A special garden featuring horseshoes from Valegro, Big Star, Uthopia and other equestrian stars has won a gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (23-27 May).
The garden was created for Horse & Hound’s charity of the year, World Horse Welfare.
Designed by Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith, the traditional wildflower garden tells the story of Clippy, a 12hh dapple grey pony who was rescued from terrible conditions by World Horse Welfare and restored to health.
Clippy was discovered in a dilapidated shell of a stable surrounded by rubbish. He was wearing a headcollar that had several clips hanging from it which led to his unusual name.
He has since gone on to make a full recovery thanks to care from World Horse Welfare staff.
The prize-winning garden was funded by a private donor and aims to shine a spotlight on “invisible” horses around the world whose suffering goes unnoticed or ignored.
It features a life-size sculpture of Clippy, created by sculptor Tom Hill. The sculpture is made from horseshoes donated by equine stars, including Valegro, Big Star, Nip Tuck, Uthopia, Casaionato, and Billy the Biz.
The garden also pays tribute to some of the supporters who have left the charity a legacy in their will, with their names carved into an element of the garden in tribute.
Inspired by Clippy’s unique name, visitors will be asked to sign ribbons sewed on to lead rope clips with wishes for his future.
“While it was never the main aim of being here at RHS Chelsea, we are tickled pink to have been awarded this medal, not least because it reflects all the hard work put in by our superb designers and their team,” said World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers.
“Our garden gives us such a brilliant platform to tell a story that so well reflects the thousands of horses who desperately need our help today.
“It also provides us with the perfect stage to celebrate our 90th anniversary and recognise all those who have helped us reach this milestone, whether this has been through fundraising events, supporting our campaigns, volunteering at our centres or leaving us a gift in their will.
“We are here to highlight the importance of our work to existing and new supporters, to bring World Horse Welfare’s approach to life and to inspire visitors to recognise the welfare challenges facing so many horses around the world.
“In Britain alone there are more than 3,400 horses are at risk – sadly World Horse Welfare has much work to do, both internationally and on our doorstep. Thank you to RHS Chelsea for giving us this opportunity and to our generous donor who has so kindly funded the garden.”
Mr Woolcott and Mr Smith grew hundreds of the wild flowers they used at the show in their own back garden.
“It has been a huge honour to design this garden for World Horse Welfare,” added Mr Smith.
“We absolutely love working with British wildflowers and we don’t often have the chance to use poisonous ones in our garden so we’ve had great fun designing the area representing Clippy’s terrible living conditions.
“We’ve juxtaposed that with an area representing his new pasture showcasing horse herbs and beneficial plants. I’d like to thank our dedicated team who have all worked so tirelessly and cheerfully to make the garden happen.”
Every signature counts in World Horse Welfare's campaign
Two of the ponies looking for new homes
'I think he's fallen on his feet and
The garden has also been nominated for the people’s choice award. To vote click here
“World Horse Welfare would like to express sincere thanks to the garden designers Jonathan Smith and Adam Woolcott, the contractors Conway Landscapes, sculptor Tom Hill and finally to the private donor who funded the garden and wishes to remain anonymous,” added a charity spokesman.