Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The story of Horse Power throughout my life

This picture was taken in 1977.
This is my Army horse 'Ron' we kept the names simple back then. Back then being 1977. I rode him for 12 years whilst in the army and when I left the services in late 1988 I bought his release too and kept him until 2006 when he sadly died of old age at the ripe 'horsey' age of 37.

He was born in Waterford, Ireland in 1970 and conscripted into the Army in 1973. After his initial training at Melton Mowbray he was first allocated to  the Royal Horse Artillery as he was the right size and colour for them, however he did not like traces banging against his legs. He steamed off down the Mall in London one fine day with a Gun Carriage and another 3 horses and thus was dishonorably dismissed from the RHA and sent in disgrace to the Royal Military Police in Aldershot about 1974. We got all the 'problem' horses not suited to other tasks.

Although I joined the Army in 1974 at the grand age of fifteen, I joined the Mounted Troop in 1979 after having spent two years riding in the Motorcycle side of the Display Team.
Ron was wickedly fast to ride and difficult to control, and my collegues did not particularly like him, he was dubbed 'Rocket Ron'.....and he could move backwards when he wished to 'object' almost as fast as he could forwards, and could be very moody. So I became his sole rider for most of his time in the Army. We just hit it off from the start. We used to patrol the vast areas around Aldershot ranges and spent many a happy 'chase' running down illegal motorcyclists. Our patrols lasted up to 5 hours a day 6 days a week, all year round. It was not unheard of to spend 12 hours in the saddle at 'Special events'. I spent many hours in the winters walking next to him so my feet as well as the rest of me stayed warm.

We also used to take part in the RMP Horse and Motorcycle display team...I will post some pics. Special duties and parades in London and various military tattoo's. Polishing tack and kit took up any hours not spent riding. If the Sergeant Major could not see his face in your Tack or Boots it was thrown across the stable yard until you did it right.

Ron was 'bomb proof'' in traffic and no amount of noise bothered him, as were most of our horses. Not surprising as on displays they would have motorcycles with the exhausts removed racing in between them. The hard job was trying to stop him from chasing every motorcycle that he came across !

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