Farewell to charity’s much-loved gentle giant

  • Digger the biggest horse ever cared for by World Horse Welfare has been put to sleep aged 14 years old.

    The much-loved 19hh adoption horse died on 21 November after struggling with recurring abscesses.

    Tributes have poured in for the “loveable character” who was a popular ambassador for World Horse Welfare always enjoying meeting visitors.

    “Digger captured the hearts of so many people from not only the UK but around the world. He will be sadly missed by each and every one of us here at World Horse Welfare,” said Eileen Gillen, manager at the charity’s Belwade Farm centre.

    The towering Clydesdale arrived at the charity’s centre in Aberdeenshire in 2007 as a four-year-old.

    His owner had asked for help when Digger was growing fast and started to have problems with the joints in his hind legs.

    After extensive rehabilitation and veterinary care the gentle giant regained confidence and continued growing.

    Standing 9ft tall he was soon spotted by the Household Cavalry Mounted regiment who took him on a two-year training programme to become a drum horse.

    Digger took part in preparations for the Royal wedding and major general parades but did not enjoy busy London life.

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    In 2012 he returned to the Scottish Highlands to become Belwade Farm’s adoption horse.

    Over the last few months Digger had become subdued and withdrawn and when his condition showed no signs of improvement on the advice of vets he was put to sleep.

    “Digger was not only an amazing personality, loved by everyone who knew him but also a fantastic ambassador for the charity,” said Ms Gillen.

    “Despite losing his mother at just a few weeks old and battling a number of problems due to his extraordinary size, Digger led an inspiring life,” she added.

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