Britain’s cavalry horses are undergoing a rapid “make-over” after their holiday this year.
The horses, from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, returned to the London Barracks last week (Thursday, 21 January) after some rest out in the field.
In six weeks all the horses will be ready to return to public duties — but much fitness work and grooming is needed to prepare them.
The regiment posted photos of their horses and the “clean-up process” on its Facebook page this week.
“In all my time in the Cavalry I’ve never seen them this bad,” said Lance Corporal Stuart Underwood.
“I can only put it down to high spirits and the weather — it’s been dreadful. The King of Spain is visiting Britain on 8 March and every one of these horses has to be on parade looking immaculate. We’ve certainly got a job on our hands this year.”
After the horses are made presentable they will be put back into work, and it will take a few weeks before they are back up to full army fitness.
“Although we know every horse like family, they’re in such a state when they got back we have to rely on microchips and their hoof stamps to identify them and get them back into their correct stalls” said Trooper Francis Osborn.
Major Ben Wolfe added: “The boys have a real challenge on their hands this year, but they’re more than up for it. They’re in the stables from 6am to 4pm working with the horses every day to get them ready for their first parade in six weeks’ time. The transformation will be remarkable but will involve serious, long, hard, patient graft.
“The Queen knows her horses and she’s got a real eye for detail. She’ll be checking that we’ve met those critically high equine standards for state ceremonial and we’re determined as a regiment to put on a good show for Her in front of the King of Spain on 8 March.”