A woman has been reunited with a horse she rescued as a foal, 14 years after he took up residence at Redwings Horse Sanctuary.
Christine Sullivan bought piebald cob Flynn from a sale when he was six months old, after spotting him underweight and suffering with a painful hernia.
Hoping that she would one day be able to ride the gelding, she took him in and restored him to health.
When Flynn began his training, however, he showed signs of distress when ridden that led to unpredictable behaviour. Christine got in touch with Redwings hoping that the charity’s behavioural expert might be able to help.
After assessing Flynn, Redwings decided to offer him a home for life where his handling issues could be addressed and where he would not need to be ridden.
Last winter, Flynn made the news when he stepped in to take on the role of companion to blind sanctuary resident Boo, who had lost his long-term friend and “sight horse” Oliver to an impaction colic.
Twenty-year-old Clydesdale Boo had previously lost one eye to cancer, but before coming to Redwings he was shot at point blank range in a cruel attack, resulting in the loss of sight in his remaining eye.
A calm and reassuring presence was required to step into Oliver’s shoes, and 20-year-old Flynn proved the ideal candidate.
When the story of Boo and his new companion made the press, it was spotted by Christine, who recognised her old friend.
“When I saw the pictures in the article I was almost certain it was my Flynn,” she said. “I sent pictures of the magazine article to my friends to see if they thought it was him too. It was the ears that did it; Flynn has such distinctive ears, one is half black and half white!”
Christine later travelled from Leeds to Redwings headquarters in Norfolk for an emotional reunion with the cob.
“When I first rescued Flynn I promised him I would never let anything bad happen to him ever again, and seeing him now I can see that because of his life at Redwings and the wonderful care he has been given, that has come true,” she added. “It’s so lovely that he has also found an extra special job as a friend for blind Boo too.”
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Redwings’ Chief Executive Lynn Cutress said: “We are delighted that Christine and Flynn have been reunited after all these years and to be able to show her how her hard work in his rescue and care paid off.
“Stories such as that of Boo and Flynn represent exactly why we exist as a sanctuary; we are so fortunate that thanks to our supporters we are able to provide the special care that each individual horse needs and to provide a home where they are able to live happily. It’s been wonderful and incredibly touching to see the friendship between Flynn and Boo flourish.”
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