What's happening

30 October 2017

Back to School with Red's Shed: Creepy Critters!

Hello, Red here, with a spooky Back To School lesson today as it’s Halloween! Mwah-ha-ha-ha…
Do you like spiders? Are you a fan of creepy critters? I don’t know about you, but I get scared quite easily by those sorts of things and if I could, I’d hide behind the nearest hay stack! 
Unfortunately, there are some things that we horses sometimes have to live with that will really make you go “ewwww!”... and it wouldn’t be Halloween if I didn’t tell you what some of them were! 
These aren’t very nice! Horses usually pick these up while grazing in long grass, and they aren’t a lot of fun, because they can spread some nasty diseases. They’re better known as bloodsuckers (yuck!) and it’s really important that we are checked for these regularly as they could be anywhere on the body!
These are really tiny – in fact, they’re so small that it’s really difficult to see them. They normally affect horses who have lots of ‘feather’ on their legs, like cobs, and it can really cause lots of irritation and soreness. Because they are so difficult to see and they hang around for a long time, it’s really important that a vet is seen to treat these!
We all know about midges – those buzzy, bity flies that annoy everyone that they come into contact with, two-legged or four! Have you ever heard them, especially in the summer? If they bite us, they can cause lots of problems, including something called ‘sweet itch’ which is an allergic reaction to biting midges. Ouch!
All horses (including me) can have worms, and they live in our intestines. They don’t cause any problems if there aren’t many of them, but if they are allowed to build up, they can be really bad for us and make us very ill.
We also get affected by things like lice, horseflies and bots, ew! Find out much more about them – if you dare – by clicking and downloading our fact sheet here!
And however you’re celebrating, have a happy and safe Halloween!


27 October 2017

Hazel and Anna 'trot' for Redwings!

We’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Hazel and Anna, and their mum and dad, for being such brilliant Young Reds by fundraising to help us look after our horses and donkeys at the Sanctuary.

They decided to put on their walking boots and doing a 12 mile sponsored walk – that’s a really long way. It makes us tired just thinking about it – but they did it, and in the photo you can see the family after they completed their journey!

Their friends and family donated really generously and they raised a HUGE £162.66 for Redwings, which will pay for a whole month of rehabilitation for one of our four-legged friends, with some left over! Thank you so much!

Have you raised money for Redwings? If you’ve been a fab fundraiser we’d love to hear all about it! Write to us at Young Reds, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Hapton, Norwich, NR15 1SP or email [email protected].


26 October 2017

Back to School with Red's Shed: Why do horses and donkeys wear rugs?

Hi, Red here – it’s time for another back to school lesson, so I hope you’re sitting comfortably!
When visiting Redwings, if you’re really eagle-eyed you might have noticed that some of the residents wear rugs (those lovely colourful coat-like-things you may see on a horse’s back) while others don’t. Why do you think that is?
It’s because every horse is different and our wonderful team make sure that each and every resident has exactly the care that’s right for them.

In the winter, a rug will keep a horse warm
Most horses can cope with cold temperatures – especially those breeds that originate from colder climates, such as Shetland ponies like Sampson! In winter, Shetlands grow thick coats to protect them from the cold and actually they would be too hot if they wore a rug on top of all that extra hair. 
But, some of my older friends need more closely looking after;  you’ll see them wearing a rug when it’s a bit colder outside, so they don’t have to use as much of the energy they get from food to keep warm! This is also true for breeds that originate from warmer climates, like Arab pony Aslan, who don’t naturally grow a winter coat of their own. 
Rugs protect horses (and donkeys!)
Rugs aren’t always designed just to keep horses warm. They can act as protection too – for instance, if one of my friends has a wound on their body, a rug can protect that area until it heals.. Rugs are also good for keeping off the flies in the summer.
As for donkeys, they often wear rugs when it’s wet – just like wee Amos here.Why’s that, I hear you ask?! It’s because their coats are not waterproof, as they originally come from Africa, and so donkeys weren’t naturally designed to cope with the rain!
Rugs help keep out the sun
Just like suntan lotion protects humans on a hot and sunny day from UV rays, a rug can do the same for horses. Some of our horses are particularly sensitive to sunlight and so they have to wear a protective rug to stop the sunlight getting through – just like Amigo the cob. If he didn’t wear a rug, his skin might get badly burnt! Don’t worry though, they don’t get too hot as the rug has been specially designed to keep them cool as well as protected from the sun. Isn’t that clever?!
Don’t forget, if you’re coming to see us at Redwings and you’d like to know a little bit more about any of my horsey friends, the very nice people who work here at Redwings will be more than happy to answer your question! How many horses can you spot wearing a rug on your next visit?


04 October 2017

Back to School with Red's Shed: markings!

Hi, Red here!

When you come and see us at Redwings, you’ll notice that a lot of our residents have a weird and wonderful variety of markings on them, making every single one look a little bit different! Have you ever wondered what they are called?

White face / blaze / stripe

These three are pretty similar but don’t get confused! A ‘blaze’ is a wide strip of white which runs all the way down from a horse’s forehead to their muzzle, just like Cauli in the photo! A ‘white face’ is similar but extends wider, past the horse’s eyes, and a ‘stripe’ is much thinner than a blaze.


This is anything from a tiny dot to a larger mark which can be seen on a horse’s forehead. It is normally diamond-shaped, which is why it’s known as a ‘star’!


This is a white patch on the muzzle, which could be any size.

Mealy muzzle

This is a funny name! It means that the horse’s muzzle is very light brown, and most often you’ll see this on bay horses. You might see similar markings on other parts of the horse’s body too.

Stockings / socks

‘Stockings’ are markings on the legs of a horse, that extend past the knee (hence the name!). If the markings only go up to halfway between the fetlock and the knee, then they are known as ‘socks’. A bit like socks and stockings that we humans wear!

Next time you visit Redwings, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with your new-found horsey knowledge! You can find out more by downloading our special sheet – which also tells you about some of the other markings you might see – here. Bring it with you on your next visit and see how many markings you can spot!