Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Fairytale adoption ending for Redwings' Rumpel

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has added a very special new resident to its Oxhill visitor centre in Warwickshire.

Rumpel – a handsome skewbald cob - has joined the charity’s adoption club four years after being rescued from one of the worst recorded cases of equine abuse in the UK.

Rumpel was originally one of 63 equines taken in by Redwings following the horror of Spindle Farm, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, in 2008.

He was discovered in appalling conditions – fighting for life among the carcasses of 30 dead horses, ponies and donkeys.

Four years later, after extensive rehabilitation at Redwings’ Norfolk HQ, Rumpel has been selected to join the charity’s adoption club, and he is now available to visit at its free-to-enter visitor centre in Warwickshire.

Redwings’ rehabilitation manager Sarah Hallsworth describes just what a remarkable turnaround Rumpel has made since the early days following his rescue.

She said: “He could be caught, but only in a very small area and was repulsed by human touch - he would flinch terribly every time you touched him. He saw no pleasure in being in our company and was certain that each touch was going to hurt.

“We had to teach him that touch could be pleasurable and that being in our company could be fun. We had to do lots of desensitisation all over his body and finally he realised that having a nice groom and a good scratch was actually as good with us as it was with his friends (the only problem was he wanted to reciprocate and our skin isn’t quite up to that!).”

Rumpel spent some time at the Sanctuary’s re-homing centre, but it soon became clear that, unlike his three closest friends Stiltskin, Aladdin and Ali Baba, Rumpel was not cut out to enjoy life as a ridden pony so he has been selected to live at a Redwings visitor centre instead.

Sarah added: “To see him finally enjoying the company of people is terrific and it’s great that the public and our supporters will now get to see just what a special pony he is.”

Rumpel joins four other Redwings adoption stars already at Oxhill, including retired police horse Will and elegant donkey Felicity who, like all Redwings residents, rely purely on public donations for their wellbeing and upkeep.

An adoption of Rumpel costs just £12.50 a year, with every penny going towards the food, bedding and necessary healthcare needed for him and his friends.

As well as getting a friend for life, the money also buys a Redwings ‘Nosebag’ - with information and photos of your chosen adoption horse, pony or donkey.

You can also adopt online, providing a year’s worth of access to your chosen horse’s website, which features their exclusive diary plus loads of photos, videos and wallpaper for you to download. Go online at  for more details.

Redwings Press Officer Stuart Hillis said: “We are sure that Rumpel is going to be a popular addition to the Redwings Adoption Club.

“He’ll have great company, along with a safe and happy future in Warwickshire. His cheeky personality, handsome looks and heartbreaking story are bound to capture the hearts of our visitors and supporters.”

Redwings is the largest horse sanctuary in the UK, with over 1200 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules in its direct care and a further 500 on loan to Guardian homes. For further information on Redwings’ work, or to adopt one of their residents, please call 01508 481000 or visit  

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