‘Queen’s horses’ set to descend on London

  • Horses will be travelling from across the country to take part in an annual New Year’s Day parade in London, which is due to attract hundreds of thousands of spectators.

    There are 55 riders taking part in All the Queen’s Horses, the equestrian section of the parade, this year.

    They are due to turn up dressed as acrobats, clowns and other colourful theatrical characters in keeping with this year’s theme, “The Circus and Showman”.

    Organiser Caroline Marsh will lead the parade mounted on a friend’s 15.2hh Haflinger and dressed as a ringmaster.

    “This year’s theme has really given us the opportunity to create some wonderful looks; costume creating and planning is done many months in advance,” said Ms Marsh, who has organised the equestrian parade for seven years.

    There are three riders under ten years old: Bluebell Hylton aged five, Liam Everdean, six, and seven-year-old Lilly Bull, while one of the oldest riders is Ed Hungerford who is in his 70s and has taken part in the parade many times.

    Horses range from a 10.3hh Shetland to an 18.3hh Clydesdale, both of whom will be walking in the same group.

    Other breeds represented include Fjords, Lusitanos, Dales and Welsh ponies.

    “The great thing about our riders and horses is the diversity of both the humans and the horses involved,” added Ms Marsh.

    Riders will arrive from 7am, driving through central London park near Piccadilly.

    They set off at 11.45am from outside the Ritz hotel, finishing 25 to 40 minutes and 2.25 miles later in Parliament Square, with the route back via the Horse Guards, The Mall and Buckingham Palace.

    A total of 8,500 people take part in the New Year’s Day parade, which is usually watched by 500,000 people on the streets and a further 700m on the TV.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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