Gunner Tara Kelly from The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery, seen ehere ensuing the horses are kept well.

As the country entered lock-down in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, horses from Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery were sent to the Leicestershire countryside for an early rest and recuperation period. This is usually reserved for the summer months after they have completed their annual ceremonial season, including firing a gun salute on Coronation Day on 2 June, however in line with Public Health England guidance, only a small number of officers, soldiers and horses from Kings Troop remained in London to carry out essential training and maintenance.

Kings Troop, which is a ceremonial unit in the British Army, consists of around 140 Household Troops and 100 horses, all based in George VI Lines in Woolwich, South East London. Their primary role is ceremonial, as the saluting battery of Her Majesty’s Household providing ceremonial gun salutes to mark coronation days, royal birthdays, royal births, and other state ceremonial occasions. Soldiers from Kings Troop also conduct military training exercises, take part in military sports competitions, and have even featured with their horses in Downton Abbey.

The UK Armed Forces are due to resume training that was paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and Defence activity is gradually scaling up in accordance with Public Health England guidelines on social distancing. The horses from Kings Troop that were sent to grass during the lockdown period, are now undertaking a seven week reconditioning programme back in Woolwich. This involves coat, mane and tail maintenance, clipping and caring for their feet, re-fitting horse shoes and providing all horses with a gradual fitness programme to bring them back into work.