Charity Marks 90 Years of Improving Horses' Lives with Unique Artwork
International horse charity, World Horse Welfare, is celebrating its 90th anniversary and has marked the occasion with the creation of a stunning, life-size horse sculpture created from white carnations.
The equine floral creation was unveiled at the Royal Hospital Chelsea by the charity’s Chief Executive, Roly Owers, and came nose to nose with its living, breathing muse, Nutkin the rescue pony, who was there to give it his (hoof) stamp of approval. Created by celebrated florist, Judith Blacklock, the stunning sculpture features almost 3,000 white carnations and will now travel to the charity’s Norfolk head office to feature in its upcoming campaign to stop the long-distance transport of horses across Europe for slaughter.
World Horse Welfare (previously the ILPH) was founded in 1927 by Ada Cole when she witnessed the horrific conditions in which thousands of horses were transported from Britain to Europe for slaughter and successfully campaigned against their export for slaughter. Ninety years later and the charity still continues Ada’s campaign to stop the long distance transport of horses across continental Europe to slaughter, marking a number of milestones over the years that have dramatically improved conditions for the thousands of horses who still endure these journeys. World Horse Welfare rescues and rehomes horses in the UK through its four centres, as well as training and upskilling communities in developing countries who are reliant on horses for their livelihoods, advising sport regulators on horse welfare, representing the horse at the very highest levels of central Government and providing vital education initiatives to help tackle the most common welfare problems at source.
The charity’s history of improving horses’ lives across the world spans decades in which the horse’s role in society has undergone dramatic changes. The status which horses now hold in the UK may be very different to that of the vital transport which kept families, businesses and goods moving or troops mounted on the battlefields decades ago, but is no less one which World Horse Welfare remains committed to for the long term.
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, explains:
“This stunning floral sculpture is a symbol of hope and compassion for invisible horses everywhere. We are committed to keeping horse welfare on the political agenda. Horses may well be less ‘visible’ now than in our history, but their importance is certainly no less relevant. Not only does the equestrian sector contribute significantly to our economy to the tune of around £8 billion, but there is strong evidence which points to this lack of visibility being the root cause of many of the welfare problems experienced by thousands of horses every day.
“Horses still hold a status in society, but aside from the multi-million pound sport horses seen on our racetracks and competing to bring home Olympic medals, the picture is a very different one indeed with a widespread epidemic of horses and ponies of a low financial value changing hands for as little as £5– less than a bunch of carnations - or worse, with absolutely no monetary value at all.
“Our latest figures show there are an estimated 3,400+ vulnerable horses at risk in Britain today, and so whilst we celebrate the charity’s achievements of the last 90 years, we remain fully committed to our vision of a world where every horse is treated with the respect, compassion and understanding that they deserve over decades to come.”
World Horse Welfare will be exhibiting a garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show later this month which tells the moving story of a neglected pony, through stunning planting, rustic structures and a unique horse sculpture made of horseshoes donated by various ‘personalities’ of the equestrian world.
Nutkin’s story is reminiscent of many other horses and ponies who have come into World Horse Welfare’s care over the last 90 years. He was discovered as part of a large group of horses and ponies who were not receiving the care they needed due to their owners no longer being able to cope. Nutkin was just a few months old, underweight and suffering from a lice infestation. He came into the care of World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre where he underwent rehabilitation before being backed and rehomed as a fantastic child’s pony. He is now living with rehomer, Leah Fowler and her four year-old daughter Darcy who rides him regularly.