On the penultimate Sunday in September, the Connaught Village neighbourhood in London welcome the vicar of St John’s Hyde Park Church on horseback as part of a well established London tradition known as Horseman’s Sunday.
A cavalcade of more than 100 horses and riders parade to the church in order to celebrate horse riding in the heart of London – and this year, the event will be celebrating its 50th birthday!
The horses gather on the forecourt of the church for a blessing, followed by a ride-past and a presentation of rosettes.
The annual Horseman’s Sunday celebrations began 50 years ago to highlight the need to maintain stables along the north of Hyde Park; at that time the stables were threatened with closure.
What began as a public and political action has become a unique local institution attracting local residents, tourists and horse lovers.
The blessing of the horses follows the main Sunday service, which starts at 10am. Most visitors come to the morning service and then everyone files out into the open space in front of the church.
At noon the horses begin to arrive in procession, lining up along the forecourt and on Hyde Park Crescent. As well as horses of all shapes and sizes–including Shetland ponies!–there are also horse drawn carriages and buggies.