Happy birthday, Ma’am

Celebrating a lifetime love of horses on Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday. (Images: Press Association)

Queen at Royal Windsor Horse ShowQueen Elizabeth II is 90 years old today, so what better time to celebrate her love of horses?

The Queen has always been known for her love of all things equestrian; horses featured in her life from a very young age. She had her first riding lesson in the private riding school at Buckingham Palace Mews in January 1930, when she was just three years old, and she was given her first pony, a Shetland mare called Peggy, by her grandfather King George V on her fourth birthday.

Queen Elizabeth II and her son, the Prince of Wales, out riding at Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth II and her son, the Prince of Wales, out riding at Windsor Castle

Her children, particularly Princess Anne and her daughter Zara Phillips, have inherited the equestrian passion; both experiencing international success in three-day eventing.

Princess Anne helps her mother Queen Elizabeth adjust the bridle of the pony 'Greensleeves' in the grounds of Balmoral on their summer holidays
Princess Anne helps her mother Queen Elizabeth adjust the bridle of the pony Greensleeves in the grounds of Balmoral on their summer holidays

One of the Queen’s favourite horses was a mare called Burmese, a present from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969, when they came to perform at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Queen rode Burmese side-saddle for 18 years at the Trooping the Colour ceremony, which celebrates the sovereign’s birthday.

The Queen taking the salute as the Scots Guards marched past at Buckingham Palace after the Trooping the Colour ceremony, mounted on Burmese, the black mare presented to her by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Queen taking the salute as the Scots Guards march past at Buckingham Palace after Trooping the Colour, mounted on Burmese, the black mare presented to her by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

In the thoroughbred world, horses bred by the Queen have won more than 1600 races, and, of the British classics, only the Epsom Derby still eludes Her Majesty.

She also breeds Shetland, Highland and Fell ponies to ensure the traditional bloodlines in these native breeds are preserved and enhanced.

In 2015, the Queen became the first recipient of the FEI Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of her role as a supporter of equestrian sport throughout her reign.

Happy birthday, Ma’am, and we hope you get to enjoy a nice ride on your special day!

The Princesses enjoyed an off-duty break from the royal tour of South Africa when they went riding on the golden sands of Bonza Beach, East London, Princess Elizabeth (centre) is riding Yvonne Hayhoe's 'Jill" while Princess Margaret rides 'Treasure' owned by Pat O'Reilly of East London, who is seen escorting the Princesses.
The Princesses enjoying an off-duty break from the royal tour of South Africa when they went riding on the golden sands of Bonza Beach, East London. Princess Elizabeth (centre) is riding Yvonne Hayhoe’s Jill while Princess Margaret rides Treasure owned by Pat O’Reilly of East London, who is seen escorting the Princesses.