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A record-breaking crowd enjoyed a day of exclusive tours, demonstrations and horsey cuddles during a special Open Day at our headquaters in south Norfolk on Sunday.
The event at Redwings Hapton, which is normally closed to the public, attracted over 950 people and raised more than £4,600 towards the care of the 1,500 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules living at the Sanctuary nationwide.
The day offered many behind-the-scenes glimpses of our work, including tours of our Horse Hospital taking in its operating theatre, intensive care stables and special care paddocks, as well as all the adorable four-legged patients currently receiving some extra TLC from the veterinary team. There was even a special tour just for children where the budding vets of the future were invited to practise their bandaging skills on our cheeky mascot Red!
At the Rehoming Centre, our team showcased the handling and riding skills they had been teaching a number of rescued horses and ponies who will soon be looking for new homes through the our Guardianship scheme.
There was the opportunity to meet horsey guest of honour Maya, a popular Adoption Star and one of our very own real-life Black Beauty. A special meet and greet with Maya was accompanied by a reading from a chapter of Black Beauty by Chief Executive Lynn Cutress in honour of the 140th anniversary of the beloved novel’s publication.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service also gave a fascinating and dramatic demonstration of how they rescue animals in tricky situations using their training model horse Randy!
This was the first open event to take place at Redwings Hapton for three years following extensive buildings work at the site and an outbreak of the contagious disease strangles in 2015.
Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ Chief Executive, said: “Having not been in a position to host an Open Day at our Hapton site for a few years, the response and positive feedback we received truly was overwhelming! We want to thank everyone who supported the event, as well as the hundreds of people we know made trips to our usual public visitor centres across the country at the weekend.
“It was an honour to be able to give our visitors to Hapton a glimpse at the important work that goes on behind the scenes at Redwings. Their incredible generosity on the day in terms of the donations they made and their purchases at our various charitable sales could help fund over 150 training sessions for rescued horses looking for new loving Guardian homes - just like those they saw at our Rehoming Centre.”
Following the event’s success, plans are already underway to repeat the Open Day in 2018.