The Rainbow Farewell: Celebrating the Life of Redwings’ Oldest Resident

In the universe of equine lovers, we often make profound connections with our hoofed companions that span many years. But sometimes, one such creature touches countless lives and leaves a void that is palpable when they leave us. This particular story is about Willow, a 46-year-old mare residing at the well-known Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

The Tale of Willow: The ‘Golden’ Mare

Willow, a mare of Welsh lineage, was a treasured gem at the sanctuary having spent over two decades there. Her advanced age is a testimony to her incredible vigor and health, a rarity among equines. However, this golden oldie faced a “sudden and severe” instance of colic on 15th March that prompted the staff to make a heart-wrenching decision to end her pain.

Despite the experienced team’s best efforts, who rushed to Willow's aid at the earliest, her condition couldn't be revived without prolonging her pain. Willow arrived at Redwings in 2003, following a legal case handled by the RSPCA. Initially wary of people due to minimal handling earlier, she adapted quickly and became a beloved figure among staff and visitors alike.

Willow’s Impact

Redwings' veterinarian Dawn Trayhorn expressed her sentiments, “While Willow’s grand age was rare, the specialist care we were able to provide her, thanks to our supporters, played a massive role in her enjoying such a long and healthy life, and I’m so proud to have been a part of that.”

Expressing her affection for Willow and the void left by her demise, she said, “She was so loved by so many, and I feel for everyone who is grieving at this news. I’ve never known so many people come to say goodbye to a pony.” Trayhorn reminisced about the touching incident when, after the tragic demise of Phoenix – a foal who suffered grievous injuries in a stable fire, a rainbow had appeared above the sanctuary for the first time. Coincidentally, as Willow breathed her last, a similar rainbow was witnessed again.

Willow as an Inspiration

Willow's long life and peaceful demise remind us all of the cruelty-free care and love that equines deserve, especially those rescued from compromising circumstances. Willow served as a beacon of hope for all the residents at the sanctuary and the incredible love she received from people nationwide on her birthday, and her formidable spirit will not be forgotten.

In a world where equines are often subjected to ill-treatment, Willow's story stands as an inspiration for equine welfare organizations and individuals alike. If given proper care and protection, these magnificent creatures can live well into their twilight years, brightening the lives of those around them.

In Memory of All Golden Oldies

Willow, being rightly addressed as the "most golden of golden oldies", shall not only be remembered by the staff and visitors at Redwings but by all equine lovers worldwide. Her memory serves as a gentle reminder of the immeasurable impact a creature can have, intertwining her life with others in such a way that even her departure births a spectrum of colours in the form of a rainbow.

In conclusion, while the loss of Willow evokes a deep sense of sorrow, her enduring legacy will continue to touch many in the years to come. She'll inspire many more sanctuaries and individuals to create a haven for those equines in need, providing them a chance at a happy, dignified, and enriched life.

References: Horse & Hound