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THE HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY -

MOUNTED REGIMENT

"THE PRIDE OF LONDON"

HC Badge
The Mounted Regiment

Click on one or other of the two Headings in the boxes below,
to read about a (fairly) typical day and a (fairly) typical year
in the hectic life of this unique Regiment.

Below them is a link to the Coaching Troop.

A Typical Day In The Life of

The Mounted Regiment

A Typical Year In The Life of

The Mounted Regiment

The Coach Troop

Introduction

After the 2nd World War, during which all horsed regiments
had been mechanised, a composite regiment known as the
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, based at Hyde Park Barracks,
was formed (in 1946) to carry out public duties.

The regiment is made up from men drawn from the
Household Cavalry Regiment - formerly The Life Guards
and The Blues and Royals - who are based at Windsor on
armoured reconnaissance duties.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment consists of
two sabre squadrons, The Life Guards Squadron
and The Blues and Royals Squadron.

There is a Headquarters Squadron including the
Quartermaster's Department, the Riding Instructors,
the Training Wing, the Regimental Veterinary Officer
who supervises the Regimental Farriers, and the
Regimental Medical Staff.

With 250 horses, it is the Regiment's task to carry out the
traditional ceremonial role of the Household Cavalry - its duties
include providing The Queen's Life Guard daily at Horse Guards,
finding all Sovereign's and other escorts, providing mounted bands,
and certain dismounted duties for the Royal Family and visiting
Heads of State.

A sad day in the Regiment's history is 20 July 1982.
On this day, the IRA were responsible for a car-bomb attack
on The Queen's Life Guard, as it proceeded along the side of
Hyde Park, on its way to Horse Guards.

Four men were killed:

Captain Daly, SCpl Bright,
L/Cpl Young, and Tpr Tipper.

Memorial To Hyde Park Bombing By IRA

CoH Pitt (the Guard commander)
subsequently received the BEM for
his actions at the scene of the blast.

The horses that died were: Cedric, Epaulette, Falcon, Rochester,
Waterford, Yeastvite, and Zara - three other horses were injured,
but subsequently recovered.

To this day, each time The Queen's Life Guard pass the spot
where the bomb was detonated, they bring their swords down
from the "slope" to the "carry" - coupled with an "eyes left" or
"eyes right" - as a mark of ongoing tribute.

If you would like to make a donation to help Officers and Soldiers injured while
on active service — or to help the families of those killed in action — please
CLICK HERE

Horsemanship - Show Jumping

Show jumping plays an important part in the activities of the Regiment,
as it is competitive and helps horse and rider to bond, as well as
building the confidence of both.

Records show that the Riding Master of the day,
Major Walter Thompson, MVO MBE DCM,
took part in the very first Badminton three-day event in 1949,
representing the Household Cavalry, and was the first
Household Cavalryman to compete in military uniform
- minus a hard hat, which was not obligatory in those days!

 
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A (Fairly Typical) Day In The Life Of
The Mounted Regiment

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is always busy, and
there are duties undertaken each and every day of the year.
In addition, there are major inspections, parades and state occasions
that call for the very highest standards, and which often stretch
the Regiment to the limit.

Whenever the Mounted Regiment is performing state and public duties
(mounted or dismounted), they epitomize all that is the very pinnacle
of perfection - immaculate turnout of their horses, the horse furniture,
attention to the most minute detail of their own turnout, and the
manner in which they perform their duties.

That this perfection is regularly achieved is no accident, but is the result
of many hours of concentrated drills and equestrian training, which
occupy much of the soldiers' working days, during which they hone
hone and fine-tune their horsemanship.

As Hyde Park Barracks are situated at the side of the park,
Hyde Park affords ideal facilities for equestrian training, and for
fine-tuning the skills required in full ceremonial uniform (with sabres),
and for rehearsals in the run-up to major parades or displays.

Only when their mounts have been fed, watered and groomed
can the men of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment attend to
their own personal needs, and around all of this they spend hours
every day on ensuring that their kit, and that of their horses, is kept in
immaculate condition, so that it passes inspection by the keenest of eyes.

Blanket Ride

The Blanket Ride, at 6.30 a.m., serves the purpose of limbering up
those horses and riders who will, later in the morning, be prepared
and inspected prior to departure for duties as The Queen's Life Guard,
at Horse Guards. The Blanket Ride takes 30 minutes.

