All About Queen Elizabeth II’s First Loves – Horses & Corgis

Queen Elizabeth II ruled for 70 years making her the longest-reigning British monarch. She passed away yesterday at the age of 96 surrounded by loved ones, which most likely included her beloved dogs.

The Queen has always loved horses and dogs and they remained a big part of her life throughout her reign. They were her first loves. She managed to find time to ride her trusty steeds and was often seen attending horse events or out in the garden with her dogs.

As the world grieves for the Her Majesty, we thought we would take a look back and see when the Queen first fell in love with horses and learn when corgis first entered her home.

All the Queen’s Horses

She received her first horse, a Shetland pony named Peggy, when she was just 4 years old. After successfully learning how to stay on the pony, she continued riding and by the age of 18 was an accomplished rider.

Her passion for horses didn’t fade and only grew with time. Over the years she has owned and bred many horses. She personally named each one and loved them all dearly. However, some held a special place in heart. Horse & Hound released an exclusive article in 2020 naming the Queen’s favorites. In no particular order, they were:

  • Betsy: a black-brown mare that the Queen rode in the 1960s.
  • Burmese: presented to Her Majesty in 1969 by The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and The Queen rode her in Trooping the Colour until 1986.
  • Doublet: the horse bred by the Queen and ridden by Princess Ann. The duo won the European Eventing Championships in 1971.
  • Columbus: 17.1hh grey sired by Winston Churchill’s stallion Colonist. While his barn name was “The Monster”, the Queen adored him and said he was the “Grand National horse that never was”.
  • Sanction: the brown riding horse was a favorite of the Queen’s for many years.
  • Balmoral Jingle and Balmoral Curlew: two beautiful Highland mares.
  • Emma: a Fell pony who also was one of the Queen’s favorite riding ponies.
  • Aureole: the chestnut stallion was an amazing racehorse and the first horse the Queen inherited from her late father.
  • Doutelle: chestnut stallion bred by the Queen who went on to be a winning racehorse.
  • Highclere: bay mare who won both the 1000 Guineas and Prix de Diane in Paris.
  • Phantom Gold: amazing racehorse who went on to produce many stakes winners.
  • Estimate: a beautiful thoroughbred mare who won the Ascot Gold Cup at the Royal meeting at the age of 4.

She also enjoyed riding in the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony where she first rode in as a princess in 1947.

The Royal Family posted a photo of the Queen holding two of her horses ahead of her 96th birthday on Facebook and wrote, “First staged in 1943, The Queen has attended every single Royal Windsor Horse Show.”

Even in the later years of her life she continued to ride.

Her love of Corgis

Queen Elizabeth loved all dogs, but corgis or dorgis (corgi and dachshund mix) have always been at her side – and usually more than one. Her Majesty adored the short-legged breeds and received her first corgi named Susan as a present on her 18th birthday.

Just like with horses, her love of dogs continued through her life. She has owned over 30 dogs and made sure each one was well behaved. She even established a special feeding routine where the oldest dog would receive its food first and the rest were fed in order of seniority.

Dr Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist who has dealt with canine behavior problems at Buckingham Palace for the past 20 years, shared, “When she’s talking about her dogs or her horses, you see a completely different side to her. She relaxes. Dogs are great levelers, and they’re not influenced by social status, which must be a great relief to her. No wonder she enjoys being around them.”

She left behind two corgis named Muick and Sandy, a dorgi called Candy, and two Cocker Spaniels, according to Newsweek.

All her beloved animals will be cared for by family and staff.

The End Of An Era

The Queen’s death was announced by The Royal Family and King Charles III wrote, “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world. During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”

Flowers are being left at Buckingham Palace and several other Royal Residences. There is also an online Books of Condolence where people can leave messages. For more information on her funeral and mourning process, visit the royal website here.

Queen Elizabeth II inspired many with her determination, grace, and love of animals. She will be greatly missed.

People, Pets & Planet

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