The horses and riders from The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery have enjoyed a well-deserved break from ceremonial duties at the Defence Animal Training Regiment in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
Show jumping, hacking and cross-country riding were some of the activities the 25 horses and mounted gunners enjoyed as part of a week of equestrian training. They also worked on their dressage and flatwork.
“It makes a relaxing change for the horses not to be in central London and to spend time away from state ceremonial duties.” Captain Jonathan Brooks
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery is Her Majesty’s the Queen’s ceremonial Saluting Battery firing Gun Salutes for state occasions and Royal birthdays.
Based at a purpose-built equestrian facility in Woolwich Barracks, London they are the Army’s smallest military unit.
The soldiers are trained to drive teams of six horses that pull six First World War ‘thirteen pounder’ state saluting Guns. They are renowned for their impressive Musical Drive performance that can be seen at country shows around the country. Many of the manoeuvres of the Musical Drive have remain unchanged since it was first performed in 1897.
Captain Jonathan Brooks said: “It makes a relaxing change for the horses not to be in central London and to spend time away from state ceremonial duties.”
He continued: “Around 100 soldiers and horses from two of our sections have already been able to enjoy a week at the Defence Animal Training Regiment.
“It is a fun week for both the horses and the troops and it will also help to strengthen the trust and confidence between the horse and rider which is vital when performing ceremonial duties in London.
When not practising their equestrian skills, the soldiers enjoyed adventure training including white water rafting and high ropes.