Above: World Horse Welfare’s 2015 advertisement, narrated by Digger.
Gentle giant rescue horse Digger is standing tall as the lead role in World Horse Welfare’s new TV and online advertising campaign which promotes the charity’s rejuvenated Adopt-a-Horse scheme.
Voiced by actor Alex Norton, Digger tells the stories of his stablemates rescued by World Horse Welfare and explains the benefits of adopting a horse from the charity.
Digger was the first choice to front the adverts, after the clydesdale gelding developed celebrity status through his incredible size of more than 19hh – and wonderful nature.
World Horse Welfare Director of Fundraising Emma Williams said “turning his (massive) hooves to television advertising seemed like the next natural step in his career!”
Adopting one of four World Horse Welfare horses on the scheme provides supporters with the opportunity to follow the progress of their adopted horse as they undergo rehabilitation as well as visiting them in person at one of the charity’s four Rescue and Rehoming Centres across the UK.
“By adopting Digger, May, India or Magpie you can feel closely involved with a horse, visit them regularly and at the same time have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping many more horses in need,” Williams said.
There had been increased demand for the Adopt-a-Horse scheme, with many people saying how much they love to follow their adopted horse or pony’s progress “and take any opportunity to go and meet them face to face”, Williams said.
The scheme is to be enhanced over the coming months in response to feedback, with a new microsite offering content and updates exclusively for those who adopter a horse.
World Horse Welfare’s new TV advert featuring Digger launched on November 17 and will be aired across a range of national and regional channels over the coming weeks.
Famed for his 19 hands plus height, close to 6ft 6” to the top of his shoulders, which puts him less than 4 inches below Europe’s largest living horse, 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.
Digger arrived at Belwade Farm as a four-year-old in 2007 after his owner contacted World Horse Welfare to ask for help as they were struggling to cope with him due to their own poor health and his rapidly increasing size. He was 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 cared for.
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.