Animal welfare charity The Blue Cross will be the 2008 Charity of the Year at Badminton Horse Trials next May.

The Blue Cross will lead out the competitors’ parade at the end of the three-day-event, and also have a fence named in its honour.

Hugh Thomas, director of Badminton Horse Trials, said: “The Blue Cross perfectly fits our criteria in being a major national charity wilt strong local connections. We are lucky to have their horse ambulances here every year.”

Dual Badminton winner Mary King supports the charity and said: “[The Blue Cross] helps hundreds of horses every year to fulfil their potential in happy secure homes. Some people mistakenly think that charities only deal with elderly or companion horses, or those in poor health, but I’ve seen that The Blue Cross works with some fine riding horses that any owner would be proud to take on.”

The Blue Cross rehabilitates and re-homes hundreds of horses each year. It does not receive any government funding, and so relies on the generosity of the public.

The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials runs from 1-4 May 2008.