MK Gallery and local children’s charity hold George Stubbs-inspired exhibition

Posted 11th September 2019

Ride High, a local children’s charity that uses horses to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, will showcase its members’ artwork alongside that of the English painter George Stubbs at a world-class exhibition at MK Gallery this autumn.

Stubbs (1724-1806) is one of the UK’s greatest artists. Best known for his paintings of horses, he was the first artist to eloquently depict the close relationship between horses and people. Ride High members are recreating some of Stubbs’ most iconic work for display in their very own exhibition ‘Ride High Take on Stubbs’ in the MK Gallery Project Space from 9th October, sponsored by RB Equestrian, Shoosmiths and WSA The Communications Agency.

The collaboration between Milton Keynes’ recently opened Gallery and the city’s unique charity will see the children create their own interpretations of Stubbs’ work, including his greatest masterpiece, Whistlejacket (on loan from the National Gallery) through various mediums including photography, collage, drawing, painting and mosaic. It’s a very exciting project for the children and will help to develop their creativity and team working skills. They will take great pride in seeing their work displayed alongside that of the great George Stubbs. The children’s love of horses sees them through challenging times. Their exhibition will celebrate the true healing power of horses.

Ride High teaches vulnerable and disengaged children and young people, over 80% of which are suffering from mental health problems, to ride and care for horses. Spending time with the horses reduces the children’s anxieties and increases positive thinking and wellbeing. This alternative approach has a calming influence and helps to build children’s confidence and self-esteem. Additional project work in the charity’s Clubroom develops their social and literacy skills.

Ride High is also engaging customers, volunteers, supporters and staff from its social enterprise, the Ride High Equestrian Centre in the project. They will all have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a second Whistlejacket.

Eve, who was referred to Ride High having been regularly hospitalised due to mental health issues, loved spending time with the horses. They gave her a real sense of purpose and her confidence and self-esteem went from strength to strength – 11 months later she is about to embark on an apprenticeship.

Eve said “Ride High has helped me turn a corner in my mental health recovery. I don’t know what I would have done without Ride High”.

Rachel Medill, former 4-star event rider, British Equestrian Event Director and CEO and Founder of Ride High, said “The children that come to Ride High are in great need of support. When they come into contact with the horses their anxieties seem to naturally vanish. The horses enable us to engage the most hard-to-reach children in educational projects and this initiative with MK Gallery, where they can express their love of horses in a creative way, is one of our most exciting yet. It will inspire and give hope to over 60 vulnerable children and young people.”

Anthony Spira, Director of MK Gallery, said “We are incredibly excited to be bringing the broadest survey of George Stubbs ‘all done from nature’ in 35 years to MK Gallery in our opening year. We’re delighted that through our exhibition we are also able to support one of the country’s most unique children’s charities. We look forward to seeing the young people’s interpretation of Stubbs’ work.”