Home » London Bridge is down: The world mourns the Queen – her lifelong love for horses inspired millions

London Bridge is down: The world mourns the Queen – her lifelong love for horses inspired millions

by Maria Filimonenko
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She has always been there. Queen Elizabeth II accompanied the childhood, youth and adult life of most people alive today. Yesterday, after 70 years of reign, the extraordinary Queen died at the age of 96 in her Scottish castle Balmoral surrounded by her closest relatives. Her love for horses inspired millions.

She devoted herself to assisting preserve British pony breeds while also offering her wisdom and staying highly involved in the breeding of competitive top class racehorses. Once she said: “I enjoy breeding a horse that is faster than other people’s.” In honour of her commitment to the sport, the beloved Queen received the first-ever International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Beginnings of Queen Elisabeth II in equestrian sports

Monarch had her first riding lesson when she was only 3 years old. At the age of 4, she received her own Shetland pony, called Peggy, as a gift from her grandfather, King George V. After two years of riding her Shetland pony, she got obsessed with equestrian sport, therefore continued upgrading her riding skills in the teen years. 

The first Royal Windsor Horse Show, which was initially staged to generate money for the war effort, was attended by a 17-year-old Elizabeth in 1943. She demonstrated her equestrian prowess at the competition, taking first place in the Pony & Dogcart division.

Together with her younger sister Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth enjoyed going horseback riding frequently.

Making history by simply loving horses

King George’s thoroughbred racing horses were passed down to Queen Elizabeth after his passing in February 1952. Elizabeth II’s endless love for horses, made her become a subject of a documentary in 1974, titled ‘The Queen’s Race Horses: a Private View’. Second documentary which showcases the monarch’s passion for horses was released as part of her 60th anniversary coronation celebrations.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show, Royal Ascot, Epsom derby, and the Trooping of Colour, are events the Queen always looked forward going to. Elizabeth II had to take a break from attending all equestrian festivities, and mounting the animals she adored throughout the previous year due to mobility limitations.

Queen Elizabeth II’s adoration and passion towards the graceful animals passed further to her daughter Princess Anne, as well as to her granddaughter, Zara Tindall. Zara Tindall participated in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) but didn’t take home a silver medal for the eventing team until London (2012). 

Source: National World

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