Family Friendly Open Day

**** Get your tickets for the day here! ****

A rare opportunity to go deep behind the front lines of the Household Cavalry in the very building we protect- Horse Guards, official entrance to Buckingham Palace. Meet the Queen’s bodyguard, go toe-to-hoof with their famous horses, dress up like the soldiers, and see if you’ve got what it takes to protect the Monarch.

Meet&Greet with the Queen’s Cavalry, uniform dress up, quizzes, trails & family challenges throughout the day as well as:
10.00am: Front doors open
10.30am: Talk: The Queen’s Cavalry – how to go from zero to hero
11.00am: Mounted Guard Change   on  Horse Guards Parade
11.30am: Fun for foals:  Messy Play and Arts&Crafts in the Stables Gallery
11.45am: Tour: Heads, hooves & horror stories – a horse-hair-raising history of the Household Cavalry (family friendly)*
12.15pm: Stable Yard   visit: meet a Cavalry Black horse*
1:15pm: Stable Yard demonstration: Cavalry Farrier display*
1.30pm: Fun for foals:  Messy Play  and  Arts&Crafts in the  Stables Gallery
2.15pm:  Stable Yard  visit: meet a Cavalry Black horse*
3.15pm: Talk: Obeying Queen Victoria – preparing for a 125 year old punishment
4.00pm: Garrison Inspection in the  Front Yard, Whitehall
5.00pm: Last entry to Museum
6.00pm: Museum closes

**** Get your tickets for the day here! ****

 

Housekeeping:

  1. 1. All activities are included in  your day’s Museum ticket which is valid for all day entry: advanced booking is recommended- please   buy your tickets here.
    2. Activities marked with a * will require visitors to sign up on arrival on the day; priority will be given on a first-come-first-served basis.
    3. There is one fully accessible washroom and a shop on site, but no catering facilities; we recommend you combine your day at the Museum with a visit to St James’s Park which offers picnic areas, a cafe and washroom facilities.
  2. For any further queries please contact: museum@householdcavalry.co.uk or call 020 7930 3070.

Drum Horse in the Fountain – book signing – Evesham Festival of Words

From politicians to Archbishops and even Oscar winners, meet some of the most fascinating and eccentric men ever to have been let loose on the public.

The DRUM HORSE in the FOUNTAIN & Other Tales of Heroes & Rogues in the Guards By Christopher Joll and Anthony Weldon – talk and book signing, Wednesday 17 April.

The public perception of the Guards is of soldiers used for ceremonial duties and State pageantry and officered, in the words of Lord Mandelson, by “chinless wonders”. But, The Drum Horse in the Fountain demonstrates how far from the mark is this image.

Christopher Joll and Anthony Weldon have captured the careers, accomplishments, follies and the occasional crimes of over three hundred of the officers and men, many of whom have been forgotten or overlooked, who, since King Charles II, have served in the seven Regiments (two Household Cavalry and five Foot Guards) of the sovereign’s personal troops.

Christopher Joll, a former officer in The Life Guards, is now an author and event director, and Anthony Weldon is a former Irish Guards officer turned author and publisher. The two of them have combined forces to produce a riveting account of characters who served in the Household Cavalry and the Foot Guards since 1660, drawing on their extensive experience of both arms of the Sovereign’s Household troops.

Join Christopher Joll for a talk and book signing on Wednesday 17th April at Evesham Festival of Words.

Drum Horse in the Fountain – book signing – National Army Museum

From politicians to Archbishops and even Oscar winners, meet some of the most fascinating and eccentric men ever to have been let loose on the public.

The DRUM HORSE in the FOUNTAIN & Other Tales of Heroes & Rogues in the Guards By Christopher Joll and Anthony Weldon – talk and book signing, Friday 1 March.

The public perception of the Guards is of soldiers used for ceremonial duties and State pageantry and officered, in the words of Lord Mandelson, by “chinless wonders”. But, The Drum Horse in the Fountain demonstrates how far from the mark is this image.

Christopher Joll and Anthony Weldon have captured the careers, accomplishments, follies and the occasional crimes of over three hundred of the officers and men, many of whom have been forgotten or overlooked, who, since King Charles II, have served in the seven Regiments (two Household Cavalry and five Foot Guards) of the sovereign’s personal troops.

Christopher Joll, a former officer in The Life Guards, is now an author and event director, and Anthony Weldon is a former Irish Guards officer turned author and publisher. The two of them have combined forces to produce a riveting account of characters who served in the Household Cavalry and the Foot Guards since 1660, drawing on their extensive experience of both arms of the Sovereign’s Household troops.

Join Christopher Joll for a talk and book signing on Friday 1st March at the National Army Museum.

The Household Cavalry at the National Army Museum

We’re so excited to be taking this ‘show on the road’ and doing the first Regimental Open Day at the National Army Museum, Chelsea.

