The Household Cavalry performed its famous musical ride on ice for the first time recently when it was invited to St Moritz, Switzerland, to entertain the 12,000-strong crowd watching snow polo.

The team gave two performances on the weekend of the 20th Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow finals, which was played as usual on the 30cm-thick ice of the frozen lake.

Musical ride mastermind Capt Richard Waygood says: “It was absolutely amazing, especially with the contrast between the white of the mountains and the red, blue and silver of the display.

“Riding on to the ice for the first time was a bit of a shock because you could hear and feel it cracking — but everyone carried on as normal, and the horses didn’t react at all, being used to loud noises. Also, the whole layer of ice moved up and down slightly as the horses went round.”

The 16 horses were kept in heated stables: top-quality accommodation with a lakeside view, as you’d expect in such a prestigious location. However, their journey out took twice as long as was expected, with a detour and stop at local stables when a mountain pass closed after heavy snowfall.

Meanwhile, the polo action provided no shortage of drama: four teams entered the contest, and a “home” Swiss-sponsored Cartier side faced newcomers Polish-backed Larchmont Capital in the final.

Familiar faces from the English polo scene included Chileans Jose Donoso and Jaime Huidobro on the Cartier team and Pikki Alberdi — named man of the match — Juan Martin Nero and Jack Kidd for Larchmont.

Marek Dochnal, patron of Larchmont — said to be the Polish equivalent to Russian tycoon Abramovich — is tipped to form an English high-goal team at Windsor this season for the first time. He has started his 2004 campaign successfully: Larchmont won 8-7.

  • This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (5 February).


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