‘Hoofprints on all our hearts’: remembering a short life, one year on

  • A pony who left “hoofprints on the hearts” of many people during his short life is being honoured, a year after his death.

    Phoenix, the foal who was badly burned in a stable fire thought to have been caused deliberately – and in which a yearling died – failed to recover from a general anaesthetic on 19 October 2021.

    The coloured colt, who was taken in by Redwings Horse Sanctuary last August, touched hearts across the world,. He was overwhelmingly voted, posthumously, winner of the Stallion AI Services Pony of the Year title in the 2021 Horse & Hound Awards, held in partnership with NAF.

    “Today we mark the one-year anniversary of the loss of our beloved Phoenix,” a Redwings spokesman said, adding that the charity’s team had “pulled out all the stops” to give the tiny pony the care he needed.

    “We were all amazed at how this little pony who had been through such hell at such a young age could be so trusting and gentle and everyone truly fell in love with him.

    “Our incredible team of vets and veterinary nurses tried everything they could to save him, and were overwhelmed by donations of medicines and dressings from our supporters and offers of assistance from wound experts and veterinary surgeons from around the world – a team of expert nursing staff from a human burns unit in London even got in touch to see if they could help. But in the end the damage was just too severe and Phoenix sadly passed away on Tuesday, 19 October.

    “We will never forget the rainbow that appeared over the horse hospital at that very moment.”

    Redwings chief executive Lynn Cutress and head of veterinary services Nicky Jarvis collected Phoenix’s award at the H&H ceremony last year.

    “To see Phoenix recognised among the country’s top horses and equine professionals shows how much his story touched people’s hearts, which we hope will serve as a poignant reminder to everyone of the importance of treating all animals with the respect and care they deserve.”

    A memorial stone to Phoenix can now be found at Redwings’ Caldecott Visitor Centre in Norfolk. It features a picture based on one drawn by Georgie Hollis from Intelligent Wound Care, who “was a huge help throughout his care and wanted to envision how he may have looked without his injuries”, and the words: “In loving memory of Phoenix, who left hoofprints on all our hearts. Rise and run free, dear one”.

    “RIP little one,” the spokesman said. “We will never forget you.”

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