3,000 year old horse gets a Paddy Power Makeover
(8th March 2012) Sightseers to the world-famous hill carving, the Uffington Horse, in Oxfordshire this morning were left gobsmacked when they noticed the 3,000 year old figure had mysteriously acquired a jockey!
Mischievous betting firm Paddy Power have today owned up to the audacious stunt as part of their “We Hear You” campaign with the objective of celebrating the imminent arrival of next week’s Cheltenham Festival in spectacular style.
The installation took place over a six hour period under the cover of darkness on Wednesday night and Thursday morning just days ahead of this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Over 200 metres of lightweight canvas, pre-cut into five separate pieces was used to create the 110 foot tall and 200 foot wide temporary installation. It is pinned to the ground five foot from the original chalk markings, using over 500 tiny tent pegs to ensure that the original site remains undisturbed.
The gleaming new design, which is bigger than an Olympic sized swimming pool, can be clearly seen from the surrounding villages.
Paddy Power now hopes the Uffington Rider will become a site of pilgrimage for ‘lucky’ racing fans from all over the UK in the coming days before Cheltenham.
A spokesperson from Paddy Power comments, ‘Funnily enough the idea for our Uffington Rider came from a Tweet from one of our customers. He was responding to our ‘We Hear Campaign’ asking if we had any mischief planned for Cheltenham in the wake of our giant Hollywood sign a few years ago. We simply couldn’t resist the challenge and needed to come up with something spectacular to measure up to the giant sign. I think we’ve achieved this.”
Paddy Power has made a donation to National Trust.
About Paddy Power
Paddy Power is Ireland’s largest bookmaker and a leading provider of gaming services in the UK, Australia, France, Canada and Ireland.
Founded in 1988 Paddy Power is a publicly quoted company and is listed on both the Irish and London Stock Exchanges (www.paddypowerplc.com).
About the Uffington Horse
· The Uffington White Horse is a prehistoric hill figure, 110 m long (374 feet), formed from trenches filled with crushed white chalk.
· The figure is situated on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill in the parish of Uffington, Oxfordshire
· The ancient horse is believed to be around 3,000 years old, created in the late Bronze age.
· In the 1180s, Ralf de Deceto wrote a tract proclaiming the horse to be the 5th wonder of Britain. And in later works it was promoted to 2nd place, only being narrowly beaten by Stonehenge
· Its unusual shape has been featured on coins as long ago as the Iron age
· British artist Stella Vine chose the White Horse as her favourite artwork in a video filmed in May 2008 as part of ArtAngel’s The Big Pix project. Vine described it as ‘mysterious, atmospheric, pagan and inspiring’
· Clive Cussler refers to the Uffington Horse in his novel Trojan Odyssey, where it is the symbol of the cult presided over by Epona Eliade
· The 1978 BBC television children’s series The Moon Stallion uses the chalk horse as one of its principal locations and a major plot element, and includes footage of it in the title sequence
· The chalk carving is featured extensively in “A Hat Full of Sky” by Terry Pratchett, and the author discusses the Uffington White Horse specifically in an afterword
· An animated version of the horse appeared in the music video for Sonnet by The Verve in 1998