Royal Horse Artillery charger Mr Twister made his last public appearance at the weekend in a special ceremony at the Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark his retirement.
The parade commander’s charger, affectionately known as Bert, of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, stepped out with his usual dignity and aplomb into the arena at the show.
He will now live out his days at a gentler pace, away from the cameras, in the rolling hills of the Chilterns under the care of The Horse Trust, the charity that specialises in providing a home for service horses from the army and police in their twilight years.
He had his saddle removed for the final time during the ceremony and he was officially handed over to the trust in what was an emotional moment for all.
Mr Twister, 16, has served impeccably in the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery since 2005.
His stunning good looks and beautiful manners have gained him a reputation for being the epitome of an officer’s charger, whilst his kind and affectionate nature also made him the stand-out favourite of the regiment.
Even a potentially life-threatening injury early in his career did not stop him. His recovery meant he could continue to regularly lead out the world famous Musical Drive, take part in multiple Queen’s Birthday parades, and participate in royal salutes.
Steady as always, he was the parade commander’s horse for Dame Margaret Thatcher’s funeral in May 2013 as thousands lined the streets of central London.
Most recently, Mr Twister was the parade commander’s horse at the opening ceremony for the inaugural Invictus Games at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, watched worldwide by millions on television.
Due to his age, he has started to suffer from osteoarthritis. However, this never affected his performance and drive. He still relishes the limelight.
His unit’s commanding officer, Major Robert Skeggs, said Saturday’s retirement ceremony was a big day for Mr Twister and for all those who had worked with him.
He described him as a truly outstanding horse.
“We are extremely sorry to say goodbye but also immensely proud of him and thrilled that he will be retiring to The Horse Trust who care for so many of our country’s former service horses.”
Horse Trust chief executive Jeanette Allen such such moments were always emotional. “We are thrilled to be giving this magnificent horse the retirement he deserves.”