Two Shire horses from Wales are living exotic new lives as drumhorses in a Middle Eastern cavalry.
The team at the Dyfed Shire Horse Farm in Pembrokeshire is familiar with supplying horses for ceremonial duties, having sold the Household Cavalry grey drumhorse Celt (Major Mercury).
Now Celt’s 10-year-old half-brother Dyfed JR, who was bred on the farm, and his best friend Caerberllan Joseph have flown out to the Middle East to join a royal regiment.
The Shires were sourced by a former member of the Household Cavalry who had ridden Celt (pictured below) and had been tasked with finding two drumhorses for the Middle Eastern royals.
Yard manager Claire Bodsworth said she knew that docile JR, who loves to be centre of attention, and Joe who strives to please would be perfect for the job.
The two horses have long been favourites with visitors to the farm, which operates as a tourist attraction.
“Joe and JR are so popular, not just for their great personalities but because they have an ongoing bromance,” said Claire, who had owned Joe since he was a five-month-old orphan.
“They have been inseparable for three years now and are always the cause of any mishaps on the farm.
“Our visitors love watching them as they are like an old married couple and it will be sad to see them go, but I know they will be happy to be going together.”
After being viewed, tried and passing an army vetting, the two geldings were initially sent to be stabled at a yard near Heathrow before jetting out to warmer climes this month.
They have been housed in purpose-built extra-large isolation stables with full air conditioning and have already started their training, being worked at 5am and 6pm to avoid the heat.
“We are still in daily contact with them,” says Claire. “I have passed on the most important information of all to the new grooms — where their favourite scratching spots are!”
The pair are destined to take parts in events similar to the Trooping of the Colour, and may even return to Britain to take part in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
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“We are very proud as a family for this opportunity. Dyfed JR was named after my late grandfather John Rees Lewis, whose love for the Shire horse is why our farm opened to the public 25 years ago,” said farm manager Mark Cole.
“I’m sure he would be proud of his Dyfed breeding from Eglwyswrw, which is now known and respected worldwide.”