In honor of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, a little clip compliments of The Telegraph, and a re-share of a previous and very popular post from last year…
Americans love a good royal story, and I’m no exception. I can scroll through photos and news clips all day, fascinated by their lives. The one I continue to be most enchanted by is Her Majesty, The Queen. I won’t even pretend to be up to snuff on royal protocol as to the proper way to discuss her by name and title! Truth by told, even if we met in person, I’d probably end up locked in a tower for wanting to give her a hug like we were old friends, my filter doesn’t seem to catch the little things like that…
Also note, I submitted requests to interview some of the royal household guard horses, and was declined. Evidently, like their human counterparts, British horses keep a stiff upper lip as well.
Queen’s Elizabeth II’s love of horses and riding, like most little girls, began at a young age. She was first given a Shetland Pony named Peggy at the age of four, and started riding at the age of six. An avid equestrienne was born! Her life and career have continued to be “hoof in hand” with horses since, and she’s still riding to this day, at 89, in all her elegant splendor. I have to admit, seeing the photos that pop up in the news, of she and Prince Phillip riding together, with her stylish scarves knotted around her silver hair, make me smile. Once a horsewoman, always a horsewoman.
The Queen inherited many Thoroughbred’s from her father, King George VI after his passing, which she continues to race and breed. On her other properties, she breeds Shetland Ponies, Fell Ponies, and Highland Ponies, but the Thoroughbreds tend to make the most headlines for her. As an owner, her racing record includes over 1600 wins, and she’s the first monarch to have won the British Flat Racing Champion Owner title twice, in 1954 and 1957. She also have three races named for her: The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, The Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, and The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. I found this photo of her at Ascot, a moment of freedom that only can be found in a saddle…
In 1969 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police gifted her with a black mare named Burmese, who The Queen grew quite fond of. She rode the mare in every Trooping the Colour (aka the Queen’s Birthday Parade) from 1969 to 1986. From 1987 on she participated by carriage. Burmese passed away in 1990.
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, a unit of the British Army, is probably the best known of her string. Breathtaking in parade, and imposing in person, it’s the first image that comes to mind when we think of British Royals and horses. Comprised of black horses acquired almost exclusively from the Republic of Ireland, all standing at a minimum of 16 hands, and grey horses used by the State Trumpeters a minimum of 15.2 hands. All are carefully selected by the Riding Master, the Regimental Veterinarian, and members of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.
The horses are usually three to four years old at time of purchase, and depending on their temperament, will endure eight to ten months of training before they’re considered ready. The royal guard horses are set apart by markings of the regiment’s initials on a front hoof, and their army number on a rear hoof.
Among her royal duties, The Queen still enjoys hosting the annual Royal Windsor Horse Show and watching her granddaughter, Zara Phillips, also a noted equestrienne, compete. It’s said The Queen reads the Racing Post every morning over breakfast.
Cheers to you your majesty, I salute you for our shared passion for horses. Long live The Queen!