Love me, love my horse: horses among most-popular animal wedding guest

  • A wedding is a time of celebration with your friends and family — and for many Brits, that naturally means their horse too.

    New research has found that one in 10 people give their pets a central role in their nuptials.

    When broken down by species of most-desired wedding guest pet, almost a quarter chose their horse.

    H&H knows how important it is for some riders to have their beloved horse there on their special day.

    From carrying the bride to church, to taking on the important role of an usher, starring in photos at the reception and post-vow gallops — H&H readers have found a multitude of creative ways to involve their equine friend.

    Sheryl Buxton and her husband Scott invited their horse Dekota (pictured, top), who came from the Blue Cross, to their wedding in August 2016.

    The couple took on the mare in February 2014 as an unbacked four-year-old and just over two years later she was ridden to the wedding to be included in the photos.

    “We could not imagine looking back on the day and Dekota not being in any of our photos or memories,” said Sheryl.

    “It really was amazing and just made our day perfect. I was so proud with how well she stood for all the photographs and how patient she was while we were organising my wedding dress.

    I wouldn’t ever have considered a wedding day without her; she is part of our family.”

    Dogs led the way among choices of pet with 36% wanting their canine pal as best man, 40% would feature their dog in videos shown at the wedding and 56% choosing Buster as their maid of honour.

    The research found that more than a quarter said they included their pet because it helps them remain calm and overcome anxiety on the day.

    Others said they involved their pets because they are an important part of the family while some made the decision “simply because they are so cute”.

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    A huge 92% said they wanted to walk down the aisle with their pet — potentially tricky depending on the size of horse and venue — while 54% would forgo the quality of the after-dinner speech to have their pet as best man.

    Ryan Neile, senior animal behaviourist from Blue Cross, said pets play a “huge role” in our lives and it is not surprising to see how many Brits want to involve them in “such an important moment”.

    “Even without weather worries, dress disasters, late caterers or missing rings to worry about, your wedding day can be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience,” said Mr Neile.

    “Having your pet by your side might just help settle some of those jitters, as long as you take steps to ensure that your pet is comfortable too.

    “At Blue Cross we recognise that every pet we receive, rescue, rehabilitate and rehome is a pet that can enrich its new family’s life in return.

    “Pets are just as much as part of the family as mums, dads and siblings and this is why Brits love them to be involved in important events like this.”

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