What's happening

06 November 2017

Back to School with Red's Shed: what's involved in owning a horse?

Hi, Red here!

When you come and visit me and my friends at Redwings, have you ever thought that you’d quite like to own your very own horse or pony? Or perhaps, you’ve decided that you want one for Christmas?!

Well, woah there… stop a minute! Before you can even think about owning a four-legged friend there is an awful lot to think about – we are very hard work and can take up a lot of time that, when it’s cold, you might want to spend indoors, or when it’s sunny you might want to spend with your friends!

You really need to love horses like me an awful lot to own one. We aren’t creatures that can be forgotten about at Christmas – we like getting presents too! Also, if you don’t like early mornings owning a horse probably isn’t for you. Every day of the year, in the very early morning and after school we will need attention, so it really is a big time commitment!

You’ll also need to enjoy getting your hands a bit dirty! You’ll probably have noticed that horses poo a lot when you come to see us at Redwings – and it doesn’t clear itself! Ewwww! You’ll need to make sure that you clear up the poo and also muck out their stables every day, which isn’t always fun, especially when it’s cold and raining!

Do you have much space for a horse at home? We like to roam about and so we need plenty of it! Did you know that horses, on average, need at least an acre of land to live in? If you don’t know how big an acre is, imagine putting a massive 150 cars together in one space. That’s a pretty big area!

I reckon you’ve probably already guessed that it costs a lot of money to own a horse. You might think that buying a horse might be the most expensive thing, but actually normally it isn’t – there’s the other equipment that you might need, like tacks and rugs, and then there’s the ongoing costs, like feeding, worming, a farrier (to look after the horse’s feet), a horse dentist, vaccinations, and more. It costs thousands of pounds a year to own a horse, and that’s without any emergency fees if your pal needs a horsey doctor!  

As you can see there is a LOT involved in looking after a horse so you really do have to think very carefully about whether owning a horse is right for you. It’s a really big responsibility and you need to be prepared to really commit to it! 

If you want to find out more about what it’s really like to own a horse, come and ask one of the lovely Redwings people next time you’re here. They will be really happy to tell you lots more!

Decided you’re not yet ready for a horse but still wish you could own one? Join the Redwings Adoption Scheme! You can get your cuddle fix and come and visit them – and it’s a great way to make a furry new best friend, and help us look after horses and donkeys too! For a donation of £15 a year, your pal will send you an adoption certificate, and regular photos and updates of what they’ve been up to, as well as an invite to their birthday party! Find out more at www.redwings.org.uk/adopt.


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?