Saturday 20th of November 2021

Redwings reflect on a year of horse rescue

More than 100 abandoned and neglected horses, ponies, donkeys and mules will now be spending Christmas in a place of safety and sanctuary.



So far this year, Redwings Horse Sanctuary has already offered a home for life to 120 rescued horses and donkeys, with a third of these having been rescued from desperate conditions found on moors and commons across the country.

Working with other charities, local authorities and local people, Redwings has turned its attention to the ongoing welfare crisis unfolding on moors and commons where the abandonment of horses by unscrupulous owners, indiscriminate breeding and a lack of food following adverse weather has seen many struggling to survive.

As well as being malnourished, many of the horses were found suffering from severe worm burdens, infectious disease and potentially fatal injury as stallions fight for food and territory.

The conditions encountered by the charity’s vets and rescue team inspired the launch of its ‘Moor for Horses’ fundraising campaign to ensure more horses in need could be offered a new home, receive intense specialist care and to break the cycle of suffering among these groups.

Reflecting on this year’s rescues, Redwings’ Chief Executive Lynn Cutress said:

“Although the Sanctuary is fit to bursting, we refuse to waiver in our commitment to rescuing and caring for those most in need.

“Redwings has been monitoring and rescuing horses from moors and commons for years, but wet weather and the actions of irresponsible owners has tipped the situation towards crisis point. And as our sanctuary is operating at maximum capacity it has never been more crucial for our vets and rescue team to lend their experience and expertise to local communities and local councils as well as fellow welfare charities to bring those horses most in need to safety and to put in place measures to improve the situation long-term.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly for horses in need this year, and those who have supported our Moor for Horses campaign which will ensure we can continue this vital work into next year and beyond.

“I’d also like to highlight the commitment of all our teams in-house and out in the field – our vets, field officers and care teams on our farms – who, as well as these larger operations, have shown as much dedication and care to the individual horse or pony rescue cases we have also taken into the Sanctuary so far this year”.

Redwings has made three rescue trips to Cornwall this year as part of multi-agency operations to assess the health of ponies on Bodmin Moor following which seven struggling ponies were removed and rehomed with Redwings in June and another 16 abandoned ponies were welcomed into the Sanctuary in September. 

Also in September, Redwings partnered with the Bodmin Moor Commons Council to lead a large-scale round-up operation of more than 160 ponies for passporting and microchipping, in order to formally identify the ponies with owners and those who had grazing rights on the moor.

Meanwhile, 14 horses were signed over into Redwings’ permanent care following their rescue from harsh conditions at Llangynidr Common, in south Wales, and another seven have found a new home at the Sanctuary after their removal from similar circumstances at Gelligaer Common, also in south Wales. Both rescues took place in April.

Since reaching the Sanctuary, the rescued horses from the moors and commons have been making steady recoveries although some still require daily veterinary treatment. They are also due to undergo handling training to help them trust humans again.


All the specialist care provided by Redwings is completely funded by public donations and those wishing to help are able to do so by supporting the charity’s ‘Moor for Horses’ campaign. Supporters can buy a beautifully designed t-shirt, bag or tea towel with profits from the sales going towards Redwings’ efforts to rescue more horses in need. Visit to get yours.

Arthur in ICU being manually lifted

Arthur in ICU being manually lifted

Arthur now

Arthur now


Looking happy and healthy, little Arthur has settled into his new life at Redwings Horse Sanctuary following his rescue from Bodmin Moor in June.

Arthur is one of a lucky group of 44 ponies who have been rescued by the charity this year from the harsh conditions of moors and commons across the country where horses are struggling to survive.

However, Arthur’s ordeal did not end with his rescue. The young colt, who is less than one year old, was given just a 10% chance of survival due to a severe worm burden.

As well as antibiotics, he received blood and plasma transfusions to boost his immune system but he was so weak he had to be manually lifted day and night by members of Redwings vet team.


Despite the odds stacked against him, little battler Arthur miraculously fought back to health and for the last couple of months has been enjoying living out on a grass field at the Sanctuary with the six other ponies he was originally rescued with.

For more information, visit, email or call 01508 481000.

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