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THE HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY -

TRAINING - OFFICERS, SOLDIERS,

MOUNTED DUTYMEN, & HORSES

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Officer Training

Potential Officers commence their training at Sandhurst Military Academy,
as Officer Cadets. Initially, they start their military service as Subalterns.

School leavers who wish to see what army life is like before committing
themselve long term, may avail themselves of what is known as a Gap Year
Commission, although the more usual path is via the Regular Commission
route.
Once initial training is completed, Officers take part in the Passing
Out Parade, and then join their Regiments as 2nd Lieutenants (if joining
The Life Guards) or Cornets ( if joining The Blues And Royals).

They then undertake specific Regimental training - dependent upon which
branch of the Regiment (Armoured Reconnaissance or Mounted), before
joining their respective units.

Interested in joining the Household Cavalry Regiment?
Click here for an Application Form for information.

 
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Training A Household Cavalryman

Initially, all recruits undertake the necessary equestrian training to fit them
for service (up to two years) in the Mounted Regiment, based in London.
There are two quite distinct types of training required - either for service in
the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (using tracked and other vehicles),
or for service in the Mounted Regiment (riding horses).

It must also be remembered that horses themselves need to be trained
- to acknowledge control without the use of words of command, to behave
normally when in the midst of massed Bands playing music, and when the
roads are lined with cheering, noisy crowds, such as on major State occasions
and parades.

As members of The Household Division, recruits (who join at age 17 or over)
carry out their basic (Phase 1) training at the Army Training Regiment at
Bassingbourn in Hertfordshire, where they undergo 12 weeks of training in
which they learn the fundamentals of soldiering.

After this basic training, the recruits pass out on a formal parade. This gives
the newly trained soldier the grounding which he will require for his Phase 2
training - whether commencing with the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment
or the Mounted Regiment.

This second phase of training takes place at either the Household Cavalry
Training Wing, Combermere Barracks, Windsor (mounted), or at the RAC
(Royal Armoured Corps) Centre, Bovington (armoured).

At Windsor, the soldier is introduced to his special to arm training which
includes driving and - most importantly - riding.

Armoured Vehicles
Armoured Vehicles & Chinook
Soldiers On Foot
Soldiers in Shooting Position
Vehicles During Training
Weapons Firing

The Training Wing course lasts for at least 14 weeks, during which time the
soldiers learn to ride, and also decide whether they wish to go first to the
Mounted Regiment or to the Armoured Regiment.

Most soldiers decide to do the mounted duty before going on to armoured
soldiering, with those preferring to be armoured-trained going on to Bovington
— where they complete their B3 CVR(T) driver's and Phase 1 signals course
(including vehicle maintenance), before being posted to Windsor.

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Training A Mounted Dutyman

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment's Training Wing, at Windsor,
aims to train a recruit within 18 weeks from never having ridden a horse to
becoming a fully qualified Mounted Dutyman Class 3, capable of taking
his place in Ceremonial Duties.

Training is carried out through a gradual but sustained progression of
confidence-building exercises on horseback, instruction in horse management
and horsemastership, simple veterinary problems, and how to clean, fit and
wear saddlery and uniform.


The Khaki Ride

The first 14 weeks of training (Mounted Equitation Course) take place at the
Household Cavalry Training Wing (HCTW) in Windsor, culminating in a
passing-out parade - in khaki - having been introduced to the State kit in
logical stages.

Recruits then transfer to Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge, London,
for a further four weeks at the end of which they pass out in full State kit.

This Programme Is Only A Guide — Programmes May Vary

Week 1

Induction Training

As well as all the necessary administration, induction training covers an
introduction to Horses, Saddlery, Stable Management and Horse Welfare,
an assessment of the recruit's fitness, and full work induction instruction
(NVQ).

Weeks 2-5

Introduction and Riding Development

Flat work building from walk to canter, and incorporating military
movement on horseback as a group. Stable Management development
and tests. Veterinarian development and tests. Development of the
soldier's personal fitness, under a Physical Training Instructor (twice
weekly). Numeracy and literacy assessment, development and testing.

One 48-hr Leave Pass - split half a Ride at a time (if deemed appropriate).

