It is with great sadness that we bring you the news of the passing of…
We are completely heartbroken to announce the passing of one of our oldest and most dearly loved residents, Union, formerly of The Household Cavalry, at the age of 33.
Union, or Onion as he was affectionately known, was described as the ultimate Household Cavalry horse. When speaking to those who knew him, the flurry of praise and outpouring of love for him is truly heart-warming and just shows how incredibly special he was to both his former military colleagues and to all of us here at The Horse Trust.
Union arrived with us in August 2012 after a fantastic career serving in The Household Cavalry. He was said to have had the right temperament for an experienced rider or a beginner and was a favourite of the Corporal Major. Union’s stable manners were said to be perfect allowing anybody into his stall to groom, clip or just make a fuss of him! Our beloved Union took part in every Trooping the Colour from 1995 as either a Trooper or a Band Horse until his retirement an incredible 17 years later in 2012. Union attended countless State Openings of Parliament over his working years as well as State Visits both in London and Windsor. He was also part of HM The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and the 2011 Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
Perhaps one of the memories most of us think of when we look back on Union’s working career was his part in HM The Queen’s Birthday Parade in 2010 when he had the honour of carrying the Standard behind HM The Queen with millions of viewers watching on TV. He was notoriously remembered for having his tongue out whilst on parade! He is remembered as an ‘excellent Queen’s Standard horse’ and one who is missed so dearly, by so many.
Mark Avison, our Director of Equine Care had the unique privilege of knowing Union in both his working career and in retirement and he had the following kind words for our Black Beauty “Everyone who had the privilege of riding Union on Ceremonial Parades would have thought they had won the lottery. With the ride being like sitting in your luxury armchair, slippers on and putting on your favorite film, knowing that once you and Union would walk out and through the famous Ceremonial Gates at Hyde Park Barracks and turn right you didn’t have to worry about anything else. He wouldn’t put a hoof wrong, in every Ceremonial Parade, commitment and every position possible. He was one in a million.”
We are so sad to report this news to our supporters. Union had been suffering from arthritis for some time prior to his passing but this had been controlled by the team with pain relief. Tragically he was recently found in his field with colic. The colic on its own wasn’t too serious however the combination of this with his arthritis made him very miserable and the incredibly sad decision had to be made to let him go. Union had such an incredible working career followed by such a long and leisurely retirement and one that he deserved so much. We are so honoured to have had the pleasure of caring for him for close to a decade of his extraordinary life.
We know that this news will be as devastating for our supporters as it is for us, Union was such a big character, the kindest of horses and had been with us, enjoying his retirement for just short of 10 wonderful years. He was well known to many of our supporters and he became a firm favourite with the public on our visiting days over the many years, as he also had with so many of our grooms and the wider Horse Trust team.
Union, we cannot put into words how devastated we are to have had to say goodbye to you. We knew this day would come but somehow every year you pushed that day back and we had become so accustomed to you defying the odds and continuing to live your retirement far into your twilight years. You are missed so incredibly much and we know your friends like Yeti and Empress will also be missing your presence, as we do every day too. Sleep tight now Union and gallop free over the rainbow bridge to so many of your friends and colleagues. You are a heart-breaking loss for us to take and The Horse Trust will not be the same without you. RIP Union, you really were, like Mark Avison said, one in a million.
You can view more photos of Union on our Facebook page here.