19+hh horse the new face of equine adoption scheme

Digger meets some new friends at World Horse Welfare's Belwade Farm.
Digger meets some new friends at World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm.

An enormous clydesdale horse named Digger is the new face of World Horse Welfare’s Adopt a Horse scheme.

Digger stands over 19 hands tall – close to 6′ 6” – which puts him fewer than 4 inches below Europe’s largest living horse.

Digger during his time in training as a drum horse.
Digger during his time in training as a drum horse.

The Adopt a Horse scheme is an initiative by the equine charity, where those “adopting” one of the four equines available  can follow their progress back to health and a new life. An adoption pack is included, with a DVD, pictures, cards, and updates written by the grooms and centre manager. There are four updates each year with pictures and progress reports. There’s also the chance to visit during open days.

Digger lives at World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Aberdeenshire where he is a huge hit with visitors and staff alike. The gentle giant has replaced Whisky the donkey, who has been rehomed.

Standing almost one metre taller than Whisky, Digger is so big that he has to have a bridle tailor made to fit his head and wears a rug which is more than 2.2 metres long.

Digger arrived at the farm as a four-year-old in 2007 after his owner contacted World Horse Welfare to ask for help. He was an orphan foal and growing fast and at such a young age problems had started to occur with the joints in his hind legs. After extensive rehabilitation from World Horse Welfare and gentle veterinary care, Digger regained confidence and continued growing – earning his title as the biggest horse the charity has ever cared for.

Finding horse shoes to fit Digger’s dinner plate-sized feet is also a challenge so they have to be specially crafted at Belwade Farm’s on-site blacksmith’s forge.

Digger at Belwade Farm.
Digger at Belwade Farm.

Standing at an enormous 9 foot from the ground to the tips of his ears (that’s taller than the current World’s Tallest Man!) and weighing almost a tonne, Digger caught the attention of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and was accepted on a two-year training programme to become a drum horse, taking part in preparations for the Royal Wedding and Major General Parades. Unfortunately, it became apparent that Digger was much better suited to life in the slow lane away from busy London, so he returned to Belwade Farm in 2012 and now couldn’t be happier residing in the rugged Scottish hills.

It is anticipated that Digger will stay on the Adopt a Horse scheme for about two years after which time he will be assessed for suitability to be placed on World Horse Welfare’s rehoming scheme.

Eileen Gillen, Centre Manager at Belwade Farm has been caring for Digger since he arrived in early 2008.

“When we were considering potential equine candidates to replace Whisky on the Adopt a Horse scheme, Digger quite literally stood head and shoulders above the rest.

“He already has a huge following with visitors travelling from all over the UK to meet him.

“Whisky was a great character and we’re delighted that he is now in a new home, receiving the love and pampering that he deserves. I would say that Digger has some big shoes to fill but I think his shoes are plenty big enough already!”

WHW’s Adopt a Horse scheme

Whisky has now been rehomed.
Whisky has now been rehomed.



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