Badminton 2016: Highlighting the world’s ‘invisible horses’

  • The full line-up of artists behind the Invisible Horse Trail at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials has been announced.

    The personalities have “primed, painted, adorned and embellished” 14 miniature equines that will be found in the shopping areas and on the cross-country course as part of World Horse Welfare’s (WHW) project.

    Each fiberglass sculpture tells the story of an animal who has been helped by WHW, “through the artist’s interpretation of that story”.

    The aim of the trail is to highlight WHW’s campaign to raise awareness of “the world’s invisible horses”.

    Contemporary artist Katie O’Sullivan chose the story of Cambodian working horse Mesor, using gold leaf and a ceremonial headdress in her work.

    “Both my husband Jamie (Osborne) and I make our living directly and indirectly from the horse world so any charity that supports the horse is a great cause that we are delighted to help raise money for,” she said.

    Trainer and former National Hunt jockey Jamie Osborne chose the story of abandoned cob Dash, generating almost £6,000 in sponsorship for his sculpture, which features the sponsors’ racing silks.

    Jamie Osborne said: “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!”

    Sculptor Joseph Paxton chose to portray South African horse Imvula, who transports local people long distances to reach work and access vital services.

    Mr Paxton said: “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.”

    Also involved are artists Jennifer Bell, Amy Goodman, Elizabeth Armstrong and Trudy Redfern, Badminton media director Julian Seaman, hat-maker David Shilling and Horses Inside Out founder Gillian Higgins.

    A WHW spokesman said: “World Horse Welfare chose 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.

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    “From the horses left in barns and stables for weeks on end, to those working many hours every day on the streets of Choluteca in Honduras or Cape Town in South Africa who go unnoticed by governments and policymakers, to the horses transported long distances across borders to uncertain futures and those who sadly are sometimes found too late.

    “World Horse Welfare will be focusing on a number of key themes as the year progresses including foals, rescue and rehoming, working horses around the world and campaigning to improve laws to protect horses.”

    for more information on WHW’s work, visit its website.

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