, or tend to lose a lot of weight over winter get an extra layer. The rest of our horses use their natural resources to stay warm – whether that’s the forage and feeds they’re given over winter, or through their own physiological resources like generating heat through digestion, or their thick, fluffy coats!