Always gleaming, endlessly patient and a valuable attraction for tourists — the Household Cavalry‘s horses, known as Cavalry Blacks, are a uniquely British institution.
But what is life really like for them? And how are they chosen for a career of ceremonial duties and guarding the royal family? Madeleine Pitt at The Horse and Hound gives us a list of 11 things you might not know about Household Cavalry horses
1. The horses have been helping to guard the British royal family and taking part in ceremonial occasions since Charles II was restored in 1660.
2. A ceremonial horse has to carry about four stone (25kg) in dead weight of kit, plus a man.
3. Cavalry Blacks tend to be geldings — there are no stallions — and are at least 16hh, but are often bigger.
4. The Riding Master, who oversees all selections, looks for horses that are preferably unbroken, of good weight, good attitude, clean-limbed, good outlook, no blemishes, and straight movers.
5. Most horses are purchased when they are three or four, and are then sent to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps Depot, at Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, from where they are forwarded to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in London, for selection by squadron leaders.