You wouldn’t expect to see downtown London traffic grind to a halt, but it happens several times each day as a British Army mounted regiment pulls out onto the streets for ceremonial activities, parades and a variety of special historical performances.
The British institution known as the household Cavalry keeps 210 horses in London, 30 at Windsor Castle and 20 head pastured on grass at Bodney Camp in Norfolk, England.
At the vast multi-story Hyde Park Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment barracks in downtown London, 141 members of the Life Guards and 142 members of the Blues and Royals mounted regiments handle a wide variety of ceremonial duties. In addition, a Headquarters Squadron includes farriers, cooks, drivers, saddlers, equestrian instructors, medics and the Regimental Veterinary Officer.
The mounted regiment provides the Queen’s Life Guard which leaves the barracks each day at 10:30 am to arrive at Horse Guards promptly at 11:00 am. Before leaving, the horses and men are inspected to make sure they meet the highest standards. This attention to detail is applied to all Household Cavalry activities which requires hours of cleaning, polishing, grooming and other essential preparations.
There are 13 Army farriers in the Household Cavalry, including nine men stationed in downtown London and three shoers at Windsor Castle. Eight farriers serve as apprentices along with five fully qualified Army shoers.