A ‘special old lady’: mare’s 45th birthday marked with singing and cake

  • A “special old lady” who was rescued 20 years ago has celebrated her 45th birthday with singing, cake and a special party.

    Redwings Horse Sanctuary said Welsh mare Willow enjoyed the attention of staff as they marked her milestone on Sunday (22 January) at the charity’s Norfolk headquarters.

    “Willow’s carers organised a party to mark the occasion,” a Redwings spokesman said. “Colleagues from the care and veterinary teams came together to sing Happy Birthday and give her a cake, made of horse feed.”

    Willow was 25 when she arrived at Redwings in 2003 with another pony, both rescued by the RSPCA. Both had been broodmares and had had very little handling.

    “They were nervous of human interaction and in need of Redwings’ handling expertise,” the spokesman said. “Thanks to the time spent at the sanctuary, Willow is now a sweet and gentle pony, who enjoyed the fuss made of her by her carers during her party, which also involved celebratory banners and a special rosette.”

    Willow is Redwings’ oldest resident; retired adoption star Muffin the mule is nine years her junior at 36.

    “Willow is such a special old lady, we had to mark her big birthday with a party!” said Redwings vet Sarah Prior. “Even though she is our oldest pony she is in good health and, with careful management according to her age, she continues to thrive.

    “As her teeth are old and worn, she is now one of our ‘no long fibre’ ponies, which means she is not able to chew hay properly any more. Instead, she is fed a special diet for senior horses consisting of regular, soft feeds which are delivered to Willow throughout the day, and even by our nights team.”

    Willow also has four-monthly dental examinations and is on medication to manage her arthritis.

    “Beyond this routine care, she very rarely has to pay a visit to see us at the horse hospital, and she continues to enjoy life out in her paddock with some of our other golden oldies!” Sarah said.

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