Horse moves into museum after blanket-covered box haul along Midlands motorways

By Ben Miller | 18 March 2014

A hungry horse has moved into a museum after organisers drove it from Derby to Gloucestershire

A photo of a model of a horse standing against a dimly-lit red brick wall inside a museum
Ginger movements in Gloucester© Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
Visitors are being warned not to feed a full-size horse, left to guard a weapons store after being delivered in a horsebox wrapped in a blanket and surrounded by straw, in the newest arrival at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum in Gloucester.

A photo of a man moving a horse into a horsebox outside a museum
The museum represents the Gloucestershire Regiment and the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars© Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
Paying tribute to the equine companions who have accompanied the Hussars cavalry regiment through centuries of service, the horse – nicknamed Ginger – is set to move into a diorama in full regalia. It is one of the first animals to join the collection at Custom House, on Gloucester Docks, where the museum has spent 24 years.

“I sourced the horse from someone in Derby who makes them for riding schools to help with riding skills,” says Ralph Stevenson, a Trustee of the museum who drove the model down the M42 and M5 en route to the south-west.

“We were going to hire a van but thought the best way to get it was in a horsebox.

"The straw was already in the horsebox but we did cover the horse with a horse blanket to protect it.

“We were concerned that we would be stopped by people wanting to warn us that the blanket would overheat the horse.”

A photo of a man moving a horse into a horsebox outside a museum
The horse measures 14 hands 2 inches© Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
Lavinia Drake, the Museum Manager, says the idea was originally harnessed when the site closed for refurbishment last November.

“It came up in a meeting,” she recalls. “We said ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have a horse in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars display?’

"And with that the trustees tracked down a man who makes realistic horses.

“They spent as much time finding the right one as you would a real horse, with two additional visits to Derby to see it.

“This would be the only animal exhibit we have, apart from a leopard skin hanging over the bannister to the Regimental Offices.”

Despite its size, the horse’s “extremely light” build allows one person to carry it. The museum is expected to reopen in time for the Easter holidays following its Heritage Lottery Fund-backed improvements.

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