Queen was a ‘horse-whisperer’ with ‘extraordinary’ affinity for them

Queen almost had 'horse whispering' skills says Brookes-Ward

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Queen Elizabeth II had such an affinity with horses she was practically a horse-whisperer, the director of the Royal Windsor Horse Show has said. Speaking on the day of her funeral at Westminster Abbey, Major-General Simon Brooks-Ward, who worked closely with the Queen on numerous occasions, said he could “scarcely believe” she was gone.

And he emphasised the monarch’s abiding love for horses, as well as her contribution to the survival of rare breeds.

Mr Brooks-Ward, well-known for organising equestrian events throughout the world, is also the Olympia London International Horse Show.

He told the BBC’s Kirsty Young: “The Queen was a fantastic horsewoman.

“I always say that nobody knew as much about a horse or a pony as the Queen.

“She had an incredible encyclopaedic memory about horses and breeding lines and bloodlines and everything else.”

Mr Brooks-Ward also confirmed the Queen continued riding until very recently.

Asked about how the Queen related to horses, he said: “We all know that the Queen was not very tall and sometimes these big horses were not well behaved.

“But with Queen, she absolutely commanded them and it was done because it was relaxed.

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It was almost horse whispering

Simon Brooks-Ward

“She stood there, she stood her ground, and the Queen tended to have this relationship which was extraordinary, it was almost horse whispering.

“It was amazing to see the Queen around horses.”

Asked about her contribution to the racing industry, he added: “The Queen didn’t just have a horse and see it race, the Queen knew about its journey from foal to the winning post.

“And that gave her great sense of accomplishment and pleasure for the Queen and it was the same with the horses and ponies.

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“I always say to people that there are rare breeds in ponies and horses, and she was responsible for saving at least seven through her patronage and support that we now see today, not only survive, but thriving as well like the Highland pony.”

Speaking earlier this week, the Queen’s friend and horse trainer John Warren said Her Majesty retained her interest right up until the end – and even had a winner on the day she met new PM Liz Truss, two days before she died.

He said: “We sat there for hours over the weekend strategising and making plans going forward.

“And I think the nicest thing for me is to know that she was surrounded by her family members.

“She was in such a healthy state of mind and in tremendous form.”

One memorable clip widely circulated in the days after her death showed the pair of them celebrating after her horse, Estimate, won Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup in 2013.

Mr Warren said: “The footage you can see doesn’t actually show you the final two furlongs.

“This was a really hard-fought battle. It just seemed like forever and ever and ever before it was going to happen. Was it going to happen? Wasn’t it going to happen?

“And, as the filly passed the post, the elation from the Queen was absolutely wonderful. She had a really huge tear in her eye, in both her eyes.

“I could see she was brimming with emotion, which was a wonderful thing.”

He added: “In the typical style of a horsewoman, although everyone was giving the Queen their congratulations, the Queen was absolutely steadfast to get to Estimate herself and give her a wonderful and well-deserved pat.”

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