Clydesdale model for famous Kelpies dies aged 19

  • Tributes have been paid to a popular Clydesdale who acted as a model for The Kelpies.

    Baron, on whom the iconic Scottish sculptures are partially modelled, died this month aged 19 following a bout of colic.

    Glasgow City Council rehomed Baron from World Horse Welfare as a two-year-old and he lived at Pollock Country Park until his retirement in 2014, when he went to a private home.

    A statement from the council said Baron was a “local celebrity” and “spent years bringing joy to generations of city children”.

    The 18.1hh gelding attended gala days and events and also gave traditional dray rides along with his companion Duke, who retired in November.

    As well as his “day job”, Baron also enjoyed success in the show ring, competing in and winning heavy horse classes at the Royal Highland Show.

    Head carter at Pollock Country Park, Lorraine Clarke, remembered how he attended her wedding in 2010.

    “Baron was so trusting and great with members of the public,” she said. “He was such a pleasure to work with — always kind and willing — a real gentle giant.

    “He served Glasgow well and we couldn’t be prouder of him.”

    Both Baron and Duke visited sculptor Andy Scott’s studios 10 years ago at the start of The Kelpies project to act as models. They were also the focus of Mr Scott’s steel heavy horse installation, which can be seen just off the M8 outside Glasgow.

    Article continues below…

    Related articles:

    “The two huge horses came clattering out of their truck at my studio in Glasgow,” said Mr Scott, remembering the first time he met his “old friend”.

    “Lorraine handed me the reins and Baron behaved like a real gentleman, taking the photographers’ flashes in his stride.

    “Such a handsome big guy, and very patient. Without him and his pal Duke, the sculpting of the steel maquettes would have been much more difficult.

    “Our thoughts are with all who knew and worked with this fine fellow.”

    The Kelpies

    Kelpies are mythical shape-shifting water spirits from Celtic folklore that took the form of horses.

    The 30-metre high horse heads, which can be found in Falkirk, took 90 days to build and were officially completed on 27 November 2013.

    Mr Scott described the artwork as a personification of local and national equine history, the lost industries of Scotland and a “proud and majestic” symbol of modern Scotland — the people and the land.

    Manufactured and installed by SH Structures Limited, they weigh 300 tonnes each and are made up of 928 stainless steel plates.

    Scale models of The Kelpies — The Kelpies Maquettes — have travelled across the world to raise awareness of the project.

    You may like...