Household Cavalry superstar retires after 15 years’ service

A military horse that been “a true superstar” of the Army’s Household Division has been retired after 15 years of service.

Merlin, a 17.2hh grey gelding has been centre stage at nearly every State ceremonial event during his illustrious Army career.

For 12 years in a row he carried senior officers at the Trooping of the Colour and he has been on parade in multiple stage visits, openings of Parliament, Lord Mayor’s shows and Major General’s inspections.

In his early years as number one charger he was the horse seen ascending the steps at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on the Sovereign’s parade.

On duty he taught the Major General commanding the Household Division, Major General Sir Edward Alexander Smyth-Osbourne to ride and carried him for three years.

“Merlin is an absolute gentleman,” said warrant officer Karl Scholes, who has worked with the horse for the last five years.

“He has never missed a beat and served with distinction. His ability to accept his surroundings is a testament to his long career.”

Merlin has “been a pleasure to work with,” added Mr Scholes, but “don’t be fooled,” he warned, “he’d still try and buck you off in Hyde Park given the chance.”

Now 21, the horse is enjoying his well-earned retirement at The Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire.

“We are thrilled and honoured to have such an outstanding horse retire to us. He has settled in remarkably well and of course being a grey, has immediately begun to enjoy rolling around in plenty of mud,” said Jeanette Allen, CEO of the charity.

Merlin is turned out with Beau, a 14hh pony who was retired also in November after seven years’ at the Brixton-based Ebony Horse Club.

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“After all these years of public service, it’s time for Merlin to enjoy being muddy, woolly and having fun out in the herd,” added Ms Allen.

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