Sir Mark Todd Turns His Hand to Art for World Horse Welfare Invisible Horse Trail

The moving story of Fern the abandoned Thoroughbred has been brought to life in World Horse Welfare’s Invisible Horse Trail by celebrated artist Michelle McCullagh in a unique collaboration with eventing world legend, Sir Mark Todd.

Featuring a silver fern leaf design in homage to Sir Mark’s home country, New Zealand, the horse sculpture features several stunning portraits inspired by Fern’s face – partially hidden beneath the leaves and embodying World Horse Welfare’s ‘Invisible Horse’ initiative.

Mark Todd and Michelle McCullagh paint the horse sculpture


Kindly sponsored by the Mark Todd Collection, the beautiful horse sculpture has been partially painted by Sir Mark Todd himself and given the addition of his signature across one hoof. The story of abandoned Thoroughbred Fern who was rescued by World Horse Welfare, inspired Michelle’s unique design. She said: “I really wanted to bring Fern’s story to life in a sensitive and emotive way, whilst creating something that visualises the Invisible Horse theme and pays tribute to Sir Mark’s New Zealand roots. Fern’s face is not immediately visible beneath the leaves and I hope the sculpture will encourage people to spend a little while longer looking at the sculpture and thinking about all of the horses who are so in need of World Horse Welfare’s help and may not always be immediately visible.”

Sir Mark Todd said: “World Horse Welfare is a fantastic charity so I am very pleased The Mark Todd Collection are supporting the Invisible Horse Trail and delighted personally to be involved. As competitors, one of the most paramount things is our horses’ welfare and whilst our own horses are pretty much pampered athletes, we’re also very aware that not all horses get such a good deal and a lot of horses in many spheres don’t get treated how they should do. The Invisible Horse Trail is a great initiative to bring the plight of these horses into the spotlight and I think following the trail will make a fun addition to anyone’s visit to Badminton whilst learning more about World Horse Welfare’s work and supporting them in any way they can.”

Michelle McCullagh painting the sculpture

World Horse Welfare is the chosen charity of this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. The charity will be showcasing its new initiative ‘The Invisible Horse’ and, its stunning Invisible Horse Trail. Fourteen fibreglass horse sculptures will make up the trail, each one telling the story of a horse who has been helped by World Horse Welfare through the artist’s interpretation of that story. The maquette for the fibreglass sculptures was modelled on the charity’s adoption horse, May, by award-winning sculptor Judy Boyt – designer of the Badminton trophy – with the sculpture trail bringing to life World Horse Welfare’s campaign to raise awareness of the world’s invisible horses.

Read Previous

Badminton Horse Trials Course Preview

Read Next

Black Bests the Rest in The Fork CIC3*