‘The race to perfection’: muddy cavalry horses in for a deep clean after winter holidays

Soldiers from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HMCR) have had their work cut out as the horses returned from their winter holidays.

The cavalry horses enjoy a break from their regimental duties during the winter in the fields at the Defence Animal Training Regiment in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

A video showed the happy, hairy horses plastered in mud and unrecognisable from the gleaming equines seen on duty in public.

Now they are back, meaning army farriers have 90 sets of shoes to fit and bathing has begun in earnest.

Credit: @armylondon Sgt P.J.George MA ABIPP

“The iconic horses of the Household Cavalry have just returned to London from their well-deserved holiday in the fields of Melton Mowbray. For two months they have rolled in mud and eaten like champions,” said an Army spokesman.

“As a result, the beautiful equines are filthy and rather unfit for their duties on behalf of The Queen and her country.

Credit: @armylondon Sgt P.J.George MA ABIPP

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“Now the troops of the HCMR face the gargantuan task of getting their steeds into perfect order for ceremonial season.

“The chargers arrived home at Hyde Park barracks well rested, but with matted coats and no shoes.”

They have two weeks before they are expected to be mounting the Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guards Parade.

“Shortly after that the dual-roled soldiers and their horses will be inspected by Major General Ben Bathurst,” added the spokesman.

“There is little time to achieve the high standards demanded, but that is no excuse. The troops have a task and they will use their skills, experience and determination to make sure they achieve their goals.

“It’s a race against time and the world is watching.”

Credit: @armylondon Sgt P.J.George MA ABIPP

The Major General’s Inspection is an annual test of the regiment’s ability to conduct state ceremonial duties for the year.

“The HMCR troops will be busy round the clock to get their steeds clean,” the video commentary explained.

“The race to perfection has begun — troops and horses need to sparkle.”

The Household Cavalry has operational as well as ceremonial duties, with serving members alternating their time between the armoured and mounted regiments.

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