Wedding belles: 26 brides whose horses were invited to their big day *PICTURES*

  • When your family and husband-to-be just aren't enough, inviting your number one (your horse) is an obvious choice, as demonstrated by these brides

    Helen and Oliver Shaw

    The story: “Helen and I got married on 6 June this year. Our horse, Lenny, led the hounds to our wedding, ridden by Andrew German, the huntsman of the Cheshire Forest. We had no idea that it had been set up. We came out of the ceremony room and there were the hounds and Andrew, I didn’t even recognise the horse. I walked up to Andrew to thank him and he said: “Have you looked at my horse sir, I think he is for sale” and I suddenly realised it was Len. Needless to say it was a huge honour for us and Len looked pleased as punch to be in front of hounds. Len is my first horse and to make matters more poignant the first time I hunted Lenny we met at Colshaw Hall which was where Helen and I go married.”

    Jenny and Christopher Telford

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    The story: “Christopher and I got married on 16 May this year at St Leonard’s Church in Sandridge, St Albans, Hertfordshire and my beloved horse Dantelicious (Dante to her friends) was our honorary bridesmaid and was waiting for us outside the church after we got married… it brought tears to my eyes and was a dream come true! Christopher had lived in London all his life and had never been in contact with a horse before we met. On our first date when I mentioned I had a horse, he said he loved watching showjumping whenever it came on TV.  I didn’t believe him at first that a boy from London who had never seen a horse loved showjumping so much, but tis true and he soon became confident in handling Dante.”

    Chelsea and Rich Bowen


    The story: “My wedding was on 6 June this year, in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania USA. My husband is British and I met him while I was in the UK for university. Since many of his friends could not make it to the wedding over here, we had my 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Exeter (“Exy”) be one of his groomsmen, complete with a tuxedo custom made for him. We carried the horsey theme through the wedding by having it in a barn, using a saddle as our guestbook, and having horseshoe table numbers.”

    Jane and Heddwyn Jones

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    The story: “Heddwyn and I met through hunting and it seemed only right to have a horse themed wedding! The horse I am riding won the SEIB Search for a Star cob of the year at HOYS last year (Farmhill Apache or Dex to his friends). Heddwyn, who is master of the Vale of Clettwr Hunt is here riding his favourite hunter called The Field Master (“Liam”). My father also rode with me to the wedding. We had a fantastic day!”

    Lauren Seeley


    The story: “This is take in Sydney, Australia. The horse wasn’t originally intended to be a part of the wedding, but a chance encounter between a horse and rider on their way for a swim at the same beach where the wedding photos were being taken, ended in these lovely shots. The bride was so excited to see a horse, she asked to borrow him to be in a few photos. Meanwhile, the groom stood back and would get nowhere near him!”

    Jessica Tainsh


    The story: “My husband and I are crazy busy eventers based near Geelong in Victoria and had our reception for our wedding on 14 March this year at my parents’ farm Granite View. Having my horse in our wedding was a must for me as they are such a massive part of our lives. I had my photos with my warmblood gelding, Solo before our ceremony and was a little terrified he would slobber on my dress.”

    Kate O’Mara

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    The story: “I got married on 20 September last year at Firle Place, East Sussex. I even wore riding boots (Konigs) as my wedding shoes as I figured I would get more wear out of them than a pair of white Jimmy Choo’s! I rode one of my horses Madam, and my other one, Poppy, also came along for the day.”

    Liz and James Gilbert

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    The story: “My horse Bobbie (Silver Dawn) was the guest of honour at my wedding on 1 September 2012 and I couldn’t have been happier that he was right there with me when I married the other love of my life! I have had the honour of him being my horse since I was 12 years old and I am now 33. Sadly he had to be put to sleep in May this year, so it means so much to me that he was there when I got married and I will always treasure the pictures (although can’t see them for crying at the moment!). I had a rug printed with ‘guest of honour’ on the side (just in case there was any doubt!) and the wedding reception took place in his field with Bobbie just over the fence right by the marquee while we had our wedding breakfast.”

    Jennifer and Lindsey Carew


    The story: “This is a picture of my husband and I with my beautiful Welsh cob, Draytown Trooper, who is being driven by my mum, Yvonne. He has competed to win many titles in New Zealand and Australia in driven eventing, and is New Zealand’s only advanced driven dressage horse. He means the world to our family, and I couldn’t have imagined the day without him.  Mum and “Trooper” delivered me to the aisle which overlooked the beautiful Lake Karapiro, here in the Waikato (North Island) in New Zealand. Something I will never forget.”

    Kelly Altschwager


    The story: “My husband and I decided on a non-traditional wedding that would be special to us. We rode our horses up to a pre-set camp in the Comanche Peak Wilderness right around 10,600 ft in elevation. We then hiked up to 12,308 ft to the top of the mountain to do our vows. Pictured is of one of our geldings the morning after our wedding as we prepared to pack out of camp.”

    Bethan and Alex Warren


    The story: “Here pictured getting married last July with Bethan’s two-star eventer, Nora.”

    Vanessa Baxter

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    The story: “I had my horse, Rio, at my wedding on 2 August 2014 at Hillbark Hotel in Wirral. He was too muddy to get on on the day, so the photographer offered to do a photoshoot after our honeymoon on the beach where I could gallop through the water in my wedding dress. They were the two most amazing days.”

