Thank you, Lord Firebrand: ‘true gentleman’ Army horse who led Queen’s funeral procession bows out

  • The horse who led the funeral procession of Her late Majesty is to start a new life, having formally retired at the London International Horse Show.

    Lord Firebrand, the charger of King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery commanding officer John Baileff, and a “good soul; a true gentleman” bowed out after the Kings Troop musical drive, which had been thrilling audiences throughout the show, on Sunday (17 December).

    “‘Yogi’ has done 10 years of service,” Major Baileff told H&H. “We think about 50 Royal Salutes, and more musical drives than any of us, and he’s done something I don’t think another horse will ever do; leading the funeral procession for Her Late Majesty.

    “To be able to retire him on such a stage as this, during the drive, which he absolutely loves, is something really special.”

    Major Baileff first met Yogi when he arrived with the troop as an adjutant, and had to learn to ride.

    “He was one of the horses I learned on,” he said. “He was taught to be a charger by some excellent officers, and they helped me bond with him. I was lucky enough to return as commanding officer and find him still here, and having him as my charger is a lovely sentiment.”

    Major Baileff said it had been special not only to ride Yogi, but also to watch him perform from his commanding position on the ground.

    “He’s a really good soul,” he added. “A true gentleman, the most calm-natured… but I think his biggest strength is his bravery. He loves performing but you genuinely get a sense from him, whether in the stable or on parade, that he wants to look the part and he just wants you to be ok.”

    As with all military working animals, Major Baileff explained, the decision to retire is made by the Army veterinary corps, working with the regiment, and they go through the rehoming process.

    “He’ll go to a civilian home, and no doubt have a wonderful life as a military horse veteran; it’s the same for all our horses,” he said. “I think we’re both a bit sad really. I’ll miss him desperately, but I just want to say thank you. He’s just the best.”

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