The 90th birthday of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is only a month away, and celebrations of her milestone are being organised with horses at the centre of the action.
Capping it off will be more than 550 horses at the special celebration during this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show in May, but the big occasion is being marked in many other ways.
One of those is a special issue of Britain’s Horse & Hound magazine, which has dug deep into the archives to chart the Queen’s and the Royal family’s equestrian influence with a 132-page commemorative issue titled The Queen and her horses, to be published on her birthday, April 21.
From early childhood the Queen was a horse-lover, but no one could then have foreseen the immense contribution she would make to all equestrian sport.
Amidst the hype of celebrating Her Majesty as a sovereign, this is a chance to see her private side, embracing a life-long equestrian passion.
“For 132 years, H&H has documented the royal family’s equestrian successes — from Olympic debuts to Ascot winners and home-bred show champions,” says H&H’s Content Director Sarah Jenkins.
“In this delightful publication, The Queen and her horses, we celebrate the enjoyment that horses and riding have brought to Her Majesty and her family over the past century — the same enjoyment they bring to anyone who sets foot in a stirrup.
“H&H’s archives are a treasure trove of images and stories that deserve to be retold, and which make this charming publication a must-have for horse-lovers and royalists alike.”
Moments documented include the lofty heights of The Queen’s glory on the racecourse and Princess Anne’s 1971 European Championship triumph, to Zara Phillips’ performance in the Olympic spotlight — brought back down to earth with a smattering of Prince Philip’s enduring humour with an article that Prince Philip wrote in 1977 entitled “A history of humiliation by the horse”.
He writes: “The trouble with horses is that by the time you’ve discovered all the problems and risks it’s too late to be of any practical use.”
US equine model company Breyer is offering its young fans the chance to create a birthday card for the Queen of her favourite mare, Emma.
Only last month Breyer unveiled its model of Fell pony mare Carltonlima Emma, which was made at a 1:9 scale.
Young artists are encouraged to print out an outline of Emma, based on the Breyer model, and get creative – using crayons, colored pencils, markers, or paints. The company stresses the project is just for fun – there’s no competition. It will deliver a selection of cards to the Queen on April 21, and also feature some on its website.
Cards must be received by April 4, by Breyer Animal Creations, Attn: Queen’s Birthday Card, 14 Industrial Rd, Pequannock, NJ 07440, USA.
The Queen is often photographed riding Emma, and is also the patron of the Fell Pony Society.
The Fell Pony is one of Britain’s most loved native breeds and is associated with the North of England where the “fell” referred to high mountainous areas used as common grazing land.