The Horse Trust has said a sad goodbye to Janus, a majestic drum horse, who had been based at the Household Cavalry’s Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge before retiring eight years ago.

Twenty-five-year-old Janus, a 17.2hh skewbald gelding who weighed more than a tonne, died peacefully under his favourite tree in a field at the trust’s grounds in Speen, Buckinghamshire, on Monday.

He had been suffering from a number of arthritis-related diseases including navicular, sidebone and ringbone and also laminitis and the respiratory condition recurrent airway obstruction.

Prior to retiring in 2001, Janus had a high-profile career in the Household Cavalry, the most senior regiment in the British Army.

Janus gave more than 10 years’ service to the army, and was involved in a number of prestigious state occasions including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, the Queen’s birthday parade and the State Opening of Parliament.

He was a drum horse for the Blues and Royals Regiment and was responsible for leading the procession of horses, carrying the famous solid silver kettledrums.

Paul Jepson, chief executive and resident veterinary director of the Horse Trust, said: “Janus will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by everyone who knew him.

“He gave many years loyal service to the Household Cavalry and was loved by staff, volunteers and visitors to The Horse Trust.”

Janus had two ‘best friends’ at the sanctuary, other ex-drum horses, Eric and Leo, with whom he spent most of his time.