Once upon a time (or nearly 42 years ago), the horses of Hyde Park nearly lost their homes as stables came close to being shut down. Locals protested by riding their horses up to St John's Church where they were then blessed. The ploy has since become one of London's peculiar traditions. On the penultimate Sunday of every September, the Reverend Stephen Mason leads over 100 horses of all shapes and sizes, fitted with an appropriately sized rider or carriage, up to the church for an animal-themed service.
Horseman's Sunday, which happens to be this Sunday 20 September, is a wonderful event for horse lovers and youngsters alike. After the service, which begins at 10am, the churchyard is filled with family friendly games and activities. Don't worry grown ups, there's booze too. Many of the riders then take their equine buddies to Hyde Park, which leads to the bewilderment of many a strolling tourist. Did we mention that it's free and that Reverend Mason will be on horseback while delivering his sermon? We guarantee that you won't see anything like this again (until the next penultimate Sunday of September that is).
Horseman's Sunday starts Sunday 20 September at 10am, St. John's Hyde Park, Hyde Park Crescent W2 2QD. Image by swdickie.