All of the artists who have primed, painted, adorned and embellished 14 miniature horse sculptures for World Horse Welfare’s Invisible Horse Trail at the 2016 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials have been revealed.
Each fibreglass sculpture will tell the story of a horse who has been helped by World Horse Welfare through the artist’s interpretation of that story. The maquette for the fibreglass sculptures was modelled on the charity’s adoption horse, May, by award-winning sculptor Judy Boyt, with the sculpture trail bringing to life World Horse Welfare’s campaign to raise awareness of the world’s invisible horses.
All the artists and designers involved in the Invisible Horse Trail have given their time and creativity free of charge.
World Horse Welfare has named 2016 the year to highlight the world’s invisible horses who often suffer in silence as people either cannot or choose not to see them.
The artists include husband and wife team Katie O’Sullivan, a contemporary artist, and Racehorse trainer and former National Hunt jockey, Jamie Osborne.
O’Sullivan has brought the story of Cambodian working horse Mesor to life with a stunning design using gold leaf and a vibrant ceremonial headdress. Mesor is sponsored by The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust.
“Both my husband Jamie and I make our living directly and indirectly from the horse world and so any charity that supports the horse, as World Horse Welfare does, is a great cause that we are delighted to help raise money for,” O’Sullivan said.
Osborne not only chose the story of abandoned cob Dash to paint but also generated almost £6000 worth of sponsorship for his sculpture which features each sponsor’s racing silks.
“I think Dash dreams of being a racehorse, so I’ve given him an amazing coat of many colours. Normally I go to Cheltenham with a clutch of youngsters to sell but this year I went armed with a sketch of my horse sculpture to raise funds by filling the space on his painted rug!” Osborne said.
Sculptor Joseph Paxton took on an international-themed horse to paint, highlighting the global relationship between human and horse through the story of South African horse Imvula who transports local people long distances to reach work and access vital services. Sponsored by Norbrook, Paxton’s design refers to the ancient bushmen cave paintings and wildlife of the region in which Imvula, whose name means ‘when the rain comes’ in Zulu, inhabits.
“As humans, we have a duty to protect the planet upon which we live and to live harmoniously with the animals we share it with. For this reason, I was very keen to be involved in the Invisible Horse project, to raise funds and awareness to help protect the welfare of horses around the world,” Paxton said.
Acclaimed artist and interior designer Jennifer Bell painted a beautiful interpretation of World Horse Welfare Adoption Horse Magpie, detailing his bird namesake across the sculpture and celebrating his showing achievements at the Traditional of the Year Show (TOYS). Magpie is sponsored by Westgate Laboratories.
“I chose Magpie as my hero; he’s cute with great looks, and a bit cheeky, but the thing that got me was his amazing recovery and potential for the future, going from an emaciated and thoroughly neglected youngster to a successful appearance at TOYS,” Bell said.
“It made me think how many incredible, even world-class horses and ponies never achieve what they could because of the ignorance of their owners. What a waste. Magpie is one of the lucky ones, and is going from strength to strength. A really lucky pony, who still trusts people despite what he’s gone through.”
Badminton Horse Trials Media Director Julian Seaman is also a fashion designer and took part in the trail through painting abandoned Shetland, Blossom, giving her a fantastic floral print which is guaranteed to make an impact. Blossom is sponsored by Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy.
“I have been a supporter of World Horse Welfare for many years, having been part of a road show, been a guest speaker at the AGM, and participated in two previous artistic promotions with the charity,” Seaman said.
“As a former international three-day-event rider and amateur jockey I have always admired the charity’s robust views on well-run equestrian sport. As a fashion print designer I fancied a floral horse, and by chance was allocated Blossom as my pony – a happy coincidence!”
The jet-set story of Dippy, born at World Horse Welfare and now making his mark in affiliated eventing has been told through the vibrant design of world-famous hat maker, David Shilling. Shilling’s amazing design gives Dippy a rock-star makeover complete with jewels, sunglasses, an ornate necklace, hat and much more. Dippy is sponsored by The Jockey Club.
“Dippy, my chosen horse, has inspired me to create the “Rocking Horse”. Like me, did you ever wonder what horses do at night when everyone is asleep? I hope my interpretation will give you an idea. With all his successes, Dippy is a bit of a rock star. My ‘Rocking Horse’ loves music; so here he is with full dance kit and ready to party!” Shilling said.
Abandoned foal Huckleberry has already made a TV appearance on BBC Countryfile but he’s now set to be centre stage at Badminton thanks to the artwork of Trudy Redfern. Sponsored by Adam Reynolds and Suzanne Dando Reynolds, Huckleberry features a stunning double-sided design representing his difficult start in life and now the new beginning he has thanks to World Horse Welfare.
“I chose Huckleberry as my subject because I was reading about him on the train to London on the same day I was asked to participate. As the first case taken by World Horse Welfare under new legislation he hopefully represents a new dawn of welfare awareness,” Redfern said.
“It is fantastic to help like-minded people like World Horse Welfare in some small way as gratitude for the wonderful work they do.”
Horses Inside Out founder Gillian Higgins has visualised the plight of horses travelled long distance to slaughter with her detailed interpretation of a poor unnamed mare seen collapsed during her arduous journey across Europe. The Unnamed Invisible Horse is supported by Amalgam Modelmaking which has also created the fibreglass sculptures on behalf of World Horse Welfare from the original maquette sculpted by Judy Boyt.
“The message we want to send to horse owners everywhere is that understanding anatomy improves performance and reduces the risk of injury. Because this aim is so compatible with World Horse Welfare’s mission of working realistically and compassionately for a world where every horse is treated with respect, compassion and understanding – I thought for the good of the horse I wanted to be involved with the Invisible Horse Trail,” Higgins said.
The story of Pie and his amazing achievements with his rehomer, Gillian Duckworth, inspired the design of Elizabeth Armstrong, who painted him jumping and competing across the sculpture. Pie (in the sky) has been sponsored by Gillian Duckworth who is a lifelong supporter of World Horse Welfare.
“My chosen horse Pie is almost an identical story to the rescuing of my horse Rock on Tommy who I rescued from a rag and bone man in Kings Cross from a bike shed,” Armstrong said. “The transformation of Pie from when he was first rescued is amazing. His rehomer, Gillian, has given him a new lease of life! You can see through the images of Pie now that he has a wonderful contented life and he has a job to do too.”
Equestrian sculptor and portrait artist Amy Goodman has brought to life the haunting story of Macy and her young foal found frozen and starving in the middle of winter, with a contrasting design showing Macy before and after her rescue and rehabilitation. Macy is sponsored by Haygain and will be located next to the World Horse Welfare Garden Gates fence at Badminton.
“When I saw the video of Macy at death’s door, with hypothermia lying in the snow, frozen, with her foal standing near her, I couldn’t help but cry and be touched by their story. To see her months later in amazing health, happily grazing in a field shows the truly dedicated and incredible work of those involved with World Horse Welfare,” Goodman said.
“I love the idea of the public finding and interacting with the different horses as part of this special Invisible Horse Trail at the Badminton Horse Trials. As different artists and creatives are involved with this I am looking forward to seeing the varied designs. I am proud to be a part of it.”
» Earlier article “Toddy makes mark on “invisible” horse with silver fern motif“, featuring Michelle McCullagh, Judi Milne, and Judith Stowell.