An extravaganza involving more than 220 horses, a camel, a former government minister and an Oscar-winning actress will be held in London this summer, to mark the opening of the new Household Cavalry Museum.

The Household Cavalry Pageant will take place on 12 June at Horse Guards Parade in London when the museum is opened by The Queen. The museum, which has cost more than £4million to build, is being relocated from Windsor.

The pageant is the brainchild of former Household Cavalry member Christopher Joll.

“The pageant will celebrate the Household Cavalry’s rich history from 1660 to the present day. There will be re-enactments and ceremonial displays and the public will get the chance to see some very unusual drill manoeuvres.” he told Horse & Hound.

Former defence minister Michael Portillo will narrate the event, with voices from history being provided by Dame Judi Dench and Stephen Fry. Household Cavalry riding master
Captain Richard Waygood is in charge of the choreography.

“We’ve had to do some additional training for the battle scenes,” he explained. “Our horses aren’t used to crowd control, so we’ve had to get them used to the idea of charging into each other.

“We also have a lot of ceremonial duties to carry out before the pageant, so finding the time to rehearse will be hard. But we’ll manage. It’s a very exciting project.”

Capt Waygood’s toughest test to date has been persuading horses to mix with camels.

“At least one camel is set to take part,” he said, “but horses and camels simply don’t mix. When we needed a horse to pose with the camel for some pictures, it was a case of finding which was the least terrified. I put a few horses in the school with the camel and they practically turned themselves inside out to get away.”

Crowd capacity for the evening event is 6,500. Tickets cost between £20 and £80 and are now available from www.ticketmaster. o.uk (tel: 0870 4000 848). Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the museum.

  • This news report was first published in Horse & Hound