Watering Order

Every day, at 7.00 a.m., the Watering Order sets off from Hyde Park
Barracks and travels down some of the streets in central London,
in order to provide exercise for horses and riders (including Band
members) not participating in the day's Queen's Life Guard.

The tradition dates from the time when, in battle, horses were taken
from camp each morning to find water to drink, before setting off
into battle - the Ride takes an hour.

Queen's Life Guard

The Queen's Life Guard is formed on alternate days by The Life Guards
and The Blues and Royals, and there are two types of guard
- a Long Guard when The Queen is resident in London, and a
Short Guard when The Queen is not resident.

Changng Of The Queen's Life Guard

Changing of The Queen's Life Guard

Should HM The Queen leave London while the Guard is mounted or,
having been away, return to Buckingham Palace, then the composition
of The Guard changes accordingly - it is "made up" or "masde down" to suit.
The Guard requires lengthy preparation each day, followed by intense
inspection to ensure the very highest of turnout.

The ceremony takes place at Horse Guards because, way back in 1753,
the Horse Guards building was completed near to the position of the
Holbein Gate of Whitehall Palace (destroyed by fire in 1698) - the one and
only official entrance to King George II's residence at St James's Palace.

It continued to be the official entrance after King George III moved
to Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace) in 1762. When
Queen Victoria ascended the Throne, she retained Horse Guards as the
official entrance to Buckingham Palace, which remains the case today.

This is why The Queen's Life Guard is still posted at Horse Guards.

The Guard is changed at Horse Guards daily at 11.00 a.m.
(10.00 a.m. on Sundays), for which the Guard departs Hyde Park
Barracks at 10.30 a.m. (9.30 a.m. on Sundays).

In addition, there is a Four o' Clock Parade each day at Horse Guards,
for which the Captain of The Queen's Life Guard (if a Long Guard)
- or the Orderly (Duty) Officer from Hyde Park Barracks
(if a Short Guard) - inspects The Queen's Life Guard.

Duties Of The Queen's Life Guard

The New Guard rides from Hyde Park Barracks, via The Mall,
to the Front Yard of Horse Guards. The Life Guards and
The Blues And Royals furnish the Guard alternately.

Two mounted sentries are on duty, at a time. They are known in
the Household Cavalry as 'Boxmen', because of the large sentry
boxes into which they can rein back, in wet weather.

They are required to give warning to the Guard of the approach of
any person, from Whitehall, who may be entitled to receive compliments
from the Guard, and of military personnel on the march.

The 'Boxmen' must also be alert to any civil disturbance that might develop.

In the event of any serious breach of the peace, the gates of Horse Guards
could be shut, and the Guard called out - in readiness - behind them.

The mounted sentries are on a separate roster to those who are
dismounted, as 'Boxmen' are only posted between 10.00 a.m. and
4.00 p.m., and are relieved every hour (except in extremely cold
weather, when the time may be reduced to half an hour).

One reason for the horses being on parade for a relatively short period
of the day, is so that sufficient time be allowed for them to be
properly groomed, watered, and fed. The box horses are chosen with
care, as those with a lively temperament may not be too willing to stand
patiently with a rider for a long period of time.

The duties of the dismounted sentries are to prevent people from
loitering unnecessarily in the Yard, and to pay compliments to
passing Officers of HM Armed Forces.

They are under orders to bar the entrance of all carriages and cars,
through the Arch of Horse Guards, unless the traveller is in possession
of (and be able to produce) a special Pass, which is issued to a limited
number of high ranking officials.

Only the Royal Family is exempt from this rule.

 
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A (Fairly Typical) Year In The Life Of
The Mounted Regiment

With Christmas and New Year festivities over, the Regiment prepares
for horses coming in from grass, so that work can begin for the
forthcoming year.

The first quarter of the year sees much preparation for
the Major General's inspection, at which time the entire Regiment
is under the closest scrutiny, ensuring that it is in tip-top condition
for the advancing parade season.

The following is the sequence of events - with a brief explanation
- in a (fairly typical) year.

Click on one of the links in the boxes to speed up your search.

