Malarkey by Julie Page wins the Sidmouth Horse Trials at FolkWeek
PUBLISHED: 12:22 13 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:10 14 August 2018
Winning hobby horse impresses the creative director of the makers of Wallace and Gromit
An eyelash-fluttering filly called Malarkey trotted off with first prize at this year’s Sidmouth Horse Trials, which drew a large crowd on the Ham at Folk Week on Sunday afternoon.
Malarkey and her ‘rider’, Julie Page, received the winner’s rosette from the creative director of Aardman Animations, Peter Lord, who was particularly impressed by the horse’s coy eye-blinking.
“In performance, so much is in the eyes,” he said.
The competition is a light-hearted celebration of the ‘beasts’ which traditionally accompany Morris troupes and interact with the audiences. Usually they are hobby horses, but can also be mythical creatures such as dragons and unicorns, giving the Horse Trials competitors plenty of scope for creativity.
Julie revealed that she created her winning ‘beast’ Malarkey in just one week after making a “real last-minute decision” to enter the Horse Trials. She used bubble wrap, tissue paper, masking tape, PVA glue and plenty of glitter to make the horse’s head, and devised a mechanism for operating Malarkey’s glittery eyelids with her hands.
“I really wanted her to blink,” she said.
Mr Lord thought Julie had used similar techniques to his company in creating such an engaging creature.
“We specialise in creating funny accessible animals that people get very attached to, like Gromit and Shaun the Sheep and so I think this is in the great tradition,” he said. “It’s definitely got the Aardman eyes and teeth.”
The Master of the Sidmouth Horse Trials, Steve Rowley, was very happy with this year’s competition.
“I think it went very well,” he said. “An amazing selection of beasts and horses, and some quite extraordinary animals which I’d never seen before.
“The giraffe with the extending neck was quite fun, and this winning horse is so pretty!”
He added that the Horse Trials had drawn such a big crowd that one of the Folk Week collectors had received more money by attending the event than any others this year.
Julie Page, who now lives in Wales but returns to Sidmouth for FolkWeek, said she was not sure what to do with Malarkey now, but may take her to the official gathering of the Illustrious Order of Fools and Beasts in the New Forest in October.