A UNIQUE tribute to the millions of horses, donkeys and mules who died during the First World War has gone on display.

International charity, World Horse Welfare, is honouring the eight million animals who lost their lives during the conflict with a touching tribute of 100 hearts sculpted from horseshoes, donated by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

Sculptor Tom Hill crafted the hearts, which are dedicated to the memory of a particular horse who played a role in the war efforts, whether at home or on the front line, with many stories provided by World Horse Welfare supporters.

The tribute was on display at Ascot Racecourse last weekend during the Italian Tourist Board Festival of Food and Wine Racing Weekend and again at the Autumn Racing Weekend & Ascot Beer Festival, and will be again at the Autumn Racing Weekend & Ascot Beer Festival on October 5 and 6.

Following the two events, the public will be able to purchase one of these poignant sculptures from World Horse Welfare.

World Horse Welfare Director of Fundraising, Emma Williams, said: “World Horse Welfare was founded in 1927 in the aftermath of the First World War and our founder Ada Cole saw first-hand the incredible loyalty and dedication of the many horses, donkeys and mules who played a role in the war efforts. 100 years on, we wanted to create an enduring and fitting tribute to recognise and remember these equines and we are extremely grateful to Ascot for giving us this opportunity to showcase the horseshoe hearts. We are also very thankful to sculptor, Tom Hill, by once again lending his incredible talent in support of World Horse Welfare and to the King’s Troop for kindly donating the horseshoes.”

Nick Smith, Director of Racing & Communications at Ascot Racecourse, said: “We are delighted to be supporting World Horse Welfare with this innovative tribute, the subject of which is very close to our hearts. We hope our racegoers enjoy the display and it helps to raise awareness of the fantastic work this charity does.”