Army horses get a break
September 16, 2009 4:29 AM   Subscribe

Horses on a Seaside Holiday. Pictures of London-based army horses really enjoying their annual seaside holiday. They splash in the sea and take long gallops on the sand, with their riders. They are the Royal Horse Artillery who do spectacular displays towing and firing guns (not the horses on sentry duty at Horse Guards in Whitehall).
posted by Idcoytco (24 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Better in motion.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:42 AM on September 16, 2009

Man, talk about a busman's holiday.
posted by beccaj at 5:14 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I see, so in British parlance "holiday" means "doing the same job you normally do, but in icy cold water."
posted by saladin at 5:17 AM on September 16, 2009 [11 favorites]

Were you expecting to see them lounging on a rooftop pool in Miami with a margarita?
posted by Summer at 5:57 AM on September 16, 2009

Those appear to be some very happy horses.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:58 AM on September 16, 2009

Do horses enjoy being in deep water? Also, seawater must ruin the tack.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:13 AM on September 16, 2009

Some horses love to swim. Some take to it right away, others join in after watching the group go in.

There are also specialized swimming pools and water treadmills for equine physiotherapy.
posted by grounded at 6:27 AM on September 16, 2009

who exactly was on holiday, the rider or the horse? surely the horses own definition of a holiday would be "hanging out without that pesky human on my back"...
posted by dearsina at 6:27 AM on September 16, 2009

Orrnyereg: From experience yes horses will happily swim out into the ocean and have a paddle with or without a rider on the back. Living in St Johns Wood where they are usually based these Horses spend most mornings holding up traffic as they trundle down the high street. Always quite a surreal experience whilst drinking a latte and reading the paper to look up and see 40 horses in the row with the rider at the back wearing a radio backpack like something from Vietnam.
posted by numberstation at 6:42 AM on September 16, 2009

Are they are any fillies/mares around for the horses to hand out with? Hardly a holiday without them!
posted by misha at 7:12 AM on September 16, 2009

Gorgeous horses, gorgeous pictures. And yes, in those ocean pictures the horses seem to be pretty happy, ears forward, enjoying themselves. And horses generally do like a break in routine, so I imagine that getting to gallop around on a beach, and go swimming, is fun for them.

I hope they get some time lounging around in pasture enjoying some free horse time though.
posted by OolooKitty at 7:12 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

vacations are such a bore when you've been gelded.
posted by lester at 7:25 AM on September 16, 2009

I'm my somewhat limited experience (I don't ride, but I've lived within walking distance of horse farms most of my life) if a horse is running, it's probably happy.

If a horse is running with a few of its friends, it's probably very happy.

If there is someone at the end of the run to give them a rub down and a bit of carrot, they are probably in heaven.
posted by quin at 7:51 AM on September 16, 2009

They look happy, but not as happy as the little mice in the picture of the day next to the horse article.

"The horses are being stabled at a dairy farm just outside Polzeath and have been making the short trip to the beach daily."

I wonder if the cows get jealous.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:24 AM on September 16, 2009

Salmonberry, I've had that mouse image open in another tab all morning, and I keep flipping back to it as my day gets stressful. It's like a weirdly relaxing, fuzzy narcotic.
posted by quin at 9:14 AM on September 16, 2009

More British horse holiday on beach action with the Blues and Royals at Holkham in Norfolk (video). If you happen to be a teenage girl then Holkham is here.
posted by rongorongo at 10:19 AM on September 16, 2009

Some horses get to do that all their lives. (For vacation, they go to Ocean City where the action is.)
posted by msalt at 10:27 AM on September 16, 2009

Are they are any fillies/mares around for the horses to hand out with

I could be wrong, but as far as I know "horse" includes animals of both sexes, and I don't think that cavalry horses are all male. So I think that joke relies on some sexist projection...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:39 PM on September 16, 2009

I've owned horses for a long time and in my experience, unless they're used to the ocean they find it quite intimidating. IMO it's not a natural instinct for them to run in the water and need time getting used to it. I think a better holiday would be freedom from riders in a lovely green pasture with lots to eat. They are a food driven animal after all.
posted by homeless Visigoth at 4:30 PM on September 16, 2009

I was hoping to see the horses in the water without the riders. But I it makes sense for the horses to have fun with the riders, too.
posted by evening at 4:41 PM on September 16, 2009

Much as I love both Polzeath and riding horses on the beach, it's hard not to see this as anything more than an Army PR exercise. They have been doing this every year: take the horses on holiday and release gorgeous pictures of happy horses and riders galloping through the foamy brine, like an aftershave commercial.

Polzeath beach is a bit too narrow: the beaches of Cumbria and Northumbria are longer, more empty and better for horses to blow off steam on while their riders also have a lot of fun.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 12:23 AM on September 17, 2009

GeorgeBickham: Agree about the PR exercise; if you do a search you will find:
1. Several press agencies selling pictures of these horse exercises. Like this one - indicative of a formally organised photo shoot (in some you can see the truck with all the press on it).
2. Pretty wide syndication of these images articles in the UK and international press.
3. Use of the images on army sites as PR - such as here.

That said I would imagine that any cavalry regiment must be regarded as a PR exercise by the army these days.
posted by rongorongo at 1:42 AM on September 17, 2009

rongorongo: As I thought. Well, that ought to win the support of horse-mad young girls for current military operations.

That said I would imagine that any cavalry regiment must be regarded as a PR exercise by the army these days.

There's an argument that this was always the case: that horses' usefulness on the battlefield was always limited by their heavy logistical requirements and inherent skittishness. Horses added height, charisma and mobility to the mounted classes on the battlefield, and off.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 10:29 AM on September 17, 2009

I think the view that this a PR exercise is to miss the point. I mean, they are a ceremonial troop after all.... that IS their function in life.

Oh, and radio thingy on the rider's back? Not radio, Electronic Counter Measures, brought in after the IRA's Hyde Park nail bomb ripped into a Cavalry troop on Rotten Row.
posted by fingerbang at 1:06 PM on September 17, 2009

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