Norfolk animal sanctuary celebrates award for promoting horse health

Redwings education and campaigns manager Andie Vilela, with the British Horse Society Welfare Award.

Redwings education and campaigns manager Andie Vilela, with the British Horse Society Welfare Award. Photo: Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Credit: Archant

A national animal rescue charity based in north Norfolk has been recognised for their 'innovative approach in promoting horse health'.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary, based in Aylsham, received the Welfare Award from the British Horse Society for their work providing equine care and welfare advice at Appleby Horse Fair.

The charity has been attending the historic fair in Cumbria, which is attended by thousands of Gypsies and Travellers, for more than a decade.

And in 2015 Redwings launched the Appleby Welfare Awards to celebrate the horses and horsemanship at the fair, with photos of the winners and rosettes shared across social media.

Winners of the Appleby Welfare Awards are chosen by the Redwings vets, and last year, award winners were took part in a video project where they were filmed sharing horse care advice, from the consequences of using inappropriate shoes to avoiding rub wounds.

Redwings chief executive Lynn Cutress said: 'Making the effort to break down the barriers between different horse-owning communities is so important because when we celebrate our common ground everyone is inspired to do more for horses.

'We'd like to thank the British Horse Society for this wonderful honour, all our staff who have made this project a success, everyone who has supported us, and our sponsor the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association.'

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And education and campaigns manager Andie Vilela, who was presented with the award alongside Ms Cutress on Friday, November 23, added: 'One of the really powerful aspects of the project has been to give a voice to responsible horse owners in a community not often heard.

'By recognising great examples of equine care, we hope to encourage more meaningful conversations about welfare.

'We know some horse owners are apprehensive about turning to welfare organisations for advice through fear of being judged.

'By embracing a positive approach through our awards, we're starting to see this change.

'Our vets are able to provide more preventative health care advice because fair-goers are not worried about speaking to them.'

The sanctuary was established in 1984, and is the largest horse sanctuary in the country, caring for more than 1,500 rescued horses and donkeys at ten UK centres.

READ MORE: Heroic rescue of severely neglected horses remembered by animal sanctuary