#CoronaChronicles 2021: Goodbye for now

Today marks the end of our #CoronaChronicles blog!

With lockdowns across the nation continuing to ease, the vaccination programme hurtling along and the exciting news that our visitor centres reopened today, it feels like the right time to step away from the computer keyboard.

In all honesty, we had thought – and I say this in the nicest way possible – that we had said “sayonara” to the #CoronaChronicles for good last summer, but obviously coronavirus had other plans.

Nonetheless, since the blog’s return in January, it’s been a privilege to once again bring you stories from across the Sanctuary and pay tribute to the wonderful efforts of our staff while our doors have been closed – and we hope it’s helped to raise a smile through some very difficult times too.

We’re not traipsing off into the sunset completely though. Your fantastic feedback on the blog means we’re going to turn it into a regular feature going forward – although we may look to change the name! Let us know if you have any ideas and keep an eye out for a new edition in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate what we have right before us and that’s the reopening of our visitor centres! After many months, we are so excited to be welcoming you back!

Redwings Aylsham and Redwings Caldecott, both in Norfolk, opened their doors today, and will be welcoming visitors every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from now on.

Redwings Ada Cole in Essex, Redwings Oxhill in Warwickshire and Redwings Mountains in Angus, Scotland, are now offering private visits on Fridays and Monday, and will open for one full weekend every month.

We just ask that you pre-book your tickets, please, so we can ensure the number of people at our sites remains at a safe level at all times.

To find out more about what’s on offer at each centre and to book your visit, please click here. 

And you’re unable to travel to see us, don’t worry! We’re still going to bring you plenty of images and stories from across the Sanctuary via our social media channels, so make sure to take a peek!

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Adoption Star Minnie at Redwings Mountains is looking forward to seeing everyone!

Away from the excitement of welcoming visitors again, another event has taken place this week which shines a light on the hard work that often takes place behind the scenes and why what we do remains as important as ever.

A Welsh horse trader was sentenced to jail and given a lifetime ban from keeping all animals having been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to horses and sheep. 

Since January 2020, Redwings has worked alongside the joint councils of Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan (who brought forward the prosecution), the police, the RSPCA and other welfare organisations to help the stricken animals and bring them justice, so we were delighted with the outcome.

Our Head of Welfare & Behaviour, Nic de Brauwere, assisted with the rescue and presented veterinary evidence to the court. He said, "This is by no means the first case Redwings has dealt with involving horses from this owner and the sheer amount of charity time, energy and resources that we have invested in protecting these animals over the years is difficult to put into words.”

The story has made national headlines this week, however, an appeal against the conviction has been lodged which means we can’t say much more about it at this time. We will bring you further updates when we can.

Everything we do to help horses in need, including our support of this case, is thanks to you. Your donations mean we can offer our expertise during rescue operations, keep our Horse Ambulances on the road and run our Horse Hospital. 

If you’d like to donate or set up a regular gift through direct debit, please call 01508 481000 or click here to find out more. 

Did you know that you can also support equine welfare by getting involved in one of our campaigns?

This Monday (3rd May) marks the start of Strangles Awareness Week – a special week organised by Redwings in collaboration with leading equine welfare charities and organisations across the UK (as well as Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA!) to get people talking about strangles.

Strangles is a highly infectious equine disease, but while it can happen to any horse, the stigma attached to the disease prevents many from speaking out about it.

Strangles Awareness Week offers the chance for horse owners, yard managers, vets and equine professionals to share their experiences and encourage support for those coping with an outbreak. If you have a story to tell, please keep an eye on our social media channels next week and get involved!

If you’re not a horse owner or don’t work with horses, you can still show your support. Why not share some of our content with your followers? And make sure to listen out for our special Speak Out On Strangles podcasts where inspiring people from across the equestrian community, including vets, farriers and international grooms, chat about their own experiences.

If you’re interested in finding out more about strangles, its impact and how we can all play a part in stamping out this devastating disease, these are a must-listen!

Now we’ve come to the end of our final edition, and in fine #CoronaChronicles tradition, we’re bringing you something truly heartwarming to send you off into the weekend with a smile on your face. And what could be more fitting than this?!

At the start of January, we brought you the story of Zac – an emaciated Thoroughbred cross who had been left in a paddock of ankle-deep mud with no food or water.

Over the course of the last few months, we’ve followed his progress as he slowly recovered, gained strength and weight, and went to live at our Aylsham visitor centre. Today, we share with you these gorgeous photos of him meeting his new field friends for the first time.

In the space of this blog series, our care teams – supported by you – have turned this beautiful boy’s life around. Just look at what we can do together!

Thank you #RedwingsAngels

Goodbye for now.

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Zac photographed when he was discovered in January, and pictured today!

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Being led to meet his new field friends at Redwings Aylsham.

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Zac will have a safe home at Redwings for life.

To read last week's #CoronaChronicles, please click here.