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The Queen is said to have had her first riding lesson at the age of three, so it is fair to say the Queen’s love for horses started at a very young age. And even now at the age of 94, the Queen still regularly rides and was even pictured doing so during the UK lockdown this year. Read on to find out more about the Queen’s long-standing adoration for horses and racing.
In 1952 King George VI died, and the Queen inherited the throne and also her father’s breeding and racing horses.
Every year the Queen’s favourite event is said to be Royal Ascot.
The Queen’s own horses have competed in many races over the years, and, on 71 occasions, have even won the event.
Choir Boy was the first of the Queen’s horses to win Royal Ascot in 1953, ridden by Doug Smith.
The first two years of the Queen’s reign saw her win at Ascot on seven occasions, but her success has tapered off over the years due to the increased number of competitors in the sport.
However, aside from her numerous wins, pictures of the Queen attending the event every year have become synonymous with the monarch’s 68-year reign.
And the Queen’s love of horses is not exclusive to her, as now many generations of the Royal Family are also known for their love of equestrianism.
The Queen and Prince Philip’s only daughter, Princess Anne, became the first member of the Royal Family to compete in the Olympics as an equestrian.
Years later Anne’s daughter Zara Tindall competed in the London 2012 Olympics and won a silver medal in the sport.
How many horses does the Queen own?
Over the years the Queen has owned a number of horses, but it is not known exactly how many the Queen currently owns.
However in June, the Queen shared the names of some of her favourite horses for a special edition of Horse & Hound magazine.
The Queen’s racing manager John Warren told the publication the Queen has incredible patience with her racehorses.
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Mr Warren said: “These incredibly highly charged creatures, full of blood and muscle, are developed from birth with kid gloves and the sophisticated jigsaw of trying to put all the pieces together is a constant challenge that continues to intrigue The Queen.
“To deal with the constant challenges and disappointments, as all horse people will know, the greatest asset you need to have with horses is patience – which luckily The Queen has in spades.”
One of the Queen’s favourite horses was Burmese, and the horse played a special role as the monarch’s horse during Trooping the Colour celebrations for 18 years.
When Burmese retired in 1987, the Queen has since attended Trooping the Colour in a carriage.
Another of the Queen’s favourite horses for many years was Sanction, and in the 1960s it was Betsy – a black-brown mare – which won the monarch’s heart.
Touchingly named in honour of the Queen’s beloved Scottish residence, two Highland ponies named Balmoral Jingle and Balmoral Curlew were also named as some of the Queen’s favourite horses due to their success in the show ring.
Other horses which hold a special place in the Queen’s heart include Columbus, Doublet and Emma, the latter of whom is a fell pony.
Five racehorses the Queen has also loved include Aureole, Doutelle, Highclere, Phantom Gold and Estimate.
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