A life-size sculpture made to commemorate the millions of horses that fought and died in the First World War will be exhibited for the first time at this year’s Belsay Horse Trials.
James Kemish, an amateur artist who works at Nissan in Sunderland, has created The Spirit of Freedom using horse shoes and 100 poppies to symbolise the centenary of the war.
Visitors to the Belsay Horse Trials, which will take place on Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3, will be able to view the stunning piece in the beautiful parkland outside Belsay Castle, where it will provide an eye-catching feature for the cross-country element of the popular event.
James said: “I wanted to make something to remember and honour these beautiful creatures and the extraordinary sacrifice that they made during the Great War.
“We wouldn’t be here today enjoying our own freedom if it wasn’t for horses and I only hope that I have done their memory justice.
“My wife rides and has competed at Belsay Horse Trials, so it seemed fitting to contact event organiser Laura de Wesselow and ask whether she would exhibit The Spirit of Freedom at the event.
“I am looking forward to talking to competitors and visitors at the trials and gauging their reaction.”
Laura added: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to show off this amazing sculpture at Belsay.
“I think it is a wonderful way for James to reach out to a wider audience of people, who have an interest in all things equestrian, and highlight the plight of all those amazing horses who perished during the First World War to safeguard our liberty.”
With a full weekend of sporting action, featuring riders such as Olympic team member and European Bronze medallist Nicola Wilson, as well as a shopping village and an array of food outlets, fair rides and dog agility, this year’s Belsay Horse Trials looks set to be a fun family day out.
As well as the dressage, show jumping and cross-country elements of the British Eventing trials, there is a BSPS Working Hunter Pony Show on the Saturday, Pony Club Show Jumping on the Sunday and a new Inter-Hunt Relay competition – featuring teams from the Tynedale, Morpeth, Hayden, Border and Zetland hunts – on the Sunday afternoon.
Once again, Belsay Horse Trials has the support of a range of sponsors.
They are led by Barbour, Womble Bond Dickinson, Ryecroft Glenton, Land Factor and Clarke Mairs and supported by Lycetts, Brewin Dolphin, Cussins, JR Holland, UBS, Savage Silk, Gibson & Co, Vardags, Rural Solutions, Le Petit Chateau and Rural Solutions, among others.
Of the upcoming event, Laura said: “We are well ahead with the preparations for this year’s Belsay Horse Trials thanks to the recent good weather.
“There is a new water jump feature, called The Barbour Splash, and we’re looking forward to the Inter-Hunt Relay competition, sponsored by Jobling Purser, as it will be great fun for everyone locally.”
More information about the event, including details about the timings and the confirmed trade stands for 2018, can be found online at www.belsayhorsetrials.co.uk
People can also go to the website to purchase tickets in advance.