Trooping the Colour 2023; Juno set to take centre stage as the new Household Cavalry Drum Horse
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This weekend’s Trooping The Colour is set to be the debut for one participant - but rather than it being a rider on horseback, it happens to be a horse itself. After completing two years of training, the horse formerly known as Dyfed Willa Rose is the first mare to take on the prestigious role of Household Cavalry Drum Horse. Now known as Juno, the mare will lead the mounted parade down The Mall to Horse Guards and carry the rank of Major during The King's Birthday Parade.
During the ceremony at Clarence House attended by Queen Camilla, Juno was presented with a headcollar featuring a brass name plaque and acquired the name following the tradition set by Queen Elizabeth II of naming previous Drum Horses after classical mythology - the last horse bestowed with this honour was Perseus in 2017 after a visit to Hyde Park Barracks, with horses also named Apollo and Atlas prior to that
In Roman mythology, Juno was the queen of the gods and goddess of marriage and childbirth. She was the wife and sister of Jupiter (Zeus in Greek mythology) and the mother of Mars (Ares in Greek mythology). Juno was known for her protectiveness over women and her role as the guardian of the state. She was often depicted as a regal and powerful figure, wearing a crown and holding a sceptre or a pomegranate, symbolising fertility.
A fitting name for a fitting debut for the first Trooping The Colour under the reign of King Charles III; who will be the first reigning monarch since 1986 to ride horseback during the event. The last reigning monarch to do so? Queen Elizabeth II of course.
King Charles III will be joined by Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh - he will participate in the procession on horseback in his role as Colonel of the London Guards, the army reserve battalion of the Guards Division. The new battalion was formed as a product of the military reforms in May 2022.
What is a Household Cavalry Drum Horse?
The Household Cavalry Drum Horse is a ceremonial horse that serves in the British Army's Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. It is a unique role within the regiment, and the Drum Horse is easily distinguishable by its size, strength, and the ornate drum carried on its back.
The Drum Horse is selected for its calm temperament, size, and conformation. It is typically a Shire or Clydesdale horse, known for their strength and imposing presence. The Drum Horse is trained to remain calm and steady in various ceremonial duties, such as leading parades and processions.
The most distinctive feature of the Drum Horse is the large, ornate drum that is strapped to its back. This drum is a symbol of the regiment and is played by a mounted drummer during ceremonial occasions. The Drum Horse's role is to carry the drum and the drummer while maintaining a steady and controlled pace.