A huge horse sculpture made of more than 600 horseshoes from across Yorkshire has been carefully lifted into place at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate.
The stunning 12ft equine ode has been created by 31-year-old North Yorkshire sculptor Ollie Holman. Weighing about 750 kilograms – three-quarters of a ton – the intricately welded design captures a powerful horse rearing upon its hind legs.
It was craned into position outside the Yorkshire Event Centre where it will welcome visitors to the Art Show and Food Hall at the Great Yorkshire Show on Tuesday 11th July to Friday 14th July.
Ollie, from near Selby, who began experimenting with metal sculpting when he was a teenager, has been working on the masterpiece for five years in between other projects and cannot wait to see it at the heart of the Great Yorkshire Show.
“I hope it stops people in their tracks and creates a big crowd around it. It will be nice to see people’s reactions,” Ollie said.
Charles Mills, Show Director said: “Ollie’s sculpture is a true epic that I have no doubt will turn heads at the Great Yorkshire Show. We are proud of the high-quality equestrian classes we have at the Show each year, so this is a very fitting sculpture to have in such a prominent position on the Showground.”
Ollie learned to weld as a 13-year-old under the guidance of his father David and later studied at Leeds College of Art. The horse sculpture is entitled Os II after the Yorkshire slang for horse and because this is Ollie’s second attempt at sculpting a full-scale rearing horse. His first was sold to the prestigious Cheltenham Racecourse.
Ollie explained: “The driving force behind this one was to improve myself as an artist and really capture the raw physical power of the horse in more detail. For this one, I layered up the horseshoes to give it that sense of power.
“To get the form right, I relied on images of horses online and my mum and dad rent a field off for horses, so a quick hop over the fence came in handy too.”
A painstaking process, Ollie would move a scaffolding frame around his developing sculpture and would jump on and off to get a wider perspective after each adjustment to ensure the form of the horse was just so.
Ollie, who first attended the Great Yorkshire Show as a schoolboy, added: “It’s nice to be bringing it to the Show. Being a Yorkshireman and bringing a sculpture made of horseshoes from all over Yorkshire to a place that celebrates Yorkshire feels very fitting.”
Ollie’s metalwork horses were initially inspired by his sister’s horse riding, but his repertoire extends beyond the equine to sculptures of human form. Some of Ollie’s other work will be available to view and purchase in the Great Yorkshire Show’s Art Show. The Art Show will host 14 of Yorkshire’s finest established artists, with work inspired by the beauty of the county and beyond.
As for ‘Os II’, which has also been displayed at Wetherby Racecourse and Newby Hall, Ollie said: “It’s for sale or could be rented out – I’ve had enquiries for weddings – but it would be nice to keep it in Yorkshire!”
There is a strong equine section at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show with 1,800 entries and one of the most prestigious showjumping events in the UK, The Cock O The North which regularly attracts some of the biggest names in the showjumping world.
New in the equine rings will be classes for Traditional Cobs and Connemara ponies, while new showjumping classes, which debuted last year in the Top Spec White Rose ring, are back and have had waiting lists once again.
The Great Yorkshire Show celebrates the very best of farming, food and countryside, with some of the best animals in the country competing including national breed shows. It is also a meeting place for industry discussions.
On Tuesday 11th July, HRH The Duke of Gloucester will attend the Show, and Whitehall’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will launch a report about species reintroduction and hold a farming debate on the Vertu Motors GYS Stage. On Wednesday 12th July, red meat buyers from Asia, the Middle East and North America will meet with farmers and UK exporters at the Show during a trade mission organised by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
The 164th Great Yorkshire Show is shaping up to be a sell-out. Visitors are encouraged to act now to secure a ticket. Tickets for Wednesday 12th July and Thursday 13th July are already sold out.
Tickets are sold in advance only, with visitor numbers capped at 35,000 a day. To book tickets, please go online greatyorkshireshow.co.uk/ticket-information/