Pride as Shire mare starts journey to be Household Cavalry’s first female drum horse

  • Breeders said an “emotional goodbye” to a Shire mare this week as she headed to the Household Cavalry to become the regiment’s first female drum horse.

    Dyfed Shire Horses’s homebred Willa Rose was collected by the Household Cavalry on 11 May to begin her two-year training. The eight-year-old 18.3hh mare will be reunited with her former “farm friend” Ed, who joined the regiment in January 2020. The farm also sold Dyfed Grey Celt to the Household Cavalry in 2008.

    Dyfed Shire Horses owner Huw Murphy told H&H it was a “source of pride and a privilege” to have bred a horse deemed “good enough” for the role of drum horse with the cavalry. The mare’s sire Dyfed JR also has a military career, having been sold to the Royal Cavalry in Oman in 2017.

    “Willa Rose is the first female Shire to be taken by the Household Cavalry for this role which is quite an achievement,” said Huw. “I think the fact we supplied them with two good geldings meant they were prepared to take the chance on a mare.

    “She is fully broken to ride and drive and has been working on the farm since she was three. She’s a very willing horse, with a docile quiet nature.”

    Huw, who currently owns nine Shires, said Willa Rose will be missed.

    “It was very emotional seeing her go but we know she’ll have a wonderful home and be looked after in fantastic facilities,” he said.

    “We know that whatever the outcome, she’ll return to the farm at some point; be it retirement at the end of service or if in the unlikely event she’s deemed not suitable she’ll return to us for farm work – but I’m confident she’ll make the grade.”

    Continued below…

    Huw has previously been to London to visit the barracks at Knightsbridge and attended the ceremonial Trooping of the Colour of which Dyfed Grey Celt (now known as Major Mercury) has participated in on multiple occasions.

    “The Household Cavalry have been very supportive and they’ve agreed to deploy a drum horse to the farm for an official visit in August, when he will parade in full uniform so we are looking forward to that.”

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