The Free Spirit Horse Memorial Project, a charity which acknowledges the horse’s unfaltering service to mankind throughout history, has been announced as the official charity of Royal Windsor Horse Show 2018, taking place from 9 – 13 May in the private grounds of Windsor Castle.
The project has been created to raise funds for a memorial to the horse named The Free Spirit Horse Memorial, which will be located at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and will be unveiled in 2018 to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the end of the First World War.
The memorial will be accessible to able bodied and disabled, providing a tactile as well as a visual experience, with seating for reflection and contemplation, information plaques in braille for those who are visually impaired, Makaton symbols and dyslexia approved font to aid communication. This accessibility was of paramount importance to the project organisers as it mirrors the horse, who does not judge but treats and respects each person as an individual, bringing together all members of the community without prejudice. The horse has been, and continues to be, a strong, loyal and dedicated companion through war, industry, sport and therapy and the Free Spirit Horse Memorial aims to pay tribute to this honourable and emotive creature.
As part of its charitable aims, the Free Spirit project also provides education around the role of the horse through art, music and history to ensure that the significance of the horse is taught to future generations. In addition, the project promotes the importance of equine therapy for the most vulnerable in society and reaches out into communities by visiting schools, care homes and mental health facilities.
Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward said: “We are delighted to be supporting The Free Spirit Horse Memorial Project in 2018 as we mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I. Horses have played a vital role in the development of our country throughout history, whether in conflict, work, rehabilitation or sport and leisure. Royal Windsor Horse Show is an annual celebration of top equestrian sport and entertainment, so this partnership is a natural fit, commemorating the role of horses in society, past and present.”
Tracy Francis, Chair of The Free Spirit Horse Memorial Project, added: “The horse is central to the community that is created at Free Spirit; these intelligent, compassionate and emotive animals break down barriers and are unprejudiced in their approach to everyone who works with them. The Free Spirit volunteers work passionately to share this and to acknowledge the role the horse has played in society in the past and present, and will play in the future. The project is extremely proud and honoured to be charity of the year at the prestigious Royal Windsor Horse Show and it is a great opportunity for the ongoing work and commitment of the project to be recognised in the public spotlight.”