The Museum and Archive teams will be on site supporting our combat and mounted divisions, plus talk and demonstrations will be on offer from the farrier, saddler, band and Defence Animal Training Centre teams.

There’s something for the whole family, so do come down and join us.

Full information here:  https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/day-life-household-cavalry

A True Cavalry Horse

On this day, 29th August 1984, one of the most famous horses of the Household Cavalry Regiment, Sefton, retired from the Household Cavalry Regiment. Sefton had gained fame for his miraculous survival from injuries sustained in a bomb blast in July 1982 that had killed four members of the Blues and Royals, as well as seven other horses of the regiment.

Sefton was being ridden to the Changing of the Guard on Horse Guards Parade on July 20th 1982 when the IRA detonated a car bomb in Hyde Park that claimed the lives of four men and seven horses. Sefton was one of eight horses left injured by the blast, but his injuries were the most severe, including a severed jugular vein, wounded left eye, and 34 wounds over his body. Sefton was the first horse to be removed from the scene and brought back to barracks, where he was treated in an emergency operation lasting over 90 minutes to save his life, and then an additional 8 hours of surgery (a record in veterinary terms in 1982); each of the injuries he’d sustained had the potential to be life threatening. He was given a 50/50 per cent chance of survival.

Sefton recovering from the injuries he sustained on July 20th 1982

Over the following months, he made continual progress; his nurse was quoted as saying “He took everything in his stride”. During his time in the hospital he received huge quantities of cards and mints from well-wishers, while donations exceeding £620,000 were received to construct a new surgical wing at the Royal Veterinary College which was named the Sefton Surgical Wing.

Sefton returned to his duties with his regiment, and he often passed the exact spot where he had received such horrific injuries. That year he was awarded Horse of the Year, and with Pederson back in the saddle took centre stage at the Horse of the Year Show, to a standing ovation. On 29 August 1984 Sefton retired from the Household Cavalry, and moved to the Home of Rest For Horses at Speen, Buckinghamshire where he lived to the age of 30 before having to be put down on 9 July 1993 due to incurable lameness as a complication of the injuries suffered during the bombing.

Even before he become a public name, Sefton had something of a notoriety amongst troopers; he was nicknamed “Sharkey” for his tendency to bite at troopers and horses he didn’t like. Despite ‘passing out’ in June 1968 (marked with the regimental number 5/816) also had something of a reputation for being something of a difficult horse, as he had a tendency for breaking ranks, fidgeting and napping. For these reasons, Sefton was sent with the Blues and Royals on deployment to Germany. He joined the Weser Vale Hunt, a bloodhound pack set up by Captain Bill Stringer, chasing volunteer runners. He quickly became the whipper-in’s mount, and excelled in this task, with a bold jump and fast pace. This made him a very popular horse, and due to his nature, he was not given to recruits to learn on, but offered as a prize for the best recruits to ride.

Sefton showing how he got his nickname of “Sharkey” amongst the troopers…

Sefton also competed in showjumping, and whilst on deployment between 1969 and 1974 won 1434 Deutschmarks of prize money, and made the army team competing for the British Army of the Rhine, as well as competing in and winning a point to point race.

In 1975, there was an outbreak of strangles at Knightsbridge Barracks, leaving a shortage of large black horses for ceremonial duties in London. At this time, Sefton had a suspect tendon, possibly due to being overridden, and was immediately chosen to return to England. Here, he worked for the Household Cavalry for the next four years, performing his guard duties, as well as appearing in Quadrilles, and tent pegging. He continued to showjump, including appearances at the Royal Tournament and other smaller shows, although from 1980 he was gradually retired from the sport as he reached the age of 18.

Sefton with Trooper Michael Pedersen of the Blues and Royals, who rode him on July 20th 1982

Children’s Workshop (Afternoon): Hobby Horse Craft

With Trooping the Colour (Queen’s Birthday Parade) around the corner, it is a great time to come and learn all about the Household Cavalry Horses, ‘Cavalry Blacks’, that play a major part in all Ceremonial occasions.

This May Half Term, join us in the museum and get crafting away to make your very own hobby horse ready to ride home on.

What better place to ride your Horse than on Horse Guards Parade?!

Craft activities last 1hr.

It is advisable to book to guarantee your child’s workshop place by calling 020 7930 3070. Please state whether you want to book for a morning or an afternoon workshop.

No pre payment necessary! Activities are included in admission price and materials are all provided.

Children’s Workshop (Morning): Hobby Horse Craft

With Trooping the Colour (Queen’s Birthday Parade) around the corner, it is a great time to come and learn all about the Household Cavalry Horses, ‘Cavalry Blacks’, that play a major part in all Ceremonial occasions.

This May Half Term, join us in the museum and get crafting away to make your very own hobby horse ready to ride home on.

What better place to ride your Horse than on Horse Guards Parade?!

Craft activities last 1hr.

