Charity bids sad farewell to popular blind Clydesdale Boo

Redwings has said a tearful goodbye to one of its most well-known and beloved rescued residents.
Redwings has said a tearful goodbye to one of its most well-known and beloved rescued residents. © Redwings

British equine charity Redwings has farewelled one of its most popular residents, blind Clydesdale Boo, who succumbed to lameness issues at the age of 24.

Staff said goodbye to Boo just before Christmas, when he came down with severe lameness issues. That, combined with existing arthritis in his hind legs, meant he could no longer be kept comfortable.

“The heart-breaking decision meant he would not face the debilitating discomfort his condition would have inevitably caused and he was put to sleep surrounded by our vet team and other members of our staff who had lovingly cared for him for over a decade,” Redwings said.

He had been resident at Redwings in Norfolk since 2009, after he was shot in the eye by intruders at point-blank range with an air rifle. The horrific attack was doubly distressing for Boo as he had already lost one eye to cancer, which meant he was left completely blind.

His owner had been advised that it would be kindest to put him to sleep, but she contacted Redwings, and the charity welcomed the gentle giant with open arms.

Thanks to the help of his field companion and ‘seeing eye’ horse Flynn, Boo was able to confidently explore his paddock and would even gallop to the fenceline when he heard his name.

“His incredibly friendly nature – and love of a scratch and a cuddle – meant he was a very popular resident with Redwings’ supporters, especially during open days at our headquarters, and he often featured on our Christmas cards and gift items.”

Boo had lived at Redwings since 2009.
Boo had lived at Redwings since 2009. © Redwings
Boo, left, and his companion, Flynn, a piebald cob.
Boo, left, and his companion, Flynn, a piebald cob. © Redwings

Such was his popularity that Boo fronted the charity’s “Second Chance” appeal in 2020, and Stephen Fry narrated his moving story in an animated video clip that helped raise thousands of pounds for rescued horses.

Redwings Chief Executive Lynn Cutress said that for her, Boo summed up just what Redwings is about: “Providing lifelong specialist care to horses who otherwise would have nowhere else to turn. We’re incredibly sad to have had to say goodbye to our dear Boo. 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,” Cutress said.

“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.

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