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