Horses, The Royal Stables

Horses at The Royal Mews. Photo: Charlotte Gawell.

His Majesty the King has 20 horses. Of these 18 are kept at the Royal Stables. The Horses are purchased when they are between five and eight years old.

They are all 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 Stables they are renamed after horses from the old Royal Stables 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 horse walker 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 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 loud noises, crowds, barking dogs, city traffic 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.

Caring for the horses

Work begins at the Royal Stables at 06:30 every day when the Head-Groom feeds the horses. The coachmen muck and brush their horses before training.

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

Parades

The Royal Stables are responsible for transporting visiting Heads of State during state visits.

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