The Household Cavalry horses are back from their winter holidays and undergoing their post-break make-overs as they prepare to return to work.

The horses enjoyed their annual Christmas holiday in the fields at the Defence Animal Centre at Melton Mowbray, and the last of them returned to London at the weekend.

“It is up to the soldiers of the mounted regiment to face the daunting task of transforming these steeds into a state fit for the eyes of Her Majesty The Queen,” said a Household Cavalry spokesman.

“Body brushing, extensive washing with soap and conditioner, clipping, shaving, plucking, and trimming are just a few jobs that need to be undertaken.

“New shoes and polished hooves are also a must.

“The seemingly impossible task will be completed in a few weeks by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment soldiers who, as ever, stand ready for the challenge of their duty.”

Among the returning equines is the Shire Perseus, the mounted regiment’s newest drum horse.

Perseus, formerly known as Big Red, returned to Knightsbridge Barracks on 19 January.

“[He] looked very different from his immaculate appearance when he was presented to and named Perseus by Her Majesty The Queen in October,” said a spokesman.

“His coat has grown long and is deliciously mud-matted from running and rolling ‘wild’ and free with his fellow horses over winter.

“Now the boisterous Shire horse is back on his fitness regime, will be groomed back to sleek perfection, and begin the important work of learning how to lead the mounted band in the nation’s biggest and most important parades.

“The troopers of the Household Cavalry regiment certainly have a challenge ahead but Perseus’s lovely nature makes the job easy.”

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