Extra carrots for the horses: Christmas Day with the cavalry

  • While the rest of the country is tucking into turkey on Christmas Day the military mounted regiments are hard at work as usual.

    The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will be guarding the official entrance to the Royal Palaces at Horse Guards in London.

    The guard will be changed at 11am on 25 December as it is every other day, except Sunday when it is at 10am.

    At Woolwich there is no chance for the soldiers of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery to relax over Christmas as they have 123 horses to feed, exercise and muck out.

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    On Christmas Day they will be at work at 7am in the Woolwich barracks armed with extra carrots for the horses.

    Commanding Officer Robert Skeggs and fellow officers all come in to help provide cover for the soliders on leave.

    The horses all have a short ride in the sand school, but the day is a rest day for them – unlike the soliders.

    “Christmas dinner for them will be a quick bite to eat like any other working day – mulled wine and horses don’t mix too well,” said an army press officer.

    The horses’ first Royal salute of the year is Accession day on 6 February.

    The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery have been at their purpose-built Woolwich equestrian centre for three years after moving from St John’s Wood on 6 February 2012.

    The centre has an indoor and outdoor school, a veterinary centre with x-ray facilities and a forge.

    On Boxing Day the horses will be out as normal hacking round Woolwich Common.

    Up at Melton Mowbray the 200 horses of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will be enjoying the last weeks of holiday before returning to the Knightsbridge barracks at the end of January.

    “It takes a few days to round them up,” an army spokesman told H&H. “And they need a lot of grooming afterwards.”

    Don’t miss our feature in the 24 December issue of Horse & Hound magazine, about staff from across the equestrian industry who work on Christmas Day

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