How did you become a rider for HM The Queen?
Lizzie Bryant, who rides HM The Queens Mountain & Moorland ponies, asked Vanessa Crompton who she thought would be a suitable rider for HM The Queens plaited horses and having just won the Hunter Championships at HOYS Katie was recommended. At the time HM The Queen didn’t have any plaited show horses so Katie never dreamed she would actually receive a call from Terry Pendry, HM The Queen’s horse manager, and was shocked to be invited down to Windsor Castle to look at a horse. Katie didn’t feel this particular horse would be quite good enough for top level and turned it down. She was then asked to go back to the castle to meet with HM The Queen in her private quarters and discuss another horse.
Which was the first horse you rode for HM The Queen?
Katie returned home with March Pa
st in the lorry and that was the start of their long association. March Past started his career with great success qualifying for HOYS but a minor accident in the field meant his showing career was ended. A nervous Katie made the call to Terry, how do you tell The Queen you have broken one of her horses? However, Terry was very understanding that with horses accidents do happen and Katie wasn’t sent to the Tower!
What special horses of HM The Queen’s stand out?
Petition & Stardust would be two of the ea
rly ones who gave us most success. Petition was reserve champion at HOYS in 2008 & 2010. Stardust was Side Saddle Champion at the Royal International and won all over the country at the highest level. More recently Tower Bridge has won multiple championships as a heavy weight hunter, he’s such a gentleman and has nothing to prove so will likely retire from the show ring before long.
Barber Shop would be our main man though. He came to us from the race track to retrain. He won overall supreme ROR at the Hickstead Derby meeting, 3x at Royal Windsor incl. supreme ridden in 2013. He was reserve Racehorse 2 Riding Horse at HOYS and has been ladies side saddle, ROR & R2R champion all over the country. He retired from the ring autumn 2017 and had a special ceremony in the main ring at Royal Windsor in 2018. He is still very well and still parades at race courses and recently did the SEIB Charity ride at Burghley Horse Trials. He will always have his special stable in the yard nearest the house with us.
Which future stars of HM The Queen should we look out for?
Lancer, had numerous in hand wins at 2 & 3 and followed this up in his first season under saddle with 3 wins. We do think a lot of him so watch this space. The 3 year old Fools Paradise won in hand this year and is a daughter of Stardust so it’s wonderful to be able to produce these homebreds, we can’t wait to see her under saddle.
Another interesting new recruit is Kluane. Gifted to HM the Queen by the Canadian Mounties he’s quite a different type but as a Novice Hunter won at Edenbridge & Oxsted show and went reserve Champion at the Festival of Hunting this year so we can’t wait to watch him progress over winter.
Both Kluane and prolific racehorse Cue Card came to us earlier in the year and had a gentle introductory show season. We’ve specifically spoken Spillers Nutritionist Vanessa to ensure they receive optimum nutrition this winter as both now need to strengthen and develop. We are putting them on your new Digest + Conditioning Cubes so they build up muscle and topline but with lots of fibre in the bucket as we obviously want to ensure they stay level headed and happy in their work.
Does riding HM The Queens horses involve different management?
Not really no, we produce them as we would all others. Twice a year we take the horses down to Windsor Castle for Her Majesty to view and of course she adores her horses so they all receive a pat and some carrots. All Her Majesty’s horses are homebred, except Kluane, and The Queen has in depth bloodstock knowledge. Each spring we send a hand written letter informing Her Majesty of their progress and each horses’ goals for the year. There’s a great pride in producing these horses which are so thoughtfully bred and much cared for.