It is advisable to book to guarantee your child’s workshop place by calling 020 7930 3070. Please state whether you want to book for a morning or an afternoon workshop.

No pre payment necessary! Activities are included in admission price and materials are all provided.

Children’s Workshop (Morning): Hobby Horse Craft

With Trooping the Colour (Queen’s Birthday Parade) around the corner, it is a great time to come and learn all about the Household Cavalry Horses, ‘Cavalry Blacks’, that play a major part in all Ceremonial occasions.

This May Half Term, join us in the museum and get crafting away to make your very own hobby horse ready to ride home on.

What better place to ride your Horse than on Horse Guards Parade?!

Craft activities last 1hr.

It is advisable to book to guarantee your child’s workshop place by calling 020 7930 3070. Please state whether you want to book for a morning or an afternoon workshop.

No pre payment necessary! Activities are included in admission price and materials are all provided.

 

 

 

In Memoriam, July 20th 1982

Today is a rather solemn occasion for the Household Cavalry. On this day 35 years ago, four members of the Regiment and seven horses lost their lives when the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated a car bomb at 10:40am in Hyde Park. The Blues and Royals, riding down from Knightsbridge Barracks to perform the Changing of the Guard at horse Guards Parade were hit by the explosion.

The blast was one of two such attacks that day in London (a second bomb blast at 12:55pm in Regent’s Park claimed the lives of seven members of the Royal Green Jackets).

Four members of the Blues and Royals (Lieutenant Anthony Daly, Corporal Major Roy Bright, Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young and Trooper Simon Tipper) were killed by the bomb, while seven of the Regiment’s horses (Cedric, Epaulette, Falcon, Rochester, Waterford, Yeastvite and Zara) either died in the blast or were put down due to the severity of their injuries.

The Museum has in its collection several items connected to this tragic event, including the helmet worn by Trooper Simon Tipper on that day, as well as the hoof and damaged bridle of horse Sefton.

Sefton wounds from bomb blast were so severe it was believed he would not survive. He endured 8 hours of surgery, a record in veterinary terms at that time, treating over 34 injuries, all of them potentially life threatening. After the surgery he was given a 50/50 chance of survival, but made an amazing recovery that turned him into a national symbol of defiance. He returned to active duty with the Regiment, being awarded Horse of the Year that October.

Sefton retired from active service on 29th August 1984 and lived out the remainder of his life at a rest home for horses in Buckinghamshire. He died at the age of 30 from health complications believed to be related to the injuries he sustained in the bombing.

Remembrance

Helmet of Trooper Simon Tipper of the Blues and Royals, who died 20th July 1982 in an IRA car bombing.

So It Begins…

Today is a significant day in the Household Cavalry’s calendar, for today sees the beginning of a month’s worth of rehearsals for the celebration of the Queen’s official birthday (more commonly known as Trooping the Colour). The soldiers of the Household Division have just over a month to prepare themselves for the role they’ll play in the pageantry and spectacle you may see on Saturday 17th June this year.

Although Her Majesty The Queen’s actual birthday is April 21st, her ‘official birthday’ is marked by Trooping the Colour, a ceremony which is always held in June. This was a tradition begun by Her Majesty’s great-grandfather, King Edward VII, who elected to set it in June to compensate for the vagaries of British weather, particularly given that his own birthday was in November! However, the history of Trooping the Colour is much older; on the battlefield, the principal purpose of a regiment’s Colours was to provide a rallying point in the chaos of battle. Given how easy it was for troops to become disoriented and separated from their unit during conflict, it was the habit to have the colours of the Regiment displayed for the troops so they could familiarise themselves with the colours. This was done by having young officers march in between the ranks of troops formed up in lines with the Colours held high. So, what today is a great tradition began life as a vital and practical parade designed to aid unit recognition before a battle began.

The Trooping of the Colour has been a tradition of the Royal family since 1748, becoming an annual event since 1820 (barring exceptional circumstances). The Queen has attended Trooping the Colour in every year of her reign, except when prevented by a rail strike in 1955. Formerly mounted herself, typically on the back of Burmese, a black horse gifted to Her Majesty by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police when they came to perform at the 1969 Windsor Horse Show, she began riding in a carriage in 1987.

During the ceremony, The Queen is greeted by a Royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops. After the massed bands have performed a musical ‘troop’, the escorted Regimental Colour is carried down the ranks. The Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry then march past Her Majesty, and The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, rank past.The Queen rides in a carriage back to Buckingham Palace at the head of her Guards, before taking the salute at the Palace from a dais. The troops then return to barracks and Her Majesty then joins other members of the Royal Family on the palace balcony for a fly-past by the Royal Air Force.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Horse Guards Parade over the coming weeks, you may be able to catch a view of the guards practising on the parade ground if you watch from within St. James’s Park, which should give you a glimpse into the workings of the Household Division and a closeup look at their ceremonial duties here in London.

 

©MOD 2013