Sculptor ‘honoured’ to create memorial for much-loved rider

  • A sculpture made from recycled horseshoes has been created in memory of a much-loved rider.

    Leah Hook passed away last month (14 April) aged 16.

    Leah was a passionate horsewoman who rode at Barton End Equestrian Centre in Gloucestershire.

    Her former riding instructor, Ben Lee, created the sculpture in her memory.

    “I’ve known Leah since she was six or seven years old,” Ben told H&H.

    “She was very quiet and had a really nice way around the horses. When she first came up to the stables she never said boo to a goose and it was great seeing her come out of her shell.

    “She ended up being a cracking little rider. She had a massive passion for horses.”

    “Just over a month ago she took her own life. The equestrian centre wanted me to make a memorial statue for her and it was an honour to do.”

    The statue took Ben a month to create.

    The horseshoes, donated by the riding school’s farrier, were welded together and painted by hand.

    It was then transported on a flatbed trailer to the stables.

    “It was stressful hearing it hit all the pot holes but we got it there in one piece,” said Ben.

    “The painting was the most painstaking part, getting into all the shoes, but it was worth it.”

    The memorial has been installed at Barton End Equestrian Centre and was unveiled on 13 May in front of Leah’s friends and family.

    At the unveiling more than £2,000 was raised through a bake sale for Blue Cross, a charity close to Leah’s heart.

    “It was very emotional,” said Ben. “Leah’s mum said it was a release to know there’s part of her [at the yard].”

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