A farrier surprised his delighted girlfriend with a horsey proposal after dropping to one knee on a sponsored ride in front of Windsor Castle.

Ben Pinion came up with the idea after one of his clients asked him if he would be taking part in the Lions Club of Windsor’s popular ride in the Great Park on 9 September.

“I had the ring already, but hadn’t entered at that point and I thought ‘that’s the perfect place’,” Ben told H&H, adding the couple “live and breathe” horses.

Ben called the organisers as a courtesy and to make sure there were no restrictions or ancient bylaws that would prevent him popping the question as the park is owned by the Crown.

Far from it, the organisers were thrilled and between them, they worked out the perfect spot for him to ask his now fiancée Zoe Griffiths if she would be his wife — the top of the Long Walk in front of the castle.

“They were all in on it and told me where the official photographer was going to be,”said Ben.

“The volunteers radioed ahead as we passed the early fences on the route — Zoe had absolutely no idea right up until the point I got down on one knee, she was completely surprised which made it even more special.

“I was wearing a GoPro and she thought I had dropped it, but it was actually the ring box!”

Zoe, a riding instructor, said “yes” amid floods of tears.

“I can’t believe my lovely boyfriend Ben proposed to me – and in such incredible surroundings,” she said. “I had no idea it was going to happen and am over the moon.”

Ben added the volunteers radioed ahead again and every time they arrived at another jumping section, they received more congratulations.

“I entered the raffle and also won a free entry to next year’s ride,” laughed Ben, adding the couple plan to return annually as a tradition.

The nine-mile ride is Windsor Lions’ biggest fundraiser — close to 650 riders took part this year and around £40,000 is expected to have been raised for charities and good causes.

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Organsier Mark Fraser added it was a “wonderful event”.

“The weather was just right, dry and warm but not too hot, and once again the Great Park looked spectacular and all our riders and their horses had the most glorious time,” he said, adding the beneficiaries will be announced in January.

“The feedback we have had from them this year has been particularly amazing – we added some refinements like new fences and rider bibs and introduced a new registration process which all went down particularly well.

“We try hard to make the ride work well for our riders — their enjoyment makes it fun for all of us.”

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