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Why Queen Elizabeth Only Rides Ponies at 94

Joe Akins
Jun 13, 2020
08:00 A.M.

Queen Elizabeth is a known lover of horses with a keen interest in all things equestrian; however, at 94 years old, she now rides only ponies, and here is the reason.

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As one gets older, certain activities become almost impossible to engage in despite one's love for it. Queen Elizabeth is a known lover of horses, and over the years since she started riding at the age of three, she has dedicated part of her time to breed, groom, and ride horses.

Queen Elizabeth at The Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 18, 2002. | Photo: Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth at The Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 18, 2002. | Photo: Getty Images

However, at 94 years old, she has given up riding horses and chosen to ride ponies instead. In a chat with "Horse and Hound," her head groom opened up about the reason for the switch.

The head groom Terry Pendry who spoke to "Horse and Hound" for an exclusive on the Queen's horses, revealed that the reason she now rides ponies was that they are "a little nearer to the ground, so to speak."

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Pendry revealed that before the Queen decided to start riding ponies, the last horse she rode was a horse named Sanction. Sanction was one of the Queen's favorite home-bred horses, which sadly passed away at the age of 24.

Sanction was said to be telepathic and has a special connection with the Queen in that it knew the direction the Queen wanted to go to before it was stirred that way. It was the Queen's favorite riding horse for many years.

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Aside from Sanction, the Queen has reared and taken care of various horses over the years, and it is impossible to remember and mention their names; however, a few have stood out among the studs.

Balmoral Jingle, Balmoral Curlew, and Emma are three of the Queen's favorite ponies.

One of the Queen's most admired horses dates back to 1960. The horse whose name was Betsy was described as full of character and spirit, which endeared it to the heart of the Queen.

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Another horse named Doublet is on the list of admired horses owned by the Queen over the years. Doublet was not only ridden by the Queen, but her daughter Princess Anne also rode it and won the European Eventing Championship in 1971 while riding Doublet.

Pendry also mentioned that a horse named Burmese was among the Queen's favorite. Burmese was a gift to the Queen from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and she rode her in Trooping the Colour for eighteen years before Burmese reiterated to Windsor and died at the age of 28.

Queen Elizabeth II attends a State Banquet at the Philharmonic Hall on the first day of a tour of Slovakia on October 23, 2008 | Photo: Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II attends a State Banquet at the Philharmonic Hall on the first day of a tour of Slovakia on October 23, 2008 | Photo: Getty Images

The last of the Queen's admired studs is Columbus. Columbus was sired by Winston Churchill's stallion named Colonist. A sturdy and robust breed, Columbus was nicknamed the Monster, and Princess Anne described him as being more of a man's ride.

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Balmoral Jingle, Balmoral Curlew, and Emma are three of the Queen's favorite ponies. Curlew and Jingle were considerable successes in the show ring and are now broodmares in the Balmoral Stud. Emma, on the other hand, is still going strong at age 24, and one of the Queen's riding ponies to date.

Queen Elizabeth II at a state banquet on October 21, 2008.  | Photo: Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II at a state banquet on October 21, 2008. | Photo: Getty Images

Pendry also mentioned five of the Queen's racehorses over the years. They include Aureole, Doutelle, Highclere, Phantom Gold, and Estimate. The horses were known for their temperament and speed, making them a part of the Queen's favorites.

Queen Elizabeth, who has loved the horseback since she was young still enjoys riding to date. She passed on the love for the equestrian life to her daughter and granddaughters.

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