A Hat for Change

As some of you know, our dear friend Louis Mariette always participate at the Royal Ascot with his beautiful hats and headpieces; but today we are not going to talk about the glamour and the fashion part of the Royal Ascot, instead we are going to talk about the dark side of it.

For this special cause, TV Conservationist Anneka Svenska and Louis Mariette came together to make awareness about the 1400+ racehorses, which have died at British races since 2007.

The astounding hat, which left race-goers transfixed, towers a staggering one foot above the wearer’s head, down the neck and finishes by cascading to the ground for well over 6ft.

To make this amazing Hat, Anneka and Louis hand-painted all roses in honor of all the horses that have died over the period of the races. This creation has an explosion of hand-painted roses in a shade of red that was ironically called “RED STALLION”. The roses were then given a subtle effect of black paint marbling and varnished.

To follow the prestigious event of Royalty, the design on the neck base was a regal grid curvature inspired by Medieval Queens. The base fabric is a blocked and stitched gold weave finished with and over a layer of jet black crystal bead embellishments. The heavy structure required two people to hold the garlands of roses as Anneka arrived at Royal Ascot.

“As a child, I innocently dreamed of wearing the largest hat to Ascot and when I grew up, it happened! While wearing previous hats, I have NEVER placed a bet, supported the actual racing or even walked down to the track, however, I decided last year to refrain from attending Ascot at all, as it was conveying the wrong message and I felt it was ethically wrong, especially as I work with animals. This year I have decided to return to use a large amount of publicity I receive in order to raise standards for horses at tracks all over the UK and do some good” – Anneka

Did you know that approximately one in every 37 horses who starts a season’s racing will have perished by the end of it? They will have died as a result of a racecourse or training injury, or they will be killed after being judged to be no longer financially viable. (source The Trouble with Horse Racing – Animal Aid)

So what can we do?

It’s time that the safety of the animals must be put above profits and Anneka would like to propose short-term:

  • THE END TO NATIONAL HUNT RACING (racing which involves jumping fences and ditches often referred to as hurdles or steeplechase). The Grand National and Cheltenham festival races are two of the largest and most dangerous steeplechases which have seen 40 deaths in the last ten years. Cheltenham saw seven deaths this year and five at Aintree.
  • THE END TO THE WHIP OR CROP which has been shown to be ineffective and can cause painful welts. The use of the whip urges the horse to go beyond what it is able to comfortably do, and can result in injuries and stress. Norway banned the whip in 1982 and there is no reason why the UK cannot follow their example. In 2014, there were 586 breaches of the British Horseracing Authority rules against excessive whip use. Racing Writer of the Year, Alan Lee, declared in The Times that Royal Ascot is ‘a stage on which jockeys have regularly been guilty of a win-at-all-costs attitude with the whip in the principal races’.

For more information about this cause please visit: Anneka Svenska

Thank you to the following people who without their help this campaign would not have happened:

Louis Mariette

Daryna Milgevska

Tom Ross

Nick Ede

Kat Baldwyn

Kristina Viirpalu (KV Couture)

Alexa Riva Ravina

Mark Philips

Paul Nicholls

Graham Reading

Louvere Hairdressers – Rickmansworth

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