Rescued hinny given own special paddock at sanctuary

Riley is a hinny - the offspring of a a female donkey and a male pony

Riley is a hinny - the offspring of a a female donkey and a male pony

A rescued hinny with severe behavioural problems is now enjoying life at Redwings Horse Sanctuary in a specially built paddock.

Prior to the build, the gelding named Riley was struggling to cope near other horses, especially mares, and was often seen pacing up and down his former paddock's fence line, crying out. He was so stressed that he was even losing weight.

Those caring for Riley built him a paddock close to Redwings’ dedicated Behaviour Centre in Norfolk, where there were fewer horses and no passers-by.

His new paddock was given extra high fence panels and its own service road so hay could be delivered to Riley even in the wettest, muddiest weather. His carers also decided to introduce two young donkeys, called Herbert and Stanley, in the hope they'd get along and Riley would have some company. 

Sarah Hallsworth, Redwings’ Equine Behaviour Manager, said: “We all held our breath as we had tried so many times to integrate him with other companions without success, but not only had we finally found the right equines for the job, it led to a total transformation in Riley’s behaviour.

“With his new paddock and friends, Riley stopped fence walking completely, there was little vocalisation and he at last began gaining weight. Now he was relaxed in his field, his aggressive behaviour subsided and his handling really progressed. He will never be free of all his anxiety, but with lots of specialist rehabilitation we hope he will learn to trust us.

“It’s an absolute joy to see him living happily with Herbert and Stanley, knowing that after all these years of trying we have finally been able to secure his future and give him the peaceful life he deserves.”

Riley has been joined by donkey companions Stanley (L) and Herbert (R)

Riley has been joined by donkey companions Stanley (L) and Herbert (R)

Riley came to Redwings in 2013 after his owner was no longer able to cope with the gelding's behaviour, was extremely aggressive and anxious. 

They had purchased Riley from a horse auction a year earlier after spotting him being dragged around the car park by a man threatening that he would be put to sleep if no-one offered to take him home. Riley had baling twine tied tightly under his muzzle cutting into his skin, and was covered in scars and bald patches.

His new owner took him straight to their vet who said poor Riley would only have survived another week if it had not been for their swift intervention.

To make a donation to support the care of Redwings’ residents such as Riley or to find out more about the charity, visit

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