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Behind the Scenes
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Behind the Scenes


The specialist teams.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment relies on specialists to train horse and rider, keep horses on the road and ensure horse furniture and uniforms fit correctly.


Riding instructors.

Training of horses and riders falls to the Riding Master and a team of 11 riding instructors. Though they may not have ridden before joining the army, the Riding Staff will have demonstrated an aptitude for working with horses, and are qualified both as military and civilian riding instructors. Their tasks include: bringing on horses in training (known as remounts), which generally takes six months, and then riding them on their first parade; and training young soldiers, most of whom will have never seen a horse before arriving at Knightsbridge. They also often ride in equestrian competitions such as the International Horse Show at Olympia.

Behind the Scenes

Trainees learning to ride during annual summer camp.


Behind the Scenes

A trainee holds his horse for inspection.


Farriers.

Horse welfare is the responsibility of a veterinary officer and a team of eight farriers (blacksmiths) who are trained by the army and hold military and civilian qualifications. They are vital to the Regiment's effectiveness. As well as dealing with minor ailments, the farriers shoe each of the 220 horses every four weeks - the amount of road work causes the metal shoes to wear down quickly. Like humans, each horse must have the correct type of shoe for the work it is doing and each shoe must fit correctly.


Behind the Scenes

Despite the heat involved, shoeing is entirely painless.


Behind the Scenes

Farriers in Hyde Park Barracks.


Saddlers.


Five saddlers fit, repair and replace all horse furniture and leather items of uniform. Trained in the regimental saddlers' shop, they also hold civilian qualifications. Saddles and bridles are fitted when a horse has passed initial remount training. The army saddle is designed to keep the weight of the soldier and his equipment off the horse's back; balancing and fitting a saddle perfectly needs training and experience and can take from four to six hours per horse. Each horse has a black head kit (bridle) for parades and a brown one for exercise. Once fitted, tack should last the whole of a horse's army service. Saddlers also fit leather uniform items such as cross belts, cuirass straps and sword slings.

Behind the Scenes

A saddler fitting a Black Kit'.



Tailors.


Each soldier has several different uniforms, individually tailored and maintained to the highest standard. The regimental tailors look after all ceremonial uniforms from plumes, tunics, cloaks, frock coats, gold coats, hats and medals, as well as normal khaki and combat clothing. The Master Tailor attends the annual commanding officer's full dress inspection in the spring before the start of the ceremonial season to check that everything fits correctly. He also monitors the quality of the many uniforms made by contract tailoring firms.


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