We thank HM Queen Elizabeth II for her love of horses and so many other animals
September 16, 2022
As the nation prepares to say its final goodbyes to the late HM Queen Elizabeth II over the next two weeks, the team at Towcester Equine Vets in Northamptonshire want to take a moment to celebrate her life, her reign and, importantly, her love of horses and other animals, and her commitment to conservation and welfare.
From a young age, Queen Elizabeth held a deep love and connection to animals. From her own huge array of Corgis, Dorgis, and Dachshunds, to her over 100 horses and her sponsorship of wild animals in London Zoo, the late monarch was a passionate animal lover who will be sorely missed.
Queen Elizabeth’s passion for horses was also both well-known and borne from an incredibly young age. Throughout her life she owned winning racehorses to traditional Highland ponies; her first horse, a Shetland, was a gift at just age 4! Queen Elizabeth also brought Monty Robert’s Natural Horsemanship movement in the United States over to the UK in hope of mainstreaming a kind, gentle approach to horse ownership and behaviour – a practice that continues to grow in popularity and increase the welfare of horses today, and one which shows her genuine compassion and love for animals.
She had two favourite highland breeds – Highland Cattle & Highland ponies (like these in the photo, far left/above on a mobile). They were kept at the Balmoral estate and she was deemed an expert on both. She is the longest reigning monarch and her Jersey cattle herds is one of the oldest in the UK – records date back to 1871. She also won many awards with her cattle & horses.
Her important role in the conservation of heritage breeds is also to be remembered with pride. Thanks to her intervention, the Cleveland Bay horse breed was saved, along with several other breeds she helped to protect.
Queen Elizabeth owned and enjoyed Fell ponies too (like these in the photo, above), a breed with an estimated global population of under 6,000. She brought them into the public eye and helped spread awareness of the breed. King Charles III will now continue her legacy as the patron of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).
A young princess Elizabeth was gifted her first dog, a Corgi named Susan, for her 18th birthday in 1944. She would go on to own more than 30 Corgis and Dorgis (much like these in this photo – left) over the next 78 years! A final two Corgis, Muick and Sandy, were gifted to the Queen in 2021 by her children in the wake of her beloved Prince Philip’s death. It has this week been confirmed that these two young dogs will remain in the care of her children.
More than just animal ownership, Queen Elizabeth was actively involved in several animal organisations. A patron of both the RSPCA and of our very own Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, RCVS – she held a life-long dedication to not just the ownership, but the welfare of animals. Queen Elizabeth was a patron and steadfast supporter of the RCVS since 1952, a connection that our team and our profession are deeply respectful and proud of.
As well as RCVS and the RSPCA, HM Queen Elizabeth is patron of many organisations including:
- Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST)
- The Highland Pony Society
- The British Horse Society
- The Shire Horse Society
- The National Horseracing Museum
- Royal Windsor Horse Show
- Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain
- The Highland Cattle Society
- The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Club
- Royal Agricultural Society of England
- The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
- Jersey Cattle Society of the United Kingdom
And we must not forget her love of pigeons. Originally a gift from the Belgian Royal Family to the British Monarchy in 1886, the Queen’s pigeons are entered into one or two club races every week and all national races during the season. Over the years, the pigeons have won every major race in the UK.
HM Queen Elizabeth II was also patron of many pigeon racing societies in recognition of her interest in the sport, including the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and the National Flying Club.
On behalf of everyone here at Towcester Equine Vets and within our veterinary profession, we send our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family and look forward to Queen Elizabeth’s legacy carrying on with love and support for all animals and those who care for them.
Reduced services on Monday 19th September
As a mark of respect and to enable as many of our team as possible to be a part of the day’s proceedings if they wish, our services will be reduced on Monday 19th September. In order to keep our commitment to pre-booked client appointments, we will be operating a skeleton staff and will be here for farm emergencies. We kindly ask that you postpone calling us for routine and general enquiries until the following day.