The life-sized equine puppet star of the hit West End stage show War Horse came face-to-face with real life Household Cavalry horses yesterday (Wednesday, 3 November).

The puppet, “Joey”, which is operated by two men inside the horse-shaped body, was put through his paces in front of the Blues and Royals regiment in Hyde Park, London.

The Household Cavalry helped train the actors to work the horse for the play.

And Joey is to star at Olympia, the London International Horse Show this year.

Joey and a group of War Horse cast members will travel to the show (14-20 December) to perform a scene from the play in Olympia’s famous Christmas Finale, which takes place at the end of every performance.

War Horse tells of the extraordinary bond between young Albert Narracott and his horse Joey, set against the backdrop of World War One.

“It’s notoriously difficult introducing Joey to ‘real’ horses as they are quite spooked out about how lifelike he is! However Elizabeth, who is the mount of Musical Ride Officer Captain Ed Howland-Jackson, seemed to take to him right away,” said a spokesman for Olympia organisers HPower.

The Household Cavalry will also be performing its Musical Ride at Olympia this year. And Spartacus, the regiment’s long-distinguished Drum Horse will be retiring at the show after 20 years of service.