Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Royal Horses

Alright, who else watched the Royal Wedding to see the horses? Prince William married the now Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine the other day. They kissed twice or something. And many people wore funny hats.

OK, so maybe not this hat, but it would have fit right in.
There were two varieties of horses in the procession. Bays and Greys. Both of these groupings of equines were chosen not by their breed but rather for their colour. The bay horses were of a number of breeds, but there was a large showing of an endangered breed that is favored by Queen Elizabeth, the Cleveland Bay. 



The Cleveland Bay is the oldest breed of horse originating in Great Britain, and the only non draught (draft) breed from there. They are named for their color (bay, varying from bright bay to dark nearly black bay.) The name also comes from the Cleveland district of Yorkshire. Queen Elizabeth has been a patron of the Cleveland Bay Horse Society since 1977, but only 2000 registered horses (300 breeding mares) remain. Now it is unclear if the bay horse who made headlines during the wedding with the following antics was a Cleveland Bay, or merely a bay Bay.



The only follow up report I could find indicated that the rider was fine, but was chastised severely by the royal riding master following his mishap. I would love to know more about the horse in question. He should become a celebrity in his own right. Ridiculous people do all the time for far less.


The grey horses that pulled the carriage carrying William and Kate are known as the Windsor Greys. These are not all of the Windsor Greys, merely a team of them selected from the whole group. Again these horses are selected by colour and temperament, not by breed. I am slightly confused, as other than the Wikipedia link which is a very short article, I can't find much information about the Greys. I read this article, about a set of grey police horses who would be in the parade, but they are not mentioned formally as being the Windsor Greys and are not said to be pulling the carriage, merely escorting. If anyone comes across better intelligence, please let me know.

All horses are Princes and Princesses
Fly masks can be purchased here

As a postscript I have discovered that the new Duchess is allergic to horses. Considering the long reign of Queen Elizabeth and her patronage of the equine community, I am saddened by this news.

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