Horse & Hound paid a visit to the King’s Troop’s Woolwich barracks in south-east London, to find out the tips, tricks and secrets to their (intimidatingly) immaculate turnout
When your job involves parading in front of The Queen, the stakes are high when it comes to turnout and knowing how to make riding boots shine like a new penny is just one part of that.
“Turnout is extremely important to us,” says the King’s Troop’s Captain Nick Watson. “Not only because we are in the public eye and there is an expectation that horses and harness are shiny, but it also proves that from a welfare perspective all our horses are happy and healthy.
“The main driving force, however, is our own pride,” adds Nick. “There are areas on horses, harness and guns that the public will never see, but we will nonetheless make sure that they are as immaculate as those on show.”
With a 113 horses that need to be turned out to perfection, there is a whole lot of kit to be cleaned and polished. And that’s before they’ve started on the soldiers’ uniform…
We asked Gunner Aimee McCallum to give us the low-down on how their boots — know as wellies — are made so blindingly shiny through a process known as bliffing. NB: we do not recommend you try this at home…
How to make riding boots shine like the King’s Troop
1. Wire-wool the boot down so that the leather is completely white.
2. Burn the wax using the heat gun.
3. Layer the wax onto the boot.
4. Wet the boots.
5. Wait until it sets solid.
6. Use a bliffing rag to lather the boot in polish.
7. Use the heat gun to heat the polish.
8. Repeat the process.
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Don’t miss the King’s Troop — and their shiny boots — in action this Saturday (11 June 2016), for the ceremony of Trooping the Colour, celebrating The Queen’s official birthday. This impressive display of pageantry takes place with over 1400 officers and men, together with two hundred horses.