For the first time since 2008, The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery performed for crowds at the 2023 London International Horse Show.
After a fifteen-year hiatus, the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery thrilled the audience with a series of captivating four-gun drives, showcasing a mesmerizing blend of ceremonial pageantry and impressive horsemanship.
Originating as a test of skill and speed for the Troop, the musical drive highlighted the expertise of the serving soldiers as they galloped across the arena, expertly manoeuvring six horses and four iconic World War 1 era guns.
These venerable guns have played a pivotal role in countless state ceremonial occasions over the past 75 years, including the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Most recently, they were used during the Coronation of King Charles III.
In a captivating display of adaptability, the Troop specially choreographed a smaller version of the drive for the London International Horse Show, ensuring it seamlessly fit the arena at the Excel Exhibition Centre.
For one particularly special horse, Lord Firebrand, affectionately known as Yogi, the event held a poignant significance. After a decade of unwavering service to The Kings Troop, Sunday marked his farewell performance before embarking on his well-deserved retirement.
Commanding Officer of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, Major John Baileff said:
"I have had the privilege of riding Yogi twice in my career. I rode him while serving as Adjutant of The King’s Troop and once more now that I am the Commanding Officer."
"It is truly fitting that he is able to retire on such an impressive stage. I will miss him dearly." Major John Baileff
"He has performed at countless events, including leading the Procession for Her Late Majesty The Queen’s Funeral, and the King’s Coronation. It is truly fitting that he is able to retire on such an impressive stage. I will miss him dearly."
Yogi will now embark on a six-month care program under the supervision of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps before being rehomed and starting his civilian life in 2024.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, the Saluting Battery of His Majesty's Household Troops, holds the esteemed title of the British Army's senior unit when parading with its guns, considered their Colours and treated with utmost reverence.
Formed in 1947 at the direct request of King George VI, the Troop's primary duties include firing Royal Gun Salutes in London on royal anniversaries and participating in grand state occasions, including State Visits, State Openings of Parliament, and State Funerals. The Troop proudly stands at its barracks in Woolwich, Southeast London, comprised of 170 personnel and 120 magnificent horses.