Queen honoured for her dedication to horses

  • The Queen has been presented with the FEI lifetime achievement award, in recognition of her support of equestrian sport.

    Her Majesty is the first person to receive the award, which was presented by Princess Haya at Buckingham Palace yesterday (Wednesday 26 November).

    The Queen has long been a leading figure in racing, breeding and showing, and attends Royal Ascot and Royal Windsor Horse Show each year.

    “Queen Elizabeth is a life-long lover of horses who has inspired millions around the world,” said Princess Haya.

    “She is a true horsewoman, who still rides whenever State business allows, and her knowledge of breeding and bloodlines is incredible. The bond between The Queen and horses is truly extraordinary and I can’t think of anyone more fitting to receive this very special FEI award.”

    The Queen started riding at an early age and had her first riding lesson in the private riding school at Buckingham Palace mews in 1930. When she was four she was given her first pony — a Shetland mare called Peggy.

    One of The Queen’s favourite horses was the mare Burmese, a present from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969 when they came to perform at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Queen rode Burmese side saddle for 18 years at the Trooping the Colour ceremony.

    In racing her horses have won more than 1,600 races and in showing she breeds Shetlands, Highlands and Fell ponies.

    The Queen’s cousin Margaret Rhodes, interviewed last year for a BBC documentary, The Queen: A Passion For Horses, said: “When she became Queen, she had to sacrifice an awful lot of emotions and thoughts of the future, but with horses it’s another world in that it reduces you to just the person in relation to the animal, and you’re not a Queen, you’re just a human being.”

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