Redwings Horse Sanctuary has said goodbye to one of its most well-known and beloved rescued residents.
Boo, a blind Clydesdale cross, was put to sleep just before Christmas when it was no longer possible to manage his lameness issues and the arthritis in his hind legs.
The 24-year-old gentle giant lived at Redwings’ headquarters in Norfolk and came to the Sanctuary in 2009 after he was shot in the eye by intruders at point blank range with an air rifle.
“This horrific attack was doubly distressing for Boo as he had already lost one eye to cancer, which meant he was left completely blind,” said a Redwings spokesman.
“Having been advised that it would be kindest to put him to sleep, his distraught owner rang Redwings to see if we could offer Boo a last-minute reprieve and provide him with the specialist care he would need for the rest of his life.”
Redwings took in Boo and he went on to thrive for 12 years at the sanctuary.
Thanks to the help of his field companion Flynn, Boo was able to confidently explore his paddock and would even gallop to the fence line when he heard his name.
His “incredibly friendly” nature meant he was a very popular resident with Redwings’ supporters, especially during open days at its headquarters, and he often featured on the charity’s Christmas cards and gift items.
In 2020, his moving story was told in an animation, narrated by Stephen Fry, which helped to raise thousands of pounds in support of Redwings’ work.
“We’re incredibly sad to have had to say goodbye to our dear Boo,” said Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ Chief Executive.
“For me, he summed up just what Redwings is about – providing lifelong specialist care to horses who otherwise would have nowhere else to turn – and through our heartache we take comfort that we were able to give him so many happy years.
“His story of courage inspired many and he was always so popular with our visitors at our open days – and, of course, he lapped up every minute of attention which was wonderful to see, especially for a horse that had survived such a terrible act of cruelty.
“To see his paddock, which is just outside our administrative offices, now sitting empty feels very strange. Boo would regularly be found hanging his head over the fence in the mornings waiting to greet everyone as they arrived for work.
“In fact, when our vets had the unenviable job of breaking the news that we were going to lose him, there was a queue of staff outside the Horse Hospital as everyone wanted to give him a final cuddle.
“The Sanctuary will simply not be the same without him.”
Boo’s field companion Flynn is doing well and has been introduced to a new friend. In time, the pair will join a new herd together.
If you’d like to make a donation in tribute to Boo, contact Redwings by calling 01508 505265 or visit www.redwings.org.uk/donate