Today the Hyde Park Estate gathered together along with horse riders and enthusiasts from across London and the South of England for the annual Blessing of the Horses. Started by Ross Nye, one of the local muse stables, 49 years ago to bring together the London horse riding community and draw attention to the challenges in maintaining horse riding in central London. All these years on, many stables have come and gone but both Ross and his stables were present along with Hyde Park Stables and many others who came from further afield.
The day began inside St John's for the Festival Eucharist in which Archdeacon Luke gave the sermon, the choir sang Haydn's The Heavens are Telling from Creation accompanied by a string quartet, flute and oboe and Miss Custard led the junior riders off for a specially horsey Kids' Club. After the service festivities continued outside with a village fête including cake stall, bric-a-brac, food from local restaurant Colbeh, a tombola with gifts from many of the shops in Connaught Village. The kids were also enjoying themselves with classics like hook-a-duck and the unmissable coconut shie.
At 12 o'clock the Vicar and the Archdeacon led a procession of horses and horse drawn carriages up to the front of the church for the annual blessing of the horses and the giving out of rosettes.
As Kirsty of Ross Nye stables pointed out, next year will be the 50th Horseman's Sunday on the 17th September 2017 - a date not to be missed.