Young Middleham has to bide his time

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THE Household Cavalry has a new recruit named in honour of the North Yorkshire racing town of Middleham.

All the horses that have joined the historic regiment this year have been given names beginning with M, with many being chosen from a public ballot. Middleham was one of the top choices.

The newest equine recruits and their riders were inspected and put through their paces recently before they begin a busy year of Royal Jubilee and Olympic duties.

Middleham was among them but plans for him to take part in the Trooping of the Colour and Jubilee events had to be put on hold when the veterinary inspection revealed that rather than the six-year-old horse he was thought to be, he is only two years old.

The strapping Irish cavalry recruit had everybody convinced he was much older.

His troop leader in the Blues and Royals Squadron, Capt Alex Owen, said: “He was one of the best behaved horses in the regiment at this big event. It’s hard to believe that such a good horse on parade is actually so much younger than all the others.

“We think it is a sign that he is rather exceptional and that he will take well to his full public duties when he has had a little more time to develop the strength he will need as a cavalry horse.”

A cavalry horse must be able to carry his rider as well as a further five stone (32kg) of saddlery and ceremonial equipment for hours at a time. This year’s full programme of ceremonial parades and events will be particularly demanding.

Consequently, although Middleham has passed all the tests to prove himself as a cavalry horse, he has been sent to the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray for the summer where he will be able to grow and mature before returning to start his duties in London.

In the meantime, the Household Cavalry regiment will be keeping in touch with the town of Middleham to let them know how Middleham, the horse, is getting on. You can follow his progress at www.facebook.com/hcmr.

There were major celebrations for the Coward family at Cheltenham last week when Jacqueline Coward and the classy Amicelli won the AGA Ladies Open Point-to-Point Championship final.

They maintained their lead on the home straight to finish just ahead of last year’s winner Billvoden.

There were cheers and applause from a strong team of supporters from Yorkshire as the pair entered the winners’ enclosure.

The £7,500 final of the AGA sponsored series was contested by horses that qualified over the season by running in AGA Ladies Open races.

The Lady Riders’ championship that had been running in conjunction was won by Clare Hart.

Amicelli is trained by Jacqueline’s mother Cherry and won the Cheltenham Foxhunters in 2008.