The mane event: here comes the Cavalry!
We are delighted to announce that the Household Cavalry will be headlining the Royal Isle of Wight County Show on Sunday 30 June. The Queen’s ceremonial regiment will be putting on a spectacular mounted display, with lots of pomp and pageantry.
The Cavalry are an important part of every Trooping of the Colour, Royal Wedding and Coronation, and now you can see them up close for yourself. To add to the excitement, it’s their very first time performing on the Isle of Wight.
The team of 28 horses, 28 riders, 4 musicians, and 4 grooms, will be making the 100 mile journey from their barracks in Hyde Park to the County Showground in Northwood. They will be performing a 20 minute spectacle known as the Musical Ride. This is a traditional series of manoeuvres, set to music, that dates back to 1882 – it’s precise, coordinated and breathtaking to watch. The performance is designed to demonstrate the skills used by the regiment in the days when it still fought on horseback.
The elite soldiers will be dressed exactly as they are for full state ceremonial events – in striking red uniforms, with tall, tassled helmets – but carrying lances instead of swords.
You will also see four riders in the traditional stable-wear, which has more flexibility than the military uniforms, and allows them to perform stunts such as laying the horses down, and then standing up on the saddles. This technique was used in battle to hide men behind the horses, and also provided a sturdy firing platform.
The display is accompanied by strident music. Look out for the drum horse, which carries the silver drums that weigh a staggering 52kg. It takes the horse five years to prepare for the role.
There are also four state trumpeters – in combat, trumpeters were used to communicate orders across the battlefield.
Competition to get into the Cavalry is fierce. All successful applicants have to go on a 5 month riding course, and then they train intensively for at least a month to prepare for the Musical Ride.
Graham Biss, Chairman of the County Show, says: “It’s a honour to welcome the Household Cavalry and what a spectacle this is going to be! It’s also very fitting that the Queen’s regiment are coming to our Royal County Show, as Queen Victoria was our first patron. This is only happening thanks to our amazing supporters – the Island Riding Centre, Seaview Coaches, Wightfibre and Wightlink – who are all pulling together to help us bring the Cavalry to the Island. Animals are always the star of our Show plus there’s so much else to do this year, including tractor rides, handling pigs, driving a 4×4 and clay pigeon shooting. That’s all included in the price – so get your tickets now!”
The Household Cavalry was formed in 1661 by King Charles II and consists of the two senior regiments of the British Army – The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals.
The riders are elite soldiers who rotate their ceremonial duties with combat overseas – there’s no other unit in the world that does this.
They’re the Queen’s official bodyguards at ceremonial functions.
This is the first time that they’ve come to the Isle of Wight!
They’re Prince Harry’s former unit, and had an important role at his wedding.
The Household Cavalry perform every year at Trooping of the Colour.
The Musical Ride dates back to 1882, and is a masterpiece of military skills, horsemanship and showmanship.