At the age of 92 The Queen has embraced modern technology to keep in touch with the progress of her horses even when she’s away on royal duties.
A BBC Countryfile special, on Sunday 10 June, revealed how, with the use of CCTV and the internet, The Queen can watch her mares give birth at the royal stud in Sandringham from her iPad.
Stud manager David Somers told Countryfile: “We’ve got CCTV cameras here that basically can be accessed on any iPads, iPhones and even televisions to watch the foalings and these are on 24/7.
“The advantage of the CCTV is that once it’s happening I can also be on the phone at the same time, explaining what is going on and talking through the process.”
The royal stud was established in 1886 by Edward, Prince of Wales. As a young princess, The Queen spent time there with both her father, George VI, and her grandfather, George V, who gave the princess her first pony, Peggy, for her fourth birthday.
In footage recorded in 1974 and screened as part of Sunday evening’s programme, The Queen said:
“I suppose I first became interested in racing during the war. I had never felt the satiny softness of a thoroughbred before, it’s a wonderful feeling.
“I enjoy breeding a horse that’s faster than other people’s. Basically, I love horses and the thoroughbred epitomises a really good horse.”
The Queen's Suffolk Horse Whitton Poppy gives birth to a colt, adding to the numbers of the endangered native breed.
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Like both her father and her grandfather, The Queen has a great affinity with thoroughbreds and a knowledge of horses, of which former royal stud groom Bob Rowlands is all too aware.
“She’s very, very, very knowledgeable about her horses. That was the main thing you had to be careful of was not trying to pull the wool over The Queen’s eyes because you knew that she was more knowledgeable than you were,” said Bob, who worked for the Queen for more than 30 years.
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This week’s pony special, out on 7 June, features Britain’s naughtiest ponies and how you can find the dream smaller equine. We also look at the pros and cons of equine treadmills, talk to showing producer Aimee Devane and have reports from the H&H Festival of Eventing, Tattersalls Horse Trials, racing at Epsom and much, much more.