HORSES COME IN FROM GRASS SPRING TRAINING
MAJOR GENERAL'S INSPECTION "CAVALRY SUNDAY"
THE QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY PARADE THE GARTER PROCESSION
STATE VISITS SUMMER TRAINING
STATE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT THE LORD MAYOR'S PARADE
THE CENOTAPH SERVICE FULL-DRESS PASSING-OUT
OTHER STATE OCCASIONS PRESENTATION OF STANDARDS
BRICKHANGING CHRISTMAS DAY
THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH CUP BEATING THE RETREAT
STATE EMERGENCIES STATE FUNERALS

Horses Come In From Grass

After the State Opening of Parliament, the majority of the Regiment's
horses go out to grass, at DAC (Defence Animal Centre) Melton Mowbray,
for the winter, thus providing men and horses with a welcome break
after the busy ceremonial period.

The horses return to the Regiment in March, which heralds the start
of the new season, with a progressive build-up of training, for men and
horses, throughout April and into May. The horses are also subject to
washing, clipping, and manicuring during this time, to bring them up to
parade standard, in time for the Commanding Officer's horse inspection.

Spring Training

With the horses back in barracks, Squadron Leaders and Troop Leaders
drill all their men in the basic cavalry movements, and the drills required
for the ceremonial season.

This training takes place on Rotten Row, in Hyde Park, and usually occurs
between 0700 and 0800 on Monday to Saturday inclusive.

Troops form into divisions of 24 men
(2 ranks with 6 sections of 4 men + 1 Officer).

Major General's Inspection

This inspection by the Major General Commanding Household Division
is held in Hyde Park and is the first parade of the year.
To find out and see more, click on the link hereunder.

Major General's Inspection Button

Combined Cavalry Memorial Parade

Also known in the Regiment as 'Cavalry Sunday', this takes place in May.
To find out and see more, click on the link hereunder.

Cavalry Sunday Button

 
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HM The Queen's Birthday Parade
(Trooping Of The Colour)

There are, of course, rehearsals for The Queen's Birthday Parade, as well
as the three public performances - on consecutive Saturdays - of this parade.

For a full explanation, and photographs taken during this fine spectacle,
click on the link hereunder.

Trooping Of The Colour Button

The Garter Procession And Service (Windsor)

This colourful ceremony takes place annually, on the Monday following
HM The Queen's Birthday Parade on Horse Guards.

For a full explanation, and photographs taken during the ceremony,
click on the link hereunder.

The Garter Ceremony Button

State Visits

From time to time, HM The Queen receives visiting Heads of State
at the request of the FCO, for which the Household Cavalry may
provide Escorts, Staircase Parties, and route liners.

For more information, and some images,
click on the link hereunder.

A State Visit Button

Summer Training

Summer training is usually of three weeks' duration, and takes place
at Bodney Camp, in Norfolk, as the camp is fully equipped with temporary
stabling for the horses, and is in the heart of the Norfolk countryside.

For more information, and some photographs,
click on the link hereunder.

Summer Training Button

The State Opening Of Parliament

This is usually held in November - however, an election could be called
at any other time, in which case the Regiment has to be fully prepared
for any eventuality.

For more information, and some photographs,
click on the link hereunder.

State Opening Of Parliament Button

The Lord Mayor's Parade

Another November date in the calendar, the Lord Mayor's Parade
is extremely colourful, with a different theme each year.

For more information, and a selection of photographs,
click on the link hereunder.

Lord Mayor's Parade Button

 
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The Cenotaph Service, Whitehall

An event that is seen the world over, thanks to television, is the
Remembrance Day service and parade, which is always attended
by members of the Royal Family.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment provides a dismounted
Division (1 Officer and 24 ORs) at the Cenotaph - neither of the Bands
take part in proceedings.

Full-Dress Passing-Out Parade

This is the final parade of mounted training (18 weeks in total),
and is the culmination of a four-week 'Kit Ride' - learning to ride in
full, State uniform. Soldiers pass off as Mounted Dutyman Class 3,
and numbers vary between half a dozen and sixteen, as does
frequency of parades.

However, they average one parade per month, between September
and April (there is no passing-out parade in the summer months).

Other State Occasions And Functions

The Regiment also regularly provides soldiers for
State Banquets, Investitures, and Evening Receptions at
Buckingham Palace (comprising 1 CoH, 2 Trumpeters, and 8 ORs),
and also at Windsor Castle (9 ORs).

The Regiment also provides Royal Baggage parties at request.

Presentation Of New Standards (& Guidon)

Every ten years, HM The Queen presents new Standards to
the Regiment on Horse Guards Parade, involving two Squadrons of
CVR(T) from the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment at Windsor.

For a descriptive account of this important ceremony,
click on the link hereunder.

