What makes a hero horse is very personal to the people who nominate- some have taken their place in the history books for deeds carried out in war; some are, or have been, cherished by their owners and riders simply for the joy they bring . Wellbeck, nominated by Stephanie Callen has rightly earned his place for the work he did as a Police horse in the 80’s and later as the pin up boy for Redwings, the Uk’s largest horse sanctuary, in Norfolk. He died in 2003 but Stephanie, who works at the sanctuary, explains why he was such a star and how his memory lives on.
Welbeck lived a very heroic life! Before arriving at Redwings in 1990, he had a busy career as a Police horse and he was actually on duty during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. He sadly developed lameness problems and arthritis some time later, which meant he was unable to continue his active life as a Police horse. Redwings was contacted by his owners who asked if we could give him a loving new home and we couldn’t resist offering this handsome boy a place at the Sanctuary!
Despite his arthritis, he lived very happily for another 13 years at Redwings and was even given a very special job – he became a member of the Redwings Adoption Scheme! This meant supporters had the chance to sponsor him, helping not only to fund his care but the hundreds of other horses at the Sanctuary in need. What a star!
Unfortunately Welbeck’s arthritis became increasingly more difficult to manage, and he was sadly put to sleep in 2003, aged 22. However, this popular boy has never been forgotten and last year his likeness was immortalised in a unique sculpture by Norfolk artist Connie Adam (pictured above) to become the special centrepiece of a new Memory Garden currently taking shape at Redwings’ Caldecott Visitor Centre. The Memory Garden is due to open this spring, and will provide a welcoming and reflective space for our supporters to remember lost loved ones, both people and pets, and – of course – the gorgeous past horses of Redwings, including our beloved Welbeck.
Although our headquarters are based in our home county of Norfolk, we have four centres based in Essex, Scotland, Norfolk and Warwickshire, and we also operate nationally with our incredible rescue teams working tirelessly to save horses and ponies. Indeed the vast majority of our residents have been directly rescued from a situation of abuse or neglect. We care for more than 1,500 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules every day at our farms across the country. We also have 500 horses living in Guardian homes through our rehoming programme.
Redwings Horse Sanctuary Hapton, Norfolk, NR15 1SP redwings.org.uk