Queen meeting Drum Horse Perseus

When The Queen Met Big Red: Introducing The Newest Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment’'s Drum Horse

On a visit to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment at Hyde Park Barracks today, the Queen along with Prince Charles got aquainted with Big...

Queen meeting Drum Horse Perseus

The Queen gave her royal blessing today, as she met the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment’s newest Drum Horse.

Her Majesty chose the 'noble and befitting' name of Perseus. During the meeting Perseus even appeared to bow to Her Majesty.

The Queen and the Prince of Wales also met members of the Regiment and their horses at the Hyde Park barracks.

Who is Perseus?

Perseus, formally known as ‘Big Red’ is a bay coloured shire horse, who stands proud at 17.1 hands high.

Nine years old, he started his army career in February 2013. Perseus is currently in his fourth year of training.

Following the tradition of all Drum Horses being named after Greek Gods, his new name of Perseus means ‘slayer of monsters’.

With the Queen’s blessing he will now carry the rank of Major, making him senior to all other animals of rank in the Army.

Drum Horse at Hyde Park barracks
Drum Horses must have an exceptionally calm nature, they train intensively to become familiar with the sound of drums

What’s a Drum Horse?

The Drum Horse is the most powerful horse in the regiment. He carries 300 pounds of equipment, including two kettle drums and of course the drummers themselves.

In the past they were used to sound the drums of war, marching soldiers into battle. Their uniforms were meant to intimidate the enemy, and they often stood close to the Commanding Officer. 

Normally the Drum Horse is a gelding as they must have an exceptional nature. The horses need to be able to cope with the sound and vibrations of the drums.

Contrary to popular belief, the horses are not deaf and cotton wool is not used to mute the sound of the drums in the horses’ ears.

What’s next for Perseus?

Perseus must continue his intense training, then hopefully he will pass out - in the military sense.

The aim is for Perseus to successfully complete training and to pass out at the Queen’s birthday parade. He will then become a fully working member of the House Cavalry Band.

In the meantime, Perseus can expect to hone his skills of walking while on parade and reacting to foot reins using a long reining method.

He will be introduced to music and eventually drums. Occasionally trainers will do this by playing music into his stables.

A Drum Horse such as Perseus can expect a rounded and nutritious diet. A usual meal for Perseus will consist of Granny Smith apples and herbal tea.

Every day he will eat a whopping four stone of food, and guzzle 25 gallons of water.

The Queen at Household Cavalry's barracks in Hyde Park
The Queen found the skeleton horse rather amusing on her visit to the barracks today

During her visit the Queen, who is renowned for her passion for all things equestrian, was shown another horse called Quinn. Quinn had his musculature painted on to his coat in white paint, the idea being that the technique helps soldiers learn about the horse’s physique.

Her Majesty joked: “It’s a very good idea, but does the paint come off?”

The visit comes a day after plans to redevelop the Household Cavalry's Hyde Park barracks were axed.

The Ministry of Defence had hoped the site would raise up to £500 million. However due to the increase in terror attacks and the subsequent need for central troops, as well as difficulty finding an alternative site for the mounted soldiers, the plans fell through.