Household Cavalry’s first ever female Drum Horse to lead King’s Birthday Parade

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Photographer: Sgt Donald C Todd Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

Her Majesty The Queen has presented the formal classical name “Juno”, Goddess of marriage and childbirth, to the Household Cavalry’s first ever female Drum Horse who will pass off on the Trooping of the Colour Parade.

The Welsh Shire Horse mare, known previously by her stable name, Willa Rose, has been training for her role leading the Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry in Royal Procession for two years.

Today will be her official graduation parade when she will be given the rank of Major and established as the official drum horse of The Life Guards.

In the gardens of Clarence House this week, Her Majesty The Queen met eighteen hands high Willa Rose, who was presented in her full state ceremonial finery, carrying the priceless Silver Kettle Drums of The Life Guards Regiment.

Riding her was the Equitation Warrant Officer Class 2 Daniel Evans who has played a huge part in her training for the role, together with the Cavalry’s drum horse team.

Earlier this week Queen Queen met eighteen hands high Willa Rose, who was presented in her full state ceremonial finery, carrying the priceless Silver Kettle Drums of The Life Guards Regiment. Photographer: Sgt Donald C Todd – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023 – MOD News Licence.

Willa Rose is ten years old and has a dappled, dark bay coat and four large white socks. Before she joined the Cavalry, she pulled a cart on the Shire Horse Farm so training to be a drum horse was not straightforward. Her Majesty has a close interest in Shire Horses and in 2018 visited the Dyfed Shire Horse Farm that bred Willa Rose, and her partner drum horse Apollo, who serves with the Household Cavalry Blues and Royals.

By tradition the British Army’s Drum Horses are given classical names when they complete their training, and Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II chose a name from a shortlist.

Previous names have included Hector, Leonidas, Janus, Spartacus, Constantine, Horatius and Mercury. Our current Drum Horses are named Perseus, Atlas and Apollo.

Her Majesty posed for a photograph with Juno and her drum horse team; Mr Hew Murphy, proprietor of the Dyfed Shire Horse Farm; and artist Mandy Shepherd, who had painted a portrait of Willa Rose for Her Majesty.

The British public will see Juno at The King’s Birthday parade later today (Saturday 17th June) when she leads the Royal Procession down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade alongside Apollo, the drum horse of The Blues and Royals.

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