Top military horses and soldiers relocate from London to Melton for well-earned break
Horses and riders from The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery have enjoyed a well-deserved break from ceremonial duties by spending a week at Melton’s Defence Animal Training Regiment (DATR) centre.
The 25 horses and mounted gunners enjoyed activities including show jumping, hacking and cross-country riding as part of a programme of equestrian training. They also worked on their dressage and flatwork during their stay at the base, off Asfordby Road.
The unit is Her Majesty the Queen’s ceremonial Saluting Battery which fires Gun Salutes for state occasions and Royal birthdays.
Based at a purpose-built equestrian facility in Woolwich Barracks, in London, they are the Army’s smallest military unit.
The soldiers are trained to drive teams of six horses that pull six First World War ‘13-pounder’ state saluting guns.
Members are renowned for their impressive Musical Drive performance which can regularly be seen at country shows around the UK.
Many of the manoeuvres of the Musical Drive have remain unchanged since it was first performed in 1897.
Cpt Jonathan Brooks said: “It makes a relaxing change for the horses not to be in central London and to spend time away from state ceremonial duties.”
He continued: “Around 100 soldiers and horses from two of our sections have already been able to enjoy a week at the Defence Animal Training Regiment.
“It is a fun week for both the horses and the troops and it will also help to strengthen the trust and confidence between the horse and rider which is vital when performing ceremonial duties in London.”
When not practising their equestrian skills at the Melton base, the soldiers enjoyed adventure training, including white water rafting and high ropes.