Weeks 6-9

Introduction and Jumping Development

Jumping horses using tried and tested methods (indoor and outdoor
ménages). Flat work building from walk to canter, and incorporating
military movement on horseback as an individual. Stable Management
development and tests. Veterinarian development and tests.

Development of the soldier's personal fitness, under a Physical
Training Instructor (twice weekly). Adventure Training weekend.

One 48-hr Leave Pass - split half a Ride at a time (if deemed appropriate).

Weeks 10-16

Equitation Skills Development

Riding and leading horses. Road and park work. Development of individual
Equitation skills. Basic military radio communications. Personal fitness
development under Physical Training Instructor (twice weekly). Education
visit to cultural establishment.

One 48-hr Leave Pass - split half a Ride at a time (if deemed appropriate).

Weeks 17-18

Build-up and Delivery of Khaki Pass Out

The Riding Master undertakes a key inspection of Equine Capability.
State Kit is issued, and instruction on its wearing is provided - in
preparation for the Kit Ride. Rehearsals take place for the Kit Ride,
and administration for the move to London is completed.

Weeks 19-22

Kit Ride

This takes place at Hyde Park Barracks, Knightsbridge (in London)
and culminates in a Pass Out Parade in Hyde Park and in Barracks,
with a VIP Inspecting Officer. Families of participants could be
invited to attend this notable event.

During the first few weeks in the Household Cavalry Training Wing (HCTW),
the soldiers will be based at Windsor, and the course is split into two parts.


The first part forms the "Easy Rider" course (which lasts for five weeks),
where the very basics of civilian riding are taught. The second part lasts
eight weeks, and is spent "in khaki", and comprises of riding in army
saddlery, and learning all the necessary military drills on horseback.

Like all physical skills, the development of horsemastership requires
progressive fitness and agility training, coupled with continuous practice
of what has been taught.

Since the majority of soldiers have never ridden a horse before, the course
— like all military courses — starts with basics and proceeds at a pace to
suit "the slowest learner". They must also learn how to march and drill in
ceremonial uniform, including jackboots.

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The Kit Ride

The final (additional) four weeks are devoted to learning to ride in full
ceremonial uniform (known as Full Dress). This training is carried out
in London, at the Mounted Regiment's barracks in Knightsbridge.

The soldier rides for two hours a day, sometimes more. All that they
have learned about seat and position applies more than ever, because
a weak seat or bad position will make the ride uncomfortable, and make
it more difficult for the rider to achieve what he wants the horse to do.

This applies all the more because rising to the trot in Full Dress
is not permitted.

The soldier then learns progressively how to fit all the paraphernalia
of State Dress and Saddlery, from sheepskins with the front arch
underneath, to collar chains and stirrup bosses, from sword slings
to plumes and cuirasses (breast plates).

First and foremost the helmet must be fitted correctly, because a helmet
that is too loose may tip forward or back, and a helmet that is too tight
will give the wearer an unbearable headache.

The ride concentrates on troop drills in Hyde Park, and in the outdoor
riding school. On Saturdays they learn to wear cloaks when mounted,
and how to use swords when cloaked.

At the end of the seventeenth week, the Ride passes out in Full Dress
in front of the Commanding Officer.

After two weeks' leave the members of the Ride, now fully qualified
Mounted Dutymen Class 3, are ready to take their place in the troop
to which they are allotted.

All Troopers aspire to the Richmond Cup, which is awarded to the
trooper judged to be the best turned out in full state uniform, and for
which two troopers from each troop compete. It is not unknown for
H.M. The Queen to present the Cup, which adds to the thrill of winning.

Incidentally, training of horses does not prepare them for the huge noise
that can be generated by millions of people lining the streets, such as for
Jubilee celebrations. The Regiment has its own method — "rent a crowd"!

In the weeks leading up to a big parade, non-participating Household
Cavalrymen and their families turn out to subject horses and riders to
organized mayhem, designed to prepare them for the worst — by banging
dustbin lids, waving sticks, blowing whistles, and bursting balloons.

Results? By the day of the parade, men and horses take it in their stride!

 
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