What will happen to the Queen’s horses?

The Queen is believed to own more than 100 horses

Joanna Whitehead
Friday 09 September 2022 10:59 BST
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The Queen’s lifelong love of horses is well documented, with her fascination taking root from a very young age.

The majestic animals have long been an integral part of royal life, and the young Elizabeth II was surrounded by horses, and relatives who owned them, from her early years.

Her first reported riding lesson took place at the tender age of three at the private riding school at Buckingham Palace Mews.

And the following year, the four-year-old Elizabeth was gifted a Shetland pony named Peggy by her father, King George VI.

By the time she was 12, Elizabeth was enjoying twice-weekly lessons with her sister, Princess Margaret, presided over by Horace Smith.

On one occasion, she told Mr Smith that “had she not been who she was, she would like to be a lady living in the country with lots of horses and dogs”.

Royal stables that previously bred horses for transport were transformed into an elite breeding homestead for thoroughbred horses.

Over the years, the Queen’s horses have won some of the biggest races in the sporting calendar, from Carrozza to Estimate.

How many horses does the Queen have?

The Queen at the Windsor Horse Show in 2011

While the exact number of horses owned by the Queen is difficult to calculate, due to the movement of new horses in and around the royal estate, the Queen is believed to own in excess of 100 horses, from which she is estimated to have earned around £7m from prize money over the years.

What will happen to the Queen’s horses now?

The Queen congratulates her horse, Estimate, following a Gold Cup win on Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot in 2013

Following the death of her father, King George VI in 1952, when she acceded to the throne, the Queen inherited the breeding and racing stock of her father.

According to royal author, Claudia Joseph, Princess Anne and her daughter, Zara Tindall, are expected to make the decision as to what happens next to the Queen’s troop of horses, however.

“It is likely that the queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, and [Anne’s] daughter, Zara, who were both Olympic equestrians and well-known horse lovers, are likely to be involved in what happens next to the queen’s animals,” Joseph told the New York Post.

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