Horseshoe Hearts Tribute

horseshoe heart

Eight million horses, donkeys and mules lost their lives in World War One and countless more continued to support families and businesses back home whilst the fighting went on. To mark the centenary of World War I, talented sculptor Tom Hill has crafted 100 stunning hearts from horseshoes kindly donated by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery which serve as a beautiful and poignant tribute to the memory of all these horses who were part of the war effort. A name tag of an individual horse was tied to each heart to commemorate their life, with many of the horses' stories coming from our supporters who very kindly sent in their personal family memories of relatives who had ridden or taken care of the horses during the war.

The war was a tragic event, which took away many horses’ lives as well as the lives of millions of soldiers, and countless livelihoods. The horses taken away from family members or those needed on working farms left households devastated and some fighting for survival. This period of time not only affected those on the front line but also those trying to make a living at home. It is estimated that 16 million people and over 8 million horses, donkeys and mules died during World War I and many of the horses who survived were left in the countries they fought in, leaving families in Britain without a horse for support. It was a terrible time and one that was fraught with welfare issues that saw countless lives lost.

Our founder Ada Cole saw first-hand the incredible loyalty and dedication of the many horses, donkeys and mules who played a role in the war efforts and 100 years on we wanted to create an enduring and fitting tribute to them all. Together, through our horseshoe heart tribute, we remember the equines who lost their lives as well as those who were lucky enough to return home. The hearts were displayed at Ascot Racecourse in September and October, and then at our open day at Hall Farm in Norfolk in early November, to share this beautiful tribute with as many people as possible ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

Below are just some of the stories of the horses, donkeys and mules who are remembered with our horseshoe hearts tribute.

Kidron, a US army horse ridden by a general.

Orleans, who served with the Indian army on the western front.

San Toy, who was retired to the Horse Trust after serving in the war.

Nancy, a mule who served in Belgium.

Betty, who was retired to a home for heroes after the war. 

Golden Boy, an old charger who was retired to a home for heroes after the war.

Betty, a pony who was saved from going to war by the children in her family who wrote to the commissioning team.

Phyllis, who served with the Corps of Lancers.

Bill, a veteran artillery horse.

Old Sam, who pulled firewood after the war and was retired to the Horse Trust.

Kesmit, a New Zealand pack horse.

Kiddman, a pack horse who carried food and supplies.

Marcus, who was named after an Emperor and survived the campaign in Sinai.

Shaitan, who was a one-man horse.

Lofty, who gave lengthy service.

Paeroa, a horse bought by schoolchildren for the Major to ride.

Miss Milroy, who came from Milroy along with her trooper.

Camouflage, a Waler pony who took cover when planes were overhead.

Bucksee, who turned wild under a full moon. 

Doreen, an old cart mare who was loved by her keeper.

Lizzie, a mule who carried veterinary supplies.

Bluey, a large ridden mule.

Bonfire, the mount of a Canadian poet.

Mikki, a leader's horse.

 

If you would like to purchase one of the horseshoe hearts to be a lasting tribute in your own garden to the memory of all the horses, donkeys and mules whose lives were changed forever by the war, you can do so here.