A life-size horse sculpture crafted from shoes, some sourced from celebrity equines, will take centre-stage at a British charity’s display at the upcoming Chelsea Garden Show.
The artwork, inspired by a rescue pony named Clippy, was created by artist Tom Hill for the World Horse Welfare garden at the show, which opens next week.
Hill, 27, has been sculpting using horseshoes for six years.
The work he has created for the charity’s garden contains shoes from a host of celebrity horses, including three owned by the Queen; one rehomed by Princess Anne, The Princess Royal; another from her daughter Zara Tindall’s horse High Kingdom; as well as horses ridden by British Olympic gold medallists Nick Skelton and Charlotte Dujardin.
“I’m really enjoying working on this for such a good cause,” Hill said.
In all, shoes from 36 celebrity horses were donated.
Hill placed the celebrity shoes in the sculpture’s neck so horse lovers can spot them when they visit the garden.
“I’ve made sculptures with owners’ horseshoes before but never one with shoes from so many horse superstars,” he said.
The list of Olympic horse celebrities includes Valegro (Charlotte Dujardin), Big Star (Nick Skelton), Nip Tuck and Uthopia (Carl Hester), Cassionata (Michael Whitaker), Leonidas II (Sir Mark Todd), Don Geniro (Alex Hua Tian) and Billy the Biz (Pippa Funnell).
The actual shoes that Nobilis 18 (Christopher Barton) wore when he won The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in 2016 are also featured. From the racing world, Denman, Sprinter Sacre, Golden Horn, Many Clouds and The Last Samuri have all worn shoes adorning the sculpture.
Three of the Queen’s Windsor Grey carriage horses – Milford Haven, Tyrone and Storm – have worn shoes featured in the sculpture as well as Annie, rehomed by Princess Anne in 2013. She now lives in the stunning surroundings of Gatcombe Park.
There is even an equine actor’s shoe in the sculpture – Seamus – who is Ross Poldark’s horse in the hit BBC drama Poldark. He was trained by the renowned Atkinson Action Horses team.
Forming the jaw of the sculpture will be two enormous Clydesdale shoes donated by World Horse Welfare horses Baron and Duke, who were the inspiration for Andy Scott’s enormous pair of sculptures, The Kelpies.
Clippy, a 13-hand dapple grey pony, was rescued from terrible conditions by World Horse Welfare and restored to health. He is now at the charity’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Somerset undergoing rehabilitation with a view to finding a new home under the charity’s rehoming scheme in the future.
Clippy will be available for adoption in June to help fund his care and that of other horses rescued by the charity, before finding him a new home.
The World Horse Welfare garden marks the 90-year legacy of the charity’s work to improve the lives of horses around the world.
Funded by a private donor, the garden aims to raise awareness of vulnerable horses that are neglected or abandoned in poor conditions.
When Clippy was found he was trapped in the ruins of a stable littered with faeces and with no food or water – the roof had collapsed and he was unable to escape from the tangle of rubbish that surrounded him.
The Clippy sculpture will be exhibited at one of the charity’s rescue and rehoming centres before being auctioned off to raise funds for its work around the world.