‘I hadn’t been in contact with them before’ – new vicar of St Ippolyts Church overcomes fear to hold special horse blessing service

The horse blessing service at St Ippolyts Church on Sunday.

The horse blessing service at St Ippolyts Church on Sunday. - Credit: Archant

The new vicar of St Ippolyts overcame a fear of horses to bless 14 of the animals in a special service on Sunday afternoon.

The horses line up before the blessing service at St Ippolyts Church on Sunday.

The horses line up before the blessing service at St Ippolyts Church on Sunday. - Credit: Archant

Rev Ginni Dear – who started her ministry in the village two weeks ago – led about three dozen people in the service, and laid her hand on each of the horses to bless them.

“The wardens did laugh when I told them I was scared of horses,” the vicar said.

“I hadn’t been in contact with them before. I’m pleased I did it. It’s been really nice and I thank them for helping me conquer my fear.”

Most of the horses came from Courtlands Riding Stables near Little Wymondley. A collection was made for the Riding for the Disabled Association, with which Courtlands does much work.

Thomas Asher, one, plays with a toy horse during the horse blessing service at St Ippolyts Church on

Thomas Asher, one, plays with a toy horse during the horse blessing service at St Ippolyts Church on Sunday. - Credit: Archant


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The short service included a reading from Psalm 36, containing the words: ‘You save humans and animals alike, O Lord’.

St Ippolyts’ link to horses comes from the belief that the martyr St Hippolytus – to whom the parish church is dedicated – was dragged to death by the animals. He is the patron saint of horses, and sick horses are said to have been blessed at St Ippolyts in the Middle Ages.

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Horse blessing services have been held there annually for the past four years, as close as possible to St Hippolytus’ feast day on August 13.

Rev Ginni Dear, the new vicar of St Ippolyts Church.

Rev Ginni Dear, the new vicar of St Ippolyts Church. - Credit: Archant

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