What’s that? Some lovable scamps have added a giant jockey to an even more giant 3,000 year-old prehistoric hill carving of a horse? That sounds hilarious. And yes it was us.
Before anyone starts to complain about us defacing the iconic White Horse of Uffington (above), there are two things you should know. Firstly, we were super careful not to cause any damage and secondly it was your idea. Kind of. One of our army of Twitter followers asked us if we’d be getting up to any mischief for Cheltenham and we didn’t want to disappoint, #wehearyou. Sure what’s a horse without a rider anyway? Yes it’s still a horse but it’s one that can’t win at Cheltenham.
‘Funnily enough the idea for our Uffington Rider came from a customer Tweet 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 had to dig really deep to come up with something to literally measure to the giant sign. I think we’ve achieved this,” said a Paddy Power spokesperson after the stunt was revealed.
The White Horse was carved into the hills of Uffington, Oxfordshire, over 3,000 years ago by men without iPods. An iconic figure of a horse, the size of a football pitch, famed the world over, it has inspired writers, artists and mischief making bookmakers for millenia.
For thousands of years it has been waiting for Stonehenge to fall over over to become the First Wonder of Britain. Now thanks to Paddy Power’s team of mischief makers, the Uffington White Horse has been promoted into the world league of wonders.
Some Uffington White Horse Facts:
• The Uffington White Horse is a prehistorichill 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’sThe 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 EponaEliade.
• 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.