#CoronaChronicles: Week Six

We know that adhering to social distancing and staying at home, effectively in “quarantine”, isn’t much fun.

But did you know practising good hygiene and biosecurity measures have always been second nature at Redwings? We even have our very own quarantine centre!

This specialist facility is where all the horses who are brought into the Sanctuary are first cared for. Here they are given all the emergency care they need by our welfare veterinary team and are assessed to ensure they are not carrying any contagious diseases which could go on to infect our herds.

Our care team at the centre wear PPE, including overalls, hats and boots, which are regularly disinfected, to ensure they adhere to our strict quarantine procedures and no diseases are accidentally passed between our new arrivals.

And while the horses at the centre are essentially in “self-isolation”, they still receive plenty of attention and love from the team until they are ready to leave and join other horses at the Sanctuary.

As you can imagine, this is a very busy centre and this hasn’t changed because of the coronavirus outbreak. At the start of the lockdown, we welcomed 28 new arrivals into the Sanctuary - taking our total to almost 70 this year already.

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Matilda shortly after her arrival at Redwings.

One of them was little six-month-old Matilda (pictured above), who was sadly discovered in a field in Norfolk in a very poor condition. She was severely underweight, covered in lice and suffering from a severe worm burden – without immediate help it was clear she would not have survived.

With no owner able to be found, we decided to offer her a forever home with us. We’re delighted to say she is doing very well, putting on weight and being thoroughly spoilt by her carers. For now, she will remain at our quarantine centre as we are keeping horse movements between our sites at a minimum during the lockdown, but we look forward to bringing you more news about her recovery soon.

Unfortunately, we can’t talk about many of our other new arrivals yet as legal proceedings are ongoing in relation to the majority of them, but we can reveal that one group of ponies has been named after NHS hospitals, in tribute to our fantastic frontline health and care workers. So, in time, we hope to be able to introduce you to Nightingale, Teddington, Radcliffe and their friends.

And we couldn’t end this week’s look at our quarantine centre without sharing this wonderful video with you.

You may remember the sad story of 31 Arabian horses rescued from desperate squalor from a site in Blackpool in 2018. Following the prosecution of their owner last year, the RSPCA looked for loving new homes for the surviving horses and we welcomed five in need of specialist care into the Sanctuary.

Sadly since their arrival, and following thorough veterinary assessments, the heart-breaking decision was made to put two of the horses to sleep when it became clear their quality of life was being seriously impacted by ongoing health issues as a result of their past neglect, including lameness, liver disease and problems with their teeth.

After continuing their recovery at the quarantine centre, the three remaining Arabs - called Mademoiselle, Natalia and Poetry - were transferred to one of our Norfolk sites and this week enjoyed their first turn-out on grass together. What a wonderful sight!

We can only bring you success stories like this thanks to your support. You can help us meet the challenges of the coming months, and ensure we can be there for ponies like Matilda, by donating to our emergency coronavirus appeal. If you can, please click here to make your donation.

Read last week’s instalment of the #CoronaChronicles here.