Horses, The Royal Stables

Horses at The Royal Mews. Photo: Charlotte Gawell.
His Majesty the King has 16 horses. Of these 14 are kept at the Royal Mews. The Horses are purchased when they are between five and eight years old.

They are Swedish half-bloods, big and strong with a height of approximately 17 hands. It takes between one and two years to train the horses. They have to learn how to go two-in-hand, four-in-hand or six-in-hand. They also have to learn to handle the city traffic with buses, cars and loud noise.

When the horses arrive at the Royal Mews they are renamed after horses from the old Royal Mews at Helgeandsholmen.
Horse-path sign at Royal Djurgården. Photo: Charlotte Gawell.

Training


Each day between 08:00–11:00 the horses are exercised either outside at Djurgården, in a pacing machine or dressage in the indoor riding arena. A Riding Master, a Head Groom and six coachmen are employed to train and educate the horses for different tasks. It takes many thousands of work hours to prepare a horse to take part in parades.

The horses daily training and education is steered by upcoming events. This can involve training two-in-hand, four-in-hand or à la d'aumont. The horses are also trained to handle high loud noises, crowds, barking dogs and waving flags.

In order to be able to take part in a parade a horse must be able to keep calm whatever the circumstance. Every day they are trained to be able to handle such disturbances – such as overtaking buses, roadworks or traffic lights that have to be respected.

Caring for the horses


Work begins at the Royal Mews at 06:30 every day when the Head-Groom feeds the horses. The coachmen muck and brush their horses before training. Day in and day out, weekdays and holidays, the horses need care.

Even harnesses and carriages need daily care and maintenance. The only time of the year when Royal Mews employees are free for other duties is when the horses are put out to well-deserved pasture during the summer months.

Parades


The Royal Mews is responsible for transporting visiting Heads of State during state visits.

Newly appointed ambassadors to Sweden are also transported by the Royal Mews equipage from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the Royal Palace of Stockholm for their formal audience with the King.