Blooming good show! Little Nutkin meets his floral doppelganger

Nutkin meets his doppelganger, in the form of a spectacular floral artwork by Judith Blacklock comprising nearly 3000 white carnations. The floral horse was created to mark World Horse Welfare's 90th anniversary. Photo: World Horse Welfare
Nutkin meets his doppelganger, in the form of a spectacular floral artwork by Judith Blacklock comprising nearly 3000 white carnations. The floral horse was created to mark World Horse Welfare’s 90th anniversary. Photo: World Horse Welfare

A pony helped by World Horse Welfare has met its doppelganger made from white flowers as part of celebrations to mark the charity’s 90th anniversary.

Nutkin paid a visit to the Royal Hospital Chelsea to view the floral creation. It was created by florist Judith Blacklock and features almost 3000 white carnations.

Nutkin’s story is reminiscent of many horses and ponies who have come into the charity’s care over the last nine decades.

He was discovered as part of a large group of horses and ponies who were not receiving the care they needed due to their owners no longer being able to cope.

Nutkin was just a few months old, underweight and suffering from a lice infestation.

He went to the charity’s Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre where he underwent rehabilitation before being backed and rehomed as a fantastic child’s pony.

He is now living with Leah Fowler, whose four-year-old daughter Darcy rides him regularly.

The charity’s chief executive, Roly Owers, described the floral sculpture as a symbol of hope and compassion for invisible, or disadvantaged, horses everywhere.

“We are committed to keeping horse welfare on the political agenda,” he said.

“Horses may well be less ‘visible’ now than in our history, but their importance is certainly no less relevant. Not only does the equestrian sector contribute significantly to our economy to the tune of around £8 billion, but there is strong evidence which points to this lack of visibility being the root cause of many of the welfare problems experienced by thousands of horses every day.

“Horses still hold a status in society, but aside from the multimillion-pound sport horses seen on our racetracks and competing to bring home Olympic medals, the picture is a very different one indeed with a widespread epidemic of horses and ponies of a low financial value changing hands for as little as £5 – less than a bunch of carnations − or worse, with absolutely no monetary value at all.”

Owers said the charity’s latest figures suggested there were an estimated 3400 or more vulnerable horses in Britain today.

“So whilst we celebrate the charity’s achievements of the last 90 years, we remain fully committed to our vision of a world where every horse is treated with the respect, compassion and understanding that they deserve over decades to come.”

The floral artwork will now travel to the charity’s Norfolk head office to feature in its upcoming campaign to stop the long-distance transport of horses across Europe for slaughter, which is entirely fitting given the charity’s roots.

It was founded in 1927 by Ada Cole after she witnessed the horrific conditions in which thousands of horses were transported from Britain to Europe for slaughter.

The charity still continues her campaign to stop the long distance transport of horses across continental Europe to slaughter, marking a number of milestones over the years that have dramatically improved conditions for the thousands of horses who still endure these journeys.

World Horse Welfare rescues and rehomes horses in Britain through its four centres, as well as training and upskilling communities in developing countries that are reliant on horses for their livelihoods. The charity advises sport regulators on horse welfare and represents the horse at the very highest levels of central Government. It also provides vital education initiatives to help tackle the most common welfare problems at source.

It will be exhibiting a garden at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show later this month which tells the moving story of a neglected pony, through plantings, rustic structures and a unique horse sculpture made of horseshoes donated by various “personalities” in the equestrian world.

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