We reported last month that Samson, formerly of South Wales Police picked up a very…
This Saturday 12 June marks HM The Queen’s official birthday. The Trooping the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years. It is one of the biggest events in a military working horse’s calendar therefore many of our retirees have taken part in this special occasion.
Trooping the Colour is held on the second Saturday of June each year. Over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians come together in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare to mark The Queen’s official birthday. It allows the troop of the Household Division to pay a personal tribute to HM The Queen.
Every year, one of the foot-guards regiments is selected to ‘troop it’s colour’ through the ranks of guards. This year it is the colour of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards which will be trooped by F Company Scots Guards.
It involves both mounted regiments: The Household Cavalry and the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery (KTRHA). During the ceremony, The Queen is greeted by a Royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops. After the massed bands have performed a musical ‘troop’, the escorted Regimental Colour (the chosen regiment for the year) is carried down the ranks. The Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry then march past Her Majesty, and KTRHA, rank past.
The Queen rides in a carriage back to Buckingham Palace at the head of her Guards, before taking the salute at the Palace from a dais. The troops then return to barracks and Her Majesty joins other members of the Royal Family on the palace balcony for a fly-past by the Royal Air Force.
It is an understatement to say that the horses need to be incredibly vigilant and know the routines off by heart, which is why practice makes perfect! The entire parade will rehearse in full dress at Horse Guards Parade twice before the main event on the two Saturday’s prior. These are overseen by the Major General and the Colonel of the regiment chosen to troop their colour that year.
Of course, there are vets on hand in case anything goes awry, and our very own Nicky the vet (who used to serve in both the Household Cavalry and King’s Troop RHA), was on hand on many of these occasions to ensure all the horses were healthy and happy during the parade.
So many of our former military working horses have taken part in this wonderful display of pageantry. Nicky even remembers one year when Yeti got himself into a bit of a pickle and she had to come to the rescue!
This year due to the ongoing pandemic the ceremony will take place in a socially distanced manner at Windsor Castle and not at the traditional Horse Guards Parade at Buckingham Palace. It will be broadcast live on the BBC on Saturday 12th June so make sure you tune in…..many of the horses serving today could be future Horse Trust residents!
You can read more about our military ladies and gents here