Montrose tattoo artist drawn to help neglected horses

Judi Milne with her design.
Judi Milne with her design.

A Montrose tattoo artist is helping to put neglected horses that are dumped or abandoned across the UK every year into the picture.

Judi Milne, who owns Ink Minx, on Lower Hall Street, is bringing to life a sculpture for a trail to raise awareness about ‘invisible’ horses.

The Invisible Horse Trail will feature 14 uniquely designed and hand painted 7hh (2’4”) sculptures based on May, a young horse who arrived at World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre incredibly thin and badly neglected.

Thanks to expert care, May’s health improved and she learnt to trust humans again.

The trail will be at The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials from May 4 to 8 and Judi’s work will be the final horse on the route.

Badminton trophy designer Judy Boyt used May’s image as the basis for each horse.

Judi said: “My idea was to make it like an adult colouring book so it has specific sections that people can colour in.

“I think the trail will have a very profound effect on a lot of people.

“It will do its job to raise awareness about these forgotten and neglected horses.

“As we become so indulged in our own lives it is very easy to just jolly on with blinkers on, not absorbing the issues that surround us. With such an amazing eye catching exhibition, you can’t help but want to look at it and touch it and with May, actually get to have some personal input. The experience stays with you for life and so does the message.

“The idea is as Badminton Horse Trials passes on and she gets coloured in, she will gradually appear and come alive, representing her journey.”

Judi’s design tells May’s story - her name in different languages, hand prints to represent the 16 hands she had to go through to get help, services such as the RSPCA who helped her and words of hope - ‘forever’, ‘home’ and ‘adoption’.

Judi said: “The final hand print on her face is the final person leading her on her journey.”

Twenty years ago Judi volunteered at World Horse Welfare Belwade Farm, in Aboyne, which led to her rehoming two ponies, Maybe and Ella, and Judi’s design is dedicated to Susie Main, who worked at Belwade.

She said: “We went on to become great friends and she definitely inspired me with her strength and character. She tragically passed away a couple of years ago and I have to say, working on May today has had me in tears several times. Judy Boyt has captured the very soul of May and it’s bringing out a lot of emotions in me, thinking about Suz and my lovely horse, Maybe.”

Judi is an animal lover - she has two fell ponies, Flossy and Beans, as well as four dogs, two rescue cats and four rescue ferrets.

Judi says it has taken her 30-plus hours to paint May and has had to turn down work.

She is hoping to raise the funds to go to Badminton.

To sponsor Judi you can email her at