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with swords on show; most of the other teams had dropped to the back so as not to cause an affray with them, but not us. Two hundred metres after the start and at the first turn on the course, a sharp right hand turn onto a road, Tpr Sayer and Tpr Eckley came in front of me and then in an instant they were gone; saddles slipped straight off their horses. The last I saw of Tpr Sayer was his body clinging onto the side of his horse as it cantered towards the village. The route took us through sprawling desert dunes to little villages, navigating through barbed wire fences and the odd wild dog that certainly aided in gaining speed. LCoH Raffel and I made it over the line together on the first lap 20km down on the leaders. The horses then had to go through a vigorous vet test to ensure they were still safe to race. My horse passed with flying colours and I was off leaving LCoH Raffel behind. It was on my second lap half way round that I found Tpr Sayer. Tpr Sayer’s horse was lame; in a strange environment paying no heed to his own wellbeing he decided

to walk his horse in hand through the desert, a proper embodiment of selfless commitment and horsemanship; that took the Indian Army and our hosts back in awe. But before I inflate his ego anymore may I also inform you that Tpr Sayer found himself walking an extra 15km through the desert as he had gone the wrong way back to the start! Thirty-five km into my lap my horse threw a shoe and flipped herself over a few times launching me forward (and breaking my aviators in the process). She went into shock and began to lose condition; luckily enough a jeep arrived with the vet and we were able to save her. Tpr Eckley was given the opportunity to ride the next day on the 60km race on which he did not disappoint. An enormous sense of pride filled me watching someone that I took through Khaki, someone who had not ridden before, then seeing him complete a 60km race and being placed 4th. A gargantuan task and pulled off by a Blue and Royal none the less. Our last night at Dunlod fort was momentous, a feast with traditional music and entertainment. I was asked to dance by a lady with a fair few vases on her head. I did not wish to offend by imitating a dance I know nothing of so I

Tpr Sayer realises he may be carrying his horse across the finish line

LCoH Harvey prepares to mount as the Indian version of the Riding Master points out a twisted stirrup leather

Relaxing before a long day of tent pegging

stuck with half the Macarena; needless to say I went down a treat. Our racing careers over, we travelled down to Jaipur for the tent pegging competition. The Malwari, the breed of horse we were riding, are ridiculously fast and agile creatures, far more streamlined than our hearty cavalry blacks. So therefore we were taken aback by the speed at which we were to travel. The Hindi for slow down or stop is ‘bos’. The sight of four chaps from England screaming ‘BOS! BOS! BOS!’ in pure terror must have been something of a novelty to our hosts. With each run each rider became more accurate with peg after peg being taken from the field. Tpr Eckley was battling out a ‘stomach problem’ so the fact that he continued with such accuracy should be commended. The Regiment was placed a respectable 2nd in each class. In conclusion, the trip was a fantastic success, a true experience that every member of the team shall not forget in a hurry. On a sadder note, I did not become a maharaja nor find a courtesan but I did ride an elephant.

Jordanian Short Term Training Team

by Corporal of Horse D Evans, The Blues and Royals

T

his year the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, decided that His Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) would celebrate the centenary of the Great Arab Revolt by holding a large scale, combined arms parade which would continue on a yearly basis. The parade was to consist of approximately 800 infantry from the Royal Guards Regiments, 60 camels from the Jordanian Police, and 45 men and horses from the newly formed Royal Horse Guard. Realising the magnitude of the parade, the Royal Protocol staff sought

equine advice, and who better to ask than us? But, unfortunately, for Jordan, they received LCpl Joyce and me as instructors for two months, with the objective of assisting in the training and execution of a successful mounted parade. The Short Term Training Team (STTT) also consisted of Farrier LCoH Harris, Saddler LCpl Giesen, and the Regimental Veterinary Officer Maj N HousbySkeggs RAVC, all of whom would be staying for three weeks. This full team allowed our hosts to seek advice on all

aspects of ceremonial horsemanship. The cultural and language barriers were obvious and proved challenging at first, but after learning the appropriate hand signals, and once the Jordanians became accustomed to hearing Arabic spoken in a cockney accent, it was clear that mounted units, wherever they may reside, share a common passion that transcends language. The horses used by the JAF were of Portuguese and Spanish origin, the Lusitano, which for centuries

Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment ■ 59

Household Cavalry Journal 2016  
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