    Leia and Robbie Wash


    The story: This is my pony Meg who attended my wedding at Chigwell Convent, Essex on 23 August 2013. I got a lot of Facebook stick and people making fun of me for having my best friend (my pony) at my wedding. Meg was part of my family and I had owned her for 16 years, so her not being at the wedding was not a option. I sadly lost my beautiful pony (who was in foal) in January this year to colic, so I’m pleased I have these happy memories of her.”

    Shelley Knottenbelt


    The story: “My husband and I got married on 6 June 2015 this year and I rode my showjumper, VIP IV to the church three miles away. On arrival to the church everyone bar the groom was outside the church waiting for me to arrive which wasn’t in the plan but there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It has always been my dream to do that and I did it.”

    Kate Neill

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    The story: “My boy Wills attended my wedding day! This fabulous horse gave me all my confidence back following a fall which left me with two fractured vertebrae. He is a real gem and  this photo shows his cheeky character coming through!”

    Kerrie Bridger


    The story: “There were two main things I wanted from my wedding day, one was to have the wedding in the village church and the other was to have my thoroughbred mare there, Breeze. She was plaited with flowers in her mane and tail with a white bridle on which had diamantés in the browband. I have owned Breeze since she was four years old and she is now 17! My husband and I have been together 13 years so it just seemed right to have her at he wedding as she has always been a big part of our lives. Lots of people from the village turned up to see me get on my horse in my wedding dress which had to fit with being able to ride in it and luckily this one did perfectly. I originally wanted a slimline dress but having Breeze there, a part of our big day, was much more important than the dress!”

    Danielle Needham

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    The story: “My now 15-year-old mustang/standardbred mare, Star attended my wedding on Hutchinson Island, Florida, in 2013. I have owned Star since she was born (pictured) and I always wanted to include horses in my wedding so naturally riding in on the horse I raised was a given. She was perfect! A dream come true for me.”

    Lucy Read

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    The story: “My horse, Smudge attended my wedding at Whitworth Hall Hotel, near Spennymoor, County Durham on 27 June 2015. I have owned Smudge, who is also 29 years old, for 14 years. We competed in showjumping before she retired. She is my best friend and we have been through so much together, she’s been a mane to cry on, taught me everything I know, and she bred a beautiful foal for me. There was never any question that Smudge would be at my wedding. She was so excited the day before the wedding getting pampered and plaited; I’m sure she was more excited than me!”

    Kimberley Marshall

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    The story: “I got married on 5 July 2013 at Buxted Park in East Sussex, accompanied by my horse, Zambia. The venue organisers were so amazing and they said we could have full use of the grounds with Zambia, no problem. My husband was more than happy to have her there as she was such a beautiful horse. She kept all the guests entertained and the staff all loved her!”

    Stephanie Shaw


    The story: “To help celebrate my wedding I had some photos taken with my best friend, Bonnie. My wedding day was also Bonnie’s 18th birthday and the anniversary of owning her for 12 years, so it was a very special day all round.”

    Bernie Sandell


    The story: “I wanted to share my picture of me and boy at my wedding this year on 20 June. He’s my world and he was a big part of our day.”

    Naomi Taylor

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    The story: “My pony, whom I have owned now for nearly 20 years, was not only at my wedding but part of my proposal too. My non-horsey husband had planned the whole proposal without me knowing (unbelievable!). He had ordered a fleece rug with “will you marry me” embroidered on it and secretly put it on her while I was still asleep, so that when I went out to feed her there it was! So then she had to be part of my wedding day (along with my other pony). Lady is now 27 years old so I was so proud she was able to be there on our special day.”

    Sarah and Nick Sherwin

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    The story: “My husband Nick and I had these photos taken the day after our wedding on 14 June 2014. We had so much fun doing these with my boy, Thomas who I’ve owned since he was three years old (now 12) and I really think they show his personality as well as ours!”

    Phillipa Johnson


    The story: “I rode my horse, Daisy, to our drinks reception, an arrival planned without my guests knowing. We sent the wedding car up to the marquee without us which had everyone wondering! I then appeared on Daisy, who was an absolute star. I planned the wedding around riding her, as it was always my dream. I kindly roped in two helpers to help on the morning to get her ready for her big performance! I chose a dress that would fit over her and even got wedding wellies for me to ride in!”

    Emma and Neil Squires


    The story: “We got married on Saturday 1 August this year in glorious sunshine in Scopwick, Lincolnshire. I rode my horse Shannondale Beatrix to church, to marry my long term partner, Neil Squires, of 19 years. We are both keen hunters with the Blankney, and Neil is their amateur whip and will be doing a few days’ field mastering this season. When I turned the corner on Bea to see half the village had turned out to watch us ride to church, I was very emotional. It was amazing and I’m so proud of her. We both rode away from church, Neil riding a friend’s horse called Danny, who loved every minute as much as Bea.”

    Lady Charlie Haines-Vickery


    The story: “Here are some photos of my wedding on 20 June. As I met my husband on the hunting field it was must for our hunt, the Highmoor Bloodhounds, and our horses to attend. Our bridesmaids even wore the colour burgundy to match our huntsman Nigel Church.”

    NB: Horse & Hound recommends wearing a riding hat to a suitable safety standard while on a horse

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