A horse believed by a horse sanctuary in Essex to be one of the oldest in the world has died aged 50.

Orchid arrived at Remus Horse Sanctuary in January 2014. She was a firm favourite at the Essex centre and died on Thursday (8 October) aged 50.

The mare was suffering from colic on Wednesday and the vet was called. Despite having a “comfortable” night, she colicked again on Thursday and was put down.

Orchid had quite a character and was popular at the yard.

“Every morning she would bang on her stable door for her breakfast and not stop until she got what she wanted. As an occasional treat raspberries were a particular favourite as she could suck on them,” said a groom at the centre.

Before arriving at Remus Orchid had been a broodmare, but had been mistreated and was taken in for further care.

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Sue Burton, founder of the Sanctuary, said it was a “devastating decision” to have to put the horse down.

“Orchid was a beautiful girl, but we have to do what is right for the animals, not ourselves,” she said.

“With the care she received here, she put on weight, gained strength and her health improved massively within weeks of arriving at the Sanctuary.

“Her time here was a happy one, it was easy to see, especially with her new friend Guinness. We’ve got lots of memories and some lovely photos.”