City soldier rides in the surf

Gunner Abbie Robinson, 20 from Sheffield, of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, left  her London base for equestrian and military training in the Cornwall
Gunner Abbie Robinson, 20 from Sheffield, of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, left her London base for equestrian and military training in the Cornwall
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A Sheffield soldier who looks after The Queen’s horses took them away from London to a beach in Cornwall for equestrian and military training.

Gunner Abbie Robinson, aged 20, of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, was among 12 riders who took their horses into the surf on Watergate Bay Beach for an exercise impossible to carry out in the capital.

Beach work is deemed an essential part of the never-ending work to build trust and confidence between horses and their riders, who form Her Majesty The Queen’s ceremonial Saluting Battery.

The unit’s duties include the firing of royal salutes on royal anniversaries and state occasions, Remembrance Sunday and at The Queen’s Birthday Parade.

It also provides a gun carriage and team of black horses for state and military funerals.

With not all horses having seen the sea before, taking them into the surf is aimed at testing their confidence and trust in their riders - vital for when the unit is on duty at high profile events in London.

Abbie, who normally looks after 15 horses, said the Cornwall trip has been the highlight of her year.

“My horse, Hades, is only five years old and it was his first time on the beach so we were both nervous. He needed to trust me but after his first canter he got really into it and really loved it,” she said.

Abbie, who has been in the Army for 18 months, said: “I’ve kept horses and ridden since I was six years old so joining the Troop was a natural choice. It’s offered some amazing opportunities.”

Her boss, Captain Nick Watson, said: “This camp is an excellent opportunity for both the horses and the soldiers to take a well earned break from their ceremonial duties in London.

“The Troop hasn’t had the opportunity to send horses to Cornwall since 2011, but they always enjoy themselves on these beautiful beaches, and what they learn here will make them better prepared for the rigours of their ceremonial duties in London.”