Rare Breed Bonanza at Redwings!

Two extremely rare Suffolk Punches have arrived at the Redwings centre in Norfolk.

Wilf and Stanley, two Suffolk Punch geldings, were rescued by Redwings Field Officer Julie Harding and World Horse Welfare’s Jacko Jackson from a site in Norfolk after they had been found being kept in a tiny barn. Wilf was suffering from severe sweet itch that had caused the majority of his mane to fall out, while both had very poor feet that had not been trimmed in some time.

The two horses, both 16hh and 7-years-old, have been together since birth and are firm friends. Their owner agreed to sign them over to Redwings so they could receive all the treatment they needed.

Julie said: “We are just so glad these horses will be able to get all the proper care they need and that they are able to move about freely at last. We feel so privileged to have two such stunning chaps in our care and we hope they will soon be able to go to one of our visitor centres so our supporters can see these magnificent and historic creatures close up.”

The iconic Suffolk Punch (or Suffolk Horse) is the oldest breed of heavy horse in Great Britain. Their lineage can be traced back to the 16th century. They were used across East Anglia for hundreds of years for farming but the industrial revolution caused a devastating decline in their numbers and in 1966 there were just nine foals born in the whole of the UK. Thankfully action was taken before it was too late and although they are still included on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust watchlist as critical (less than 300 registered breeding females in 2014), population numbers are now on the increase thanks to the efforts of charities and the breed societies. They are always chestnut (known as ‘chesnut’ for this breed only).

SEP14 News Wilf Stanley