Montrose tattoo artist’s sculpture gallops away with top bid

Judi with her 'May' at the BT Tower in London
Judi with her 'May' at the BT Tower in London

A unique horse sculpture painted by a Montrose tattoo artist topped the bidding at a charity auction in aid of equine welfare.

Judi Milne, owner of Ink Minx, painted one of 14 sculptures for the Invisible Horse Trail which was held at Badminton Horse Trials this year and aimed to raise awareness about neglected horses.

Judi with  auctioneer and racing commentator Mike Cattermole

Judi with auctioneer and racing commentator Mike Cattermole

To raise money for World Horse Welfare (WHW) there was an online auction and a live event at the BT Tower in London on Friday to showcase all 14 sculptures.

A grand total of £41,000 was raised with Judi’s design topping the bidding at £7000.

The sculptures for the trail were based on May, a young horse who arrived at WHW’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre incredibly thin and badly neglected.

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

Judi Milne's black and white design

Judi Milne's black and white design

Judi’s black and white design - ‘The People’s Horse’ - was in the style of an adult colouring book, which was then ‘coloured-in’ by thousands of visitors to Badminton Horse Trials.

Judi, who attended the event at the BT Tower, said: “It was unbelievable. I’m so glad I went.

“It was such a privilege to attend the BT Tower, as it’s usually closed to the public.

“The 14 horses were arranged round the Tower, with the backdrop of London.

Judi Milne's design now it has been 'coloured-in'

Judi Milne's design now it has been 'coloured-in'

“The Tower was rotated once and the views were astonishing.

“It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

“We spent a bit if time getting acquainted with the other artists and potential bidders, it was quite amusing how the sculptures really suited their artists, from the colourful ‘Blossom’ by the flamboyant Julian Seaman to the very elegant ‘Fern’ by Michelle McCullagh.

“My ‘May’ was certainly looking colourful and it was lovely to meet some of the people, including Suzanne Dando, who had taken the time to colour her at Badminton.”

“I can’t take all the credit for Mays success, that goes to all of the public who painted her and of course the incredible Judy Boyt, who used the real May for the original sculpture.

“After having the pleasure of meeting Judy, I can now see that she is extremely passionate about the plight of the ‘invisible horse’.

“£41,000 is a huge amount but considering it can take £5000 to rehabilitate a horse like May, funds are always needed for WHW to carry on their work.

“We all hope this project has raised the public awareness and maybe some of these horses can be rescued before they become ‘invisible’.”

World Horse Welfare director of fundraising, Emma Williams, said: “The auction event was a fantastic culmination of the Invisible Horse Trail project which has captured so many hearts, minds and imaginations.

“Judi’s stunning design which tells the story of May, the horse which was Judy Boyt’s muse for all of the sculptures on the trail, and was coloured in by supporters and a host of famous faces at Badminton Horse Trials, reached a huge £7,000 at auction which helped contribute to our amazing grand total of £41,000 raised on the night.

“We would like to extend a huge thank you to Judi for her part in this project and can’t wait to see May delivered to her new home.”