What ages do they range from?
Ages range from our youngest rider at just four years through to seventy!
Which parts of the UK do they travel from?
They come from all over England and even Europe. Last year we have riders travelling right from the top of Scotland, battling through the elements to make their way to London!
How does someone get involved?
The long list of interested parties first sends us a request via email or private message but sadly numbers are strictly limited to a maximum of seventy and places get filled really quickly.
It’s a pretty big atmosphere for the horses, how do you prepare the horses for this huge event?
All the riders that take part have a strict code of conduct, which they have to adhere to, and we ask the riders to fill in a simple tick box form, which gives us an idea of what they feel that their horses can cope with. The event is so eclectic and all done at a walk, so you need a calm obedient and bold mount and we also all have a vet inspection before we set off and he has the final word on human and horse. We also request that riders give calmers as a condition. Once the riders have participated once, they always want to go around again, as time goes so quickly!
Preparing the horses for such an electric atmosphere is hard but training at home, riding at busy local events, riding past schools and competing at the likes of county shows certainly ensures that you are half way there!
Tell us the breakdown of the actual day – how do you get all horses into london etc? Getting ready/ riding through – how long does that take –what route and what time finishes etc?
We all start around 6am and I normally have a house full of Welsh crew in my tiny house in South London with the queue for the bathroom always proving fun! They will then go off to my friend’s stables local to me to get their horses whilst my crew of ladies and I will set of for London armed with the tables, radios, crew clothing, rosettes, sashes and list after list as we arrive in London to meet the Health & Safety, Andy Morgan and our vet Michael Byers from Shotters and Byers.
At 8am, the lorries then start to arrive and this is when my crew come into their own, helping to get the lorries parked up and people ticked off lists and settled in. The Sat Nav postcode we always give them is for the Ritz Hotel, which takes them straight into Central London.
It’s always buzzing with general public looking fascinated by the horses as we start to get ready, however we have to be strict on security despite lots of tourists desperate to come and stroke the horses! Once our costumes are on and the horses are groomed to perfection and in many cases, also dressed! We have to kick on of depending where we are placed in the parade. Generally, we are in with the first 25 cheerleaders bands section. It’s really fun and takes around 45mins to get through the parade to finish at Parliament Square. The parade finishes there and we go back to the horseboxes, via the Horse Guards and ride down the mall towards Buckingham Palace for lots of fabulous photos with the photographers on route as well.
All in all it takes about three hours and around 5km of walking, so not for the faint hearted or for the leaders on foot, for the unfit! With horses and riders coming from all corners of the UK and factoring the costs for the day: Costumes, stabling sources around the Capital, or coming direct via lorry, food, fuel etc., it works out on average to be a staggering £1,000 per person! So our riders save up all year around to participate. However, to ride round London on such a special day and be involved in such a huge event, is so unique in every sense of the word and as we start to pack up and leave around 3.30pm on the day, the social media goes wild and we are all on a high, planning next year!