Shire foal beats the odds to survive and thrive

  • A Shire foal born unable to stand to a mare abandoned to face the winter has make a full recovery and is now trotting about the fields at Redwings’ Norfolk centre.

    Papillon was born five months ago to mother Tortoiseshell who was rescued by the charity last November.

    The mare was part of a group of 19 Shire horses discovered fly-grazing on a site in Bewdley, near Kidderminster in Worcestershire.

    No owner came forward to claim the herd, which meant ownership passed to the landowner, who asked Redwings for help.

    The charity joined forces with the Blue Cross, Bransby Horses, HorseWorld, World Horse Welfare and the RSPCA to round up the horses and find them new homes.

    Redwings took in six mares and named them all after butterflies: Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Cleopatra, Holly Blue, Painted Lady and Swallowtail.

    Blood tests and subsequent biopsies showed the horses were suffering from potentially life-threatening liver damage, but all have responded well to treatment.

    In the summer Cleopatra had a to be put down after a severe bout of colic, and a second foal, named Empress, was put to sleep after developing a blood infection but the others are doing well.

    Papillon was born with severely weak tendons in her legs which meant she struggled to stand initially.

    Her legs have now strengthened and she is making good progress.

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    “Handling such a number of heavy horses is a real challenge, but thanks to the efforts of our teams, these special Shires are now receiving all the care they need and they’ve already become beloved members of the Redwings family,” said Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ chief executive.

    “We were truly heartbroken to lose Cleopatra and then little Empress, but seeing Papillion go from strength to strength has lifted our spirits,” she added.

    All the horses have been given a home at Redwings for life.

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