Members of the Queen’s Life Guards treat the horses to some delicious fresh fruit throughout the day.

Image: MOD Crown Copyright 2022 Sgt Donald C Todd RLC 

The UK is gearing up for one of its hottest heatwaves ever, with temperatures expected to rise to 36 degrees Celsius in parts of the country.

But even on the hottest days the Queen’s Life Guard can still be spotted in their daily vigil outside Horse Guards on Whitehall in their gleaming breastplates and wool tunics. We asked the Troopers of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment conducting the Queen’s Life Guard how they look after not only themselves, but also their loyal horses as the heat increases. 

For the Troopers of the Household Cavalry, operating in the heat is something they must be able to do, with their dual role as armoured cavalry and ceremonial soldiers they could be expected to operate in some of the hottest countries in the world. For them, preparedness always comes first, ensuring that Troopers are fit, well rested and have the right nutrition is key; commander’s will watch each and every Trooper and check in more often on those on sentry to ensure they are keeping hydrated and to look for the first signs of heat injury.

Every Trooper will have learnt about how to prevent heat illness and how to spot and treat it in themselves and others as part of their mandated annual training so every Trooper is always keeping a vigilant eye on the other members of the Troop to ensure that everyone is healthy and looked after. 

No less concern is given to the horses, for some of the larger horses it can be difficult to cool down and they can be sweating along with their riders in the sun. A cold sponge or hose off in the shade after they’ve conducted their duties can help them to cool down as well as ensuring that the horses are hydrated and provided with the correct nutrition, be that electrolytes in the form of ‘recovery mash’ or just going bobbing for an apple in a trough of water to have a little bit of fun whilst cooling down. 

On really hot days the amount of water every horse drinks is carefully watched and monitored so that they can be properly looked after and actions taken to cool them down if they do seem to be struggling in the heat.