Knightsbridge witnessed an impressive spectacle as The Queen’s mounted bodyguard paraded in Hyde Park to prove their readiness for another busy summer of pageantry. After intense preparations that have involved hundreds of hours of training, honing physical and mental prowess of both horses and men, The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment were put through their paces during their annual inspection by Major General Ben Bathurst the General Officer Commanding the Household Division.
The Major General’s Inspection is the annual test of the regiment’s ability to conduct state ceremonial duties for the year. During the parade 165 men, women and horses, including the Household Cavalry Band with their magnificent Drum Horses, trotted and cantered across the grass of Hyde Park in a display of military mounted precision.
Many of the soldiers were up for most of the night making final improvements to the mirror sheen of their silver cuirasses, Jack Boots, and grooming their horses for the parade. Excellence is hard won – a pair of Jack Boots can take more than 200 hours of polishing to bring up to parade standard. The horses came back from grass in early February and have had to undergo their own healthy eating and fitness regime to build muscle and agility for ceremonial duties fit for Her Majesty. The average age of a Trooper on parade is 20 years old and, after perfecting the attention to detail and discipline required as a mounted cavalryman, performing the daily Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guards and state ceremonial for the nation’s most memorable events, he will move to the operational regiment and become a tank crewman.
It is this prestige, instilled in the soldiers on ceremonial duty, which translates directly to operational excellence as reconnaissance soldiers later in their career.
The soldiers of the Household Cavalry have continued to serve wherever they are needed. Since 2006 the Household Cavalry Regiment has deployed to Afghanistan 6 times and last year they were deployed on Exercise Saif Sareea 3 in Oman. As a result of the Army 2020 plans, the Household Cavalry Regiment is to form a pivotal role in the new strike brigade, equipped with AJAX, the future armoured reconnaissance vehicle.