The Household Cavalry were recruiting
30 new cavalry horses this year (2012) with each horse needing a
One of Middleham's Town Councillors, Councillor Byford, proposed "Middleham" as a name for one of these horses thinking it would be great to have a link between Middleham and it's equine history and industry of racing and this famous, high profile regiment. This would be a relationship between our town and community and the Household Cavalry that will last for the horses entire service life, perhaps 15 years or longer and would be a super opportunity to publicise Middleham's equine industry, with history through the Castle; as a place to visit and, who knows, perhaps we can arrange occasional meetings between racehorses from our yards and "our" cavalry horse e.g. at Royal Ascot? The average career for a cavalry horse is 16 to 18 years after which they are retired.
Having served in the Royal Military
Police Mounted Troop, Councillor Byford knows just how many
public appearances (e.g. at the Great Yorkshire Show), website
photographs and other publicity opportunities there are with
army horses on display. There could be regular links with our
school and "their" army horse, even a visit to see him/her in
barracks in London - lots of opportunities, in fact.
This isn't quite what
anyone expected. Middleham's Troop Commander, Captain Alex Owen,
said that Middleham had been the best behaved horse on the parade -
either novice or more experienced horse, so he is very keen to
nurture what looks like being a very good cavalry horse. Captain
Owen explained that horses
must be almost entirely black – white socks and facial markings are
permissible in ‘Troopers’ (soldier’s horses) while entirely black
colouring is required for ‘Chargers’ (officer’s horses). Middleham
is fully black, so with his excellent temperament on parade, it is
likely that he may be looked at for Charger training in the future.
Before Middleham was named he was referred to on all official documentation by his ‘remount number’ (the number stamped into his hoof). To make life easier in the stables the soldiers often give the remounts their own ‘stable name’. Middleham, a very slight and gentle horse, was affectionately known as 'Monster'.
Now that Middleham has passed out of training he has all four hooves
Stamping hooves started during the Peninsular War when it was discovered that Officers were selling their horses off to pay gambling debts and claiming they were dead to get a new one issued. By stamping the hooves the rider would have to present the numbered hoof to the Quarter Master in order to get a new remount issued.
The soldiers in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment are all
active duty soldiers who also serve with the Household Cavalry
Armoured regiment and many have seen tours of duty in Iraq and
Afghanistan. On operations the soldiers exchange horses for tanks.
The ability to deal with and care for horses makes Household cavalry
soldiers ideally suited to life living off a vehicle in the dusty
deserts of Helmand.
We will be following
Trooper Middleham's progress and keep you all informed !
at Hyde Park Barracks, Knightsbridge . Our horse has returned to his Squadron, the Blues, after six months growing up time out at grass in Leicestershire.
He is being
ridden and schooled by Senior Equitation Instructor, Lance Corporal
of Horse Scholes. Middleham’s development and work will be carefully
managed to make sure he doesn’t
If all goes
well, he should take part in his first public ceremonial duties for
the State visits of
Trooper Middleham's Photo Album/News Updates - click here