|Connoisseur of Malvern Ltd.
|Sefton's story is remarkable.
I am old enough to remember the horror of the day when the IRA shocked the world with their terrorist bombing in Hyde Park:
(story and photos courtesy of Wikipedia under the Fair Use laws)
Sefton (1963–1993) was a British Army horse who served for 17 years from 1967 to 1984, coming to prominence when he was critically injured in the Hyde Park and
Regent's Park bombings, which killed seven other horses, and four soldiers. He recovered sufficiently to return to active service and was subsequently awarded "Horse of the
Year". Sefton became one of the first horses to be placed in the British Horse Society's equestrian Hall of Fame.
Sefton's Story: On 20 July 1982 at 10.40am Sefton was en route to the traditional Changing of the Guard, with 15 other horses from his regiment. A car-mounted nail bomb
planted by the IRA detonated on South Carriage Drive in Hyde Park, hitting the formation of horses and riders from the Blues and Royals.
Two soldiers were killed on the scene, with two further soldiers dying of their wounds later. The blast injured all the horses, seven of them so badly that they were shot on the
scene to relieve their suffering. Sefton and eight of his stablemates also sustained injuries, although Sefton's were the most serious of the surviving horses. A second
explosion two hours later in Regent's Park killed another seven soldiers.
Sefton's injuries were serious: they included a severed jugular vein, wounded left eye, and 34 wounds over his body. His rider Trooper Michael Pedersen noted that Sefton
responded so competently that when the bomb exploded there was no chance of his being thrown. After dismounting, Pedersen, who was still in full state kit and in severe
shock, could do little to help Sefton. The sound of the explosion alerted a number of soldiers still in the barracks, and many of them ran to the scene, including regimental
commander Andrew Parker Bowles and veterinary officer, Major Noel Carding. Another soldier, on orders from the officers, took off his shirt and used it to apply pressure to
Sefton's severe neck wound. Due to the severity of his wounds, Sefton was led in to the first horsebox to arrive on scene, where he was driven to the barracks along with
Major Carding, Farrier-Major Brian Smith and three other troopers holding Sefton. Carding ordered the horsebox to the forge, rather than the stables, due to its proximity.
Here, Carding began 90 minutes of emergency operation to save Sefton's life – the first of the British Army's veterinary officers to operate on war-like wounds to a cavalry
horse in more than half a century – whilst also directing care of the other wounded horses prior to the arrival of civilian vets to assist. Carding, the civilian vets, farriers and
troopers managed to save all of the horses who were brought back to barracks from the explosion scene.
Sefton endured 8 hours of surgery – a record length for horse surgery in 1982. Each of his 34 wounds were potentially life-threatening; some included dislodging shrapnel
from bone. That evening after surgery the veterinary surgeons gave him a 50/50 chance of surviving the shock and extreme blood loss. Over the next months he made
continual progress and his nurse was quoted "He took everything in his stride". During his time in the hospital he received huge quantities of cards and mints; donations
reaching almost $1,000,000 were collected to construct a new surgical wing at Royal Veterinary College which was named the Sefton Surgical Wing.
Sefton returned to his duties with his regiment, and he often passed the exact spot where he had received such horrific injuries.
That year he was awarded Horse of the Year, and with Pederson back in the saddle took centre stage at the Horse of the Year Show, to a standing ovation.
On 29 August 1984 Sefton retired from the Household Cavalry, and moved to the Home of Rest For Horses at Speen, Buckinghamshire where he lived to the age of 30
before having to be put down on 9 July 1993 due to incurable lameness as a complication of the injuries suffered during the bombing.
|I stumbled across this enormous figurine (23" tall and 18" long!) at an online auction.
I didn't realize what a find it was until I had done some research.
The artist Richard Sefton is the sculptor of horse figures for Connoisseur of Malvern.
In an odd twist of fate, Richard Sefton was chosen to immortalize the horse named Sefton, who
was named after Lord Sefton an officer in the Queen's Royal Household Cavalry. For that reason
this sculpture is often called "Sefton by Sefton".
There were only 25 made and this is #9.The saber and chain work on this figurine is all solid
sterling silver. Sefton was not a beautiful horse and neither is his sculpture. But it is an amazing
likeness to the real horse and his rider, down to his registration number on his hoof!