Warhorse statue made from hundreds of old horseshoes is unveiled in Bristol

The Warhorse Memorial
Warhorse memorial made from old horseshoes at Shirehampton near Bristol.

A statue made of 380 horseshoes has been unveiled in Bristol to commemorate the thousands of horses sent into battle from the region during the First World War.

Shirehampton in Bristol used to house Britain's biggest equine battle training centre. But local resident Diane Gait wanted to find a permanent way to create a memorial which would recognise the contribution that horses made to the war.

So she enlisted the help of local blacksmith and farrier, Jason Baggs.

"I am just so grateful to everybody that contributed helped us, and the fundraisers", Diane said.

Fundraiser Diane Gait and Blacksmith Jason Baggs

With the help of those fundraisers, Jason was able to create a life size horse, which now overlooks Daisy Meadow, alongside The Portway, the site of what was then called a 'remounting depot' - a centre for training the horses before they were shipped off to Belgium and France.

Jason says that he is "overawed" when he sees the sculpture. "When you walk in the field and you see it, it’s I just, I don’t know. I'm honoured and proud to have made it", he said.

Shirehampton was one of the largest remounting depots in England and over300,000 horses passed through there between 1914 and 1918.

There's nothing left of the huge facility now except open fields. But people who live there often find old horseshoes in their back gardens. A reminder of how busy the village was more than a century ago.