Nearly thirty years ago, I adopted a beautiful white pony called Polly from Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Norfolk. I always said that if I visited Norfolk I would visit the sanctuary and go and see her. Unfortunately, Polly had to be put to sleep in 2006 after living at Redwings for twenty two years and I never got the chance to meet her.
On the Sunday of our holiday, which happened to be my birthday, we decided to visit Redwings. They now have five centres situated around the UK with two of them in their home county of Norfolk. The Aylsham centre was the closest to where we were staying so that's the one we decided to visit.
The first thing that struck me was how big the sanctuary is. The lucky horses which are rescued and come to live at Redwings must live out their days very happy. They've got a great amount of space, company from other horses and are most obviously well looked after. What more could a horse want.
Apples were being thrown into this paddock and it didn't take long for the horses to notice, they all came running hoping to grab a tasty snack.
This is Ronnie, a miniature Shetland. He shares his paddock with Reggie and Baby Face Nelson, and they're known affectionately as The Gangsters. They came to Redwings after their owner died.
I'm not sure why Taz was in his stable rather than out in the fields. He's such a beautiful boy, happy to come to the front of the stable for a cuddle. I'm going to whisper this so that the other horses don't get jealous but he was my favourite if I'm being honest.
The horse on the left is Maya, a black Friesian mare who came to Redwings with six other horses after being found at a site in Essex in a terrible state of neglect. Their owner was found guilty of causing suffering.
Cookie reminds me of a spotty Dalmation dog. She must have a problem with her eyes as she's wearing a hood to keep the flies out of her way.
There's donkeys at Redwings too. These gorgeous animals need company and both Wiggins and Wacko had suffered from loneliness before arriving at the sanctuary. They're now the best of friends.
These Horse Facts, and lots more like them, are fastened to the fences around the paddocks.
You didn't think I'd been to Redwings and not adopted a horse did you? This gorgeous boy is Gulliver. He was rescued by the RSPCA at just a few days old, along with his mother, Cinders. They'd both been abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Cinders became severely malnourished as she was using the little food that she could find to provide milk for Gulliver. They were both given a home at Redwings and as Gulliver is such a friendly chap, he was an ideal candidate for the Adoption Club.
Adopt an animal for charity is number 43 on my 50 before 50 list so that one can now be crossed off.
All in all, Redwings cares for over 1500 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules every single day at one of their sanctuary sites around the UK, with the Aylsham site having 50 residents.
Do take a look at the Redwings website, it's very interesting and informative and if you feel inclined, you're able to adopt a horse online there too.
It was a lovely day out and I was really pleased that I'd chosen to spend my birthday with these beautiful horses.