In The Queen's 90th birthday year, the Household Cavalry's diary has been fuller than usual — and so its annual trip to Norfolk comes as a welcome break. But it's not all frolicking in the sea...
1. The big move
Usually housed at Knightsbridge Barracks in London, The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment has temporarily moved 150 horses and 150 men to Bodney Camp in Thetford, Norfolk, which is their home for two-and-a-half weeks each summer while they conduct their regimental training camp.
2. A break from city life
More used to pounding the streets of London, the training camp is located around the North Norfolk coast — which means access to huge open spaces to conduct their training and instruction.
3. Tent pegging to showjumping
This is a chance for the men to be instructed in advanced riding techniques — from tent pegging and sword, lance and revolver drill to cross-country riding and showjumping, all of which aims to improve the riders and horses’ abilities.
4. A chance to practise drill
The unit also practises drills for the protection of the royal carriages during public ceremonies, which is the main function of the unit and is underlined by their daily mounting of the Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guards Parade.
5. The iconic splash in the sea
Of course, it’s not all hard work. Pictures of the men taking the horses for a canter along Holkham Beach and around the Holkham estate — by kind permission of Viscount and Viscountess Coke — is an iconic summer scene for the regiment. But it’s not always plain sailing (some men get wetter than others…)
6. A public spectacle
Frolics in the sea catch the attention of the public, who come out in large numbers to watch. This is a chance for people to find out a bit more about the horses — and what it takes to maintain the standards and skills required to participate in a ceremonial occasion such as the Queen’s Birthday Parade.
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7. And finally… don’t miss the open day
This year’s open day is tomorrow (24 July) at Bodney Camp, close to Thetford. The public can meet the horses and soldiers, learn about the unit and general horse husbandry — and of course watch the musical ride…