Hooden Horse

‘I’d much rather be in the White Horse in Sittingbourne with the East Kent Hoodeners’

Hooden Horse, Sadie Hennessy, 2024. Displayed in the Museum of Imagined Kent, 2024.

Sadie Hennessy’s Hooden Horse explores the Kentish folk tradition of hoodening, but with a little extra glamour in the form of silver and mirror glass. 

Hoodening, traditionally performed at Christmastime, was a short and humorous play put on by a group of travelling performers (‘hoodeners’) using a horse, often crudely made of a broom handle and with a clacking jaw that opens and closes. It is thought that the pantomime horse could be a descendant of the Hooden Horse. 

Hennessy’s work explores a timeline in which Bianca Jagger had become a fan of this particular tradition whilst looking for entertainment during a dull Christmas at Mick Jagger’s family home in Dartford. The story claims her iconic appearance on a white horse at New York nightclub Studio 54 was a homage to her experience in Kent on that Christmas night. 

Detail from Hennessy’s Hooden Horse story.

The artwork is presented as the horse itself, which Bianca allegedly sent to the White Horse Pub in Sittingbourne following her experience, alongside the story and a video of the horse in action, soundtracked by The Osmonds’ ‘Crazy Horses’. 

Close-up of the Hooden Horse’s head, with ”clacking jaw’.

Hennessy, based in Whitstable, creates multimedia artworks, often with feminist themes.

Although we have many artworks in the Museum of Imagined Kent that explore the ‘what if’s of fictional and folkloric characters in Kent, such as Hannah McDonald’s The Myth of Salacia, the excitement of this works comes from the involvement of real-life celebrity being incorporated into Kentish tradition. 

And Bianca Jagger surely did spend time in Dartford, so who knows, maybe there’s some truth to this work!


Explores Sadie Hennessy’s other works here

Learn more about Hoodening here 

Read about Bianca Jagger’s Studio 54 appearance here