King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery members and their horses, famous for their London duties, galloped along the Norfolk coastline recently offering them a refreshing change of pace from ceremonial life in London.
The soldiers and 120 horses of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery left the noise and confines of the capital for equestrian and military training in north Norfolk. The highlight of the Summer Exercise is the beach ride – an amazing spectacle significantly detached from their usual duties.
After a busy ceremonial season providing Gun Salutes, duty at The Queen’s Birthday Parade and State Visits, the break in East Anglia was an excellent opportunity to carry out training, relax and build bonds.
Major Victoria Flood, Officer Commanding King’s Troop, said: “Beach riding, especially at speed, requires extra balance and control of the horse. The troops will also ride into the sea bareback which is a whole different skill set in itself.
“The beach ride is mentally relaxing for the horses and offers them a refreshing change of pace from the ceremonial life in London. It is also a good precursor before we begin to build them up for gun salutes in the tail end of the year.
“We’ve had a lot of new soldiers and horses come in since we last went to Norfolk for this ride – this is an excellent finishing touch for them after a very busy period learning to ride, especially militarily.”
On the exercise the horses will do a mixture of activities across Holkham beach at pace in the sand, sea and everywhere in between.
The King’s Troop, stationed in King George VI Lines, Woolwich Barracks in London, is Her Majesty The Queen’s ceremonial Saluting Battery firing Gun Salutes for state occasions and Royal birthdays.
One of the few mounted units in the army, all of its soldiers are superb equestrians who are trained to drive teams of six horses that pull six First World War ‘thirteen pounder’ state saluting guns. They are also trained as fighting soldiers. Uniquely in the British Army, the unit is 50% female and its soldiers deploy on operations around the world when required.