Cornet is so comfortable!

Captain Anton Lin of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment blogs once more about preparations for the Royal Tattoo.

Captain Anton Lin, and Cornet

Captain Anton Lin, and Cornet

20 April 2011

Under yesterday’s very warm sun was the Major General’s Inspection, which went well.  My division was at the back and I did notice a few fallen helmets from the forward divisions vanish under our horses as we trotted round.  That often happens with so many men and horses operating together and it didn’t mar a very successful parade; sometimes it is people on the floor and that can spoil the layout more.

The trip to France was very useful and has allowed me and the Riding Master to start working on the routine.  Selections for men and horses continue, though with the notable obstacle of Royal Wedding preparations to work around.

Thankfully whilst in ParisI was informed by the French Officers that they have ceremonial commitments right up until they deploy toEngland.  It is reassuring to know they are experiencing a similar routine to us.  Indeed this period of the year, up until the Garter Service in June, is referred to by the men as ‘Silly Season’ for how busy it can become.  Maybe the French soldiers have their own word for it?

Rehearsals for the Royal Wedding are picking up, and instead of being done at Troop or Squadron level we are now practising as a Regiment.  The number of riders required for the day means that we can afford very few horses going lame between now and then, so everyone is taking a lot of care when they ride.

The wedding will provide a good opportunity to see how Cornet, my charger, responds to the loud noises of crowds and bands; if he’s good I might be able to convince the riding Master that he’ll be suitable for the Musical Ride.  It’s not that I mind riding another horse – but Cornet is so comfortable!

17 days to go

Here’s another blog from Captain James Hulme, Troop Leader and Unit Press Officer for the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. With 17 days to go before the Royal Wedding morale remains high, despite the endless kit cleaning…

William

William

A busy week so far, but at least the weather is holding out here in Knightsbridge, the home to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. This freak proto-summer has been a big help to the rehearsals. Also a bit of sun just eases the Regiment through what is a very stressful time. I am happy to report that morale is very high and looks to be staying that way. When in a normal season, soldiers might be beginning to tire of the endless kit cleaning, but this year it has definitely helped that the hard work is for a wholly justifiable reason. We really are privileged to be taking part in something so special.

In the pipeline for this week is an event that will see our home at Hyde Park Barracks open to the world’s media. Everyone wants to know what we’re up to in the final three weeks leading to the big day and, as the Unit Press Officer, I’m the one to organise their access. Not that it’s quantifiable, but I think that the Royal Wedding will be one of the biggest media events of the decade. I will hopefully be able to let the reader know an estimation of where to see us, and when. Please keep your eyes glued to www.facebook.com/hcmr for details.

At least working over the weekend did give me an opportunity to check up on my charger William. He still hasn’t completely recovered, though he is no longer lame at the walk. He certainly had enough energy to break free from his stall and raid the hay storage area in the stables. He really is quite an escape artist. I took him for a bit of walk out into the sun, and I think he appreciated this, he certainly laps up the attention. His vanity knows no limits. He will definitely be chuffed that his photo appears online.

Since William’s little mishap (definitely attributable to over-excitement), I have been on two different horses, trying them out for size, just in case William remains on sick leave the day of the Royal Wedding:

Cornet: a beautiful horse, but not quite as tall or handsome as William. He also belongs to another Officer. In my opinion, his longish ears make him look a little like a mule. Cornet has his merits though. He is very easily controlled one-handed, which is always a bonus. He is much less headstrong which means the rider can relax a lot more and settle down to the job at hand – commanding a division. He is rather slow at the walk though, and one really has to push him on.

Jubilee: I took this youngster on a Watering Order on Monday. He isn’t an Officer’s charger, so I would never really be able to use him on a parade, but as a competent troop horse he is definitely the future. One has to avoid his hind quarters though, he has a tendency to kick out. He will eventually learn some manners. I will probably ride him again tomorrow, just to confirm my assessment.

Today though, our Commanding Officer inspected the Regiment. We are yet to hear the feedback, the exact detail of how we might improve our performance, but there were no major mishaps at least. As a Blue & Royal, I painfully have to concede that The Life Guards win the contest for the smarter ‘dressing’ today, ie their ranks were geometrically perfect. The Blues & Royals will have their day yet, let me reassure you…