New Standards & Guidon Button

Brickhanging (The Life Guards)

This is a tradition peculiar only to The Life Guards, and its origin seems
to date back to 1889.

The story (one of many, all of them plausible) is that Joe Holland,
a civilian forage master to the 2nd Life Guards, was about to join
senior NCOs for a pre-Christmas drink prior to going on leave.
On the way, he was summoned to go instead to join the CO for a sherry.

None too pleased, and seeing a loose brick in the corner of the
Guardroom wall, he threw the brick up onto the sloping roof of the
Guardroom, saying that while it stayed up there he wanted the mess bar
to remain open to await his return. A few sherries later, and the worse
for wear, he went home to sleep off the effects. In due course he awoke,
and suddenly remembered his request, so dashed back into barracks
to find the mess bar still open.

Thereafter, a brick was "hung" annually by Joe himself for some
45 years, till his death in 1934, and a brickhanger's medal is housed
in the Museum of The Household Cavalry.

Each subsequent brickhanger has been, and still is, issued with
a medal - this includes a number of Commanding Officers - who have
hung the brick while the Regiment has been on active service.
More recently, the brick was hung at Hyde Park Barracks by Gold Stick.

Normally, the brick is hung each December by the oldest, living
ex-Regimental Corporal Major who has not taken a commission, and
this heralds the commencement of Christmas festivities for the Regiment.

Christmas Day

Traditionally, on Christmas Day at Hyde Park Barracks, those forming
The Queen's Life Guard are the subjects of an extra - and earlier - parade,
in Fancy Dress, which provides some welcome entertainment for all.

However, duty inevitably calls and The Queen's Life Guard duly forms up,
to the usual high standard, and departs for Horse Guards to mount guard.

The Princess Elizabeth Cup

The Princess Elizabeth Cup, formerly known as the Richmond Cup
(competed for annually) is awarded to the Trooper judged to be
best turned out, in full state uniform, for which two Troopers
from each Troop compete.

Beating The Retreat

This is another crowd-pulling annual event, featuring the combined
Massed Bands of the Household Cavalry and the Guards Division,
for which the former perform mounted, making them quite unique
in this activity.

For an account - and some photographs - of this event,
click on the link hereunder.

Beating The Retreat Button

 
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State Emergencies

Whether it be a strike by firefighters, a security threat at Heathrow Airport,
or a serious outbreak of foot and mouth disease, the Armed Forces are
expected to step into the breach in support of the Civil Community.

Green Goddesses In Capable Hands

The Household Cavalry (including its musicians) has a wealth of experience
of such emergencies, and they always rise to the occasion with commitment,
discipline, and professionalism.

State Funerals

Although a somewhat rare occurrence, a State Funeral invariably has
implications for the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, who may be
called upon to play a full and active part in proceedings, whether
mounted or dismounted, at very short notice.

Unusual drills may be required, such as marching in Dismounted
Review Order with swords reversed.

Also, for the Lying in State, senior serving officers of the Household Cavalry
are, by historic precedent, first to mount vigil over the catafalque.

Officers are detailed by the Silver Stick in Waiting.

In April 2002, he was responsible for the training and briefing of all
Household Division officers taking part in HM Queen Elizabeth
The Queen Mother's Lying in State.

Other Activities

The Regiment supplies musicians for a range of functions
(State Trumpeters for fanfares, military bands, dance bands, and
smaller combinations), and throughout the year meets commitments
such as the provision of bearer parties, escorts, full-dress parades,
appearances at county fairs and horse shows, participation in show
jumping, investitures, military tattoos, parading on the occasion of the
presentation of new Standards, taking part in Remembrance Day parades,
the provision of route liners (as for the Garter Service in Windsor),
playing a major role in state visits and state funerals, and - when time
allows - active participation in many sporting activities.

It should not go unmentioned that all soldiers in the Mounted Regiment
move to the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment after 2 years, and
often return to the Mounted Regiment later in their careers as NCOs.

 
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HC Coaching Troop Section Sign

The Household Cavalry Regiment operates a very successful
and accomplished Coach Troop.

Based at Combermere Barracks, in Windsor, the Troop comprises:
6 Carriages * 6 Horses * Head Coachman

Second Coachman * 3 Grooms

RHG/D Regimental Coach

The Blues And Royals Regimental Coach

HC Coach And Four

A Handsome And Disciplined Team

 
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