Live like a local.
You can see a nimbus that illuminates from a prideful parent a mile away. I was walking through Hyde Park, minding my own business, really I was, when I saw a group of uniformed men on horseback. Oh I love me a man in uniform and then put him on horseback!! I naively snapped a picture or two assuming what I was seeing was an everyday occurrence. There was nobody around to tell me otherwise. I kept walking. I look far to my right and see a line-up of maybe 10-15 people. You bet I’m looking to see if they’re tourists, I don’t want to “BE” one of them gawking at men in uniform on horses! But something unusual is going on. You can tell by the way the onlookers were grouped and that there seemed to be a uniformed person with each cluster! I decided to, as nonchalantly as I could (Yes, of course, I stood out like a sore thumb!) briskly walk over to try to hear what was being said. I was watching a graduation ceremony of the latest graduates of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment – Corps of two regiments: the Queen’s Life Guards and the Blues and Royals. (Fun Fact: both Prince William and the NOT Prince Harry were part of the Blues and Royals) So I quickly cozied up to a prideful grandpa to get my latest information. It was obvious, he was bursting to share with someone. I was actually doing him a favor to be so interested.
Pete, his grandson second from the first row, had never ridden a horse before enlisting! It surprised them all he wanted to join. He had to go through your typical military boot camp and training as well as how to care for a horse etc. He thinks they even had to learn to shoe their horse. Only officers get their own horse, his grandson will ride a different horse almost every time he shows up for work. I was curious if a woman could be in the HCMR? And the answer is, drum roll please… after 359 years, May 2019 the first woman joined the guard! I asked him what his grandson would most likely be doing on a day to day basis. He said that they are trained to operate both as an armored reconnaissance unit and carry out mounted ceremonial duties. Then he smiled and said, “Basically he’ll be on horseback guarding outside buildings like Buckingham Palace, an hour on and an hour off " He tells me later that Pete's trained to do a lot more than just ride, he's protecting the Crown. He was glowing.
Notice there are men riding in either Red or Blue uniforms. Pete is wearing red, and is part of the Queens Life Guard. The Life Guards are wearing red tunics and white plumed helmets and the Blues and Royals are wearing blue tunics and red plumed helmets. I must mention the horses. They are powerfully large and graceful and grandpa tells me they are bred in Ireland and are a mix between Irish Draft and Thoroughbred.
So if you are ever in town, you can’t plan to find a graduation ceremony, but you can watch a scheduled changing of the mounted cavalry. It’s so very British, you don’t want to miss it. They’ve been based in Hyde Park Barracks, Knightsbridge since 1795! The Brits have down tradition!
Don't take life so seriously.
I'm Jody. I love to travel. I love to take pictures. I love to meet people and find interesting places. I also love to write about and post pix of what I've found. But, I've been told that I write like I talk - in streams of consciousness. So, if proper grammar and well composed sentences are a must for you - my posts will make you crazy. If you want to follow my journey as I learn about really cool places and offer some great tips about living abroad, read on!